Chocolate Therapy

Given the growing number of children to buy for in our families (all of whom have birthdays within a month of Christmas, to boot), my siblings and I agreed to just stick to stocking stuffer type gifts for Christmas this year.  I interpreted this to mean, “do not spend more than $15 on any adult person.”  My brother happily interpreted this to mean, “buy lots of chocolate!” And so in the cabinet in which I keep my usual single bar of “sanity chocolate,” we now have a few chocolate bars, a box of chocolates, and a large pile of individually wrapped bites of Dove almonds in dark chocolate.  Yum!

However much I like chocolate, though, I wonder if James would have picked up the latter if he knew what sort of mumbo jumbo was to be found inside the wrapper.  Apparently the marketing department at Dove has become aware that many people use chocolate for a quick “pick me up,” and they decided to build on this selling point by printing self-help phrases on the inner foil.  “You are where you are supposed to be,” affirms one.  “You’re invited to relax today,” chirps another.  I am teetering between morbid curiosity and self-righteous indignation – shall I eat another and see what it says? Or mail them all back to the chocolatier with a note explaining that I eat chocolate for the chocolate – not for the “insights” of the product label writer?

As an individual who believes in freewill, I am neither New Age-y nor Calvinistic enough to suppose that I know for certain that I am exactly where I am “supposed to be.”  And as the mother of a preschooler, I may be “invited to relax” only for the next hour and a half, after which time (cold or no cold), I am on duty, and will have (thanks to the viral invaders filling my sinus cavities) a harder time than usual staying focused and alert.  Not only do I not need my chocolate to give me permission to relax, it is in absolutely no position to do so!

So Dove, I’ll tell you what I really want on the inside of my wrappers – information about your chocolate:  about your rainforest alliance certification, for instance,  or better yet an assurance that your cocoa is not raised using child slaves.  So far, I haven’t seen any positive assertions about this.

I wonder if Dove would say that the children working against their will on cocoa plantations are where they are “supposed to be?”  Or perhaps it is only American women with disposable incomes who are “invited to relax?”  To grossly paraphrase Christ, if management loves their customers, how is that a virtue?  Every company does that.  But if management loves every person in the supply chain, truly and eagerly seeking their well being, then that is something new and different.  Today, I am praying for a transformation of the hearts of those who have the power to share – that they might find that they love people more than money after all.

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