Wednesday, June 02, 2004

The other night, my family ordered a large pizza from Papa John's for supper. However, we were rather disappointed to find that the thing really just wasn't big enough to feed the four of us. Usually a large pizza takes care of the job, but this one was rather small.

And then we found out the problem. Though we thought we had ordered a large pizza, we really hadn't. You see, at Papa John's, if you really want a large pizza, you have to order an extra large. The "large" pizza isn't actually a large--it's a medium.

If this only happened at Papa John's, I could live with it. But this sizing disease has struck most food outlets. There is no longer the simple and efficient small, medium, and large. I imagine some marketing genius must have decided that the word "small" was too negative, and food joints now avoid it like the plague, engaging in all manner of designatory gymnastics in the process.

At Starbuck's, things are so out of hand that they've actually found three different words for "large" to name their coffee sizes. I kid you not; the sizes are "tall" (which is actually small), "grande" (which is actually medium, though it is the Italian word for "large"), and "venti," (which is actually a large, though it literally and inexplicably means "twenty").

For the sake of clarity and sanity, I'm calling for a nationwide recalibration of food sizes. From henceforth and forthwith, I demand that the smallest size of whatever food product is offered to be called "small." No longer will a small coffee be allowed to be called "medium," "tall," "gigante," "enormous," or "prodigious." It will be called a "small." Concomitantly, the medium-sized product shall be called "medium," and the large shall be called "large."

As a correlative to this shift, no food chain will be allowed to begin it's food sizes with "medium." By definition, "medium" means "something in the middle" or "between two things." The first size cannot be "medium"--you cannot start there by definiton, nor, if I have my way, by law. If you're going to offer a "medium," you will have to have at least one size on either side of it.

The time-honored, time-tested small/medium/large system served our nation well for generations. I plead with the food service providers of America to return us to the roots that made our nation great.

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