An Asterisk-free Life

3d-asteriskI was watching television the other day and a commercial for Stouffer’s frozen lasagna came on the screen. I like Italian food so I started watching. I love lasagna so kept watching.

As I leaned toward the screen to get a better look at the noodles covered in rich tomato goodness and cheese, I discovered something quite disturbing: While the announcer stated that Stouffer’s is “America’s favorite lasagna”, an asterisk on the bottom of the screen reported, “*Based on frozen lasagna sales”; meaning that they aren’t comparing their lasagna with ALL other lasagnas from ALL other sources. They are only the best selling product within a very small category of all other lasagnas. Their tiny-asterisk-marked notation leaves out any hot, baked lasagnas from Fazoli’s or Carrabba’s or Olive Garden. It doesn’t take into account local vendors. It doesn’t weigh the sheer volume of lasagna sold in Italy. Most hurtful, they didn’t even consider my dear, departed grandmother’s recipe.

I was shocked! I was insulted. I was disappointed. But I soon realized that it isn’t just Stouffer’s that employs the helpful and sometimes deceiving asterisk.

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