The Big Fig Newton Pit
July 3, 2010 10:41 PM   Subscribe

My husband bit down on this in a Fig Newton. Would it be tacky to list it on eBay?

My husband was not hurt, thankfully, as it is hard as a rock. A knife with great pressure scarcely makes a mark. It took some effort to reach someone at KRAFT willing to tell us how it might have happened (we didn't like to think of babies and toddlers consuming it). The first person we talked to described in detail how the grates on the conveyor belt sometimes let through "gravel," as he called it. The second person was very keen to get it to "conduct tests" but our research indicates it's just a large fig pit. We were preparing for my brain surgery at the time and were unable to pursue it further. Now we'd like to draw attention to it and wouldn't mind if it brought some money to help pay for medical bills. What does the great MeFi mind think?
posted by Pamelayne to Home & Garden (37 answers total) 9 users marked this as a favorite
I am not sure who would want to buy it, really.

I have some pieces of bone from a Pizza Hut pizza that broke one of my teeth, but I don't think putting it up on Ebay is going to make Pizza Hut (Canada) pay for the dental work that resulted.
posted by Savannah at 10:43 PM on July 3, 2010 [1 favorite]

Figs don't have pits, just little tiny seeds.
posted by mollymayhem at 10:45 PM on July 3, 2010

Response by poster: It's a very large seed, then. It's definitely organic, not rock.
posted by Pamelayne at 10:47 PM on July 3, 2010

It looks like half a date pit. Maybe the factory which processed the figs also processes dates. I can't imagine why anyone would want to buy it from you. The reason why strange objects sometimes sell for high prices on eBay is that they have fantastic stories behind them. Your story is that your husband nearly broke a tooth. Sorry, it's just not particularly interesting to other people.
posted by embrangled at 11:01 PM on July 3, 2010 [4 favorites]

Unless it's shaped like Jesus, Mary, or Mother Teresa or has a visible aura around it, why would someone buy it? Random-seeming things like this that sell on ebay come with a good story, and I don't think this one is compelling enough to make it worth your time/money to list it.
posted by BlooPen at 11:01 PM on July 3, 2010 [7 favorites]

Response by poster: Right. We thought it was interesting that such a large, hard object could end up in a soft cookie often given to young children.
posted by Pamelayne at 11:06 PM on July 3, 2010

Even if you could prove it came from a Fig Newton, unless there's an image of Jesus on it, there's no real market for it on Ebay.
posted by Linnee at 11:06 PM on July 3, 2010

I...why would anybody bid ten cents on this?

It'd just come out the other end of a baby or toddler -- this is really quite benign, as foreign objects go. It's not even excitingly gross. A pit is the sort of thing most people don't even bother bothering the company over, I suspect -- I've found a number in my cherry yoghurt (which now says "Warning: May contain pits") over the years.

(If Fig Newtons are considered to be cookies popular with tots this is news to me? Figs?) But even if it was a large, jagged shard of metal, why do you think somebody would somebody want it?
posted by kmennie at 11:10 PM on July 3, 2010

In addition to the "it's not weird enough" reasons, it's also unlikely to sell because you have no way to prove how you came to have it. If it is a fig seed, you could have just pulled it out of a fig. Since your husband wasn't hurt, there's really no record that anything happened at all.
posted by donnagirl at 11:10 PM on July 3, 2010

Obviously no one is going to buy this, I take it your goal is embarrass the company so that they pay you off? I don't think that would work either.
posted by LarryC at 11:13 PM on July 3, 2010 [2 favorites]

Response by poster: Pay off what? There has been no claim of any kind around this.
posted by Pamelayne at 11:14 PM on July 3, 2010

Response by poster: We imagined that someone with more civic sense and drive than we might use it to press KRAFT to improve their production standards. Why is this so hard to understand and weird, nefarious scenarios are imagined instead?
posted by Pamelayne at 11:16 PM on July 3, 2010

We imagined that someone with more civic sense and drive than we might use it to press KRAFT to improve their production standards. Why is this so hard to understand and weird, nefarious scenarios are imagined instead?

Because eBay is an auction site and your post there would pretty much not really do what you think/hope it would, because 99% of people who even look at the picture are going to think "Oh... hm." before going on to look for more of whatever they were searching for in the first place.

You pretty much have to count on your own civic sense and drive in these kinds of cases. If it's not important enough to you to move you to do much about it, who in the world do you think is going to care for you?
posted by hermitosis at 11:26 PM on July 3, 2010 [15 favorites]

Ebay isn't your local consumer affairs reporter, it's an auction site. Why would anyone look at it? How would Kraft even see it on there? Do you really think people are scouring auctions so they can take major corporations to task for negligence they had no first-hand stake in or experience of based entirely on testimony found on... once again... an auction site.

I mean, maybe if you listed it on ebay in 1997 or something, back when you could realistically just scan through most of the listings, it would get some attention, but now? It would be one odd thing no one wants out of millions. I mean, how would someone even find it? They would have to be searching for "item found newton" or "fig pit" or whatever. What are the odds of a single person in the world looking for that?
Why is this so hard to understand
Because your plan, as presented, makes no sense.
posted by Kellydamnit at 11:26 PM on July 3, 2010 [29 favorites]

I'm sorry that you're stuggling to pay off your medical bills but the most you'll get out of this is a coupon for more Fig Newtons from Nabisco.

It's not even that big. Every other can of cherry pie filling I buy has at least one cherry seed in it that's much bigger and with higher tooth breaking potential than your little fig seed. I've passed kidney stones larger than your pit, and despite the literal blood, sweat, and tears involved with that little stone, there's still no market for it on eBay.

You could possibly contact your local new's consumer advocate and see if they are interested at all, but I doubt if they will be. It's not weird to find fig seeds in a fig product, no one was hurt, no damage was done, Nabisco owned up to it. What else do you expect to happen?
posted by Ookseer at 11:28 PM on July 3, 2010

Okay -- why would the person with "civic sense and drive" want to buy it from you? How would you attract any publicity to the auction? Again, as foreign matter goes -- this is unremarkable. Shock value = 0.

Take a look at the 'excitingly gross' story above. Tonnes of publicity there because the foreign object was disgusting, and people looked, and thought 'If that had been in MY drink -- YUK!' But a wee seed? That doesn't inspire a lot of OMG, or even much of a flicker of 'Okay, so, not buying Fig Newtons again.' People with "civic sense" have plenty of important things to occupy their time already...
posted by kmennie at 11:30 PM on July 3, 2010

Best answer: Oh honestly, just stick it up there and see what happens, it costs nothing to list if you start the bidding at 99 cents or less. Use an alias if you're worried about being considered tacky. The biggest dilemma you should have is deciding what category to list it under.

Overthinking a plate of cookie pits.
posted by jamaro at 11:38 PM on July 3, 2010

Response by poster: hermitosis, I had two brain surgeries in the space of two months around the time this occurred. You'll forgive us if our civic energy has been directed elsewhere.
posted by Pamelayne at 11:59 PM on July 3, 2010

Would it be tacky to list it on eBay?

Yes, it would be tacky and a waste of everyone's time.
posted by Justinian at 12:09 AM on July 4, 2010 [2 favorites]

Is it really that so far beyond the realm of belief that you'd find a fig pip in a fig product? Sure, they're usually pretty good at sifting them out, but I'm sure this happens a lot.

On top of that, how is any prospective buyer (and, honestly, I think I'm being very generous in saying there might be interest) to know for sure that you got this pit from a Newton?

I'd imagine you'd spend a lot more time than you'd ever imagine to take in trying to sell this thing.

If you want someone to go after Kraft, then give it away...don't sell it. No one spends money to go on a consumer crusade. There's enough free consumer wars to wage already.
posted by inturnaround at 12:12 AM on July 4, 2010

Stuff happens. No one actively put a "pit" in the cookie. There is no opportunity here, for awareness or otherwise. Keep it as a memento of the time your husband cheated fig newton death. Ebay, Kraft awareness, paying off medical bills..., come on. Move on with your life. It sounds like you have more important things to be involved with.
posted by qwip at 1:12 AM on July 4, 2010 [2 favorites]

This is pretty out there, dude. Put it up if you want, but no one's gonna look at it, no one's gonna buy it, and no one is for any reason gonna take up arms in your case that companies making millions of mashed fruit products occasionally let a seed from said mashed fruit slip through - an incident so common it's usually listed on the pack that it happens.

So, to answer your question, it's not tacky. It's crazy, but not tacky. I get the feeling from your responses, however, that you're gonna put it up anyway, so I wonder why you asked the question. Best of luck either way.
posted by smoke at 1:24 AM on July 4, 2010

No, what you should do is go to the press. What outcome are you expecting from listing it on eBay? If it's to garner negative publicity for the company, press attention will be much worse.
posted by mippy at 1:25 AM on July 4, 2010

You asked what we think...

I think that attempts to embarrass a corporation or seek money from this kind of event (specifically a small piece of understandable debris that does no harm to the individual who finds it in a food product) are basically wrong.

I think that an attempt to sell this on ebay would be met with the same success as an attempt to sell any piece of food byproduct/debris, it will be met with little interest.

I wonder if posting this here on a major web community using a brand name, could be construed as an effort to further embarrass the company and, perhaps, that brand name should be removed from the post.
posted by HuronBob at 3:28 AM on July 4, 2010 [3 favorites]

Yes, auction it. memail me the link when the auction goes live.
posted by telstar at 4:18 AM on July 4, 2010

Yes, it would be tacky to try to sell a piece of gravel which you claim you found in a Fig Newton on Ebay. It would look you're trying to get charitable donations by putting up something worthless and expecting money for it, and also like you're trying to shame KRAFT in a kind of vindictive, not-very-effective way. Also, I've seen, picked, eaten, and mashed down into jelly more figs than you would care to imagine, and that is not part of a fig. It might possibly be a knotty bit of bark.

However, it is possible that someone who has read this thread feels sorry for you and would like to give you money, and will therefore bid on your item when you put it up, so while it's tacky it's not necessarily a waste of time.
posted by frobozz at 5:35 AM on July 4, 2010 [2 favorites]

There is nothing 'civic minded' to do here. What does your having had brain surgery have anything to do with this? You called kraft, they owned up to the problem' you endured no actual loss or damage, and anyway you seem to have plenty of time and energy for the nonsensical approach you propose.

this question is just a joke right?
posted by fourcheesemac at 5:44 AM on July 4, 2010 [14 favorites]

Now we'd like to draw attention to it and wouldn't mind if it brought some money to help pay for medical bills.

This doesn't make a lot of sense. There's no logical link between the gravel and your medical bills, and there are no logical reasons why anyone would buy the gravel from you, except as a gesture of charity because they want to help you financially. If this is your real motive, forget the gravel and just ask people for money.
posted by hot soup girl at 6:33 AM on July 4, 2010 [4 favorites]

Now we'd like to draw attention to it and wouldn't mind if it brought some money to help pay for medical bills. What does the great MeFi mind think?

Building on what hot soup girl said, do you have items of actual value you could sell on e-bay? Expenses you could cut back on, like cable tv-- or even internet service? If money is your real problem, focus on that. Or if consumer protection is your real interest, get involved with an established advocacy group in your community.

But having seen brain surgery up close and personal, I can't imagine how it serves your recovery to expend energy on this crusade, which-- and I hate to add to the pile-on-- does not make any sense from any angle.

(At first I also thought you had found a dime in your cookie.)
posted by vincele at 6:51 AM on July 4, 2010 [3 favorites]

Best answer: If you want to draw attention to the matter, then send your story to the Consumerist.
posted by kimdog at 7:13 AM on July 4, 2010

It's a fig stem. They're on every dried fig I've ever had in my life. Of course, they're not supposed to be in cookies as they're in inedible. This is a non-issue. Throw it out.
posted by dobbs at 7:45 AM on July 4, 2010 [2 favorites]

It is tacky, but it is a negligible kind of tacky, because, outside of this discussion, no one is ever going to care about it. You have to know that this discovery isn't a big deal. If you don't know that, read this thread for some opposing points of view.

If you really want to help prevent this from happening again, send it in to the company.
posted by seventyfour at 8:07 AM on July 4, 2010

Pamelayne, I think you're reading a lot more judgment into the responses here than necessary. Mostly people are just bemused by your question and think what you're proposing is not a good or worthwhile idea. Also, it's a peculiar thing to get really defensive about, though we understand you are under a strain. Accepting negative feedback isn't easy, but try to remember that the community is ultimately working to help you and to take your question purely at face value.
posted by hermitosis at 8:27 AM on July 4, 2010 [3 favorites]

What does the great MeFi mind think?
I chose as best the one that brought me comfort amid so much misunderstanding

Maybe this is the wrong venue for what you are looking for? The consensus is that nobody gives a fig about fig pits/stems; I don't think there was a lot of misunderstanding.

vincele gave you great advice. And while The Consumerist is the usual Ask recommendation for any retail woe, I really don't think this is of sufficiently broad interest or importance. One tends to focus on trivia when under stress -- certainly I've done it myself -- and I think this is something you will be, a little bit down the road, embarrassed about spending time and energy on. Again, speaking from experience on that one.
posted by kmennie at 8:38 AM on July 4, 2010 [5 favorites]

I've had those in my fig newtons before. I complained to Kraft and got some coupons. I don't think anyone will buy the hard thing on ebay. I've actually noticed that fig newtons seem grittier than years ago, so maybe their quality control has gone downhill or something.
posted by ishotjr at 10:50 AM on July 4, 2010

If you're hoping someone might take up your cause, you probably can't also expect them to pay for the evidence. But besides The Consumerist that someone also linked to, try googling around for things like 'fig newton chipped tooth', etc, to see if there are other people out there who've had similar problems. If there's a serious pattern of problems, you'll likely find a lot of complaints, and possibly even a person or group who is pursuing the issue and might be interested in your story, if not the actual thing.
posted by jacquilynne at 11:53 AM on July 4, 2010

Mod note: A couple comments removed. Folks, I think we're probably as done here as we're going to get; tangram1, signing up to defend the asker without bothering to disclose that you know them is really, really not gonna work. If anybody needs to talk about meta-commentary stuff at this point, please take it to metatalk.
posted by cortex (staff) at 12:27 PM on July 4, 2010

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