I’m Done With Progresso Soup

I would like to kick the ass of the son of a bitch at General Mills who came up with the unsuitable and deadly metal can top for their Progresso Soup line. Progresso Soup, presumably in an effort to compete with the Campbell’s Chunky Soup counterpart, has recently swapped their standard metal can — which was previously normal and easily opened with a commonplace can opener — with one that has a metal ring. Like Chunky Soup, the idea here is to lift the ring up and peel off the top of the can and provide convenience to consumers. The problem, however, is that the apparent R&D genius — clearly unaware of the forces of gravity and settling upon a thinner and presumably cheaper tab than Chunky Soup’s version — hasn’t considered that the fatter and shorter cylinder offered by Progresso is less conducive to this immediate can-opening strategy than the thinner and taller counterpart offered by Chunky Soup.

What resulted, as I attempted to make myself a modest lunch this afternoon, was me pulling up the tab, applying no more puissance than anyone else in tearing off the lid, with the jagged top jeering dramatically upwards with a force incommensurate to what I had effected with my thumb and forefinger. The deadly elliptical edge then made its way deeply into my right thumb — metal particulates embedding themselves, hitting nerves, causing all manner of “You Progresso motherfuckers!” to emerge from my lips, thus sullying the divine silence of my apartment, and a ruddy Peckinpah geyser of blood spawned from a vicious cut that took almost two hours to clot.

I would like to find the bastard who came up with this design, whose idea of lunch is a Robespierrean homage, and I want to watch this man open up one hundred cans of Progresso Soup and watch his own hands be sliced by his abominable creation. I am not normally a vengeful monkey, but, in this case, I want to see the bastard cry after opening up Can #89 and then have to carry on opening eleven more cans, all of them causing additional cuts.

I present this episode to warn any and all consumers of Progresso Soup that these new cans are deathtraps. And that the forty cent difference between Progresso and Chunky Soup really isn’t worth it. Particularly when you have a shitload of deadlines to meet.

(This is the reason why, by the way, I’m not answering email today.)

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13 Comments

  1. Something similarly painful happened to people in Sweden way back, when some R&D genius tried to talk Swedes into cutting their fingers on a “new, improved” pull-to-open bottlecap.

    (The nation-wide ad campaign for the “improved” bottlecaps showed a smiling child about to pull the bottlecap lid open… which, in hindsight, seemed shocklingly sadistic.)

  2. I swear I’m not making this up:

    For brief while (my memory is hazy on the exact date — the 80s?), an enormous amounts of glass bottles with a pull-the-ring-to-open bottlecap were produced in Sweden… and everybody hated them.

    You easily cut your finger trying to open it, because you created a sharp metal edge when the cap “sliced” open. I’ve tried it myself. An utter idiocy. The “improved” bottlecap was soon abandoned and never used again.

    I don’t know what became of the “genius” designer, but I suppose he emigrated to America and got a job at… General Mills!!
    [SHOCK MUSIC]

  3. Hope you got that cut checked out, Ed. My bro-in-law did something similar with a knife last year and learned that not only did he need stitches, he needed an operation to reattach the nerves he’d severed… otherwise he would have had no feeling on the side of his hand for the rest of his life.

  4. While I don’t follow your column because that would take time and effort, I did stumble upon this little rave while searching out dirt on Progresso. I survived the evil pull tab top (probably due in part to my small feminine fingers but who knows), only to be sent to the ER by the foul disgusting detergent I happened to take a sip of straight out of the convenient microwavable can. Because who checks their food these days anyways. After purging (I’ll spare the details) this gourmet sip of soup for 2 days I called the number pronted on the side of the can in #3 font. Progresso offered to mail me a certificate for a free can. Hey this is a free world and if Progresso wants to screw consumers and make a buck or a billion that’s their right!!!

  5. Dude, are you really complaining about this??? I mean, really???
    I’ve bought mainly Progresso long before these pull tabs ever came out….(did you complain/write an article about the sharp lid you got from that old fashioned can opener??- didn’t think so) – anyway, my point being, if you are too frail or uncoordinated to get that lid off without cutting yourself up, why not just get one of those newer style can openers that open by cutting the outside edge of the can, no sharp edges & the top can be used as a cover/lid on the can for unused portions- you can use it on any can whether it has a pull tab or not….problem solved….& yes, I’d rather save 40 cents a can & get the better tasting product…..learn to solve your problems instead of blaming others……..I guess you’ll complain about those “Michelin motherfuckers” the next time you scrape your knuckles changing a flat tire BECAUSE Michelin didn’t account for your lack of coordination…….I’m wondering how I can get a job complaining about shit like this!

  6. Same thing just happened to my mother. 5 stitches. The bottom of the can is round and cannot be opened with a can opener. The top is inset too deeply to allow the use of any style of can opener as near as I can tell. Seriously, how safe can the packaging be if it has to come with a safety warning printed right on it?

  7. 4 days ago I cut my finger almost to the bone on a Progresso soup can. The first company rep I spoke with was genuinely concerned and said that they’d like the cans back to check them. Then a woman named Kathy Smith called and lectured me that when you open cans with an opener they are sharp. When I informed her that this was a pull top she could have cared less and lectured me again.When I refused her offer of coupons she ended the call as if she had done all she could do. I wrote them ONLY to save others from these cans as I’ve never been cut this badly even after a lifetime of cooking.

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