Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

A Wedding Present with Its Own Agenda

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

A Wedding Present with Its Own Agenda

Article excerpt

STEVE and Susan went for their marriage license and got a surprise.

The city of St. Louis gave them a wedding gift.

"The package looked so romantic with the roses and pink ribbons," said Steve.

It was the most romantic plastic bag I'd ever seen. It had a couple smooching in a beribboned heart.

The bag said "First Moments Inc.," but I got the idea the kissing couple was well past that stage.

The bag said it was a "Newlywed Sampler."

Steve and Susan thought they had something sweet and sentimental in the bag.

"Then we opened it up," Steve said. "Inside was mouthwash."

That's why the couple was kissing so enthusiastically.

"You should have seen the rest of it: Deodorant. Bath soap. Toilet paper. What does that have to do with newlyweds?"

Try staying married without them.

First Moments Inc. may be romantic on the outside. Inside, they think marriage is dirty. Along with the soap and deodorant are free samples of bleach and fabric softener.

They seem to expect Steve and Susan to head straight for the sheets - and take them to the laundry room.

While they're waiting for the wash, they can fix the instant coffee sample and answer the 43-question Consumer Research Survey. That was also in the Newlywed Sampler.

That survey is nosier than my Aunt Edna. When a newly engaged couple is presented to the family, Edna takes her own survey. She pumps them about their age and income, just like this survey.

She's not afraid to ask some of the same questions: "Do you own a house? A townhouse? Rent a house? Rent an apartment, townhouse or condominium?"

But even Edna never had the nerve to ask the newlyweds what laxative they use. And she'd rather tear out her tongue than mention "feminine hygiene pads" and "bladder control protection" in mixed company.

But the survey goes fearlessly forward, asking if the couple plans to move to a new house, get new jobs, or even - and this takes nerve - have a new baby "0 to 6 months from now. …

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