Duke’s and Me, Not Meant to Be

This is a story of the unconsummated flirtation between Duke’s and me.

Maybe I should back up.

Have you ever heard of Duke’s Mayonnaise? I hadn’t, not until I recently saw a commercial for it while watching a serious and informative documentary on PBS.

Wait, what? You say there’s no commercials on PBS? Okay, okay, I admit it, I was watching the Bachelorette, are you happy now? I’m just trying to write a blog, so stop judging me and LET’S DO THE DAMN THING.

Anyway, this commercial came on and though (like everyone else) I think I’m immune to advertising, this one got under my skin.

I love mayonnaise, but I’ve always bought Hellmann’s. To me, Hellmann’s is mayonnaise. To even consider switching seems heretical.

But listen to this ad copy:

Duke’s is the perfect companion for so many things. It makes a tomato taste more like a tomato, it makes bacon taste more like bacon.

It’s a unique flavor, the texture is incredible. Duke’s really adds integrity to our recipes.

Duke’s is smooth, creamy, it has a lemony edge. It’s not sweet.

It tastes like real ingredients because it’s made with real ingredients.

I don’t think there’s another mayonnaise that compares to Duke’s.

It has more egg yolks. No sugar. It’s got a texture like custard. I mean, you’ve got to try somethings that makes a tomato taste more like a tomato, right?

I do.

At least I thought I did.

Until the universe conspired against me.

I went to my local grocery store and searched the mayonnaise aisle. Beneath the Hellmann’s, beneath the Miracle Whip, and beneath the store brand, there it was.

Or wasn’t, actually.

Apparently I wasn’t the only one awed by their advertising, as the shelf of Duke’s Mayonnaise was empty. Wiped out.

They were sold out.

It was around Independence Day, so I checked all the endcaps decked out with mustard, ketchup, mayo, pickles, and baked beans.

No Duke’s.

Hmmm.

Undeterred, I decided to look again on my next shopping trip. This time the universe sent a louder signal.

I found a shelf full of Duke’s Mayonnaise. They only had a 32 oz size, which is too large for one person, especially since I might not even like it, but I was committed to my quest now. Duke’s had been playing hard to get, and that only made me want it more. So I loaded the giant tub into my cart and away I went.

In the parking lot, I loaded my groceries into the trunk. As I closed the trunk lid, a panic swept through me, but it was too late.

I’d dropped my keys in the trunk. And the rest of the doors were locked.

For a moment, I just stood there, dumbfounded. I was holding a dozen eggs in my hand, because I keep those on the front seat so they don’t break.

It was two o’clock in the afternoon, ninety-five degrees and sunny. I had no way to get into the car.

And I had no cell phone.

Stupidly, I’d left it at home. It was at the top of my stairs, charging, and I decided not to go back for it because I was just making a quick run to the store. (If this was a movie, there’d have been a nice long foreboding zoomed-in shot on that phone, sitting on a table at the top of the stairs.)

I should also note that I had been pulling weeds in the yard, and had decided to make a quick run to the store to buy grass seed and groceries. So I had my gardening clothes on, dirty legs, and sweaty hair.

In short, exactly the kind of person you are not going to lend your cell phone to.

Fortunately, I did find a kindly older man who let me use his phone. It was then with horror that I realized I only had two phone numbers memorized: The landline at my parent’s house, and the landline for my best friend’s mom’s house, which I had punched in approximately 8,000 times as a teenager. Said friend no longer lived there of course, and said Mom was on vacation in Mexico.

So it was down to Mom and Dad on the landline. They didn’t pick up, but that was no surprise with an unrecognized number. I started telling them to pick up. When it was clear they weren’t home, I left the following message:

It’s me, your daughter. I’m at the Giant Eagle in Tarentum and I’ve locked my keys in the car. A nice man let me use his phone. I don’t have my phone so you can’t call me back, just come and get me when you get this.

I had no idea where they were, or if and when they would get the message. I gave the man back his phone and thanked him.

Now what?

As far as places to be stranded for a few hours on a hot day, you can’t be the grocery store. There’s food, water, and a bathroom. I bought a Snickers, a bottle of water, and all the gossip rags I could carry, then settled in to wait on the bench outside. My carton of eggs sat next to me. I should’ve fried one up on the pavement, it was so damn hot.

By the time my parents showed up, I was caught up on the all celebrity gossip. (Leave Duchess Megan’s crossed legs and Zac Efron’s hair alone!)

They didn’t have the key to my car, so we drove back to my house, then back to the grocery store.

Hours later, I unloaded the groceries and pulled the warm 32 oz jar of Duke’s Mayonnaise out of the plastic sack.

I held it up to the light, and saw an inch of oil at the top of the jar. The mayonnaise had separated, and it went, untasted, into the trash.

I don’t know why, but I’m not meant to try Duke’s Mayonnaise. At this point, I’m actually afraid to eat it. I feel like I’m going to get food poisoning and the universe is going to scream out, “I tried to tell you!”

So Hellmann’s, you’ve got yourself a lifelong customer. Thank the universe.

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