Newt was bad about taking his meds… I think he looks at it as a game, “chase me!” so I had to sort of wear him down a bit before administering them.

straight dope about milk duds.

Why are Milk Duds called Milk Duds? The “milk” part is obvious (milk chocolate), but what, in a confectionery sense, are duds?

You got a problem with Milk Duds? You would prefer maybe the Milk of Dynamic Overachievement? Still, I understand where you’re coming from. Milk Duds. Milk Losers. Milk Hopeless Lamers. These don’t seem like names calculated to move product. Then again, candy names in general tend to be on the inscrutable side. What, in a confectionary sense, is a skittle? A twix? A jujube? How do they come up with these names, anyway? Does it involve drugs? Once that nice Mr. Ashcroft gets done straightening out the Ay-rabs, he really ought to look into the candy business.

But you want the facts. I turned to the Milk Dud Website. (What, you thought I’d have to file suit under the Freedom of Information Act?) I learned the following facts: (1) “In 1928, Milton J. Holloway took over F. Hoffman & Company of Chicago, the original manufacturer of Milk Duds chocolate covered caramels.” The brand passed through many other hands in subsequent years and is now owned by Hershey. (2) “The Milk Duds name came about because the original idea was to have a perfectly round piece. Since this was found to be impossible, the word ‘duds’ was used.”

On the one hand you have to wonder what kind of marketing department sits around and thinks, “Hm. How can we call attention to the defects of our product?” On the other hand, there’s a sort of heroism in this approach. Here’s the product development team, contemplating a bunch of nonspherical chocolate covered caramels lying forlornly on the lab bench. Their leader speaks: “You know, boys, if this were New York or Los Angeles, we’d go nuts trying to put a positive spin on this, like here’s the alternative candy for those who aren’t afraid to be a little off-center and blah blah blah. But this is Chicago. I say we just call a spade a spade.”

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