Pringles Sweet Corn

The meeting did not go how Jack Dougall had hoped.

He had made the three-hour trip from his office on the Kellogg's campus in Battle Creek, Michigan to the corporate headquarters of Walgreens in Deerfield, Illinois, with quite a degree of confidence.

"It's in the tube," he said out loud to himself just before exiting his car to go in. This was Pringles parlance for certain victory, much like how an executive for a more conventional chip brand might say "It's in the bag."

As VP of Innovation, Pringles Division, Dougall had given successful presentations here many times, but this would be the first one for his new Walgreens counterpart following a reorganization aimed at reducing silos.

Strangely enough, it was the very notion of silos that led to Jack's lamentable faux pas that day.

In an office on the third floor, newly appointed Walgreens Director of Strategic Partnerships Dale Poonée, a rising executive looking to make a name for himself, put down his copy of Crain's Chicago Business and popped an Adderall. "Time to enter the arena!" he thought to himself, punching himself in the balls for good measure.

Inside the conference room, after the usual round of pleasantries, Dougall began his prepared spiel. "I've heard that the silos are coming down around here," he said with a professional chuckle. "And when they do, we're going to have a lot …"

He brought up his first slide.

" … of sweet, sweet corn."

Poonée grimaced. "I'm going to stop you right there. I mean … another flavor exclusive, that's what you got? What's your social media plan, '#CORN'? Where's the killer tweet? And while I'm thinking about it, why the fuck would Gen Z even give two shits about goddamn sweet corn?"

Dougall, taken aback by Poonée's unexpectedly aggressive tone, was unsure how to respond.

Poonée continued without compunction. "So this is what passes for big ideas up in Battle Creek these days, huh? Well, you're on my turf today, bud. This is Deerfield Fucking Illinois, in case you didn't get the memo. You just brought a baby dick to a big-boy pissing party."

Jenna Mersh, the only Walgreens HR representative in attendance, instinctively froze in place, her eyes firmly glued to her laptop.

Dougall attempted to regain his composure. "Dale, I think if you hear the rest of the presentation …"

"It's Mr. Poonée," he spat curtly. "And I'm done. If I wanted corn chips, I'd set up a meeting with goddamn Fritos." With that, he stormed out, leaving the rest of the group around the table in stunned silence.

In the end, after a few follow-up phone calls and some nuanced smoothing-over among the higher ranks from both companies, Pringles Sweet Corn was indeed released as a limited-time Walgreens exclusive. Though the flavor itself was eerily accurate, none of Dougall's packaging ideas were implemented, nor was the newspaper ad he imagined ever produced. Some Pringles insiders were baffled that such a promising new flavor had been, in effect, "buried."

Jack Dougall died of suicide on June 20th. He is survived by his wife, Nance.

Review by Wimpempy Tarlisle