No, it's not a business ploy cooked-up by YouTube stunt sensation Nathan Fielder, nor is it the product of the satirical snark-artists over at The Onion. It's far worse. Panera's bread bowl-shaped glove, which was designed for ice coffee drinkers to hold their frosty beverages in comfort, is both a reality and a lie.
The glove is more glove than bread as it contains zero bread. Would this product make more sense and be less disturbing if it were actually bread? Honestly, yes. It would be ridiculous, sure, and totally gimmicky, but at the end of your iced cappuccino, there would at least be the promise of 590 calories of doughy sustenance to distract from the pain of everyday life and the thought that maybe our existence is, in the grand scheme of things, totally meaningless.
Anyway, according to Panera's research, 78% of American coffee drinkers are unaffected by the cold when it comes to their cold coffee habits, which is the how and the why as to this manufactured lie.
While San Antonio typically experiences about 11 cold days per calendar year, this idea is too fucked up not to share.
How are you rocking the Bread Bowl Glove? pic.twitter.com/3wJfgKAxAc— Panera Bread (@panerabread) January 26, 2021
Apparently, the glove is just a glove, constructed from fabric that looks like Panera's famous bread bowl, because who wouldn't want to walk around looking like a total psycho with their hand in a hunk of fake bread? This isn't a novelty — it's a glimpse into the future, the past, and the horrific present we currently find ourselves enveloped in. It's meaning collapsing in on itself like a lying star.
You can't buy this glove either. So there's that fucking odd-ass caveat. It's just a thing that an algorithmically selected 450 people will get to own. (Get... to?) How do you become one of the lucky 450? Well, you sign up at IcedandToasty.fooji.com and you'll be entered to win one. And that's it. That's all there is to it. The complexities of human life have been reduced to chance and fake bread.
What is ultimately the weirdest part of this promotion is that it's not really promoting anything. You would think, after signing up, that you would be prompted to take a gander at a variety of Panera's new iced coffee drinks or a heart-shaped bread bowl for Valentine's Day. Sure, by signing up like we did (because we had to, you know, for research purposes), you're encouraged to consider the MyPanera+ Coffee Subscription for just $8.99 a month. But even that polite promotional detail is not mandatory in order to be eligible for the random bread-glove drawing.
If you want to challenge the randomness of life and the emptiness that comes with “winning” something, you have until Friday to sign up.
If you want the real thing, meaning real bread shaped into a functional bowl, there are eight Panera locations in the Alamo City from which to choose.
This story first appeared in Detroit Metro Times, an affiliated publication. San Antonio Current staff writer Nina Rangel also contributed to the reporting.
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