A Very Merry Unbirthday To You – Yes, You, Consumer Corner!

December 7, 2020 | Letters

Authors: Dr. Scott Downey, Professor and Director, Purdue University Center for Food and Agricultural Business

A Very Merry Unbirthday To You – Yes, You, Consumer Corner!

Consumer Corner was born on June 1, 2020, thus marking its half birthday December 1, 2020. Birthdays and half birthdays come but once each a year. Today, December 7, 2020, would therefore be a Consumer Corner Unbirthday. This, of course, means celebration is in order. Borrowing from Alice in Wonderland: <Ahem, we begin.>

treble clef and music notesA very merry unbirthday to me.
To Who?
To Me!
Oh, you!
A very merry unbirthday to you.
Who, me?
Yes, you!
Oh, me!
Let’s all congratulate us
With another cup of tea
A very merry unbirthday to me.

<You may proceed to sing the rest of the song yourself with lyrics provided or revisit the original version of music and lyrics by Mack David, Al Hoffman and Jerry Livingston.>

For you history buffs out there, it is believed that the first unbirthday gift ever given was a cravat (neckband) to Humpty Dumpty by The White King and The White Queen in Lewis Carroll’s 1871 novel Through the Looking-Glass. In fact, Lewis Carroll is credited with having coined the term unbirthday, which was shown to be a powerful concept/notion responsible for the stopping of the trial conducted by the King of Hearts when he realizes that he must stop to celebrate the Queen of Hearts’ unbirthday. Of course, every day but one each year is an unbirthday, with the point being that there is always an excuse to celebrate. Or, if you prefer, it must be 5:00 o’clock somewhere.

Today, Consumer Corner has published its 30th letter and 6th in-depth article, but we’re just getting started! It’s been six months since the question was raised in the context of agribusiness decision making: Why is a raven like a writing desk? You still don’t know, do you? We’ve explored human behavior, beliefs and practices in the COVID-19 era and proposed answers to questions you didn’t even know you had, like why revered rodents wear gloves. We’ve told you to be kind and choose your words wisely, and we also called you a hypocrite right to your face!

In July, we took to Zoom and debated consumer behavior with live involvement from our stakeholders, and things got personal when we tagged along for Torrie’s pandemic honeymoon planning and Nicole openly admitted how terrible she looks while she’s writing for Consumer Corner these days. [I don’t usually comment on my colleague’s choice of clothing. Who am I to challenge Zoom fashion trends while rarely wearing shoes?]

In summary, we’re never short of things to talk about here in Consumer Corner, which means we’ll keep bringing you weekly insights from consumer research that you can take home to the farm for many unbirthdays to come. We’ve covered a lot of ground over the last six months, and I am certain that the topics we’ve covered will continue to evolve along with our ever-changing consumer preferences. I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again; we’re all consumers, and there is still so much to learn about ourselves. Thank you for celebrating with us, and remember to check back each week for new consumer-derived lessons and insights. Oh! And a merry unbirthday to you. Yes, you!

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