I had a shocking occurrence during
one of my recent Saturday night parties, which consisted mainly of
watching TV episodes on my computer, eating Cup Noodles, and talking on
AIM (it gets pretty crazy). To preface this story, I should mention
that despite the fact that when trying to write a concise paragraph I
babble on seemingly without end, and despite the fact that my writing
has one of the highest commas per sentence ratios on the internet, I
don't go out of my way to hassle people by writing to them.
This also has to do with the fact that I am lazy when it comes to
writing. I have ideas for this site, but they only come to fruition
approximately once every change of the Zodiac sign. I always get mad
when I read stupid people's reviews on Amazon, yet I myself have only
contributed one review, where I praise Teaberry gum for its delicious
Pepto Bismol-esque flavor.
Hey look at that, I'm actually about to get into the topic at hand with
only two paragraphs of unnecessary back story.
While watching deleted scenes from The Office DVDs , I noticed the
familiar Cup Noodles in their vending machine. Cup Noodles appearing on
The Office wasn't surprising; the show has referenced it multiple times.
However something about the package just seemed... off. Usually when I
watch TV episodes on the computer, they are in AVI or MPEG format, since
watching DVDs on the computer tends to skip occasionally.
I just realized that is probably the dullest thing I have ever said on
here. The only other option I can think of that would be less
interesting would be if you went to your browser's view menu, and
decided to just read the html. That might prove to be more
interesting, I don't actually know. The only html I can ever remember
by heart is the code to paste pictures in responses on various message
boards. Learning this was merely a survival necessity, since I have no
idea how to properly convey my emotions if it doesn't involve animated
I don't know if it was the high definition clarity of the DVD, or just
serendipitous luck to have noticed it, but I could see that something
strange was afoot. The package in the vending machine was Cup Noodles,
but as you can see, the cup itself looks rather peculiar. I knew it
wasn't a Cup Noodles cup, and almost immediately I knew what was going
That's no Cup Noodles cup... it's a Maruchan
Now, I don't want to slag off Maruchan; it's not
their fault they are monumentally inferior to Cup Noodles. However,
that point must be addressed in order to understand just what an affront
to decency and good taste (double entendre) this whole situation is.
Some of you might be snobbish enough to believe that there is no real
difference between ramen noodles. For some reason, people often assume
that if an entire meal costs 22 cents, that it doesn't warrant
comparison amongst its leading brands. While I disagree with you and
will defend my position to the death, I will appease you and do a
comparison of a classier type of food.
The difference between Cup Noodles and Maruchan is roughly the
equivalent to the difference between Coke Zero and store brand diet
cola. One is a delightful taste sensation, while the other is tolerable
provided there are no other options including the water left over when
you buy pre-cut watermelon pieces.
I could not let this Maruchan masquerade pass me by without doing
something. I was going to go straight to the top: the "Contact Us" page
on the Cup Noodles site. My impassioned plea to Nissin was done out of
the goodness of my heart, to make them aware. What if an extra on the
set was changing out the props in the vending machine, and decided to
eat the Cup Noodles? They would wind up eating the Maruchan within and
think lowly of Cup Noodles, since they didn't know about the age old
classic ramen switcheroo.
What follows is my informing Nissin of what was going on, while they sat
there unaware of the horrible things that people were doing with their
Dear Nissin People,
I noticed something rather alarming while enjoying my
typical wild Friday night activities: eating Cup Noodles and
watching The Office. While eating a cup of Chicken Vegetable
(AKA the best flavor) flavor Cup Noodles, I noticed
something VERY peculiar during one of the episodes.
Cup Noodles has come up during scenes of The Office before,
in fact the main character Michael Scott had nothing but
high praise for it. However, in one scene, you notice the
Cup Noodles in the background, in the vending machine. This
seems quite normal, "Oh look, a typical office vending
machine ready to dispense a soon to be enjoyed Cup Noodles."
However, something caught my eye, and upon investigation
proved to be rather unsettling.
I have taken a screenshot of the scene in question:
(web address for picture)
Since you are the professionals, you may notice the problem
immediately as well. If not, here it is, ZOOMED IN:
(web address for other picture)
Inside the Cup Noodles cardboard label, they are smuggling
in a container of the FAR inferior Maruchan Instant
Lunch!!!!!! Is that legal?
Please let me know of any help I can offer you. I am not
able to place threatening phone calls to Lipton, since I am
kind of afraid to at this point. Last year I called
Progresso to let them know I felt Chickarina was a much
better soup than Italian Wedding, and they proceeded to
leave me threatening phone calls at all hours of the night.
Despite this, I will still watch The Office. However, I will
stand strong, despite this outrage. I will continue to buy
Cup Noodles all the time (unfortunately, my store only
carries the 'standard' assortment, and I am never able to
purchase Salsa Picante Chicken or Spicy Chile Chicken). Oh
I did not receive a response for a while. I thought that they were
ignoring me, or maybe just didn't believe this was a serious issue.
When they did respond, I found out the delay was due to them getting
the wheels of justice in motion. They took my comments to the very
top. Well, the top of the department I guess, which isn't as
impressive as the very top, but at least it's the top of
The response I received is as follows.
I received your last email and went to talk about it with
the Marketing Manager. We donít pay for product placement Ė
so thereís not much we can do about it. I think itís better
that they use our wrapper and their cup rather than the
other way around! I do remember another episode of some of
the characters buying a bunch of Cup Noodles for another
character because they were his favorite. Great free
Supervisor, General Affairs
Nissin Foods (USA) Co., Inc.
Unfortunately, Nissin was unable to file a cease and desist order
against Maruchan or NBC, but they know how to look for the silver
lining. Maruchan may be slipping their cups into the Cup Noodle
sleeves, but Cup Noodles is the one getting all the face time. Nissin
understands that only isolated psychos like myself will notice that what
hides within is not Cup Noodles, so the end result is Cup Noodles
getting nonstop prime time exposure. I have recently contacted NBC
about this matter, but have not heard anything back yet. I am
extraordinarily doubtful that they will respond, but if they do I will
keep you updated.
And, to be polite, I replied to
Excellent point about having your label showing, although
imagine that happened if you bought the imposter cup? I'd
be ENRAGED! We don't have Cup Noodles or even the lowly
Maruchan at my job, we have Easy Mac in the vending
machines. That's even worse. I don't want to trick you
into bad mouthing another company's product, but Easy Mac is
a sad state of affairs.
And yes, on another episode Jim and Pam buy Kevin 69 boxes
of Cup Noodles since they are his favorite. Also, in a
deleted scene on the DVDs, Michael points out the giant Cup
in Times Square. It seems The Office loves Cup Noodles
almost as much as I do!
Thank you for taking the time to address my concerns, and
for making awesome products.
Your #1 fan,
The end result is that nothing was really settled as far as this
situation goes. Nissin and I were able to share a hearty laugh at
Maruchan's expense, but that is it as far as defending its TV honor
More importantly, as far as the
me getting free stuff situation goes, that was a blinding success.
I had this article 95% written, and it was waiting for me to finish it
when I got home tonight. I would have been perfectly fine with
blowing the lid off this fiasco, and more than fine with the Nissin
thanks. Yet when I came home, what do I see lying on the table?
An envelope addressed to me, with the lovely little Nissin logo in the
Inside was the typical form letter
thanking me for contacting them. That's okay, I guess; I wasn't
too impressed since the email I got was actually personalized.
What accompanied the letter, however, was the real prize:
Five coupons good for one
free Cup Noodles. Granted, this adds up to less than $3 worth of a
reward, but in this case we are talking about quantity and
quality. And considering that today is Halloween, and that many
kids are getting McDonald's gift certificates right now, I certainly
feel that I got the real treat.
There is an important lesson to be
learned from this: Never take your Cup Noodles at face value. And when
you think about it, that philosophy works well for all aspects of life.
Although it works best for Cup Noodles.