Modern life is full of tragedies. There are the big ones — the climate crisis, living in late-stage capitalism, take your pick — but the little ones sting, too. Like finding out that there are 200,000 people ahead of you in the queue for Taylor Swift tickets or taking a screenshot when you meant to turn your phone off. Or, let’s say, discovering that your favorite snack is out of stock at the only place it’s sold, and it’s probably never coming back.
I’m not proud of it, but ordering groceries from Amazon Fresh has become a weekly habit in my house. It’s convenient, plus Fresh sells some surprisingly good snacks under the Aplenty house brand. That’s not to be confused with the Whole Foods brand, or the 365 house brand, or the Fresh-branded stuff. The other-other-other house brand. It’s hit-and-miss. You can skip the rosemary herbed almonds, but the runaway hit in my house has been the white cheddar puffs.
Let me tell you about the white cheddar puffs. First of all, they’re puffy as heck — airy and satisfying to bite into. The white cheddar seasoning is intense. It’s sharp and in-your-face. It kind of makes your mouth hurt after a while, in the best way possible.
Pirate’s Booty? Cheez-Its? Pfft. Kiddy stuff. Nothing else has the same sharp cheddar tang or the thick coating of powder like the Aplenty cheddar puffs do. When we discovered them, my husband and I started ordering them every week. Then we abandoned all sense of self-respect and started buying multiple bags at once because we’d finish the first one in two days and didn’t want to wait a week to buy more.
So it’s been a real situation in my house that Aplenty white cheddar puffs have been out of stock since January. I know that’s when they were last in stock because Amazon taunts me with a sad little “Purchased in January” badge every time I search for the white cheddar puffs, which is weekly. I’ve checked whether they’re available for pickup rather than our usual delivery — sometimes there’s different availability for items if you use pickup — but no, not for my precious cheddar puffs.
I don’t want to tell anyone how to do their job, but I think ol’ Andy Jassy needs to take this up as a matter of urgency. He needs to stop doing whatever he’s doing — building AI robots that follow us around and sell us laundry detergent or whatever — and get to the bottom of the white cheddar puff situation. What’s the holdup? Where’s the snag in the supply chain? For a company that’s so customer-obsessed, I think somebody ought to be obsessing over the white cheddar puff crisis.
I don’t want to believe what may be the painful truth: that the white cheddar puffs are never coming back. Someone at Fresh probably didn’t like the ROI on the puffs and just never ordered any more from whatever company actually makes them. And rather than just give it to me straight, they’re dangling the possibility of future cheddar puffs in front of me, like some kind of sick game.
I plan to keep on checking for the puffs as long as there’s a product listing for them, but in the meantime, I’m taking suggestions for another snack to fill the puff-shaped hole in my cabinet.