There are a few things that I dream about having in my home some day. One is a breakfast buffet, laid out fresh each morning by a chef in a white puffy hat. Another is to have a butler, like Alfred from Batman. He would tend to my needs with his efficient yet calm demeanor, and respect my position, whether imagined or not, as a superhero crime-fighter. The last is to have a fully stocked mini-bar in my living room.

As lower back pain limits my ability to protect Gotham City and my current wage scale pretty much ensures the only chef I’ll ever see at my house will be during re-runs of Emeril, I’d have to say the mini-bar is my best shot at success.

Now, most human beings that have ever stayed overnight in a hotel room with a bonafide mini-bar have wanted to rip the door off and stuff their face with every obscenely priced miniature item contained inside. At least I hope I’m not the only one.

But why? Is it the convenience? The proximity? Or is it more? What is so attractive about shrunken versions of everyday products? I have some theories.

Consider if you will the sheer advertising genius behind mini-products. Even as Costco finds larger and larger tubs to sell us mustard and mayo in we still pay a premium to have something scaled down and sold to us in a 30 count. No matter how much we love a deal I think we love tiny things more.

The ad guys have us on this one. Right now you can buy six mini-Cokes and pay almost the same price as you would for twelve regular sizes cans. Why would anyone do this? Because logic has left the building. Cute and small trumps large and cheap. They are even marketing a chocolate bar called Cadbury Thins. Its claim to fame is that it’s only a hundred calories. It’s only a hundred calories because it’s been miniaturized. Don’t we even have enough discipline to buy a normal sized bar and eat only a few bites? Cadbury shrunk a normal bar, re-named it and then charged us exponentially more. It’s brilliant, really.

Then I saw it. The hook. I finally figured out what was going on. I saw an ad for Coke showing a two litre bottle wearing a baby carrier with a tiny can of Coke strapped inside. They are appealing to our most elemental love – that of small children. Generally, we like babies. They are small and basically harmless. They are lovable. They are non-threatening. A baby can’t hurt me. Two tiny bottles of JD – how cute! A giant two litre jug of whiskey – how sad.

Oh sure, like I need mini shampoo and hair spray and toothpaste and mouthwash for traveling. Or mini ketchup and mini mustard and tiny cheese bricks and cute little cups and cutlery and plates for camping. You’d think I was planning a party for Stuart Little.

It has nothing to do with necessity. We could take small portions out of a bigger pack and wrap it up, but somehow it just seems better to have a mini version of that which you know and love. Maybe that’s the secret behind children. We believe we’re getting a less large, smelly and annoying version of our spouse.

Intellectually I know I am losing out but I can’t help my attraction to a tiny mustard bottle or a mini container of Becel margarine. The only real problem, aside from the cost, is the result. You see, mini-food or not, I still eat too much of it, and mini-food does not lead to a mini-me.

Yes, our favourite companies are dutifully providing mini-versions of their full-sized successes and we are snapping them up as fast as we bought the warehouse super-sizes they most recently told us to purchase. Could the next trend be moderately sized packaged goods? That would be so cutting edge.

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