The problem with pumpkin spice

Have we gone too far?

October 7, 2016

I'll be straight up with you. I hate pumpkin-flavored things. I don't like pumpkin pie. Hell, I barely like carving pumpkins. 

Although I don't like pumpkins, I still don't like to spoil it for people who like things that I don't. What kind of person goes around saying you're wrong for enjoying things (except for my friend who doesn't like chocolate. C'mon, Ryan...)?

Now you know I'm not trying to call you out for your love of the large orange squash, we can get to the issue at hand.

Have we gone too far with Pumpkin Spice?

First of all, Pumpkin Spice sounds like the sixth member of the Spice Girls, played by that girl from Flavor of Love, Pumkin (yes, that's how she spelled it). 

Look, I'm down with your occasional "PSL" run. I'll add some peppermint schnapps to my hot chocolate during the holidays when I want to feel festive. I get it.

But yesterday, I walked into the grocery store and I couldn't believe what was in front of me. There were pumpkin spice Oreos, pumpkin granola, pumpkin Cheerios, pumpkin yogurt, even the sample was some version of pumpkin-flavored tomato soup. I wouldn't be surprised if I walked out and saw Trader Joes had changed its name to Pumpin Joes and someone in a pumpkin costume punched me in the face and yelled "HAPPY FALL, LOSER!"

Everything is a pumpkin.

I walked up the register and asked if that's all people wanted and the cashier responded, "We have pumpkin spice pumpkin seeds if you want some?" To which I replied, "If you plant those does a teenage girl wearing Uggs and yoga pants grow out of the ground to tell you her favorite things about autumn?"

He didn't get it, but the point is that if you don't like pumpkin, you might as well hibernate through the winter because there is no escaping it. 

This is practically a daily conversation I'll have during the fall:

PERSON: "Hey Branden, try my [pumpkin-flavored normal food]"
ME: "That's very nice of you to offer, but I really don't like pumpkin-flavored things."
PERSON: "Oh I promise that this thing doesn't really taste like pumpkin."
ME: "Trust me, I don't want to waste it. Offer it to someone else."
ME, while trying the pumpkin-flavored item and hating it:  "I'm going to go barf now, bye!"

What started as a simple combination of spices to make a crappy pie has turned into a gazillion-dollar industry that ruins friendships and demands grocery stores cooperate or go out of business (this assumption based on my complete lack of understanding of how grocery stores work).

When will it stop? When will pumpkin spice simply fade into the background, much like peppermint does during the holidays? See, peppermint is a subtle, yet distinguished, flavor that doesn't need you to constantly tell it that it's pretty in order to feel good about itself. 

Tell me, have we gone too far? Will we ever reach a breaking point or is Earth just a vessel hurtling through space and time with the sole purpose of promoting the gospel of pumpkin spice until the rivers run orange and we live in a world of perpetual fall?

I guess we'll see, but probably not anytime soon. 

Disagree? Send me your pumpkin-spiced hot takes on Twitter.

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