The Long Tail   Leave a comment

This isn't the right illustration for the Green Onion chips ... but this is the iconic Guy's bag from the 60s.

This isn’t the right illustration for the Green Onion chips … but this is the iconic Guy’s bag from the 60s.

It was heaven.

Friday nights, dad would get paid and often did the grocery shopping on the way home. And I knew what I was having for dinner.

  • A minced ham sandwich with longhorn cheese
  • A 16 oz bottle of Coca-Cola
  • Guy’s Green Onion Potato Chips

This was comfort food: the processed kind that we loved in the 60s. Loved me some Guy’s Green Onion Potato Chips.

Today, of course, those are all gone. I heard the minced ham recipe was lost. Longhorn cheese isn’t available in California. Coca-Cola is still around, of course … but I ditched the sugar long ago.

And then there are those chips. Not only are Guy’s not available in my grocery stores, but the green onion flavor is not available!

Oh, the inhumanity!

But welcome to the new reality of The Long Tail, my friends. Here’s how this phenomenon is explained by Wikipedia:

In statistics, the long tail is the large number of occurrences far from the “head” or central part of a distribution of popularities, probabilities or such. A probability distribution is said to have a long tail, if a larger share of population rests within its tail than would under a normal distribution. A long-tail distribution will arise with the inclusion of many values unusually far from the mean, which increase the magnitude of the skewness of the distribution

Long TailThe internet has made this important to you … by making broad distribution of niche products economically possible. It doesn’t matter what you might want, you can probably buy it online.

Twenty years ago, you would have trouble buying polka CDs if you lived in … well, anywhere. But today you can buy CDs or electronic downloads for any genre of music online. Good thing, too, as you won’t find much music in your local record store any more. Because you won’t find your local record store anymore, either … it was a victim of the long tail. Record stores couldn’t keep a diverse enough inventory to satisfy today’s eclectic consumer while simultaneously paying the mortgage on their brick & mortar store. Online retailing became our overwhelming choice to buy music, because of the long tail.

Similarly, you can buy all manner of odd desires, from the ingredients to make your own hand lotion (Velda’s latest case of OCD) to … Guy’s Green Onion Potato Chips.

That’s right, my friends, all I had to do was a search for them by name, and I can now order My Favorite Chips from their manufacturer, Guy’s Snack Corporation in Overland Park, Kansas. You can, too; the link is below.

And Friday nights will soon be awesome again.


The Long Tail

Guy’s Snacks

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