Birdseed is a big thing here at Herkes House. The backyard birds get served finch mix & sunflower year-round, & in spring I get a big bag of thistle seed so I can add 2 finch feeders in summer.
I don’t look at labels when I shop. Birdseed bags are clear plastic. I check to make sure the proportion of seeds in the blend is what I want, & I eyeball the condition of the sunflower seeds. If they’re looking buggy or shriveled, I’ll pick a different bag. That’s what I focus on.
Thus I didn’t notice the “Nyger seed” label on the thistle seed I grabbed until today when I opened up everything.
WTF is this nonsense? Does someone at Corporate Birdseed honestly think people won’t know what Nyger seed is? (Do people not know? ICYMI, Nyger seed is Niger thistle seed is THISTLE SEED.) I took a look online, nd YUP. Nyger seed all over the place now.
I haven’t seen such blatant attempt at identity obfuscation since rapeseed oil turned into Canola oil way back when.
Now, that name change made sense. It was legit off-putting, a victim of accidental adjacency, perfectly primed for a nice, fresh healthy-sounding makeover. (The plant name comes from the Latin word for turnip, as best I can determine.)
This Nyger seed thing? It’s an exercise in absurdity.
I understand how it happened. Corporate Birdseed Exec looks at the spreadsheets & declares, “Thistle always at the bottom of the sales list. ID the problem & increase our thistle sales.” Corporate Birdseed Middle Management does focus groups or polls or hires consultants, and two accurate answers come back: one, thistle is expensive & two, lots of people don’t like the way finches carry whole mouthfuls around and drop seeds in the garden, where it sprouts.
So most people don’t bother feeding pure thistle.
Corporate Middle Management examines the issues. The seed density in a poud of thistle is off the charts. Can’t make it less expensive. Can’t make birds stop dropping seeds, either. But hey-howdy, what if people don’t know they’re buying thistle?
The relabeling orders go out. They replace the i with a y to make it look fancier and just leave off the word thistle entirely. “Maybe people will think it’s something new & improved” they hope.
I understand the how & the why, but it’s still RIDICULOUS.
I’m here to tell you, rebranding will not prevent thistle plants from growing out of the fancy-named seeds.
Seeds don’t read labels either.