This article was originally posted to the pre-magazine Freelance Traveller website in 2003 and reprinted in this form in the September/October 2016 issue.
With the popularity of their Gea’s Sandwiches chain, Stoker Laumb Ironmongeries, through its subsidiary LeHatte Foods and Plastics, decided on trying something of a spin-off; bringing, as it says in the advertisements, “From the Goddess. Comfort Food. Anytime, anywhere”, with a line of sandwiches guaranteed to stay fresh for 40 years, provided their seals remain intact.
Seventy-eight different varieties of sandwich are available in the ‘Everfresh’ line (including eight not to be found at any Gea’s Sandwiches); each individually sealed in a tamperproof, opaque, heavy polymer wrapper.
Through a production error, the initial run of sandwiches lacked any sort of identification—the specifics of a particular sandwich remaining unknown until the package was actually opened.
This anonymity began an almost endless stream of complaints which have continued, unabated, to this very day. As the complaints hadn’t seemed to adversely affect sales, LeHatte, in a bit of inspired marketing, wisely decided to leave the packages unmarked, and play up the mystery associated with the sandwiches in a series of quirky advertisements; each ending with the contrite “Goddess knows”.
A very popular series of spots which premiered one year during the Imperial Hurling Championships showed several Marines (including a pair of well-known actors) digging into a crate of Everfresh sandwiches, opening each in turn, with varying, but still good-natured reactions to what was revealed. Each of this latest batch of commercials ends with a scrawny Corporal (an obvious pseudo-bio robot sporting the likeness of a popular comedian) always managing to get just the sandwich he’d hoped for. At the end of the final spot in the series, the group of Marine breaks up and head toward different offscreen destinations; left sitting alone, the scrawny Corporal looks into the camera and smiles slightly as his last sandwich unwraps itself and floats up to a point in front of his face until he takes a bite. Instead of the usual “Goddess knows”, this final spot ends with a voice-over cautioning “Watch out! Even Zhos love our sandwiches!”
With the ‘Everfresh’ sandwich having become a staple with Imperial quartermasters some 130 years back, many units have acquired their own unit-favorite (or most loathed, yet consumed with pride) sandwich—for example, the favorite of the Marines aboard INS Blue Mountain is the buffalo-chicken bacon reuben. Aboard INS Almighty, meatloaf with cilantro, sun-dried tomato and pepperjack cheese is preferred, and on INS Otomi, the Marines gravitate toward the spicy chicken club.