Over the past several weeks, a dangerous and curious trend has spread across the memescape sparking much-needed intervention outside the usual reaches of parents and guardians.
Ask any level-headed adult with a working knowledge of "things that kids should not be eating," and they will tell you: Do not eat Tide Pods. And yet, all across YouTube, Twitter, Facebook, Tumblr, kids are daring each other and themselves to eat these dissolving detergent packets that are made, you know, for laundry.
So one deeply concerned Brooklyn-based eatery, Vinnie's Pizzeria, seized an opportunity to teach the youth a little something about meme consumption -- only this one is actually edible. Cleverly named "PIEd Pods" are Vinnie's intervention to Tide Pod madness. Stuffed with mozzarella cheese and pepperoni and topped with dyed cheese to get that genuine toxic Tide blue hue, these square bites are 100 percent edible, therefore, 100 percent not poison. The Williamsburg pizza shop said in an Instagram post that it expects PIEd Pods to be a sort of "gateway food" for kids to swing back to normal eating habits. "Hope, not Soap," reads an Instagram caption from the pizzeria.
Looks WAY better than detergent ?? Repost @vinniesbrooklyn ∑∑∑ Introducing: PIEd Pods. Listen. We're concerned about the youths. They're eating laundry detergent pods. We needed to do something. Our Pied Pods have that bright, alluring colors that youths crave BUT are 100% edible and 100% not poison. Plus they're delicious. They're stuffed with mozzarella cheese and pepperoni, baked to perfection and topped with melted, dyed (for that hypnotic pizzaz) cheese. We're hoping that Pied Pods will be a gateway food for kids to get back into actual food. Hope, not Soap! Only at Vinnie's Pizzeria! #vinniesbrooklyn #tidepods #piedpods #greenpoint #williamsburg #pizza #tidepod #pizza
Not trying to stand in the way of an oversaturated meme culture, Vinnie's Pizzeria did what any restaurant worth its slice would do to ride the Tide-al wave of social platform metrics. It made it accessible, or in this case, totally safe to eat.
Tide, on the other hand, cannot morally participate in the latest social media craze because, as part of a multinational corporation, they have an obligation to protect the youth even if it's from themselves. Since the Tide Pod challenge rippled across YouTube and the like, the company has remained active on social media to take down this meme.
The same way online challenges are spawned (cinnamon, hot pepper, Kylie Jenner lip, mannequin), it starts with a small number of people with questionable motives and even more questionable common sense. The Tide Pod challenge was likely born out of boredom and "for jokes," as many trends come about these days.
When a commenter asked on the Tide Pod challenge video, "Why are people eating Tide Pods?" a user replied, in so many words, "Because it drives engagement on YouTube."