Anytime a product is named by its intended function, it should be able to satisfactorily perform said function. That’s a simple concept, one I feel few people would reject. Case in point: the toothpick. Granted, I did not do any research into the history of toothpicks besides a¬†cursory¬†glance at Wikipedia, but I think it’s fairly safe to say that toothpicks were invented with one specific function. At the very least, the toothpicks marketed now are sold with some expectation that they will be used to pick teeth. Hence, my frustration at having to grab a handful of these toothpicks every time I want to remove one bit of detritus from my teeth.

I grew up believing all toothpicks came in those shakers they have at each table at Chinese restaurants. Up until I moved to New York, I have never bought a box of toothpicks that weren’t Chinese made. Strangely enough, Chinese made toothpicks seem to be higher quality than the American Penley brand I bought this time. Maybe it’s because these toothpicks are flat instead of round, but the quality of the manufacturing is truly sub-par. The above pictured are just a random sample I pulled from the box. Splinters, broken tips and uneven shaping were common. Worst yet, not one of the toothpicks have the structural integrity to remove anything from my teeth.

I acknowledge that there are alternative uses to toothpicks. But at the very least, it should be able to do the one thing it was meant to do.


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