A new Crystal Light ad makes the specious claim that you should buy the unpalatable beverage because "8% of women meet their husband in the grocery store." This seemed suspiciously high to us, so we decided to investigate.
First of all, it's not entirely clear why the likelihood of meeting a spouse at the local Key Food should make you buy Crystal Light. Will he be impressed with your knowledge of diet drinks? Will you bond over your shared love of aspartame? Or maybe CL's making a more general claim — drink Crystal Light and be skinny, "because you never know" when a hot guy will come along looking for a slender lady just like you. That appears to be the point of the company's recent "bikini season" ad.
But do dudes really troll for svelte wives-to-be at the grocery store? This claim is also advanced by every dating advice guru ever, who will invariably tell you to wear lipstick and strike up conversations over the arugula. But is there any evidence? I contacted Crystal Light to ask for their source, but I haven't heard back. However, Prof. Reuben Thomas, sociologist and coauthor of a forthcoming study on how couples meet, told me that Crystal Light's 8% statistic was "an odd claim." He explained,
We do estimate (from a nationally representative survey [...]) that almost 9% of married couples in the USA met in some sort of customer/client scenario, broadly defined. But looking through our data, I found only 27 couples (out of 2,960) that initially met each other in a grocery store or supermarket, and in 17 of those cases it is clear that at least one of them was working at the store (often both of them, with many of them students at the time). So I estimate that less than 1% of US married couples met in a grocery store or super market, and mostly when at least one was a store employee at the time.
There you have it. Unless Crystal Light comes back at me with some pretty compelling data, you can keep going to the supermarket in your ugly sweatpants and Garfield t-shirt — your spouse is probably not waiting for you there.