Crimestoppers has unveiled the next stage of the war on drugs.
Although scratch and sniff cards have never really taken off in any meaningful way – perhaps because the ones of your youth all uniformly stank of bad eggs and burning tyres – this hasn’t prevented Crimestoppers from unveiling them as the next stage of the war on drugs. Hundreds of marijuana-scented scratch and sniff cards are being sent out to households, in the hope that they will spur vigilant citizens on to identifying all their local cannabis farms.
It’s a great idea, and one that possibly signals a renaissance of scratch and sniff as a going concern. Here’s where the technology could go next.
Scratch and sniff cards that smell like natural gas, so that homeowners can become more alert to potentially fatal gas leaks. However, a US utility company trialled this idea and deemed it a failure after panicky residents mistook the smell of discarded cards for actual gas leaks and reported wave after wave of false alarms. Perhaps this idea will only be viable when human intelligence finally catches up with micro-encapsulation technology.
One idea could be to produce a scratch and sniff cookbook infused with the delicious aromas of its finished recipes. But most of us are too lazy for that, so why not make a scratch and sniff cookbook where every page smells like irretrievably burned food? As soon as whatever you’re cooking matches the smell of the cookbook, you know to bin it and just order a pizza instead. Perfect.
The resurgence of sumptuous period dramas is ideal fodder for scratch and sniff cards. Imagine how much your enjoyment of Mr Selfridge would be enhanced by a card that smells of the store’s famous perfume department. Imagine how realistic Downton Abbey would seem if all the dining scenes came with a range of period-specific aromas. Imagine how many more people would watch Call the Midwife if everyone had a scratch and sniff card that stank of VD-infected afterbirth. This, friends, is surely the future of television.
We have all been hesitant to book holidays because we don’t know exactly where our hotel room will be located. Why don’t travel companies counter this by inserting scratch and sniff cards into brochures? If your room has a sea view, your card would smell of brine and suntan lotion. If it faces the street, the card would smell of exhaust fumes and food. If your room backs on to an uncovered sewage treatment facility … look, you get the idea.
Say you’re just about to open a pub, but you’re scared of being shut down for serving underage drinkers. What you need is a card that smells exactly like Lynx Africa. If the smell of the card matches the smell of the customer, bingo – he’s clearly 14 years old. Bar him immediately and continue being a respected pillar of the community.
Looking to sell your house? Why not wait until a potential buyer is visiting and then scratch loads of cards infused with the aromas of baking bread and fresh flowers? Note: this tactic will only work if you can tell the difference between the property development card and the Call the Midwife card.