Mike on America

'Slingers' All Around!


It sits there in front of you: a plate filled to the overflow point with chili -- and under it, two cheeseburger patties, fried potatoes and one egg, over easy.

What are you about to do?

The same thing the "elbow-to-rear-end" crowd always does at lunchtime in Big Ed's Chili Mac's Diner in downtown St. Louis: eat the house specialty, a 'Slinger' -- good thing we just walked down the street from the Tums factory!

Tums has been made in this capital of the Midwest for nearly 80 years. Now a division of GlaxoSmithKline , it represents a business category we need to take greater advantage of -- icons. As a country, we've produced more products with more recognizable names than any other country on Earth -- but too often, we've let them slide into the heartburn of neglect.

Did he say heartburn?

Tums has a chart topping 90 plus percentile recognition factor and how anyone has any heartburn with Tums around is beyond me. There were 5.9 billion -- that's billion -- Tums tablets manufactured in this St. Louis facility last year. What, are you kidding me? 5.9 billion? And it was all started by one man in 1928, Jim Howe, who was looking for a remedy for his wife's acid indigestion. He found it, and so have millions of others.

The things you learn on this gig... Tums is a 'medicine,' regulated by the FDA -- and in an effort to stay au courant, has expanded its product line to include something called 'smoothies'.

You'll be able to see this operation on 'On The Money' in a few weeks. What you won't see is my face after I finish this 'Slinger.'

Welcome to St. Louis -- 'Slingers' all around!

Questions?  Comments?  mikeonamerica@nbcuni.com