…is now a delicious snack in your grocer’s freezer!
I think you’ll agree that my inability to properly operate the extremely basic camera function on my cell phone gives it a wonderfully appropriate 8-bit look.
HERE’S SOMETHING that I was saving for a piece in Small Restaurateur and Bistroista I was going to call “Top Ten Mistakes New Small Restaurateurs and Bistroistas Make.” As you know, most new restaurants and bistros fail within their first year of business (It’s important to note, however, the same does not apply to cafes.) and I figured by using my expertise in this area, I might help a few new small restaurateurs and bistroistas avoid some of the pitfalls I’d avoid if I was foolish enough to open a new small restaurant or bistro. Especially in this economy.
Sadly, Small Restaurateur and Bistroista never made it past their third issue and closed up shop just seven months after they started. Not uncommon, of course. Most new magazines fail within their first year of publishing (the exception, of course, being café-themed magazines).
It’s just as well because these niche magazines don’t pay crap to freelancers, and these magic fingers usually don’t touch a keyboard for less than twelve dollars a word. (Speaking of which, your monthly reading-my-blog bill is overdue, so if you can get a check off to me in the next day or so, that’d be great.)
Also, I could only come up with one item, but I pitched it as a list of ten, and they were holding eight pages open for me. And I was like three weeks (or four or five, who knows?) past my deadline. But like I said, these niche magazines don’t pay hardly nothing so I didn’t lose a lot of sleep over it. Though I didn’t answer the phone for a while.
So here’s that one item:
#4: Include the Goddamn Name of Your
Restaurant or Bistro on Your Damn Coupon!
Look, there, Wolfgang, you were just browbeaten by some smarmy 22-year old into buying an ad in the “dining out section” of the local newspaper – itself a dying industry! Newspapers, not dining out sections! Don’t get smart.
So you spend all that money on your ad, and you include a coupon in it and then some anal-retentive freak like me clips your coupons right along the dotted line, as we’re legally obligated to, and then pins them on the Restaurant Coupon Board in the kitchen and then when I go to use it…? That’s right!
No idea whatsoever what the hell it’s for! None! Zip! Zilch!
Two dollars off what? Free entree where? 10% off who?
That’s why your restaurant or bistro failed! Okay, technically, it was that ridiculously discounted Groupon you were pressured to sign up for by some other kid in his early 20s that 4,673 people bought and redeemed two days later, coupled with all those negative reviews on Yel– …eh, on that social networking, user review, local search website that curiously started popping up after you declined to advertise with them that put the nail in your business’ coffin.
But this newspaper coupon fiasco didn’t help!
By the way, if anyone can identify what the hell restaurants these coupons are for, please let me know. Before the expiration dates. Unless these places are already out of business. Then I don’t care.
AS MANY OF YOU KNOW, I cut my own hair. In fact, quite a number of you have asked me to send you some clippings, and a few lucky contest winners have been the recipients of a standard business-size envelope full of that week’s trimmings.
Anyway, when someone like me – a regular Slovak hair factory here – insists on butchering his own scalp week after week after week after week, despite the subtle hints, overt pleas, and SuperCuts gift cards from friends and family, as well as odd smiles from strangers in public which I like to misinterpret as interest of a sexual nature no matter what these people look like – eventually that tiny vial of clipper oil that came with the hair cutting kit runs out. So you go on the Braun website in an effort to find out where to buy more. That is to say, I went on the Braun website in an effort to find out where to buy more.
And so, look, I’m already on the site and the “bodygroom” section aroused my curiosity. Sure, I’m a man of the 90s. So I click on it, and I see this:
Hoo boy. Well, I hope they paid him well. You just know that poor guy told whoever was in charge of grooming the models for the shoot, “As soon as the photographer gets the shot, I want you back over here with a razor because there’s no way in hell I’m going home like this.”
And to those of you who say, “Oh, please, Ted, we’ve seen you without your shirt on and you’ve manscaped your chest hair into a bullseye!” To those of you who say that, I’d like to remind you that’s my goddamn ringworm rash and thank you for bringing attention to it, as if it’s not humiliating enough just suffering with it and now, now being forced to talk about it on my blog. And for your information, I can’t trim the hair there because it’s a series of raised bumps and if I go over it with the clipper, it bleeds like a bastard. Then they won’t let me into the showers at the gym. Well, because of that and the other reason.
HEY, check this out!
This was hanging on my door.
It’s called a “door hanger” by the boys on Madison Avenue.
In this case, this door hanger advertises a cary out special.
Boy, she’s really enjoying that pizza, huh?
Now, here’s the thing. This isn’t the first time they’ve advertised a cary out special on a door hanger. They did the same thing a few months ago. They spelled “Hawaiian” correctly that time, too!
And I like their religious logo, too, even if it makes the second word look like “ptus.”
Am I going to get sued for putting this thing here? Can someone check on this for me? I don’t need any more problems.
Okay, let’s look at the bottom half of their door hanger.
You know, the one advertising their cary out special.
Gee, that lasagna looks good, huh?
And the calzone looks like something that was crawling on my geranium one rainy morning after I poked it with a twig and it retracted its eyestalks. And by that I mean it also looks delicious, of course.
I like how each illustrated menu item is in a completely different degree of focus than the next. You can see this much better on the actual cary out special door hanger, but since it’s here and you’re there, and I do not want company today, you’re just going to have to take my word for it.
But seriously…? I’ve bought food here and it’s awesome! I’ve had delivery from here and also ordered cary out. It’s the best food in whatever area it is that this place is located! I highly recommend them! And they get high marks on both Yelp and some other local restaurant review website.
Look, I just got a kick out of their cary out special door hanger is all.
HERE’S something that’ll have you scratching your head whether or not you’ve had that lice infestation taken care of.
It’s a standard box of your Hamburger Helper. Cheeseburger Macaroni is the variety, and much like a 1971 Chrysler Imperial LeBaron Two-Door Hardtop, it is indeed a classic. Says so right on the box!
Note: I have placed, by the box, a small plastic spaceman that seems to be dancing like the kids in that old Colgate Pump commercial, for scale.
I’ve purchased the above, and just as the commercials say, or said, twenty years ago, probably, “Hamburger Helper makes a great meal!” Or “Helps your hamburger make a great meal.” Or “Helps you make a great meal.” Whatever! Look, that’s not important right now.
I’ve also purchased the below.
Yes, it’s the same species of Helper, except this box includes “20% MORE FREE.” Says so right on the box!
Also, yep! There’s that spaceman again. (For scale.)
Now here’s where things get confusing: While they’re including 20% more pasta and cheesy sauce mix, they don’t tell you to add any more meat!
Instructions for both boxes – the regular size and the 20% MORE FREE size – tell you to use 1 lb lean ground beef. (Me, I used ground turkey – healthier for you and the cow, and tastes just as good!) Oh, sure, they have you increase the amount of water and milk for the 20% MORE FREE size, so the pasta and sauce consistency remains…uh…consistent. But no more meat!
So now you’ve got one lousy pound of meat completely lost amidst a superfluity of 20% MORE pasta and cheese sauce (FREE).
Calls to the Betty Crocker division of General Mills were not returned, mostly on account of I never made any. In fact, I lost almost all interest in this one by the time I was uploading the damn photos.
Still, if anyone from General Mills would like to contact me, I’d be happy to receive a big wad of coupons, or a big crate of free product. Or some sort of Helping Hand collectible.
HERE’S something you don’t see every day.
It’s a sample box of Cheez-Its. I put a Toolie Bird by it for scale.
There are 3 pouches inside. Each pouch features a different flavor of Cheez-It baked snack crackers. Asiago, Colby, and Romano.
I had to buy this thing at the grocery store. They charged me a dollar for it. A dollar!
Folks, I remember a time when samples were given out for free. Free! Or they came in the mail. And if you lived in a mid-sized apartment complex and you got to the mailboxes before anyone else, you earned yourself 22 little travel-size tubes of Aqua-Fresh.
So what has happened to our society that we now think it’s okay to pay for samples?
When did this happen? Where did we go wrong? And what has happened to the people at Sunshine that they now expect us to pay for samples? And can we get a close up of the net weight of the entire box…?
…Okay, well, if you look close, the net weight of the entire box – of the contents of all three pouches – is 2.31 ounces! That’s less than one lousy ounce per pouch!
And on top of that, to add insult to injury, after you’ve spent your hard-earned money…they want you to go onto something called Facebook and vote for your favorite flavor! Which by the way is Asiago. Also…? There’s a little card in the box telling you to do this – but no coupon. Traditionally, your samples would come with a coupon to further entice you to buy this new product. I mean, they’re already putting that card in there. Would it have killed them to make one side of it a coupon? I sure like italics, don’t I?
So basically we’re – you and me, pal – we’re doing all their research and development for them! We’re paying for the sample! We’re eating the sample – which I might add we paid for! We’re voting for Asiago! We’re doing it all for them!
I can remember a time, too, not so very long ago, when these sorts of decisions were made by a focus group! An efficient, unfailingly accurate focus group! A focus group where they paid you to participate! A focus group that when the research company called you and once you found out how much it was for, you lied and said, “Yes, I drink bottled water on a regular basis.” A focus group in some office building down by the airport that you hoped they overbooked so when you got there, they took you out into the hall and just gave you fifty bucks to beat it. But even if they didn’t, you still made seventy-five bucks for spending ninety minutes discussing the upcoming regional test market launch of Dannon Water and turned red when you were admonished by the jackass in charge in front of eleven other strangers that if you didn’t start talking more, they weren’t going to pay you at all, and then when you did start talking more and said you didn’t think Dannon Water would sell because people associate Dannon with yogurt, not water, you got a dirty look.
Where was I going with this…? Oh yes, a bit of trivia for you, there – Dannon once tried to launch bottled water, believe it or not. I managed to put the kibosh on that little endeavor, though with my astute yogurt remark. Also, vote Asiago.
NOW here’s something I want you to take a look at. All of you. Come on over here.
Look at this. It’s “Quax – the Yummy Ducky.”
He’s from the good people at Palmer – the Easter candy people.
Quax is a delight. He looks just like a rubber ducky. Really. This thing would be right at home in your tub. A little something to eat while you wash, sure.
And the package illustration…? As though he’s just this instant splashed down in a pond among the cattails…? A duck – in a pond? Brilliant.
Here’s our problem though, and you, you’re smart like me – so you already know what it is.
Quax is a “Hollow Milk Flavored Candy Duck.”
What in the name of all things holy, and also Easter, is “hollow milk”? Do you mind telling me what that is?
And it doesn’t just appear on the front, oh no! The folks at Palmer, at least they’re consistent with their questionable typography decisions! They’ve got it on the side panels…
…and on the back:
Now, here’s how you and me, how we’d have done it:
Hollow Candy Duck
Now then. …What is “milk flavored?” And shouldn’t there be a hyphen in there?
HERE’S something that you will enjoy.
I had breakfast at McDonald’s a few weeks ago and I saved a little something from my meal, thinking of you. I just knew you’d get a kick out of it.
Look at that! “Mexican Style Salsa”! Ha!
Like there’s any other kind! I mean, isn’t that a little redundant? “Mexican Style Salsa”…?
Anyway, I kind of had a feeling you’d enjoy that one. Keep coming back.
I have a feeling you will.