“Hello, welcome to Wendy’s – what can I get for you today?”
“I think I’d like to try that new salad you’re advertising.”
“Excellent. Which one?”
“Which one…? The Asian Cashewy BBQ Ranch Chicken salad, I think it’s called.”
“Um… …Just a moment, sir. Budek, did you update the sign outside like I told you?”
LAST WEEK, I finally got around to reviewing the holiday schedule the Ted Parsnips Web Design Team had submitted for 2014 – that is, the days they wanted off.
Well, of course, I went through the list with my red pen and crossed off everything but Christmas, and only because we’ve established that none of you, what?, six regulars visit on that day, so I’m safe.
Memorial Day, Thanksgiving, Fourth of July – these I recognized. I mean, these I was familiar with. I don’t recognize them as holidays that these bums get the day off. (This is what you can get away with when you keep those goddamn greedy unions out of your organization.)
But one date on the list had me puzzled. March 7? What holiday could that possibly be?
“National Cereal Day,” came the answer from the department (fat)head. Well, once I had determined that Obama hadn’t bypassed the Constiwhosis again and signed it into law as some sort of mandated federal holiday (You never know with him! Just ask my Dad!), I laughed the guy right out of my office. Right out of my office!
But it made me think: With the dearth of updates to the few cereal websites that still exist today, someone’s got to pick up the slack, and so with that in mind, I give you What’s Bueno at the 99¢ Only Store: Cereal Edition!
And I’m doing it now in case everyone calls in sick on March 7 and the site goes down.
Post Honey Bunches of Oats: Greek Honey Crunch
Status: Long gone. I really need to write these within a few months of seeing the product in the store.
Looks like Post really made too much of this new addition to their Honey Whosis of Oats line featuring (once-)trendy Greek yogurt, because these were all over the 99¢ Only stores a few months ago as they neared the end of their “Best By” date. I gambled a buck and bought a box. They weren’t bad, though the amorphous yogurt lumps ranged from manageable pebble-size to enormous, disconcerting jawbreakers. And those bigger ones…? I always felt like I was going to be biting into a mummifed mouse or something. Update: My attorney would like me to remind all of you that I never actually did, and such a suggestion is absolutely absurd.
Enjoy Life Crunchy Flax Cereal
Knowing where I stand on gluten-free nonsense, you won’t be surprised to hear that I stayed away from these, brother, despite the fact that they appear to be ooh-la-la, high-end, Santa-Monica-(North-of-Wilshire) cereals. These, too, feature trendy ingredients: In this case, flax – used to make bed linens, and chia – used to grow hair on ceramic animals. The manufacturer “Enjoy Life” apparently went through a package redesign at some point, so while three boxes are shown, there’s but two varieties of this cereal you can eat with a fork (if their logo is any indication). Actually, “the cereal you can eat with a fork” might have been a good slogan for the previous cereal – makes it easier to break up any potential yogurt-entombed mice. I’m kiddin’!
Update: My attorney has alerted me that while flax fibers make those sheets you haven’t changed in months, it’s flaxseed what’s good for you to eat, chia seeds are similarly a good source of fiber and omega-3 fats, and “for Christ sake, knock it off with the mouse jokes.”
Post Marshmallow Pebbles
Status: History. I snapped this picture in October.
Like yours, “The Flintstones” was part of my childhood. But I try to put myself in the mind of a typical idiot child of today (your child or children, of course, excluded) and I wonder whether or not the Flintstones and the Rubbles mean anything to them at all. Do they have any frame of reference for this character on the box without ever having seen an episode of the show? Or is it just a bizarre humanoid who apparently shoots marshmallows from his hands? Who knows?
Regardless whether kids today are sufficiently versed in the entire Bedrock mythos and despite this cereal lacking delicious, nourishing, life-giving gluten, I personally found it to be Yabba-Dabba-Delicious!™
These Barney Pebbles didn’t last long at 99¢ Only – I attribute that to the “Limited Edition” banner near the top of the box. Smart shoppers with an eye toward the future would have wisely bought this by the case, carefully opened the individual cartons, tossed out the cereal within, delicately collapsed the boxes and stored them in acid-free bags in a light-free, temperature- and humidity-controlled environment so that twenty years from now, they can be among the hundreds of other eBay sellers listing common cereal boxes no one will be buying.
Post Sesame Street C is For Cereal
Status: A few boxes still around
Years ago, Children’s Television Workshop famously refused to emblazon food products with the Sesame Street characters, instead relying on the income provided by books, records, Knickerbocker dolls, and their take from Mr. Hooper’s bookmaking operation. (Legend has it, to place a bet, you’d go in and order a “birdseed milkshake.”) Well, times have changed – Hooper’s dead, Knickerbocker was sold off, and worst of all, PBS seriously underestimated your ability to heartlessly ignore those pledge drives, no matter how many coffee mugs, tote bags and Ralph Story DVDs they offer to throw in. Out of sheer financial necessity (Bob doesn’t sing “The People In Your Neighborhood” for free, you know!), they relented and now cookies, juice boxes, soup, canned pasta and, yes, cereal are among the items you’ll find the Sesame Street Muppets hawking these days.
Mostly fine products, those, probably, but Sesame Street took a misstep with this “C is for Cereal,” it seems, and no wonder: it’s banana-flavored. As everyone knows – aside from banana bread and, I guess, bananas – banana-flavored anything is terrible. Which may or may not be the case with this cereal, because as my attorney cautions me to note, I didn’t actually try this product. Hell, I suppose it could be delicious and perhaps its appearance at 99¢ Only is merely due to product overrun from Post.
The cereal is in the shape of Xs & Os, and I can only imagine those two letters paid an enormous sum to be featured exclusively – and so must have taken a huge hit. My prediction? We won’t see X and O sponsoring specific episodes of the show for a while.
Whether you or your toddler for some reason likes or, more likely, vehemently detests the taste of banana-flavored oat and corn cereal, you’ll admit that 99¢ only for a box of this stuff is a steal.
Head on over to Big Lots and you can pick up not one, not two…
..but TWENTY boxes of this stuff for the same amount you’re paying at 99¢ Only for a single package! No kiddin’!
It used to be rare indeed to find really good deals at Big Lots including stuff near, at, or past its expiration date. But I’ll be the first to admit that at least at the location near me, they’ve recently changed their tune regarding expiring food – they reduce it to practically nothing right at the end of its “Best By” date – and you know it’s still fine.
I’d like to think maybe I had a little something to do with this new policy. But as I’m not yet legally barred from entering their stores, I think it’s a safe bet that they have no idea I exist.
Our last two entries in What’s Bueno: Cereal Edition are more cereal-themed than pure, unadulterated cereal. Think that’s going to stop me? No sir!
Cap’n Crunch Chocolatey Peanut Butter Snack Mix
Status: Plenty available
Quite a step up from Quaker’s embarrassing attempt to get us to pay $3 for 2.4 ounces of dry cereal, here’s a Cap’n Crunch LSP (“loose snack piece” – industry term) product that’s not bad at all. Inside each bag, you’ll find chocolate covered pretzels, generic Reese’s-type pieces, Cap’n Crunch Peanut Butter Crunch orbs and Cap’n Crunch Chocolatey Crunch pillows. Like you, I like finding deals at the 99¢ Only store, and 99¢ only is about what I’d be willing to pay for this in a regular store. Still, it was good. There’s a “Sweet & Salty Caramel” version, too, but this one’s better.
Cap’n Crunch Peanut Butter Treats
Status: Going fast!
I’ve saved the best for last, folks. What Quaker’s done, see, is they’ve crammed Peanut Butter Cap’n Crunch as well as your standard Default Cap’n Crunch pieces together into bar form, then they give it some sort of chocolate undercoating, and then bedrizzle the whole schmear with more of that chocolate stuff. The result? A delight for the senses (specifically taste), and at only 110 calories a bar, you can go ahead and feel good about eating a whole box of ’em (just eight) in one sitting. They also make a Crunch Berry variety, but who the hell wants Crunch Berries when you’ve got peanut butter, right?
And here’s a bit of disturbing trivia for you: Despite Cap’n Crunch being a huge brand for Quaker Oats, you’ll be hard-pressed to find a SINGLE reference to him on their main website – not one of his epicurean delights are listed on Quaker’s product page.
It’s like he doesn’t even exist!
Nope – instead, Horatio Magellan Crunch has a separate(-but-equal) website. I’m sure Quaker Oats would probably insist that he’s so popular he warrants his own presence on the web but it’s obvious he’s an embarrassment to the company and has been pushed away like a (white-haired) red-headed stepcap’n to distance his delicious, roof-of-your-mouth-slicing, sweet, sweet cereal from Quaker’s so-called healthier breakfast and snack alternatives.
Shame on you, Quaker! Shame! Cap’n Crunch practically built the sturdy vessel that is Quaker Oats! Or, to make an even more apt analogy, it’s like Cap’n Crunch is Jesus and the entire Quaker Oats organization is Simon Peter – denying him. And no, I don’t think I’m overstating this.
What’s most ironic is that I really wanted to end on a positive note here, especially since these Cap’n Crunch Peanut Butter Treats are about the most delicious thing I’ve ever had in my life, and well, all that unpleasantness at the end there has left a bad taste in my mouth.
So I think I’ll have another five or six bars. That oughta do the trick!
“Oh, I don’t believe it! Not again!”
“What is matter, boss?”
“It’s that idiot Deep Blue! He screwed up the sign! The one thing he was hired to do, and he screws it up!”
“Oh, I see problem, boss! But it yust last word on bottom. Chu no worry. I get up there and fix!”
“You’re a good man, Budek.”
AS YOU, what?, six regular readers know, one of the most popular features of this blog is “What’s Bueno At The 99¢ Only Store!”
Oh, it’s not particularly popular with you, but it’s fairly popular with me, which is why it pops up so often, and also why I have, what?, six regulars.
But having said that, I haven’t actually done one of them in months and that’s not just because I was in one particular location and was told I may not snap photos in the store.
I’m sure it was all just a misunderstanding, since as you can attest, this blog is very pro-99¢ Only. The manager – who very politely told me to stop snapping pictures – probably mistook me for that handsome devil behind that trouble-making blog, “Dogs Where There Shouldn’t Be Dogs” – I’ve been told we look vaguely alike and that guy’s snapped a few photos of people with their pets inside 99¢ Only stores. (Imagine!)
Anyway, before we’re both permanently barred from all 99¢ Only stores everywhere, I figured I’d better start giving you a daily (and with me, folks, “daily” usually ends up being once every eight or nine days, if we’re lucky) rundown of what is and what was bueno at the 99¢ Only store!
Newtons fruit THINS
Status: Currently available!
These may not look like much, but let me tell you, I’m glad I picked up a package – though I’m more upset I didn’t pick up a bunch more.
Like you, I am delighted that the package doesn’t describe them just as “cookies,” but rather “crispy cookies.” And, brother, they are. They are!
Oh, sure – you’re seeing “Newtons” so you’re thinking “figs.” Well, Nabisco doesn’t give a fig what you think, because you’ll find nary a fig in these babies. No, the only thing here is a crisp cookie biscuit with toasted coconut baked right in – and then they’ve gone and bedrizzled it with dark fudge. I speak for all of us when I say we didn’t see that coming!
My favorite part of Newtons fruit THINS (and I respect these cookies so much I use their silly uppercase and lowercase formating affectations) – aside from the cookies themselves, of course – is this on the package:
“NATURAL FLAVOR WITH OTHER NATURAL FLAVOR.”
Now, I’m no package design professional, but seems to me that they could have saved their printer a whole bunch of typesetting [industry term] if they just used the latest advance in package copy, the letter S. “Natural Flavors,” plural. Boom – you’re done. ‘Course if it wasn’t for this obvious copywriting screw-up, they probably wouldn’t have ended up at 99¢ Only, so I won’t complain too loudly (though I do feel bad for whoever lost their job over this one).
Tomorrow*: Another item that is bueno!
*Probably in eight or nine days.
“Hey, boss, chu want me to change the sign out front?”
“No need, Budek! I got this surplus computer on the cheap from IBM that I’ve unprogrammed from whatever it is it used to do and reprogrammed to change the sign automatically!”
“What could posible go wrong?”
“That’s the spirit, Budek! Now then, Deep Blue, we need to let customers know about our new Spicy Chipotle Crispy Chicken Sandwich and our Spicy Chipotle Jr. Cheeseburger – both loaded with pepperjack cheese, zesty jalopeños and spicy chipotle sauce. At under a buck each, 99¢ has never been hotter! You got all that, Deep Blue?”
“whirrr! click! beep beep! Got it, boss! click click! whirrrrrr! beeeeeeeep!”
Hey, look at the quick, easy, thought-free Christmas gift I got for a friend!
I don’t piss away money on coffee myself, saving my precious dollars for alcohol, but I understand this “Starbucks” chain is somewhat popular. So it seemed like a good fit. And while giving cash to pals is considered gauche, gift cards – which we are admonished on the cards themselves to treat as cash – are still somehow acceptable.
Oh, and don’t worry – I’m not ruining the surprise! This is a close friend we’re talking about, i.e., someone who never visits my blog.
Anyway, like you now will, I found the copy on the back a regular delight:
Can we get a closeup? We can?! Excellent!
“Welcome to Starbucks, what can I get for you today?”
“I’d like a moment for myself. I think there’s enough on the gift card.”
That penny is going to cost Ralph’s a fortune, I promise you.
Say, we haven’t visited that Filipino market down the street lately, have we? What the hell’s wrong with me? I need to follow my own advice: Like I’ve always said, cultures different from my own are a wealth of untapped comedy!
Anyway, Thanksgiving’s just around the corner, and like you, I needed to stock up on fermented beans cake.
It’s just not Thanksgiving without the fermented beans cake. Oh, sure, you can have your turkey, your stuffing, your dinner rolls, your cranberry sauce, your green bean casserole, your mashed potatoes, your yams, your pumpkin pie – but brother, if you’re missing the fermented beans cake, forget it! Forrrget-it!
Call up Aunt Gail and Uncle Pete and Great Grandnana Betty and Joyce and Phil and Chuck and his latest wife and the cousins and the in-laws and all their kids and tell everyone to stay home: it’s not Thanksgiving – it’s just another Thursday. It’s just another Thursday without the fermented beans cake. No fermented beans cake? Then Thanksgiving is canceled! Because there’s something to be said for tradition, dammit, and I’m sorry, call me old-fashioned, but I can’t imagine a Thanksgiving dinner without the fermented beans cake.
…So I had to go pick up a can of fermented beans cake is what I’m saying.
Anyway, while I was there at the market, I noticed this stuff:
Can we get a closeup on the name of this stuff? We can? Excellent.
People pay for this stuff…?
Hell, if that’s the case, my toenails are worth a fortune!
Print this one out and pass it around the table next week right after Dad says grace.
SPEAKING of Jack in the Box – as I was in my last post – they recently unleashed their “Munchie Meals” to us, an eager public! They’re four different deliciously unhealthy combos with enormous amounts of fat, calories and sodium, aimed at the stoner crowd and available only from 9 pm to 5 am.
How bad for you are they?
Well, each one averages a whopping 1643 calories and 3315 milligrams sodium. They’re advertising them with Late Night Jack – a puppet version of their popular Jack character that apparently appeals to the Adult Swim demographic or something, I don’t know. (Don’t worry, regular, humanoid Jack is still in their other commercials.)
Advertising their food to lovers of cannabis is nothing new for Jack in the Box. This is a commercial from at least six years ago:
And there was a sequel, too, a year or so later – same baked guy, but a little heavier. No wonder!
Anyway, Jack in the Box isn’t the only quick-serve [industry term] place happy to tackle the ravenous appetites of hungry smokers of wacky tobaccy! Check this out, in the window of my local Carl’s Jr.
They get points for subtlety, sure, but really: how many potheads out there are craving fish after sucking on a bong all night?