I’m not a catering service.


Well, I haven’t done one of these in a while.  One day, a phishing spam caught my eye and I had to torment them a bit.  I have no idea where they get my email address.  Must be bots or I’m on a list I guess.  Also, I have no idea why they think I’m a catering service.

From: jones sandra <jonessandy101@gmail.com>
Date: 2016/08/04
To:
Subject: Catering Service

Hello, My name is Sandra Jones i would like to know if you will be available to cater for my Mums Birthday on the 25th of august,I await your response,hope you accept credit cards for payment?.

Simple enough. Why not be polite and write back?

W(aL)D <world.and.lunar.domination@gmail.com> wrote:

Hello Ms. Jones,

I would be happy to cater your event. May I ask how you found me? I like to give discounts for referrals.

What kind of menu would you like? We specialize in Mexican-Asian fusion with an Ethiopian twist. Our signature entree is a teriyaki beef & brocoli burrito served over a bed of spanish rice and chick peas.

Unfortunately I do not accept credit cards. I can only except cash, in unmarked bills, in a breifcase, left at a drop point to be agreed upon. I also accept labor in trade if you would like to wash any dishes or help cook for other customers.

Your friend,
Juan Chang

“U CAN GET MORE DAN ONE TANG WITH JUAN CHANG!”

I bet that style exists. Somewhere.

From: jones sandra <jonessandy101@gmail.com>
Date: 2016/08/05
To: “W(aL)D” <world.and.lunar.domination@gmail.com>
Subject: Re: Catering Service

Good,am hearing impaired and i can only communicate via text and Email……Menu is ribs chicken brisket and potato salad for about 70 guests,i want the food dropped off by 1pm.where exactly are you located to know if you are close to Mum before we proceed please.,i just want to make the arrangement a big suprise for mum,its her 70th Birthday..I await for your response asap.

It gets interesting right away.

W(aL)D <world.and.lunar.domination@gmail.com> wrote:

Awesome.

I still need to know how you found me for referral kickback purposes. I can deliver via drone like Amazon, so just give me the address. I am located everywhere.

We can also drop balloons and confetti for an extra few dollars.

We have some Chicken Fried Spanish Rice, spicy pork burrito, and Korean BBQ rib quesadillas… os that OK? Perhaps we can work up a potato side like Taco Bell’s spicy potatoes with some Mexican or Ethiopian flair.

Will you be paying in Pesos or Yen?

Aloha!
-Juan Chang

Everyone likes balloons. Right?

From: jones sandra <jonessandy101@gmail.com>
Date: 2016/08/06
To: “W(aL)D” <world.and.lunar.domination@gmail.com>
Subject: Re: Catering Service

Ok i want to know the brief estimate now so that we can make the payment arrangement , For everything to be in order and i will like to know if you have a Chase,Wellsfargo or BoA Bank…If you have any of these three Banks you can call them and they will set you up for a merchant for free…I await for your response asap..

That’s not shady at all.

W(aL)D <world.and.lunar.domination@gmail.com> wrote:

I thought we agreed on cash only at a drop-point? Will you be paying in Yen or Pesos? I don’t trust banks. They are the tool of El Diablo.

We should be able to do 70 people for about $700 including a meal, appetizer, drink, and dessert.

Would you like to hire our Manchurian Mariachi band? They compliment the food perfectly.

-Juan

A Manchurian Mariachi band may also exist. OK.  I Googled it.  This is damn close, and so is this.  And this:

Manchurian Mariachi

I can’t believe the things that come up when you Google crazy stuff.

From: jones sandra <jonessandy101@gmail.com>
Date: 2016/08/06
To: “W(aL)D” <world.and.lunar.domination@gmail.com>
Subject: Re: Catering Service

I can only make payment via credit card..Kindly let me know if it can work out for good..Thanks and hope to hear from you soon..

Pushy.

W(aL)D <world.and.lunar.domination@gmail.com> wrote:

Sandra,

I thought we had a great party being planned here. I can’t do credit cards. The credit card company fees are way too high. If I can’t pay the credit card fees, they figuratively come over and make me “drop trou” for a solid rogering.

Surely you can get your hands on some Yen or Pesos?

How do you feel about my proposed menu and the musical entertainment?

-Juan (& Only) Chang

And “she” won’t answer my highly important questions regarding cuisine or entertainment.

From: jones sandra <jonessandy101@gmail.com>
Date: 2016/08/09
To: “W(aL)D” <world.and.lunar.domination@gmail.com>
Subject: Re: Catering Service

Thanks for your response, i can only make the payment via my credit card only and regarding the charges fee to accept the credit card add the bills to the total estimate of your own service charges and i will give you my card info to charge everything on my card..Thanks and hope to hear from you asap..

At least she was polite. I guess we don’t have a deal. I’m not sure how this scam is supposed to work anyway.

W(aL)D <world.and.lunar.domination@gmail.com> wrote:

I guess we don’t have a deal then. You may want to try a local Boston Market or Panera Bread. I hear they may cater. They probably also deal in credit cards.

Good luck with your Grandma!

Your Friend,
-Juan

I thought I had planned one hell of a party. Anyone want to go into business?

A food order for the 22th of December, eh?


Well.  Mr. Simson & Ms. Baker have some competition in the grifter circuit.  Seems all these scam artists really like chicken Caesar products.  I’d still like to know how they got my email & why it’s associated with ordering food.  Mr. Smith would like to throw his hat into the ring:

From: paul jason
Date: Fri, Dec 9, 2011
Subject: mr paul smith food order
To:

Hello how are you doing today my name is paul smith My Mom birthday is coming up on the 22th of december and i will like to place an order for 150 grilled chicken salad in individual pack for the 150 guest, it will be pick up by 3pm on the given date and i will like to inform you that am ready to make the full payment with my credit card today so can i know the total cost for the order plus tax…..get back to me with this following information below.

Restaurant address:
Personal cell number:
Total cost for my order plus tax:
Type of the credit card you accept

Regards
paul

Ah, the 22th of December is indeed a fine day.

From: Waldo Lunar <world.and.lunar.domination@gmail.com>
Date: Mon, Dec 12, 2011
Subject: Re: mr paul smith food order
To: paul jason

Hello Paul,

What a wonderful son you are!  It’s so nice of you to plan a party for your mom on the 22th.  Which of our locations would you want to pickup from?  Generally, I like to personally deliver to ensure the quality of the food upon delivery.  In fact, I can give 1 free grilled chicken salad in individual pack if I can deliver & hang out at the party.  I can ensure quick delivery too, my van made the Kessel run in under 5 parsecs.

Does the party have a theme?  Have you thought about a Star Wars theme?  I can make excellent TIE-fighter shaped chicken caesar wraps, that I display in front of a giant cheese-ball Death Star.  It really is quite breathtaking.  I have some friends in the 501st Legion that can come out too.  They work for a charitable donation made in their name, we’ll just have to feed them.

The price would be $10 per person, so if you have 150 people, and 5 from the 501st Legion, we’re looking at $1550 total, and $1658.50 with tax.

Have you thought about drinks?  If you’re going with the Star Wars theme, you might want to consider Imperial Stout Trooper or Dark Helmet Imperial Schwarzbier.  I can recommend a good supplier if you don’t have one.

I really hope your mom is a Star Wars fan.  Does she need a date to the party?  These are the grilled chicken caesar TIE-fighter wraps you are looking for.

Regards,
-Waldo Lunar
Owner, Operator, Emperor
OMGWTFBBQ, Inc.

I thought it was time for a departure from the Hawaiian Toga Party theme.  In hindsight, now I really do want a Death Star cheese ball.  Can someone get on that?

Death Star Cheese Ball

No one took the time to make TIE-Fighter crackers?

From: paul Smith <paulsmith5485@yahoo.com>
Date: Mon, Dec 12, 2011
Subject: Re: mr paul smith food order
To: Waldo Lunar <world.and.lunar.domination@gmail.com>

Thanks for your email,I am very happy to hear from you with the cost of the order plus tax of my order which is $1658.50 for my order and its okay by me and i want the chicken salad so I will prefer them packed in to-go boxes. Mean while i would like you to add an additional $1275 plus the total price of the order so that you can have all that charged on my credit card now. The funds will be wire to the private carrier who will be coming for the pick up of the food in your place in cash via western union money transfer. i would like you to add it all together plus extra $100 Western union charges for wiring the $1275 to the private carrier and let me have the grand total price inclusive of the tax fee and the 3% credit card company charge fee for the transaction all together,so that I can give you my credit card to charge for the total. I will also like to know what type of credit card you accept for payment. i just want to let you know that i am just back from the hospital i was down with a diagnosis of cancer of the lungs as such i had to spend some time in the intensive care. so i cannot go to western union money transfer for now and pay the driver that is why i want you to help me pay them and you will charge my credit card for the total estimation for the food and the Carrier charges,Hope to hear back from you soon with the grand total so i can forward my credit card information and the carrier’s information to wire the cash via western union transfer to them asap.

Final Break Down:
Foods Order :$1658.50
Carrier’s fee: $1275
Western union fee: $100
3% CC company fee: ?

Unfazed, he was all about putting together a price, but not sure to what end… he wanted to give me a total?  Where do I get scammed here?  Does the “oh I’m paying the courier and he’ll pay you” come next?  I really don’t want to take any credit card information, in case the action in itself is illegal.

Gross Death Star Cheese Ball

This one does not look appetizing at all.

I wrote back offering to be more helpful…

From: Waldo Lunar <world.and.lunar.domination@gmail.com>
Date: Mon, Dec 12, 2011
Subject: Fwd: mr paul smith food order
To: paulsmith5485@yahoo.com

Hello Again Mr. Smith,

May I call you Paul?  I hope your mother is well, have you talked with her about the Star Wars theme?  I hope that your lung cancer treatment has gone well, Paul!  I’m sorry to hear that you were down with the sickness.  Ooh ah ah ah.  (Sorry, I have a form of Tourette’s that only comes out when I type.  It prevents me from using the Backspace or Delete key too.)  Perhaps you can wear a suit like Darth Vader to improve your breathing?  His lungs weren’t cancerous, but burned quite badly.  I believe all of life’s problems can be solved using Star Wars as a guide.

Why don’t you let me make this easy for you, and I’ll deliver to your location, free of charge!  That way, you don’t need to pay a courier, and I can take your card info. upon delivery, it will save you $1300… or give you a higher beer budget!  A true Jedi would carry out the mission himself.  I’ll even knock a dollar of of each head & provide the Death Star cheese ball free of charge.  Do you know if anyone attending has food allergies?  The cheese ball comes two ways – boy (with nuts) or girl (no nuts).

Does your mom like to drink?  I’m a fan of blue milk & several alcoholic beverages.  Sometimes at night when I’m all snuggled up in my Tauntaun sleeping bag, my R2-D2 trash can is my only friend.  Sometimes I sleep with leftover chicken caesar salad in the bag, because Tauntauns apparently smell bad on the inside.  I imagine rotting chicken, mayo, & raw eggs would simulate that smell pretty well.  I’m drinking blue milk now, mixed with some bourbon.  Actually, the blue milk is eggnog with food coloring.  Aldi doesn’t carry blue milk, and they look at me like I’m crazy every time I request it, so I have to make my own.

Can I come to your party?  I really need this.  In fact, I’ve never made a chicken caesar salad in my life.  But, I found a few good recipes on COOKS.com and I’m willing to try.  OMGWTFBBQ is mainly barbecue as the name suggests.  I cook my chicken breasts in a modified Darth Vader toaster so they come out looking awesome.  Our ribs are delicious, they’re Mustafarian style, blackened with smoky seasoning.

Can I ask where you found my email address?  This all has me very excited.  I think I’m really drunk, so I should end this email before I become incoherent.  I really need your business.  Can you send some photos of your mom?  Does she need a date to the party?

May the force be with you, from OMGWTFBBQ to you, happy birthday mom!

-Waldo Lunar
Owner, Operator, Emperor
OMGWTFBBQ, Inc.

No more correspondence.  Apparently Mr. Smith has no patience, or just is the same person as “John” & “Lori” from the last 2 times and was exasperated at the onset.

It's a (mouse)trap!

I Googled "Death Star Cheese Ball" & this came up. |-o-|

Why do these people prey upon us here in the United States?  From the email, I hope English is their second (or 3th) language.  Are we seen as easy targets?  Are we more Gullible?  There’s more of us?  Is there general hatred towards our country?  Do any of these emails ever work?

So, who’s going to start a catering business with me called OMGWTFBBQ?

OMG.WTF?BBQ!

OMG.WTF?BBQ!

More scams abound: Tried scamming me twice this week. (page 2)

Seriously, about the cheese ball…  Someone tell my wife.  My birthday’s coming up.  Let’s go Death Star cheese ball instead of a cake.  I want some TIE-fighter shaped crackers too.  I don’t think she reads thins unless I call her attention to it directly.  Something about “I listen to your insanity all the time in person, you expect me to read it too?” is her (valid) argument on her blog reading stance.

The worst scammers ever try again…


You read the Chicken Caesar Wrap Scam post, right? This familiar assault came at my inbox again.  I wonder if Mr. Simson and Ms. Baker know each other, went to the same poorly taught “how to be an internet scammer” class, or are indeed the same person.  If they’re not the same person, at the very least they bought the same email list or scan bot program.

From: ray baker [lorisandra72@yahoo.com]
Date: On Mon, Dec 5, 2011
Subject: Order for my Dad Birthday….
To: [blank?]

Hello

My name is Lori Sandra Baker and I would like to order individual grilled chicken Caesar salad in your restaurant,for 150 people on 13th of December and pick up time is 3 pm and it’s for my Dad’s Birthday Party and it will be picked up by Carrier Agent and I am ready to pay the full payment with my credit card so can you make the order for me on that date while you get me the grand total of the foods inclusive of the tax fee,get back to me with the total cost,you can also get back to me.

Regard

I wrote back with a similar response to last time (some parts blatantly cut & pasted – is it plagiarizing if you steal from yourself?):

From: Waldo Lunar [world.and.lunar.domination@gmail.com]
Date: Tue, Dec 6, 2011
Subject: Re: Order for my Dad Birthday….
To: lorisandra72@yahoo.com

Hello Ray & Lori,

Sounds like a great time! Would you like the salads in plain old salad form, or in Chicken Cæsar Salad wrap form? The wraps have been quite a hot item lately. May I ask where you found our humble establishment, and how you heard of our incredible Chicken Cæsar Salad? If you have a courier agent, I must assume you are quite fancy. Quite fancy indeed. I’m glad to have been noticed.

Would you like a full menu? We have quite a few price levels and advertising options to help keep the cost low. I also offer party planning, and discounts if I’m invited. (I don’t get out much, I’m always making Cæsar dressing and grilling chicken!) I could deliver, and we could do cash on delivery if that’s OK.

As far as pricing… Would you like to stamp your father’s name along with a happy birthday message on the outside of the wrap(s)? Advertising with printing directly on the wraps is standard for us, so it’s no big deal & not much of an extra charge for us to add a custom message. We feel that we must seize every opportunity to advertise.You heard of us somehow, right?

Currently we’re working on exciting “edible” advertisements that will pass through your system and remind you of our catering services upon their exit. They always come out (well, usually always), but they’re not always readable. We need to work on a smooth non-stick or oily surface that always floats. We hope to be the world leader in defecation-marketing!

I have a party theme idea for you too… Toga Luau. It’s going to be a thing, I tell you. It will be huge. Your dad can say “I had that party before it was cool.” I mean, brilliantly flowered togas? Let it simmer.

About the price… I like the show Pawn Stars. You ever watch? How about you give me a number that’s ridiculously low, and I’ll come back with an equally ridiculous high number, and we’ll negotiate.

Looking forward to your business!
-Waldo Lunar

From here on out there’s no mention of Ray, the name from the original email.  I hope Ray is OK, and not tied up in his basement.  At any rate, they continue:

From: Lori Sandra [lorisandra72@yahoo.com]
Date: Tue, Dec 6, 2011
Subject: Re: Order for my Dad Birthday….
To: Waldo Lunar [world.and.lunar.domination@gmail.com]

Hello

Thanks for the email Before you go Ahead i will like to Know if you accept Credit Card for Payment

Hope to hear from you asap

Regard

Regard, indeed.

From: Waldo Lunar [world.and.lunar.domination@gmail.com]
Date: Tue, Dec 6, 2011
Subject: Re: Order for my Dad Birthday….
To: Lori Sandra [lorisandra72@yahoo.com]

Hello Lori,

I can accept a credit card, I guess. I’m not sure if I like accepting credit card info. via email. Perhaps I should set up a PayPal account? From which of our locations would you like to pickup? I hear there are some shady people out there looking to grab cc info from emails.

Have you thought about the wraps, the advertising, the Toga Luau, and my invitation yet?

Also, come at me with a price!

OMGWTFBBQ,
-Waldo

Seriously, if I ever own a BBQ joint, that’s what I’m gonna call it. OMGWTFBBQ! Maybe OMG.WTF?BBQ! or something close. I bet there’s already one out there.

OMGWTFBBQ

OMGWTFBBQ

Unfazed, it goes on…

From: Lori Sandra [lorisandra72@yahoo.com]
Date: Tue, Dec 6, 2011
Subject: Re: Order for my Dad Birthday….
To: Waldo Lunar [world.and.lunar.domination@gmail.com]

i have Credit Card Not paypal ok

Getting testy?

From: Waldo Lunar [world.and.lunar.domination@gmail.com]
Date: Tue, Dec 6, 2011
Subject: Re: Order for my Dad Birthday….
To: Lori Sandra [lorisandra72@yahoo.com]

Hello Lori,

I believe that you can use credit cards via PayPal. OMGWTFBBQ, Inc. is concerned about your privacy & personal information. Credit card will be fine.

What price would you like for the order? What about advertising, & the toga luau?

Cialoha (get it Ciao + Aloha…?),
-Waldo

Heh. At least I find myself amusing.

From: Lori Sandra [lorisandra72@yahoo.com]
Date: Tue, Dec 6, 2011
Subject: Re: Order for my Dad Birthday….
To: Waldo Lunar [world.and.lunar.domination@gmail.com]

not interested

D’oh! I try to redeem myself, while trying to slightly up the ridiculousness. To what end, I have no idea.

From: Waldo Lunar [world.and.lunar.domination@gmail.com]
Date: Tue, Dec 6, 2011
Subject: Re: Order for my Dad Birthday….
To: Lori Sandra [lorisandra72@yahoo.com]

Hello Lori,

May I ask why you’re all of a sudden not interested? You seemed quite eager to give me your credit card information. I’m not sure why. Shouldn’t we discuss details of the order before we discuss payment?

You’ll be sorry for passing up my Hawaiian toga party. It’s going to be all the rage next year. My on-wrap & defecation advertising promised DEEP discounts, and you still can’t see that we’re a perfect match?

I’m sorry for lashing out. Can I still come to the party?

“Welcome to Costco, I love you,”
-Waldo

Who loves Idiocracy? Everyone does (or should). Maybe “Lori” is a fan.  Maybe she thinks I’m dumb enough to fall for this crazy scam.

From: Lori Sandra [lorisandra72@yahoo.com]
Date: Tue, Dec 6, 2011
Subject: Re: Order for my Dad Birthday….
To: Waldo Lunar [world.and.lunar.domination@gmail.com]

Okay

OK?  OK!

From: Waldo Lunar [world.and.lunar.domination@gmail.com]
Date: Tue, Dec 6, 2011
Subject: Re: Order for my Dad Birthday….
To: Lori Sandra [lorisandra72@yahoo.com]

Dear Lori,

OK I can come to the party? Sweet! Where is it? I already know the time and date.

Want me to bring a giant Chicken Cæsar Salad, or some individual wraps? Would you like any sides?

Toga! Toga! Toga!
-Waldo

…and no further reply. Heh. Apparently the projected profit has now outweighed the effort.

I did, however, recently gain some insight on the objective.  A member at The BBQ Brethren Forum, colonel00, posted a link to my Chicken Cæsar Wrap scam blog post, and apparently Mr. Simson & Ms. Baker get around… under a few different aliases.  Poster chachahut provided some insight on the type of scam:

This is a form of a Courier Grift.

The grifter – in this case the emailer or in some cases a person calling via TTD – wants a large order of food. Rather than having the joint deliver – they will be sending a courier. As the courier requires cash payment, they will ask you to charge the credit card an additional amount – usually a few hundred to $1000 – and wire the money to the courier service. Why do you have to wire it? Well, the grifter is in the hospital & cannot take it or wire it to them & the courier does not accept credit cards (yeah right).

Of course – there is no courier service. It’s nothing more than a receiving address for any one foolish enough to send the wire. Additionally – the credit card used it certainly stolen & will ultimately get rejected or the charges will be reversed.

The whole thread can be seen here: Tried scamming me twice this week.

Interesting.  Convoluted, but interesting.  Google didn’t turn up much for “Courier Grift”, but I did find these interesting/enlightening sites after altering my search terms slightly:

Crazy.  Hard to believe that anyone can be lulled into this one.  I mean there really are a lot of steps, and it’s got to be hard to gain confidence via email.  It must work if there’s still people out there trying it.

I wonder what the BBQ aficionado guys would think of my local BBQ joint reviews or chipped ham BBQ?

The dreaded ‘individual Chicken Cæsar Salad Individual wrap’ scam…


Chicken Caesar wrap

Image by Tim Rodenberg via Flickr

At first, I thought this was someone mistaking me for McDonald’s (or another food place) again, then I thought it’s most likely spam.  At any rate, I’m having some fun at some scammer’s expense.  I don’t think English is their first language…

From: john simson <jsimson02983@gmail.com>
Date: Thu, Nov 17, 2011
Subject: Attn-My Mom Birthday Party (Chicken Caesar Salad)
To:

Hello My name is John Simson and I would like to order for individual Chicken Caesar Salad Individual wrap in your restaurant for 150 people on 29th November and pick up time is 3pm and it’s for my Mom’s Birthday Party and it will be picked up by my courier agent and I am ready to pay the full payment with my credit card so get to me with the following information below…… 

Pickup Address: 
Personal cell #: 
Total cost for the food: 
Type of credit card: 


Best Regards, 
John Simson

Always eager to help, I wrote back.

From: Waldo Lunar <world.and.lunar.domination@gmail.com>
Date: Thu, Nov 17, 2011
Subject: Re: Attn-My Mom Birthday Party (Chicken Caesar Salad)
To: john simson

Hello Mr. Simson,

It would be my pleasure to prepare your “individual Chicken Cæsar Salad Individual wrap” order for 150 people!  Can I ask where you found my company’s contact information?  We believe in strong kick-backs & discounts for referrals!

Would you like 150 wraps, or 200 or so …in case people want seconds?  I’m somewhat unclear on your wording… perhaps you would like one giant individual chicken cæsar salad wrap that can feed 150 people?

Your mom is a lucky lady!  To not only know 150 people, but to have a son like you that’s putting together such a grand event (with super-fine dining to boot) is an incredible thing.  Perhaps you can up your count to 151 and I’ll hand deliver?  I don’t have many friends, but I do like parties!

Would you like to stamp your mother’s name along with a happy birthday message on the outside of the wrap(s)?  Advertising with printing directly on the wraps is standard for us, so it’s no big deal & not much of an extra charge for us to add a custom message.  We feel that we must seize every opportunity to advertise.

Currently we’re working on exciting “edible” advertisements that will pass through your system and remind you of our catering services upon their exit.  They always come out (well, usually always), but they’re not always readable.  We need to work on a smooth non-stick or oily surface that always floats.  We hope to be a leader in defecation-marketing!

I don’t have a personal cell phone, as I mentioned before… I don’t have many friends.  I would prefer cash since I can deliver in person.  Then you won’t need to worry about my address… and I’m not sure why you’re asking for a type of credit card when you’re the one paying me.

I can get back to you with the total cost once you tell me if you desire the custom birthday message, how many wraps exactly, and if you’ll need any side orders.  May I reccomend the potato chips?  They’re homemade, and each one is designed like a tasty business card!  Also, I have a discount for friends, pending the party invitation.  Maybe your courier agent and I can hang out?  I like bicycles.

Looking forward to your business!
-Waldo Lunar

Reasonable enough questions, right?

From: John Simson <jsimson01@yahoo.com>
Date: Thu, Nov 17, 2011
Subject: Re: Attn-My Mom Birthday Party (Chicken Caesar Salad)
To: Waldo Lunar <world.and.lunar.domination@gmail.com>

Thanks for the email,I want you to understand that am hearing impaired so the best way for me to communicate with you is via email and i can only make payment via my credit card.Thanks

WHAT?  Heh.  Sorry, that was tasteless.  I still don’t know how they’re going to scam me by providing their credit card information.  I don’t want to be baited into taking it either.

From: Waldo Lunar <world.and.lunar.domination@gmail.com>
Date: Thu, Nov 17, 2011
Subject: Re: Attn-My Mom Birthday Party (Chicken Caesar Salad)
To: John Simson <jsimson01@yahoo.com>

Thanks again Mr. Simson,

We can do that then, no problem.  I abhor the phone.  See?  We’re already forming the bonds of friendship!  How is your mother?  I hope she is well.  Sorry it took so long for me to reply, I’m up to my eyeballs in turkey dinner preparation.  I think there must be a holiday next week, we’ve had a big rush for individual turkey wraps.

I am uncomfortable taking credit information via email.  Any type of card is acceptable.  Would you be able to pay upon pickup or delivery?  I can perhaps get one of those gadgets that connects to my work cell phone and swipes credit cards.  I hear that Nigerian scams abound out there on the internet… people phishing for personal details, and what-not.  They are indeed the scourge of the modern age, my friend.  They prey upon the naive, and the kind-hearted like you and me.

May I ask, why you were inquiring about a type of card if you’re the one paying… and why about a personal cell phone if you’re hearing impaired?  Is it to text?  Have you looked into a TDD system?

Also, as far as the pickup address, which location would you prefer for a pickup?

If you could please answer the questions from my last email, it would help move things along.  I also forgot to ask (silly me!) what the date of the party is?

I’m thinking cost-wise, we’ll be anywhere from $7 to $14 per person, depending on side options, possible drinks, portion sizes, and pending the custom matronly birthday wishes.  I realize that it’s a steep price, but my individual chicken Cæsar wraps are the best in the tri-state area.  “For real, son.”  …as they said in the streets a few years ago.  I joke, because I feel we will be great friends, John.

As soon as you answer all my questions, we’ll be good to go!  What kind of dress is the party?  I don’t want to show up in my tux if we’re all supposed to be in jeans!  Or is there a theme?  I went to a party one time where we all wore Hawaiian shirts.  It was very exotic!  Maybe with a chicken Cæsar theme, we could do a toga party?  Or, if everyone wore flowered sheets, a Hawaiian toga party?  Rome meets Maui!  I could put pineapple rings on the wraps to decorate.  I was also thinking if you’d like to attach a photo of your mother, we could also perhaps print that on the individual wraps?  Do you have a ukulele?  Maybe we can look up some Roman songs.

Please, respond at your earliest convenience my friend!  You should practice this to impress your mother: “Donec mater grata luau in honore tuo! Sit amicus recens Waldo.”  Google Translate is quite fun!

Malama pono salutem plurimam,
-Waldo

Your move, “Mr. Simson”!

Wraps

Image by Joe Shlabotnik via Flickr

And really though…  Toga Luau?  How awesome would that be?  And the advertisements in poop?  It’s coming.  Right after they start printing on the wraps themselves.  Why advertise on just the paper wrapper itself?

Boston Market ups the pressure… (a.k.a. What now, Panera Bread?)


Insanity.

http://twitter.com/#!/W_a_L_D/status/136910586947715072

That’s right.  Boston Market not only reached out via my contact form thanks to Facebook, but also had the cojones to do this…

Boston Market RT!

Boston Market RT!

I still haven’t received a reply to my email to Mr. Wakabayashi, but what now Panera Bread? What now?  Clearly, this will pan out to be a bigger rivalry than Neil Young vs. Skynrd, or East Coast Rap vs. West Coast Rap.  Maybe even bigger than me vs. the people that think I’m McDonald’s (At Least Mr. Wakabayashi used my contact form correctly!)

http://twitter.com/#!/W_a_L_D/status/137169033266077696

http://twitter.com/#!/bostonmarket/status/137212008138424321

If you have no idea what’s going on, or if you work for Panera Bread.  You can catch up here…

In other news, did you know that they both cater?  I wish someone would have told me.

Panera Bread (Scott Twp. Greentree Road) on UrbanspoonI actually stopped at the local Panera the other night because the wife was sick and wanted some of that cheese-broccoli soup.  I went in to get some to go, and got myself a half of a turkey sandwich and a cup of the chicken noodle.

The employee (a young girl, of course) at the counter was quite friendly, asked if I wanted lettuce tomato or onion on the sandwich, and even asked if I wanted mustard and/or mayo.  Clearly, someone went over new procedures.  Sadly, I asked for lettuce & tomato… and got neither, but I did get mustard and mayo.  I applaud the effort, and shame on me for not checking before I left the store.

I have to say, after my initial complaint, they have totally stepped it up service-wise.  I still call shenanigans on the new soup.  They ought to let sales do the talking… OFFER BOTH.  It’s certainly a popular item.  Let the consumers decide if they want a great-tasting soup… or the crappy flat-noodled healthy soup.  Clearly, as a leader in the Fast Casual industry, you can afford to test the proverbial waters?  I think more changes have been made, but it’s still not the old soup.  Shenanigans.

Also, I counted 3 signs within  a span of about 8 feet on the counter where you wait for your order advertising the catering… and the pop machine still does it too.  I think the receipt may have even said something about it.

I spend far too much time contemplating fast food & fast casual dining.  If only I could save time buy purchasing already prepared meals.  Does anyone out there do that?

Boston Market is ready to battle.


Boston Market cup

In this corner...

Look out Panera Bread, Boston Market has your number!  I was out of town this weekend, and didn’t check email much.  I didn’t have the time & energy to properly respond to this until we came home.  I find this to be incredibly awesome.  Dennis “The New Guy” Wakabayashi from Boston Market is ready to put his company’s catering services to the test.  The line between my lunacy in email writing and reality is ever increasingly blurred.  Perhaps my preposterous idea will turn into a real happening.

Insanity.

Sparked by some snarky postings of various blog post url’s on Facebook

From: Dennis Wakabayashi <engage@bostonmarket.com>
To: <Me>
Sent: Friday, November 11, 2011
Subject: W(aL)D Feedback
Name: Dennis Wakabayashi
Email: engage@bostonmarket.com
Website: http://www.bostonmarket.com

Message / Comment:

Hi, I’m the new guy here at Boston Market, just brought on, to engage with awesomeness like yours. I loved your article and definitely interested in the catering battle royal at your place…count me in! Not only that my friend your band has some T-shirt coming your way!

Send me a list of sizes, and a couple videos of your music, so we can be sure you’re rocking the family friendly vibe that we know and love….

If you want to reach out to me directly DO IT. dwakabayashi@bost.com (Senior Manager of Digital Marketing)

How’d you find my blog?:
You posted on our Facebook page!

Time: Friday November 11, 2011 at 6:23 pm
IP Address: 000.000.000.000
Contact Form URL: https://aixelsyd13.wordpress.com/contact/

Sent by an unverified visitor to your site.

So, of course, I wrote back…

From: Waldo Lunar <world.and.lunar.domination@gmail.com>
Date: Mon, Nov 14, 2011
Subject: Re: W(aL)D Feedback
To: engage@bostonmarket.com
Cc: dwakabayashi@bost.com

Shalom Dennis!

I see that more companies are hiring people in your position to figure out the best ways to use social media to their advantage.  What a great thing!  I have had some excellent interaction with Nate Riggs of Bob Evans.  I have even had great dealings in the past with Lori Smelt at Boston Market.

I have a goofy email sending online persona, now named Waldo Lunar… that keeps clashing with the real me.  It’s ever more impossible to separate the real from the absurd.  Ha ha.

I have asked for the T-shirt sized of the other dudes in my band, but I’m not sure if their ideals would support such blatant corporate sponsorship.  We are, after all, a punk rock band at heart.  Then again, what’s more punk rock than doing the exact opposite of what a good punk rock band should do?  Also, I’m just a Bert, so I must clear things with Ernie.

I’m not sure that the band, Ernie and the Berts, is family friendly.  Despite this perhaps somewhat misleading name… we’re prone to spew forth occasional potty humor, sexual innuendo, and movie-Tourette’s-like bouts of profanity.  Also, don’t ever eat Ernie’s soup.  This has not stopped the interest of other yet-to-be-named possible corporate sponsors.

For your review and entertainment, I do however submit the following videos:

I trust that you’ll laugh, cry, and share with friends.

I’m glad that they have someone with some wit and intelligence monitoring Facebook for Boston Market.  In 2011 (soon to be 2012), I feel that it’s extremely important for a company to use social media for important feedback regarding the perception of their brand & service.

I’m quite glad that you’re interested in the catering battle-royale!  Unfortunately, I haven’t had any takers from the Panera Bread camp.  In fact, I believe their policy is to ignore my emails from now on, or that I have been perhaps stifled by their in-house spam filtering system.  I haven’t received so much as a “thanks for your interest” or even a “please stop emailing us.”  They haven’t used Facebook to the advantage that you now have.  Although, they did reply (uninterestingly) to a tweet.  Do you perhaps have any professional colleagues at Panera that you could cajole into action?  Since Batman Movie night has come & gone, my wife & I have discussed the possibility of a Back to the Future or Indiana Jones movie night.

(I assume that your interest is in a catering battle, and not the literal scuffle for a single dollar?)

Perhaps, with the lack of interest from Panera Bread, we could involve Bob Evans?  Surely, your meal offerings are more in line with them, rather than some paltry soup and sandwiches?  How would you feel about your chances against them?  Maybe Panera needs to lie low in the media, in light of recent events that happened nearby.

You can send a goodwill token of appreciation for my new adventurous advertising ideas, if you end up using any of them.  A commission check would be nice also.  I excel in the ridiculous, but am unsure how to make a profit from such ridiculousness.  Following the model put forth by advertising within the walls of where one is currently doing business, I figured it would be OK to ask in this email.

How do you feel personally about unabashed advertising for catering service while you’re currently in the place, already spending your hard-earned dollar?  Let’s face it, at the brisket meal hovering around $10, I can go to a local diner for less and not be slapped with advertising while I sup.  I go to Boston Market for the tasty meals, (perceived) speed of service, and glittering hope of consistency.

Imagine picking up a bottle of Coca~Cola at a convenience store, and on the label, it tells you to go buy a 24 pack of cans, 2-liter, and/or six-pack of bottles.  At the moment, you’re interested in quenching your thirst… not stocking your ‘fridge or obtaining a caffeine high.  Not a perfectly parallel predicament, but food for thought nonetheless.

I would like to thank you for your interest and the response to my insanity.  I can’t wait to see how this plays out.  Can you think of any other catering battle participants?  Perhaps we can put together a rock n’ roll show rather than just a small movie night…

I’ll let you process all of this, and get back to me on your own time with your thoughts.

Excelsior!
-ERiC AiXeLsyD (a.k.a. Waldo Lunar)

Bread Soda

In this corner...

Now, how to get Panera Bread to bite?  This isn’t rhetorical.  I’m actually looking for your advice.

If you’re confused here, you may want to check these out:

New Catering Advertisement Opportunities! (for Boston Market & Panera Bread)


I’m just sayin’.

Panera Bread  - vs. -  Boston Market

Panera Bread - vs. - Boston Market

From: Waldo Lunar <world.and.lunar.domination@gmail.com>
Date: Fri, Nov 4, 2011
Subject: New Catering Advertisement Opportunities!
To: & Cc:  A bunch of Panera & Boston Market Employees

Hello friends at Boston Market & Panera Bread,

I assume that the lack of response to my last email about an all-out catering battle at my house was ill-received.  I didn’t get any interest from either camp, or even any kind of acknowledgement of my email.  Not even a coupon.  Isn’t that the typical response?  “Throw ’em a coupon!”  Color me disappointed.

No reply is rather rude, don’t you think?  Batman movie night has come & gone.  We dutifully provided a favorable dining experience to our guests thanks to an incredible local pizza shop.  Roasted red peppers as a pizza topping?  A hit all around, I tell you!  Subs with a homemade feel cut in to bite-size appetizers were also quite delicious.

I’m not sure why neither Panera Bread or Boston Market was willing to enter my catering battle royale.  It would have been an exciting opportunity for both of you.  I realize now… that you need help with forward thinking.  You missed this opportunity to advertise your catering and fight for my dollar.

I believe that I may have come around to your way of thinking.  Perhaps I need to fight for your dollar.  I previously saw advertisements on the pop machine and all over the windows as borderline obscene… but why stop at the border, friends?  Let’s trample the border, deface it on our way through, and not look back!  I have some ideas that you may find attractive.  I really look forward to your feedback.  (Don’t give me any shenanigans about unsolicited ideas and what-not, we’re all friends here.)

  • Advertising on the napkins.  You already do it on the receipts, walls, & windows.  Subway uses their napkins for nutrition information.  Show them up, advertise!  Think of all that clean wasted ad space ripe for the slinging of your delicious wares.  Were one ambitious, this could extend to the “to go” sandwich wrappings, the fancy new plates that you’re both using, and even the trays.  Hell, why not the drink cups?
  • Guerrilla advertising. You could have employees go into your parking lot at regular intervals, and put flyers under the windshield wipers of cars.  If you really wanna get crazy, try bumper stickers!  People would love decorations on their autos.
  • Me.  Send me a T-shirt that advertises your catering services.  I play in a band.  I’ll wear it to shows.  The throngs of bar patrons who rock out with me on a regular basis will be sure to flock to the nearest Panera Bread or Boston Market location.  I might be able to convince my band-mates to do the same.  If we’d like to get really crazy, may I offer to sell my forehead as a billboard?
  • Paystubs.  Your employees get paid right?  Get that money back!  Advertise your catering services on their pay-stubs, and any communications that you need to send.  There’s room on that W2 envelope for a 10% off catering coupon.
  • Right on the food itself.  This is the one that excites me the most!  You’ve seen the toasters that produce an image of Darth Vader, and the irons that brand your initials on to a steak, right?  There are also printers that print right on things like rice paper & cakes.  Why not take advantage of this technology?  Think about it.  Full color printing on wraps?  Toasty images on buns, bread, & bagels?  Delicious meat branded with confidence, demanding that you pick up a catering menu.  It’s never been done.  It’s opulent.  It’s genius.  (If I do say so myself.)

So, what do you think?  Can I help in this new advertising adventure?  These are the next steps in the evolution of promulgation.  Let’s move onward and upward, into uncharted catering promotional territory.  It will be an onslaught to the senses, and an influx in revenue for all involved.  I’m excited for this venture, and especially excited to get some feedback from everyone involved.

Excelsoir!
-Waldo Lunar
[ -YOUR AD COULD BE HERE- ]

incessant emails / incessant advertising

incessant emails / incessant advertising

Further Reading:

How tweet it is to get snubbed by you.


These guys are proving to be more fun than McDonald’s.  I present to you a Twitter play in 5 acts, as presented by Boston Market, Panera Bread, some innocent tweeter, and W(aL)D.

http://twitter.com/#!/W_a_L_D/status/132090788963287040

http://twitter.com/#!/panerabread/status/132099108910534659

http://twitter.com/#!/bostonmarket/status/131823222076354561

http://twitter.com/#!/W_a_L_D/status/132091440221265920

http://twitter.com/#!/bostonmarket/status/132142083619295232

Heh.  In other news…  Maybe McDonald’s in Atlanta is more fun:

https://twitter.com/#!/McDonaldsATL/status/132085874212085760

https://twitter.com/#!/W_a_L_D/status/132090024530419713

https://twitter.com/#!/McDonaldsATL/status/132171232266305536

https://twitter.com/#!/W_a_L_D/status/132176153325735936

advertising saturation

So, do you guys cater?


I recently had some correspondence with Panera Bread (The Great Panera Bread Swindle & Panera responds to my insanity, so I write back…), and I still have no reply to my last email.  I assume they think I’m an idiot and will not continue any further correspondence.  The experience reminded me of being bombarded with catering advertisements when I’m already at a restaurant.  I called out a few other places, but Boston Market does the same thing with the catering barrage.  I have a long history with them & letters, pre-dating my WordPress blogging days even.

At any rate, it struck me that they both seem to be fighting (or at least nagging) for catering business.  If we’re already in the store, and signed up for your mailing lists… we probably know that you will cater if needed.  How about focusing the catering advertising on local businesses around each location?

Or, I have a more interesting solution…

From: Waldo Lunar <world.and.lunar.domination@gmail.com>
Date: Wed, Aug 10, 2011
Subject: So, do you guys cater?
To: RCordova1@bost.com, isabella.contactus@panerabread.com

Ciao Colossal Catering Czars!

I can’t help but feel overwhelmed lately when I visit any of your fine establishments.  I just go there to get a meal, but you have mercilessly force-fed your catering services to me and throngs of other customers in the form of signage on the wall, window-clings, pamphlets, menus, table signage, place-mats, tweets, & emails.  I get it.  I feel like I’m in a giant commercial every time I walk into one of your previously welcoming establishments.  (Bob Evans is highly annoying with the take-out mantra too, but they’re not quite as relentless in their efforts.)  I applaud your tenacity, Panera Bread and Boston Market.  Despite your valiant and exasperating efforts, I have not yet used either of you to fill my catering needs.  In fact, I don’t have any catering needs.  I’m able to make a sandwich spread, some soup, a salad, & even prepare a holiday meal… all for less money than what you can offer, and it has the added bonus of being homemade.

Your incessant plugging of your catering service smacks of so much desperation, that it struck me with an idea.  You’re both figuratively fighting for my dollar, why not an actual fight for my dollar?  I’m not suggesting fisticuffs, although your frequency of mentioning catering services suggest that you may indeed jump right in.  I’m suggesting you each prepare a meal for a party, and I will only pay the not-quite-fast-food chain that makes the best meal.  Fight for my dollar!  Sorry, I can’t really contain my excitement at the prospect of such a tournament.  I bet we could get a reality TV show in on this.  If not, I could certainly get someone with a digital camera, and we could post the contest & the results on YouTube.  I’m sure it would go viral.  Can you imagine the bragging rights?

The judges would be those in attendance to my party.  You can certainly do your own background checks and interviews to ensure no partiality or preconceived bias.  I can even leave myself out of the proceedings, as I find you both equally annoying with the catering propaganda.  I could write up a review/summary at the end of the experience.  The only thing you would have to lose is the cost of catering a small party… but the potential to gain respect and more advertising for your catering services.  I’m enabling you, my friends.  I can feel the hunger dwelling deep within you.

I can assure you of my impartiality, as I have hosted several Chili Cook-off events at my home, and have photos to prove it.  I can provide you with copies of our ballots to show our proficiency in scoring food vs. food on several points.  We would of course have to devise a system to compare the proverbial Boston Market apples to Panera Bread oranges, but you can trust my ingenuity on the matter, and can employ a crack team of analysts.

This would be epic, my friends.  Imagine being  a pioneer in this type of event!  What would be next?  Qdoba vs. the Honey Baked Ham Co.?  The KFC bucket vs. your local grocery store’s prepared foods?  If you don’t like my idea, I may sign you up for my mailing list under the guise of getting coupons for my awesome letter-writing and ingenious idea services… only to solicit and re-solicit this very idea ad nasueam.  Using your own logic, you will have no choice but to comply!

Or, you could just have your CEO’s arrange a fist-fight in some parking lot, and I’ll literally give the winner a dollar.

Thank you for your time, I really hope that you give my idea serious consideration.  I will be ready when you say yes to the event.  We can work out the event and the details quite easily.  I actually have a “Batman movie night” coming up, and it would be great to cater that.  (Although, my wife may be making some Batman logo cookies… but we’ll make sure no one can vote for her catering services, she would most likely win hands-down with Batman cookies at a Batman movie party.)

May the best chain win!
-ERiC AiXeLsyD
Vaunted food contest professional.

Panera wrote back first…

Date: Wed, Aug 10, 2011
Subject: RE: Contact Us [Something not on this list] — MESSAGEID(288118)
To: world.and.lunar.domination@gmail.com

Dear Waldo,

Thank you for taking the time to contact Panera Bread. We are sorry to hear about your disappointment with our catering advertising. The current promotion is simply one way to let our catering customers know that the option is available. We always strive to provide a wonderful meal, great service and a welcoming environment for our all our customers and hope that you will continue to enjoy Panera Bread. I will let our Marketing decision makers know how you feel, so that your opinion will be considered.

Thanks again for contacting us. We appreciate your business and value your comments.

Sincerely,
Isabella
Customer Comment Coordinator

Oh yeah, Waldo?  With Google+ getting all crazy & stuff, I didn’t want to merge my “regular” Gmail address with the fake one, so I change the W(aL)D email name to Waldo Lunar.  So, my email comes as Waldo Lunar, but I still signed it “Eric AiXeLsyD”.

From: Waldo Lunar <world.and.lunar.domination@gmail.com>
Date: Thu, Aug 11, 2011
Subject: Re: Contact Us [Something not on this list] — MESSAGEID(288118)
To: Isabella <isabella.contactus@panerabread.com>

Thanks Isabella,

I’m glad that you understand my frustration at being pummeled with advertising, and that you’re willing to pass the sentiment along to the appropriate parties.  I applaud you for your efforts, and the swiftness with which you replied!  I’m on the fence with Panera bread due to this whole “holding the dressing” thing, and the “healthy” chicken noodle soup debacle.  I mean, those homemade-looking noodles were awesome.  The little square things lying sparsely in the greasy broth are sad little stabs into my heart.  Perhaps I must move on to the broccoli soup.

Has anyone else written to you in regards to the barrage of advertising?  More importantly — Is Panera interested in the catering “battle royale” that I proposed?  If we can get Boston Market on board, I think this will be a stellar time.  You were much more expeditious with your reply.  I trust that you believe in your brand/product enough to put it to the test?  I can try to get some TV people on board once I get confirmation from the principal parties.  I’m sure you can see from my first email that I’ve already put much thought into the logistics.  The prospect of it all has me quite excited.

Thank you once again for your time and diligent response.  Have a great day, and I hope to hear from you again soon!

Hungry,
-ERiC AiXeLsyD
Vaunted food contest professional.

I sort of got a response from Boston Market…

From: <sbrooks1@bost.com>
Date: Thu, Aug 11, 2011
Subject: Boston Market suggestion response
To: world.and.lunar.domination@gmail.com

Good Afternoon

Thank you for submitting your suggestion to our catering department. We certainly appreciate the time you took to write and do value all customer feedback. Upon receipt of this information, I will create a report and forward your comments to the Market Leader for your region and our Marketing Department for consideration.

Again thank you for your feedback

Syrenia Brooks
Guest Contact Center Specialist

Huh?  I smell a standard “please don’t bother us” email here.  I still think my idea has merit, and I want a catering throw-down.  Think I can push it any further?  I’ll certainly try.

Panera responds to my insanity, so I write back…


So after my last Panera-related post, I went a little goofy. I put a post on their Facebook wall

http://www.facebook.com/panerabread/posts/124723480954835

Found this part of that amusing:

…the corporate office (or in your case the corporate office for our franchise partner who operates bakery-cafes in the Pittsburgh area) reviews your email before contacting and working closely with the general manager to try to resolve the issue.

I also tweeted a few times…

http://twitter.com/#!/AiXeLsyD13/status/96920982714990592

http://twitter.com/#!/AiXeLsyD13/status/96949713940643841

…and got this DM from them:

Panera Breadpanerabread Hey, thx for sharing feedback through website. Sorry about your disappointing experience, our CS team is looking into & will be in touch.

Heh.

I got this email from the local general manager…

From: 3497 <panera3497@covelli.com>
To: [me]
Sent: Friday, July 29, 2011 10:50 AM
Subject: Contact Us

Dear Mr. Carroll,

I would like to introduce myself as Carrie Janota, the General Manager at the Greentree Panera Bread. I appreciate all your feedback and coaching. Your response will definitely help us with current and future training to associates, especially this time of year. The company has made several changes with menu items that you expressed in your comments. First, our turkey is now presliced so the consistency is different than when we sliced it in house. We also changed the recipe of our chicken noodle soup, which makes it all natural. Another healthy initiative we have taken is the removal of sauces on all cafe sandwiches. We offer packets of mayo and mustard at the condiment bar or you are welcomed to inform the cashier that you would like the condiments on the sandwich and we will gladly put them on for you. The “no onions” is our mistake and I would like to compensate you for a free meal next time you visit a Panera Bread. If you could please send me your address, I will gladly put the coupon in the mail for you. Again, thank you for your input, I use all issues as a learning tools for our associates.

Carrie Janota
General Manager

So, this is what I wrote back to them…

-餧馕馒-

Thank you Ms. Janota,

You certainly can address me as “Eric”, not “Mr. Carroll”. I appreciate your incredibly rapid and well-stated response to my experience yesterday. I was going out of my mind in disbelief. I would suggest that Panera spend more time asking/telling customers about changes, and less time advertising your catering services. I mean, really… on the pop machine, you’re advertising the catering service? What about a nice big poster that says… “WARNING: WE CHANGED THE TASTY NOODLES IN THAT SOUP THAT YOU LIKE, THE MEAT ON OUR SANDWICHES, AND HAVE DECIDED TO FORGO MUSTARD.” (Or even a nice traditional Coke or Pepsi logo?)

Boston Market is annoying/obnoxious with advertising their catering too. I get it. You guys cater. I know this. I’m here for dinner. You don’t need to advertise for a place that I’m already in. Imagine going into Walmart & seeing a sign in every aisle that advertises the stuff in the next aisle. This could get quote old quite quickly.

  • Attn: Panera – I don’t host any lunch parties or have a need for sandwich rings.
  • Attn: Boston Market – I can cook my own Thanksgiving/Christmas dinner.
  • Attn: Bob Evans – I can handle making my own lasagna or meatloaf.
  • Attn: Chick-fil-A – The only thing I’d do with a tray full of nuggets is eat them all myself.
Since you took the time to write, and you’re obviously concerned and well-written, I’d like to address my concerns & the new issues raised more specifically.

The Onion
– This is not a big deal. I generally don’t even say anything & just take the onion off myself. This is the first time I was ever asked “Lettuce, tomato, & onion?” in a Panera. So, I said “Lettuce & tomato, no onion please.” This is the only reason I took note. It also said on my receipt “NO ONION” – so the cashier took the effort to note it, and the sandwich-maker had to read & ignore it. Just odd. Again, this is nothing that should ruin one’s day.

The Turkey – I call shenanigans. Any foodie will tell you there’s a world of difference between lunch-meat turkey and the freshly-sliced real thing. Why would Panera decide to sacrifice quality like this? Does it save time? Does it save money? Certainly it can’t be healthier… isn’t pre-packaged lunch-meat loaded with salt & preservatives? Imagine my surprise upon looking at my $6 half-sandwich full of lunch-meat where I had expected (and previously received) actual turkey. Where was my warning of this upon ordering? I certainly didn’t get the proverbial memo here. At least there’s no confirmation of turkeys with gold nuggets in their gizzards and fine wine in their gullets. Although, I didn’t get a staunch denial.

The Lettuce & Tomato – Are Panera employees encouraged to look at the ingredients before placing them on sandwiches? Really, that’s all that would be needed to prevent the placement of brown lettuce & green tomatoes. A general rule of thumb could be “If you were going to make yourself a sandwich, would you use this?”

The lack of any condiments – Again, list this in the “things that would be nice to know before I placed my order, or at the very least as I was placing my order” category. I liked the previous dressing/sauce whatever you want to call it, and it was certainly different from the straight mayo or spicy brown mustard available by the drinks (& catering advertisement). Is this really a “healthy” option or a money-saving option? I’m reminded of the “removing one olive from every salad” story with American Airlines. It saved them a rumored $40,000. I imagine all of this no-more-condiments stuff adding up to a HUGE savings for Panera… but my sandwich didn’t get cheaper, did it? No passing along the savings? (I think Steak ‘n’ Shake has done this too… their salads used to be nice-sized with cherry tomatoes… now they’re small & have tomato slices.)

The mysterious thumbprint – The noted lack of condiments has me even more concerned about the yellow thumbprint that was on the top of my sandwich. I had just assumed it was some of the condiment that was supposed to go on the inside. I ripped this portion out of the top of my sandwich before eating, to the bewilderment of my eye-rolling yet tolerant-to-my-neuroses wife. This leads me to wonder what the yellow stuff on my sandwich was… if not mustard, was it some of her broccoli cheddar soup? If so, this is incredibly alarming because it could have easily been clam chowder… and I’m highly allergic to shellfish. How is soup on the sandwich board or my sandwich when it wasn’t even my soup? I suggest you educate your employees on allergens & cross-contamination. Barring all that… it’s just a little gross. That could have been a big yellow booger for all I know.

The healthy soup – Pardon me if I laugh at the “all natural” expression. While I understand the meaning, visions of a supernatural soup come to mind. Was the prior soup possessed by demons? The noodles certainly were homemade-looking and delicious. Were they the result of a tasty pact with the devil or an ancient spell? Did the ingredients float into the bowl themselves? I don’t know what the tiny paper-thin pasta squares in the new soup are, but they are a Ford Focus to the previous soup’s BMW 7 Series. They’re not whole-grain pasta, are they? I hate whole-grain pasta. If this soup was a state, the broth were the land-mass and the chicken bits & noodle-like squares were people… it would be Alaska or Wyoming. Do you see what I’m saying? (Actually, the noodles might be the people, and the chicken may be an endangered species living within that state… but I’ve already pushed that metaphor too far.) I’m not entirely sure if this is the fault of the soup-ladeler or the soup recipe. As far as healthy vs. tasty in soup, I suggest you look up news articles related to Campbell’s. They’re putting salt back into soup to boost sales. I see from your corporate Facebook page that this is apparently an issue that has ruffled some feathers. Perhaps a shift back is in order?

The rusty knife – Poop happens. Have the dishwasher look over some stuff. I’d throw out the rusty ones. This rust was quite prominent on the handle of the butter knife, in the details of the design.


Thank you for your time, I hope you can use my input to your advantage… for your team, and perhaps passed on to a corporate level. I’d like to respectfully decline a free meal. I don’t write these sort of emails in order to get free food… and I’m skeptical of any coupons/certificates flagging me as “oh, here’s that guy”. I may even be done with Panera bread for a while. Bedsides the potentially scary cross-contamination and general utensil-cleanliness issues, our philosophies don’t seem to mesh well. I don’t need you to make health decisions for me, I need you to give me quality meals at the prices you demand. Your new more healthy less tasty soup and lack of condiments disturbs me, and apparently your quality standards aren’t the same as mine at your current menu prices.

I’d suggest taking some of the money saved from condiment rationing, smaller noodles, & catering advertising… and funneling it into a survey system to find out what your consumers want, or at the very least making signs or T-shirts that say “We’re holding the mustard unless you tell us not to!” or “New soup! Less noodles & chicken, but no ghosts!” It would also be money well spent on allergy training or buying new non-rusty silverware. Do you have any corporate contacts whom with I could perhaps take up this discussion?


Supernatural soup supporter,
-Eric

?sretac arenaP taht wonk uoy diD .seitilibasid gninrael fo nuf ekam ot ynnuf ton yllaer s’tI

-餧馕馒-

I for one can’t wait for a reply.

Panera Bread (Scott Twp. Greentree Road) on Urbanspoon