Chick-fil-A CARES


I told you there were more!

Somewhat humorously, the slowest responses from Chick-fil-A have been from the webform & customer service email address.  I pulled out all the stops in tracking down & emailing every available Chick-fil-A email address, because you never know if you’re going to get a response from some companies.

I started with the webform:

From:world.and.lunar.domination@gmail.com
To:Chick-fil-A.CARES@p67ix100.na.ko.co
CC:
Sent: 02/07/11
Subject: Chick-fil-A Web Form Message

Hello,

I have a photo that I’d like to send with comments.  Do you have an email that I may write to directly without the cumbersome contact form?

Thank you for your time,
-ERiC AiXeLsyD

And I got this reply…

From: Chick-fil-A CARES <chickfilacares@na.ko.com>
Date: Fri, Feb 18, 2011
Subject: Chick-fil-A Response
To: world.and.lunar.domination@gmail.com

Dear Mr. AiXeLsyD: 

 

Thank you for taking the time to contact Chick-fil-A.  You are very important to us, and we appreciate your inquiry regarding submission of a photo.  We hope the following information will be helpful.

Thank you for wanting to share this photo with us. If you will respond to this email and attach the photograph, then we will receive and submit to Marc Osborne, Operator of the Robinson location.

Again, thank you for your time and interest in Chick-fil-A.

Sincerely,

Margaret
Chick-fil-A CARES
Chick-fil-A…We Didn’t Invent The Chicken,
Just The Chicken Sandwich.
On the Web at www.chick-fil-a.com

P.S.  Please retain your ticket number.  This will help us locate your information should you need us again.

{ticketno:[8000257615]}

So, I sent them this:

From: ERiC AiXeLsyD <world.and.lunar.domination@gmail.com>
Date: Sun, Feb 20, 2011 at 5:55 PM
Subject: Re: Chick-fil-A Response
To: Chick-fil-A CARES <chickfilacares@na.ko.com>

Hello & thanks for the email!

My original comments & the photo referenced are attached.

Can’t wait to hear from you!  (Oddly enough… the absolute 1st to reply to my email was Dan Cathy himself!  The webform is quite slow in comparison to emailing Mr. Cathy directly.)

Rock on!

-E.

No response so far.

But, I did email the original message to chickfilacares@na.ko.com just to see if I got a response.  I did.

From: Chick-fil-A CARES <chickfilacares@na.ko.com>
Date: Fri, Feb 18, 2011
Subject: Chick-fil-A Response
To: world.and.lunar.domination@gmail.com

Dear Mr. Aixelsyd:

Thank you for taking the time to contact Chick-fil-A. We are grateful that you provided your encouraging comments regarding our tasty food, the friendly customer service and our Cow Campaign.

I would like to assure you that your thoughtful message has been shared with the appropriate parties at Chick-fil-A.

Again, thank you for your time and interest in Chick-fil-A.  We are grateful to know that you love Chick-fil-A, and we look forward to serving you in the future.

Sincerely,

Margaret
Chick-fil-A CARES
Chick-fil-A…We Didn’t Invent The Chicken,
Just The Chicken Sandwich.
On the Web at www.chick-fil-a.com

P.S.  Please retain your ticket number.  This will help us locate your information should you need us again.

{ticketno:[8000257737]}

I wonder if Margaret realizes that she wrote back to the same nutjob twice?

Chick-fil-A is so freakin’ polite.


You read my post, (The not so) Holy Cow!, right?  Well, I’ve gotten a few more replies from within the Chick-fil-A organization.  While none are as cool as getting one from Dan Cathy himself, they’re all amusing in that they won’t quite mention that the cow’s front leg totally looked like a penis.

I emailed a bunch of random Chick-fil-A email addresses that I was able to find via Google, and soem local places.  This was the first response after Mr. Cathy:

From: Circle Centre Mall <circle.center.mall@chick-fil-a.com>
Date: Tue, Feb 8, 2011
Subject: RE: “SPICEE CHIKIN BISKITZ” Alarm Clock Table Ad
To: ERiC AiXeLsyD <world.and.lunar.domination@gmail.com>
Eric,

I’m actually in a mall. The marketing material in question is not in use at our store so I hadn’t seen it.

Interesting observation!

Not sure what feedback you’d received from others, but, at least for me, it hasn’t been an issue.

Thanks for being a Fan of Chick-fil-A!

Sam

So, basically… “It wasn’t me!”  But, “Interesting observation!” must mean, “Wow, that does look like a penis!”

I wrote back to Sam, but have yet to receive any more correspondence from him:

From: ERiC AiXeLsyD <world.and.lunar.domination@gmail.com>
Date: Wed, Feb 16, 2011
Subject: Re: “SPICEE CHIKIN BISKITZ” Alarm Clock Table Ad
To: Circle Centre Mall <circle.center.mall@chick-fil-a.com>

Thanks Sam,

I found them amusing.  I did only hear back from the local Chick-fil-A, and interestingly enough directly form Dan Cathy himself.  Now, that’s customer service!

Watch out for over-excited cows, my friend!

-ERiC

Then, I had a nice exchange with local Chick-fil-A employee Rebecca Thornsbury, whom I have contacted before:

From: Chick-fil-A South Hills <cfasouthhills@gmail.com>
Date: Mon, Feb 14, 2011
Subject: Re: “SPICEE CHIKIN BISKITZ” Alarm Clock Table Ad
To: ERiC AiXeLsyD <world.and.lunar.domination@gmail.com>

Hello Eric.  Thank you for the feedback.  I sent your email onto our Creative Team within Marketing at our Corporate Office.  They emailed back today that they received it and will look into it.  Also thank you for the nice compliments.

We really appreciate you being a fan of Chick-fil-A.

Talk to you soon,

Rebecca Thornsberry
Marketing Director

Chick-fil-A at South Hills
1620 Washington Road
Pittsburgh, PA 15241
Store- 412-833-1165
Cell- 412-443-5534
www.chick-fil-a.com/southhills

They really are always happy for the compliments of my first email.   I wrote back to my new old friend…

From: ERiC AiXeLsyD <world.and.lunar.domination@gmail.com>
Date: Wed, Feb 16, 2011
Subject: Re: “SPICEE CHIKIN BISKITZ” Alarm Clock Table Ad
To: Chick-fil-A South Hills <cfasouthhills@gmail.com>

Hello Rebecca,

I haven’t heard form the creative team in marketing at the corporate office yet, but I did get an email from Mr. Dan Cathy himself!  That’s what I call service!

I would be interested to see if anyone else saw the same thing I did.  Maybe it’s more like a Rorschach test for a dirty mind, and I’m the odd man out.  Although, my wife saw the same thing.

I’m glad you like the compliments, and can assure you that they’re well-deserved!  I didn’t hear back from the Robinson CFA, but that’s where we saw the humorous (or amorous?) cow clock.  Your store is generally much cleaner and more pleasant… so a response from you & not from them isn’t a surprise.

Just writing this email I’m already hungry for some chicken nuggets.

Thanks for writing!
-ERiC

I’m telling you, it looks like a penis.

From: Chick-fil-A South Hills <cfasouthhills@gmail.com>
Date: Thu, Feb 17, 2011
Subject: Re: “SPICEE CHIKIN BISKITZ” Alarm Clock Table Ad
To: ERiC AiXeLsyD <world.and.lunar.domination@gmail.com>

Hello Eric.  It is nice to hear that Dan Cathy wrote you.  Chick-fil-A is a great company and cares about what the customers think.  I am not sure if the Marketing Team will be writing you or not.  When they emailed me back, they said they would pass it along to the creative people and make note of it.

We have had no one else mention anything about the clocks.  A lot of the kids that eat in our restaurant really liked them and moms asked if they could take them home.  I had mentioned in my feedback to Chick-fil-A that it was a hard table topper because people moved the arms around and then they broke very easily.

Thanks again for the feedback and we’ll see you soon!

Rebecca Thornsberry
Marketing Director

Chick-fil-A at South Hills
1620 Washington Road
Pittsburgh, PA 15241
Store- 412-833-1165
Cell- 412-443-5534
www.chick-fil-a.com/southhills

“Mom, can I take home the cow alarm clock where his arm is swinging around from his waist?  Sure, one arm broke off, but that’s OK.  It just needs the one.”

Although, it does seem that Dan Cathy is a swell guy.  I wonder when he’s going to be on that Undercover Boss show?  A PR team needs to put him to work with a gay Chick-fil-A employee.

I have a few more, but I’ll save them for another post.

 

Al Armcock

Al Armcock

(The not so) Holy Cow!


Have you tried any of the new SPICEE CHIKIN… or spicy chicken options?  They’re pretty good if you’re into that sort of thing.  I’ve blogged about Chick-fil-A before, specifically the South Hills location.  CFA is has a great product, amusing promotion (unless you’re a vegan I’d guess), and seems to be a great company if you can get around the whole “maybe they’re too nice to anti-gay groups” thing.

My wife & I had lunch at the Chick-fil-A in Robinson this past weekend, and we found the on-table advertisements for the Spicy Chicken Biscuit breakfast sandwich to be quite amusing for all the wrong reasons.  I decided to write to Chick-fil-A to see what they thought, my email and the attached photo below:

From: ERiC AiXeLsyD <world.and.lunar.domination@gmail.com>
Date: Mon, Feb 7, 2011
Subject: “SPICEE CHIKIN BISKITZ” Alarm Clock Table Ad
To: promotions@chick-fil-a.com

Ciao Chicken Czars!

I am a BIG fan of Chick-fil-A.  Your chicken sandwiches & nuggets Can. Not. Be. Beat.  Seriously, I don’t know what you do with that breading… but it’s Chick-fan-Tastic.  They honey mustard dip?  Incredible (or as a cow may say, “INKREDIBULL”).  Your chicken noodle soup is my go-to soup when I’m not feeling well and there’s no time for my wife to make some homemade.  Your sweet tea is simple, yet addictive.  We have stopped at the mall units just for tea while we walk around to shop, and we’ve gone through FSU drive-troughs at times just to get sweet tea and nothing else.  The cleanliness of your stores is mostly always impeccable, and the courteousness?  Genius.  I mean, “my pleasure” instead of “you’re welcome” is such a simple thing… but it makes such a huge difference in the overall attitude.  It puts Chick-fil-A far above any other fast food chain in the customer service category.  The in-store events, fund-raising, promotions, use of social media like Facebook, Twitter & texting?  Savvy indeed!  The first fast food joints in my area to use the new space-age Heinz ketchup packets?  Innovative!

I even love the cows.  I have a small stuffed one near my PC at home.  I have had my photo taken with more than one in-store cow.  They’re such unlikely mascots for a chicken restaurant of all places… but it works.  I have always wondered about their spelling though… are you trying to imply that eating beef makes you stupid?  Well, that’s not the main point of my email, or why I’m reaching out to you today, comrades.  I would like to talk about the spicy chicken (or “spicee chikin”) cow though, specifically the one in the attached photo taken while eating lunch at Chick-fil-A this past Saturday.

While I get that the cows “arms” are supposed to be the clock hands, I feel that sadly the placement of said arms is quite unfortunate.  Maybe I just have a dirty mind, but as I laughed at it and took a photo my wife giggled and rolled her eyes knowing what I was thinking.  Maybe the advertising department should re-think this one?  I mean, my arms certainly don’t spin around at waist level.  Do yours?  The shoulders ought to be placed at the center of the clock face in future cow “clok” (also in this case perhaps an unfortunate way to misspell clock) table displays.  I posted the photo on Facebook and the general consensus was that it most definitely didn’t remind people of an arm.  I think that if this cow were walking around with something protruding from that area, he may get arrested for indecent exposure.  I mean, I get excited over Chick-fil-A too, but not that excited!

I just wanted to write and hear your thoughts on the matter.  I’m curious to know if anyone else has picked up on the naughty firefighting cow.  “Spicee” indeed!  Thank you for your time, I anxiously look forward to your reply.

EAT MOR CHIKIN,
-ERiC AiXeLsyD

 

Al Armcock

Al Armcock

Heh.  Well, I thought it was funny.  So did people on Facebook apparently.  I mean, it jumped out right away.  Maybe we have dirty minds… maybe it really does look like a giant cow penis.  It’s certainly inappropriately placed for an “arm” if nothing else.

Knowing Chick-fil-A’s history as a company, I had to see if someone would respond to this.  Maybe it’s a secret shout out to gay employees and customers that they’re supporting them.  I mean, the fireman outfit and the giant appendage?

I have proof that Chick-fil-A is the best company ever.  Dan Cathy, the President and Chief Operating Officer of the company himself wrote back to me, and he was the first to reply.  I mean, he wrote back before any of the local full service units!

From: Dan T. Cathy <DAN.CATHY@chick-fil-a.com>
Date: Mon, Feb 7, 2011
Subject: Re: “SPICEE CHIKIN BISKITZ” Alarm Clock Table Ad
To: ERiC AiXeLsyD <world.and.lunar.domination@gmail.com>

Thanks Eric for your kind comments; delighted to have your business and support.

I have passed along your email to members of our marketing department.  Valid observations; we’ll be a little more careful next time!

Dan T. Cathy

It’s a serious reply to me just goofing around (I mean, really… the attached file is named “Al_Armcock.jpg”), but there is no one above Mr. Cathy in the CFA organization, and he took the time to reply to my dumb email!  I could have gone goofy.  Maybe I didn’t go goofy enough.  At any rate, this has to be the best answer to an email ever.  No “I’m sorry” coupons, no form letter, no blow-off.  It was a short reply drawing attention to the matter, saying it will be dealt with, and a ridiculously perfect example of customer service… from the President of the company who I’m sure has much more important things to do.  McDonald’s, Subway, Burger King, and the rest of you … take note!  This is customer service.

I wonder if I’ll hear back from anyone else that I emailed, or from the marketing department now?  This just rules.  Ha ha.

A.J. Jacobs – The Year of Living Biblically


While browsing the humor section at Borders the other day, I had more than a few books in my hands, and kept putting them back.  Then, I went over to the general reference section.  I also had 3 or 4 books in my hand there.  Then I put them back.

Generally, I’m a sucker for books filled with useless information in short bursts.  I like to read before I go to bed, and I generally find it hard to put down something that has a continuous story.

Do Ants Have Assholes?: And 106 of the World’s Other Most Important Questions is one that is definitely in my mental checklist of books to grab on one of the next few trips.

I finally wt back to humor & picked up The Year of Living Biblically by A.J. Jacobs.  I’ve had it in my hand before, but I’ve always put it back.  My friend Joel visited while we were at camp and actually recommended that I get my hands on this one.

Boy, am I glad that I got this one.  I’m not too far in, but so far the imagery that Jacobs puts forth surrounding his quest (or struggle?) is hilarious.  I have a feeling that not only is the book going to get even more funny, but I think there will be a warm-fuzzy feeling at the end.  Ha ha.

From the book itself:

Everyone – family, friends, co-workers – had the same concern: That I’d go native. That I’d end up as a beekeeper at a monastery or I’d move into my ex-uncle Gil’s spare room in his Jerusalem apartment.

In a sense, they were right to worry. You can’t immerse yourself in religion for 12 months and emerge unaffected. At least I couldn’t. Put it this way: If my former self and my current self met for coffee, they’d get along okay, but they’d both probably walk out of the Starbucks shaking their heads and saying to themselves, “That guy is kinda delusional.”

As someone who was brought up in church, but who also appreciates things like logic… this book really hit home with me.  Around Jr. high, I started driving some more straight-laced ministers insane with questions.  Not long after that, I found the ones with a healthy sense of humor and realism that helped me see where religion can fit into an everyday normal existence without being overbearing or ridiculous.

A.J. comes at the subject as an agnostic but with a  healthy respect for the process.  He recognizes the good in religion along with the insanity.  He points out the insanity and makes it humorous without mocking.  That has got to be a difficult thing to do.

His visits with an Amish family, and we learn that some Amish have deadpan humor down to a science.  He has an Orthodox Jewish clothing fiber inspector come to his house to make sure that his clothing isn’t made of mixed fibers.  (Yeah, that’s actually in the bible.)  I’m anxious to see who we visit next.

I can’t wait to finish this book, and already recommend it to anyone who has ever wondered about all those crazy rules… or all those crazy Christians/Jews/[Insert religion here].  I’m definitely going to pick up Know it All soon too.

Papal Participation in Lenten Lunacy


A while ago, I decided to write a goofy letter to the Pope about shellfish & Lent.  It was surprisingly very easy to find the Pope’s email address online.  I wrote an email, and again got some editing/revision help from Dave, and sent it off to the Pontiff himself.  Here’s that email…

from ERiC AiXeLsyD <world.and.lunar.domination@gmail.com>
to benedictxvi@vatican.va
subject My struggles with Lent & dietary concerns…
mailed-by gmail.com

Good Day Your Holiness,

I was pleasantly surprised at how easy it is to find your email address with a quick Google search! I find it fascinating as well as endearing that you make yourself so accessible to the world, and embrace this new technology. I’m not sure if this is monitored and directed by yourself, or your trusted staff, but either way… I salute your effort. Also, I’m not sure if this would need to go through translators, or not. Perhaps I should use Google translator and post the results after my message in English?

I’m sure you are quite a busy man, especially in preparation for the upcoming Easter holiday, so I will try to make my point as succinctly as possible.

I would like to express my frustrations with the Lent season and the proliferation of seafood specials on Fridays at nearly every restaurant where I would otherwise be happy to dine. You see, I have a severe shellfish allergy, this makes dining out an adventure under normal circumstances. During Lent, restaurants that normally have minimal or no shellfish selections seem to produce them out of nowhere. This really hampers my ability to dine out comfortably, if at all.

With any cross-contamination, I can go into anaphylactic shock almost immediately. This means if I have a steak or piece of chicken that touches a grill where some lobster was just cooked, or if I have onion rings from the same fryer that was also cooking shrimp; I would begin the process with an internal itching/burning sensation in my Eustachian tube and rapidly closing bronchi.

I would like to ask if you could perhaps add shellfish (and possibly even regular fish) to the list of recommendations of things that one ought to give up in observation of lent. They are part of the “big 8” allergens in the world today. It would really help out a lot of followers & non-followers out there, being able to dine during the Lenten season in complete comfort! I figured that as the Pope, you’re in the best position to propose and act upon a movement of such magnitude.

You might even be able to offer up an explanation at why people have been eating fish for the lent season for so long, now that it’s no longer really an inconvenience. This would be in line with your call to return to stricter Christian values, no? Perhaps it would dispel the rumors that the Catholic Church of yore was in league with a local fishmonger and pushed fish on lent solely (pun intended – would that pun translate well into German? See, “sole” is a type of fish, and is also the root word to “solely” meaning singular…) to raise profits for the fishmonger, who in turn would up the amount of his tithe to the church. I can only assume that this is a rumor, as I find different versions of the tale on the internet, and no real concrete evidence to back any of the allegations.

I’m not Catholic myself, but am a Protestant (United Church of Christ, more specifically). I would say that in recent times we’re “on the same team” though, wouldn’t you agree? Perhaps Peter didn’t intend to include shellfish when he repealed the laws of clean and unclean animals put forth in Leviticus? Perhaps something was lost in translation?

I have one final idea. For Lent, all devout Christians ought to revert to a strict kosher diet. This would certainly strengthen ties with our Jewish friends and put more emphasis on the kind of Passover meal that Jesus would have had with his disciples at the last supper. I would think that this is wholly appropriate for this time of year, and it certainly helps me with my dining problem. Perhaps I ought to just convert and stick to kosher delis and grocery stores? Ha ha ha.

I would like to thank you for your time, and truly cannot wait to hear your thoughts on the subject at hand. I also look forward to a possible continued dialog about faith, shellfish, and allergies.

Humbly,
-Eric

Google translation:

Guten Tag Eure Heiligkeit,

Ich war angenehm überrascht, wie einfach es ist, Ihre E-Mail-Adresse mit einem schnelle Google-Suche finden! Ich finde es faszinierend wie liebenswert, dass Sie sich so der Welt zugänglich zu machen, und die neue Technologie. Ich bin mir nicht sicher, ob dies überwacht wird und von Ihnen selbst gerichtet, oder Ihren Mitarbeitern vertrauen, aber so oder so … Ich begrüße Ihre Bemühungen. Also, ich bin nicht sicher, ob diese müssten durch Übersetzer, oder nicht. Vielleicht sollte ich Google-Übersetzer zu wenden, und nach den Ergebnissen nach meiner Nachricht in Englisch?

Ich bin sicher, Sie haben völlig ein viel beschäftigter Mann, vor allem im Hinblick auf die bevorstehenden Osterferien, also werde ich versuchen, meinen Standpunkt ebenso knapp wie möglich zu machen.

Ich möchte meinen Frust mit der Fastenzeit und der Verbreitung von Meeresfrüchte-Spezialitäten am Freitag um fast jedem Restaurant, wo ich nicht anders ausdrücken würde sich freuen, zu speisen. Sehen Sie, ich einen schweren Schalentiere Allergie haben, das macht einem Dinner ein Abenteuer unter normalen Umständen. In der Fastenzeit, Restaurants, die normalerweise keine oder eine minimale Auswahl Muscheln scheinen zu ihrer Herstellung aus dem Nichts. Dies behindert wirklich meine Fähigkeit zu speisen sich behaglich, wenn überhaupt.

Mit eine Kreuzkontamination kann ich in einen anaphylaktischen Schock gehen fast sofort. Dies bedeutet, wenn ich ein Steak oder ein Stück Huhn berührt haben, dass ein Grill, wo einige Hummer nur gekocht wurde, oder wenn ich Zwiebelringe aus der gleichen Friteuse das war auch das Kochen Garnelen, ich würde den Prozess mit einem internen Juckreiz begin / Brennen in meiner Tuba und schnell schließen Bronchien.

Ich möchte fragen, ob Sie vielleicht könnten Muscheln (und möglicherweise sogar regelmäßig Fisch) in die Liste der Empfehlungen der Dinge, die man aufgeben, in der Beobachtung der Fastenzeit soll hinzuzufügen. Sie sind Teil der “Big 8” Allergene in der heutigen Welt. Es wäre wirklich sehr helfen, von Anhängern und nicht-Anhänger gibt, in der Lage, die während der Fastenzeit im kompletten Komfort zu speisen! Ich dachte, wie der Papst, Sie in der besten Position zu schlagen und die Reaktion auf eine Bewegung von solcher Tragweite sind.

Man könnte sogar in der Lage sein Angebot bis auf eine Erklärung, warum Menschen wurden Verzehr von Fisch für die Fastenzeit so lange, jetzt, da es nicht mehr wirklich ein Nachteil. Dies stünde im Einklang mit Ihren Anruf, um strengere christlichen Werte zurückgeben, nicht wahr? Vielleicht wäre es die Gerüchte, dass die katholische Kirche von einst wurde in der Liga mit einem örtlichen Fischhändler und schob Fisch auf nur geliehen (pun intended zerstreuen – wäre das Wortspiel auch ins Deutsche zu übersetzen? See, “allein” ist eine Art von Fisch, und ist auch die Wurzel Wort “ausschließlich” bedeutet Singular …), um Gewinne für die Fischhändler, der seinerseits würde die Höhe seiner Zehnten der Kirche zu erheben. Ich kann nur annehmen, dass dies ein Gerücht ist, wie ich verschiedene Versionen der Geschichte im Internet zu finden, und keine wirkliche konkrete Beweise vorzulegen, um die Behauptungen zurück.

Ich bin nicht katholisch mich, aber ich bin ein Protestant (United Church of Christ, genauer gesagt). Ich würde sagen, dass in der letzten Zeit sind wir “auf der gleichen Mannschaft” aber nicht würden Sie zustimmen? Vielleicht Peter hatte nicht vor, Schalentiere, wenn er aufgehoben den Gesetzen der reinen und unreinen Tieren setzte sich weiter in Levitikus enthalten? Vielleicht etwas in der Übersetzung verloren?

Ich habe noch eine letzte Idee. Für die Fastenzeit, die alle gläubigen Christen sollten eine strenge koschere Ernährung zurückzukehren. Dies würde sicherlich zur Stärkung der Beziehungen mit unseren jüdischen Freunden und legen mehr Gewicht auf die Art des Passah-Mahl, das Jesus mit seinen Jüngern beim letzten Abendmahl hätte. Ich würde denken, das ist ganz angemessen für diese Zeit des Jahres, und es sicherlich hilft mir bei meinem Esszimmer Problem. Vielleicht sollte ich erst konvertieren und halten Sie sich Feinkostläden und Lebensmittelgeschäften koscher? Ha ha ha.

Ich möchte Ihnen für Ihre Zeit danken und kann wirklich nicht warten, bis Sie Ihre Meinung zu diesem Thema an die Hand zu hören. Ich freue mich auch auf einen möglichen weiteren Dialog über den Glauben, Muscheln und Allergien.

Demütig
-Eric

Yes, that’s a crudely copy n’ pasted Google translation, and I have no idea if it made any sense at all in German.  Judging by some of the bounce-backs that I received, it may have been stopped by some SPAM filters.

As expected, it went a couple of weeks without a response, so I looked up some other addresses at the Vatican, and for national & local Catholic organizations, and wrote this little forward to send to a bunch of them, along with the original email…

Hello Friends,

I recently sent an email to Pope Benedict XVI regarding some allergy concern issues that I have surrounding Lent, and possible modification of policies on the Church’s policy of not eating meat on Fridays.

I realize that the Pope is probably the busiest man in the world.  He is the head of an organization that transcends many country, political, and cultural borders… and he has many important duties, most especially in this holy time of year.

I was wondering if you would perhaps be able to direct me to someone who would be better suited to open a dialogue about my concerns noted below?

Thank you for your time, and thank you in advance for your help!
-Eric

Finally, we have a response, and not surprisingly, it’s from someone at a local level…

from Gretz, Rev James R <jgretz@diopitt.org>
to world.and.lunar.domination@gmail.com
cc “Bielewicz, Vy Rev Harry R.” <hbielewicz@diopitt.org>,
“Wagner, Laura L” <lwagner@diopitt.org>
date Wed, Mar 10, 2010 at 1:15 PM
subject My struggles with Lent & dietary concerns…
mailed-by diopitt.org

Eric,

Peace and greetings to you.  Your letter sent to many in the Diocesan Offices eventually came to me as the Director of the Department for Worship.  I will attempt to answer your concerns as best as possible.

It is wonderful that our Holy Father is accessible via the internet.  He did recently challenge priests and the Church to better use electronic media for reaching out to people.  Thus my email response to you!

While I am not in marketing, I do see the proliferation of restaurants attempting to make a profit with the “target audience” each Lenten Season.  I guess that’s how business works.  At the same time, I do sympathize with your allergy plight.  Personally, I do not suffer with allergies, however, my late mother had one to lactose and it was very difficult to take her out to dinner.  I know of others who suffer with “celiac-sprue” – the allergy to gluten and wheat products.  That too is a horrible cross to bear.  My mother and the others solved it by frequenting only the restaurants that would gladly serve their needs.  I would suggest the same.

The discipline of abstinence, refraining from meat products, actually has an ancient history.  I too know of the truly legendary stories of fishmongers and their unions, if you will!  However, the discipline goes back to an extant document of the early Second Century known as the “Didache” or “The Lord’s Instruction to the Twelve Apostles”.  You mentioned the kosher diet.  So, yes, when we think of Jewish people, that dietary style comes to mind.  That was the intent of the Didache.  The early Church wanted to have their own dietary laws to make them distinctive as well, hence abstinence, especially on Friday, the day our Lord died for us, so that we too might suffer a little with Him.  That is our mark on the world, if you will.  I seem to recall that the US Conference of Catholic Bishops back in the 1990’s was discussing this discipline and perhaps returning it to all Fridays of the year.  The objection was that since many are refraining from red meat in general and more people are vegans, what does abstinence mean to the modern world?  Of course, the discipline remains for the Lenten Season, however, it is good to dream as to what the modern version of abstinence might be….

Which, then, leads me to your final thoughts about adopting the kosher diet for Lent.  Actually, if all people really embraced the meaning of the Lenten Season – a time for conversion and returning to the Lord – we would definitely have a much better world.

If you have any additional questions, do not hesitate to contact me.  Until then, I remain,

Sincerely yours in Christ,
Rev. James R. Gretz

Rev. James R. Gretz, M.Div., M.T.S.
Director, Department for Worship
Diocesan Master of Ceremonies
Roman Catholic Diocese of Pittsburgh

2900 Noblestown Rd.
Pittsburgh, PA  15205
voice: 412-456-3041
fax: 412-456-3163

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Someone took this letter quite seriously!  I wonder if I’ll hear from anyone else… and I’m wondering how to continue form this point on.  It certainly is fun to see my W(aL)D insanity taken seriously.  It is fun to know that I got a response.  No offense intended here, but I always viewed the Catholic Church as a little “stuffy”.  Maybe they’re mellowing out in this digital age?