Patience is a virtue. Totino’s pushes the boundaries of scientific research thanks to me.


arrange the rolls in a circle on a plate

“arrange the rolls in a circle on a plate”

Oh man.  Does anyone remember my W(aL)D email shenanigans from a decade ago?

One such adventure was writing to Totino’s to ask if they had recommendations for microwaving more than 6 at a time.  They wrote back.  I asked them if I needed to arrange the rolls like wagon wheel spokes or like wagons on the Oregon Trail circling for protection.  I even got some 35¢ coupons that I considered as a research grant.

Have you noticed pizza roll cooking instructions lately?

I won! Information for the people! Research to benefit the masses!

Really though.  This brings up a new series of questions.

When did just arranging in “a single layer become” acceptable?  Who does Totino’s think they are discarding the time-honored tradition of microwaving things in a circle?  Did we learn nothing from our ancestors at Stonehenge?  Did they consult the Softstix team over at SuperPretzel, or just roll forward (pun still intended) with wild abandon?  How do you summon the flavor spirits without the ceremonial circle?

Has the Fibonacci spiral ever been tested as a cooking pattern?  Can Ci3 make me a plate specifically for microwaving pizza rolls and little cheese-filled pretzels with the Fibonacci spiral on it?

Totino's Pizza Roll Microwave Instructions

Go to Best Buy and set all the alarms to go off, right now.


Did you read the email that I sent to them?

I see this email reply as an (incredibly boring) invitation to go in to your local Best Buy & monkey around with everything.  Especially the alarm clocks.  Does Best Buy even sell alarm clocks any more?  If they do, do set them all to go off at weird intervals after hours… or even 10 or 15 minutes before they close.  If they’re clock radios, put them on the classical station or talk radio.  Do it on the demo cell phones if you can too.

This was their only [yawn] reply:

From: online.communities <online.communities@bestbuy.com>
Date: Fri, Jun 8, 2012 at 12:05 PM
Subject: RE: A Formal Apology
To: Waldo Lunar <world.and.lunar.domination@gmail.com>

Hello,

We always encourage you, our customer, to come in and look around or even test out our products, so you know what you like or don’t like about them. Thank you for sharing your experiences with us and I’ll be sure to pass this along to our Leadership Team.

Respectfully,
Justin|Community Connector
Corporate Campus
Online.Communities@BestBuy.com

I guess they didn’t “get” it, or find it amusing.  Of course setting all the alarm clocks is an innocuous thing to do at best, but I was acting like it was a big deal.  That’s why (I thought) it was funny.  Wow.  Best Buy popped my funny balloon.

What a boring dud.

English: Vintage clock radio

English: Vintage clock radio (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

<shameless plug> Oh yeah, while you’re at it… set all the browsers to http://www.ErnieAndTheBerts.com, too. </shameless plug>

Best Buy, Bed Bath & Beyond, Beeps, & Buzzers ⌨


Well, I sent what I thought were going to be two rather fun emails, but they have both gone unanswered.  Wow.  What a giant dud.  As my wife constantly reminds me, I certainly find myself amusing.  So, in that spirit I thought I’d share these emails anyway.  Perhaps you’ll chuckle too.

The first was to Best Buy via their form online and to the Twelpforce email address:

From: Waldo Lunar <world.and.lunar.domination@gmail.com>
Date: Thu, May 31, 2012
Subject: A Formal Apology
To: twelpforce@bestbuy.com

Greetings Best Buy Associates,

I write to you today to offer a formal apology.  I have lived with guilt for many years, and I would like to be able to clear my conscience.  Sadly, you literally asked for what you got, but you certainly didn’t deserve it my friends.  I beg you in advance to not unleash the wrath of the Twelpforce or Geek Squad upon my humble self.

Do you remember the commercials from about ten or so years ago that begged one to come in & play with all of the electronics in the store?  Well, I said you asked for it.  You did.  I simply complied.

I went into one of your stores, and tried my best to restrain my maniacal laughter as I set all of the alarm clocks & clock radios to go off at different intervals after the store closed.  Some were 5 minutes, some where 10 or even 20.  It was incredibly hard to stifle my giggles and pretend like I was incredibly interested in these timepieces.  I don’t know how no one noticed.  Now I can’t get 10 feet into a Best Buy door without a blue-shirted hawk swooping in to ask if I need help, and I’ll get asked every 3 feet after that if I turn it down.  Perhaps shenanigans like mine are why?

At one time, I wished that I could have been around to see the chaos.  Okay, maybe I still do.  Perhaps a master switch would have cut the power to all of them after the first one went off.  I won’t pretend to know the internal machinations of such a colossal retail empire.  Perhaps I made a memory for that team and brought them together through adversity in the name of silencing alarm clocks.  Perhaps it is a good story to tell trainees, or it may have even been forgotten over time.  I was much younger & more brash then.  I thought I knew everything.  I thought the world was my playground. To be blunt, I was an arrogant young miscreant.  I don’t remember if it was planned, or spur of the moment.

I’m sure that when the internet was still “new”, I set more than a few of your browsers to my old band’s web page & walked away.  I did this in every store though, not just Best Buy.  I won’t apologize for that.  A pimp’s got to pimp, right?

I would like to offer an apology to Best Buy as a corporation, the Best Buy employees startled and/or annoyed that day (and their families), and to all of the Best Buy associates that have joined the team since that day (somewhere between 2000 and 2002).  I believe this was at the Greensburg PA location across from Westmoreland Mall.  Please pass this along to them, if there are any left that may have been working that day.  I have seen the err of my ways, and I can live with the guilt no longer!

Thank you for your time, I hope you find it within you to pass along forgiveness for this egregious behavior.

Regretfully,
-Waldo Lunar

The next one was to Bed Bath & Beyond via their webform:

Do you remember those Best Buy commercials from 10 or so years ago where they asked you to come in & try the stuff out?

I did.  I went in one night & set all of their alarm clocks to go off about 5, 10, 15, or 20 minutes after closing.  I bet it was hilarious.  I only wish I had been there to see it.  I bet that happened often.

I noticed that you have a lot of kitchen timers and egg timers.  What time do you close?

Thanks,
-Waldo

I thought it was funny.  Apparently Best Buy and Bed Bath & Beyond did not.  I did get the standard “we got your message, someone will write back with in 3 days” replies, over a week ago.  I really thought Best Buy would come out with a witty intelligent retort.  You’d think an electronics company would be helmed by geeks who found humor in such ridiculousness.  Bed Bath & Beyond apparently do not go too far into the beyond part.  Oh well.

Best Buy

Best Buy (Photo credit: Ron Dauphin)

English: A Bed Bath and Beyond store in a shop...

Bed Bath and Beyond (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

My $1.05 Pillsbury Research Grant Has Arrived!


35¢ OFF

So, you did read my initial letter about Totino’s and the follow-up correspondence, right?  Well, needless to say, my research grant is a little smaller than expected.  Some “cents off” apparently means just that.

I got 3 of these bad boys, entitling me to a whole 35¢ off of one Totino’s product.  One dollar and five cents off of three Totino’s products?  I’m sure I get more than that when I use my Giant Eagle Advantage Card & get them on a regular sale.  Maybe Giant Eagle will double these since they’re less than a dollar…  So I’ll be getting $2.10 worth of free pizza rolls.    I wonder what the regular price is?

Pizza Rolls on Sale at Giant Eagle!

Right now, Giant Eagle has Totino’s Pizza Rolls on sale… 3 boxes for $8.  They say they’re normally 3 for $10.  So… About 40 rolls in the 19.8 oz. bag, 35¢ would get me 4 pizza rolls?  And, I’d only be able to use one coupon with this special, as the Giant Eagle website states that you must buy 3 bags in order to get the $2 off, and the back of the coupon states that no other coupon is to be used with this coupon.  Does the sale act as a coupon?  If not, I could still only use the one coupon at a time… so out of 120 pizza rolls, a whopping 4 would be free?

Perhaps this was a karmic slap in the face?  Maybe a well-deserved one.  You’d think they would simply either not offer any coupons at all… or offer some coupons that are actually worth something… like a BOGO or at least a dollar off.  Perhaps they’re just cheap, or this is all they’re authorized to give out?  It cost them 38¢ to mail me the damn coupons!  That would have been 4 or 5 more free pizza rolls had they emailed me some coupons.  Maybe they know I’m goofing on them.

The letter accompanying the coupons is quite amusing…

Letter from Tracy Boyd @ General Mills

HA HA!  I'm using the internet!

When I see someone write “the internet”, I always think of the guy to the right.  I have no idea why.  I just do.  It sounds archaic written down like that.  THE INTERNET!  HA!  HA!

Not sure where to go from here.  Do I write back, and ask for more research funding?  Do I ask to talk to someone else who may be able to offer more money?  Do I write to completely unrelated organizations and as for research grants?  Has anyone reading this ever applied for a grant?  Should I include a research proposal?  Maybe I should just write back, super-excited about the $1.05, saying what a generous gift it is.  Maybe I should ask to speak directly to General Mills or Totino himself?  Heh.  I feel confident in turning this up a notch.

Also… research will definitely go forward.  I will need some time to assemble my team (although, I think I already know who’s in), procure the test product, and schedule a date for the study.

Stay tuned, loyal subjects!

®

A one time good will gesture from Pillsbury!


Pillsbury Pizza Rolls BoyNot too long ago, I wrote to the maker’s of Totino’s Pizza Rolls (which I soon discovered was Pillsbury/General Mills) to ask about microwave cooking times for quantities of more than the reccommended 6 at a time.  The answer seemed to be pretty vague, as most corporate replies are.  Of course, I was determined to ask further questions — goaded onward by many of you here and on other places around the ‘net.  Here’s where I’d like to share my reply to them, and of course their latest response.  Thanks to Dave again for the editing help here!

from ERiC AiXeLsyD world.and.lunar.domination@gmail.com
to Corporate.Response@genmills.com; Pillsbury@emails.pillsbury.com
date Tue, Mar 2, 2010 at 2:39 PM
subject Re: Your Response From “Pillsbury” – 2010/02/12-0715 XTB
mailed-by gmail.com

Hello Ms. Boyd,

Thank you for the quick and thorough response!  (Apologies if the “Ms.” should be a “Mr.”, I know the name Tracy can go either way!) In reading your response, I have a few more questions, and perhaps a proposal for your consideration.  I do enjoy the quickness/convenience of cooking in the microwave versus using a conventional oven.  Perhaps I should learn to use the toaster oven as a compromise?

The first thought brought to mind was that perhaps I may be doing something wrong.  The instructions say to arrange the rolls in a circle on a plate.  Would this be “in a circle” like spokes of a wheel, or “in a circle” like covered wagons circling around weary travelers?  I haven’t ever really put much thought into it until now, thinking I may perhaps be doing it wrong as there is no picture on the box to illustrate.

I’m somewhat confused as to the 8 pizza rolls for 45 seconds, as the recommended time for 6 rolls is (I believe) 55 seconds.  Typically, I go for 1:05 so that the middle isn’t still cold.  I’m also aware that all microwaves are different, and may vary, so I accept that my microwave is behind the curve, if you will.  I will have to try 8 rolls at a time, and may even venture into as of yet uncharted 10 or 12 roll at a time territory.  I know this may be a cavalier attitude, but it’s just how I roll.  (Pun intended.)  I will take into consideration that it has been “highly suggested” that I cook more than 8 in a conventional oven.

Along these same lines, I’m fascinated that no more than 8 rolls at a time have been put into the microwave at once in your test kitchens.  Is this really the case, or have trials involving more than 8 rolls at a time manifested disastrous results?  Is there some sort of moratorium on adventurous cooking?  I know that if I had access to a bunch of pizza rolls, and a bunch of microwave ovens… I’d feel it was my duty to push past the ambit of acceptability into the realm of ridiculousness.

I have bounced my ideas off of a few like-minded individuals, and we are prepared to do a public service by testing Totino’s pizza rolls in varying quantities, cooking times, and microwave ovens while making video and statistical documentation of the results.  I have safety goggles, a food thermometer, hot pads, a video camera on loan, and, obviously, a microwave oven.  The only thing that we require now would be copious amounts of pizza rolls.

While I’m guessing that you’re not officially able to get behind such a study, would you be able to provide coupons for the pizza rolls, or perhaps donate them altogether?  Certainly the prospect of someone embarking upon new microwave cooking frontiers would be exciting not only to you, but to the scientists/chefs/technicians in your test kitchens.  We would, of course, be more than happy to share all of our results, which you in turn would be able to use (or ignore) at your discretion.

I would like to thank you for your time and continued correspondence.  I truly appreciate the fact that Pillsbury/General Mills takes the time to respond to its consumers’ web inquiries with real emails from real people.

Respectfully Yours,
-Eric Aixelsyd

I thought that was a pretty straight-forward email with some easily answered questions & an interesting proposal.  Apparently I crossed the ridiculousness line for Ms./Mr./Mrs. Boyd, though.  I don’t know why, but I read the following response with the “not amused” tone.

from Corporate.Response@genmills.com
to world.and.lunar.domination@gmail.com
date Tue, Mar 2, 2010 at 6:47 PM
subject Your Response From “Pillsbury” – 2010/03/02-5183 XTB
mailed-by genmills.com

Hello Mr. Aixelsyd:

Thank you for contacting Pillsbury with your inquiry.

In regards to your question, we have not tested for more than 8 pizza rolls at a time.

If you wish to try this, it would be at your discretion. Please note that when adding more products into a microwave to cook ( ie 16 pizza rolls instead of 8 ) and trying to adjust the cooking temperature will not harm the safety of the product, but may change the quality, such as hardening of the crust or uneven cooking, etc.

As a one time good will gesture, we will send some cents off certificates in which you should receive within 20 business days.

We hope you find this information helpful. Please let us know if we can help you again.

Thank you,

Tracy Boyd
Customer Care Specialist

Coupons!  Nice.  This will be a long 20 business days.  I can’t believe that they’re actually sending coupons.  I wonder what the amount will be?  I have to do the testing now.  I have officially gone past the point of no return.  I must complete this absurd task… and I must do it right the first time.  I’m assuming that “one time good will gesture” means that they’ve had enough of my shenanigans.

So, they definitely have not tested more than 8 at a time in the microwave.  Why?  I know I would.  You know you would.  Hopefully, with the help of my esteemed colleagues, we will remedy this situation.  The world will know the limits of pizza rolls in the microwave.

Interestingly, my question about pizza roll circle placement went wholly ignored, as did the more personal inquisition as to Tracy’s gender.  Not that the second one matters, but perhaps it iw what pushed the button.  The circle question was quite important, though.  I’m surprised that there’s no drawing on the box/bag.  There are certainly illustrations out there for much more obvious sets of directions.

I can only imagine what went through his/her head as she read the “wagon wheels” line.  Ha ha ha.

So, this leaves us wondering…

  • How did they know that safety would not be an issue but the quality would degrade if they didn’t do any testing past the magic 8?
  • Seriously, now… Does “in a circle” mean like spokes of a wheel, or like circling covered wagons?
  • Is Tracy a man or a woman?

Luckily, Tracy said “Please let us know if we can help you again.”  I believe that we do again need some help.  Is another reply in order here, or do we just save it for inclusion with our test results?

Perhaps I’ll ave to include this too…

arrange the rolls in a circle on a plate

"arrange the rolls in a circle on a plate"

I can’t wait to hear your thoughts.


Entirely unrelated, just for fun…