The first official Ernie and the Berts interview?


<shameless plug>

Check out this interview with Ernie and the Berts from AZ Productions!

</shameless plug>

Bronco Scores Again!


Well, I didn’t get Jalapeño Bites back at Arby’s yet, but I did answer a tweet from Radio Shack… and it got me a free T-shirt and some moral support for the cause!  Messing around on Twitter & insanity are well rewarded these days, I guess.

https://twitter.com/#!/RadioShack/status/190424115423887361
https://twitter.com/#!/Bronco_Jalapeno/status/190425836485218304
https://twitter.com/#!/RadioShack/status/190454336034308097

I DM’ed them and told them of me real name and my cause.  I think more companies are engaging people personally & directly with Twitter like this, and it’s a great thing.  Who doesn’t like free stuff?

Today the mailman delivered some goodies…

Bronco Jalapeño wins a Radio Shack T-shirt!

Free stuff!

The card s pretty cool too!

Eric, While this shirt can't replace Arby's jalapeño poppers, we hope it comforts you through your withdrawal. Thanks for tweeting at us and for being a fan. Tweet us a pic of your new duds when your shirt gets there. Thanks again! - Billy

@Bronco_Jalapeno #ThanksRadioShack...? Yes, yes he does.

Hilarious.  How fun is that?  I do need some soldering stuff, I guess it’s off to Radio Shack for the stuff next time I need it!  (I might get a couple of capacitors to mess around with.)

So, thanks to Radio Shack for being cool, for the laugh, & for the T-shirt!

Bronco Jalapeño Rides Again!


So my friends, Arby’s is true to their word.  They said they’d send me some Bronco Berry Sauce, and they sure did.  (By the way, Bronco Jalapeño is my thinly veiled alter ego in case you haven’t been following along.)

https://twitter.com/#!/Arbys/status/184987918207680513

I walked into the house today and saw this rather large box on the couch where I normally sit.  My wife had arrived home a little while earlier, and brought it inside.  FedEx dropped it off on the front porch earlier in the day.

I saw my name, then the Arby’s logo, and I could hardly contain my excitement.

A case of Arby's Bronco Berry Sauce

...For me?

I mean, I thrive on the ridiculous, and this is most certainly ridiculous.  This couldn’t be a box full of Bronco Berry Sauce, could it?  Indeed, it could.  Absolutely ridiculous.  Personal supply?  I mean, I like to eat but…

240 Packs of Bronco Berry Sauce!

Yee-haw!

That is a whole lot of horses and berries!  Well, it would be… if Bronco Berry Sauce actually contained any broncos or berries.  The label on the box says that it’s 240 1.5 oz. containers of this decadently delightful dip.  It also contained this lovely letter…

Dear Mr. Carroll,   Your voice has been heard!  Believe me; no one takes sauces more seriously than Arby's. And, we know how a craving for our succulent Bronco Berry Sauce can send a person over the edge when they can't get their fix.   So, never fear. Arby's Bronco Berry Calvary has personally secured a box of the top-secret sauce just for you. Think of it as your own personal stash to satisfy that craving whenever and wherever it hits you.   Now, we know that your demands also included bringing back Jalapeno Bites to the Pittsburgh area. And, as you uncovered, restaurants in each market determine whether to serve the fiery goodness of Jalapeno Bites or the equally as delicious Loaded Potato Bites. While we cannot reverse the "Bites" decision at this time, we have shared your passion for the pungent peppers with the Marketing Team.   We hope that our small gesture has eased your pain and that you will reconsider your sauce sit-in.    Sincerely,  Hala Moddelmog President

Hala Moddelmog

Hala Moddelmog, President of Arby's

A letter from the President of Arby’s?  Hala Moddelmog rules.  I mean, I don’t see the presidents of McDonald’s, Wendy’s, or Pizza Hut responding to a crazy person on the internet with such individually directed kindness & generosity.

I’m obviously going to need help finishing this case.  It expires in June, so I highly doubt we can get through it all.  Want some Bronco Berry Sauce?  I’m willing to share what is now a rarity in our region.

I’m saddened by the news that Jalapeño Bites won’t be returning to Arby’s in Pittsburgh any time soon, but I do believe that my emails have actually been passed along.  I will pass on the Occupy Arby’s sauce sit-in.  But I still may write a song, even if no one helps me.

Perhaps the song will be the thing that puts our market managers and the marketing team over the edge.  I’ll have to write to my new friend Ms. Moddlemog, and see exactly where to direct my comments.

I almost want to build something out of them.  It looks like 1 or 2 popped (or was squeezed) open, but it’s an acceptable loss.  I mean, it was free.  We had some Bronco Berry Sauce tonight with a few Tyson chicken tenders for dinner in lieu of boring old bottle barbecue sauce.

Bronco Jalapeño’s appetite may be satisfied for now, but my quest is not over.  Arby’s in Pittsburgh, are you listening?  Bring back the Jalapeño bites!  This potato bite shenanigans is just that, shenanigans.

To follow the story from the start, check out these posts:

  1. Arby’s :: Bronco Berry Sauce®
  2. OCCUPY ARBY’S
  3. You may call me… “Bronco Jalapeño”
  4. Conflicting Information from Arby’s… (Help Bronco Jalapeño write a song!)

Chip Wars: Snyder of Berlin


Wow.  I’ve had some duds before, but this Chip Wars thing that I tried to spark really was a colossal dud.

No one got out of line with their replies, they divulged as little information as possible.  No dirt.  No funny.  No aggravation even.  I have to say I’m disappointed in myself as much as the responses.  Apparently I didn’t push the right buttons.  It certainly took long enouhg for them to write back, but I finally got a response from Snyder of Berlin:

from Yanke, Terry tyanke@birdseyefoods.com
to world.and.lunar.domination@gmail.com
cc “Yanke, Terry” tyanke@birdseyefoods.com
date Mon, Jul 26, 2010
subject Snyder vs Snyder
mailed-by birdseyefoods.com

Dear Eric,

Thank you for your many questions about the Snyder of Berlin history and products .  We are always pleased to hear from customers such as your self.

First – Regarding the statement “is not associated with”.   This statement is a legal phrase that must be used from the sale of the family to Curtice Burn.

Second – We do not give tours of the manufacturing plant.

Thank you for being a loyal Snyder of Berlin customer.

Terry Yanke
Order Desk / Customer Service Representative
Snyder of Berlin / Husman Snack Foods
Ph # 814-267-4641 ext. 238
800-374-7949 ext. 238
Fax # 888-367-6142
tyanke@birdseyefoods.com

P Think Green. Please don’t print this message unless it’s really necessary. Thank you.

Well.  I wonder what they think when they read my emails?  Do they think I’m eccentric, a little kid, or “special”?  They may even think I’m a “special” eccentric little kid.  I think it’s funny that they acknowledge the fact that I asked several questions, but only answered two of them.

I sent them the same exact message that I sent to Snyder’s of Hanover.  Their answer was boring and ignored most of my questions too.  These companies are much more similar than they’d like to admit.

Perhaps too much snacking curbs your sense of humor?

No tours?  Wow.  Everyone else does tours.  Free ones at that.  Way to go on that one, PR people.

Should I reply and ask them to answer more of my questions… or should I just let this one drop like the proverbial hot potato that it is?

Also… I felt the urge to print 317 copies of this email.

Chip Wars: Utz


Well, in the ongoing Chip Wars saga that isn’t ruffling as many feathers as I’d like (yet), we have a letter to & response from Utz:

From: ERiC AiXeLsyD world.and.lunar.domination@gmail.com
Sent: Saturday, July 03, 2010
To: info; Nutrition; tours
Subject: Crab flavored chips? Ah! (&) A tour sounds nice…

Hello Friends!

I’m writing to you today to tell you how much I enjoy Utz snacks… or rather, how much I hope to continue enjoying them!  I generally seem to buy Utz chips when we’re at Sheetz.  Sheetz is a damn fine establishment, don’t you think?  Although, I must confess, I have a love for Snyder of Berlin Honey Bar-B-Q chips and Herr’s Ketchup flavored chips that I sometimes have to fulfill at Sheetz.  I have yet to try your Grandma’s Handcooked Chips, but look forward to purchasing a bag in the near future.  Well, hopefully.  I’m sure this is cryptic to you by now, so I’ll try to do my best to explain.

There was an article the other day on Yahoo! mentioning the “best” chips, and they didn’t happen to mention any of my favorite brands.  The article was a sham, I tell you.  So, I started researching my own favorite chip brands… to compile my own (much more accurate) list.  In looking at your site, I discovered that you have “crab” flavored chips, and my heart nearly stopped.  You see, my friends, I have a severe allergy to shellfish.  I can become violently ill and go into anaphylactic shock just by eating some food that simply came into contact witht he same cooking surface or prep area as things like shrimp, crab, oysters, lobster, crayfish, clams, mussels, or calamari.

Are all of your flavors of chips processed on the same line?  Do you use just the crab juice to flavor your chips, or is it ground up pieces of crab meat?  Who on earth would want to eat crab flavored chips?  I ask because as I’m sure you’re aware, there are new regulations regarding disclosing the top allergens on food packaging, and I don’t recall any warning on your product packaging indicating that “THIS PRODUCT WAS MANUFACTURED IN A FACILITY THAT ALSO PROCESSES WHEAT, SOY, PEANUT, AND SHELLFISH INGREDIENTS” or anything of that sort.

I would like to continue enjoying your fine snacks, but you must understand that I cannot take the risk if there are crabs lurking around!  Do you have them in tanks there at the factory?  Oh, I shudder at the imagery!  You must imagine that for me, seeing a lobster tank at the grocery store is like anyone else walking into a mine field!

My wife and I enjoy factory tours…  I see form your website that you started about the same time as Snyder’s of Hanover, and you’re located in the same town.  Do you guys have a friendly rivalry, or is it bitter like Coca~Cola & Pepsi?  Do you order pizzas to each others’ office buildings leaving the other stuck with the tab?  For some reason, they seem to passively-aggressively hate on Snyder of Berlin on their product packaging.  I bet you’re glad the don’t say “SNYDER’S OF HANOVER IS IN NO WAY ASSOCIATED WITH SNYDER OF BERLIN OR UTZ, ALSO OF HANOVER.”  I wonder what the deal with that is?  It’s crazy.  At any rate, if we’re ever in the area, I’d very much like to tour both facilities!  One of our goals is to get to the Yuengling Brewery tour in Pottsville.  Perhaps we can stop in Hanover on our way over from Pittsburgh and make a weekend out of it!  It’s only about 2 hours form your location, right?  Maybe we can take in some Pennsylvania Dutch culture out that way too.

Oh well, I’d like to find out more about your fine chips, crab flavoring, and product labeling.  I look forward to hearing from you, hopefully this email finds you well after a great holiday weekend!

Inquisitively,
-Eric Aixelsyd

P.S. – Is it “Uhtz” or “Ootz”?  I’ve been saying the former, but wondering if it’s the latter.
P.P.S – Who is the girl on the bag?

Similar to my other messages, only slightly different.  Their response:

from Pam Berwager pjberwager@utzsnacks.com
to world.and.lunar.domination@gmail.com
date Tue, Jul 13, 2010
subject FW: Crab flavored chips? Ah! (&) A tour sounds nice…
mailed-by utzsnacks.com

Dear Mr. Aixelsyd:

Thank you for your email regarding our Crab Chips.  First, let me say that we do not have any shellfish in our plant, nor is there shellfish in our Crab Chips.  It is strictly seasoning.  Did you ever have Bay Seasoning?  Marylanders us this all the time.  They are quite popular, and we receive many compliments on them.  The ingredients are listed on the bag and all the nutrition information is listed on our website at www.utzsnacks.com.  Just click on the nutrition bag at the top.  Our bags are listed with allergy information and most state they are gluten free.  The ingredients are potatoes, cottonseed oil, salt, spices, dextrose, paprika, maltodextrin, sugar, onion powder, honey powder (maltodextrin, honey), disodium inosinate and disodium guanylate, citric acid.  The maltodextrin is derived from corn.  Contains no hydrogenated fats.  This is a gluten free food.

We also invite you to visit our free, self-guided tour of our potato chip making facility.

Sincerely,
Pam

Pamela J. Berwager
Utz Quality Foods, Inc.
Customer Care Representative
800-367-7629, ext. 263

“Check out our Facebook page under ‘Little Utz Girl’ and our blog at utzsnackcentral.com to find out what’s happening at Utz.”

No correction of my pronunciation?  No acknowledgment of Snyder vs. Snyder’s?  No telling me about the creepy girl on the bag?  At least I got assurance of what I already knew… that there are no crab guts on the chips.  The crab on the packaging still gives me the heebie-jeebies.  No comments on Sheetz?  I hope she’s not a Wawa loyalist.

I also like how she explains that maltodextrin is from corn and doesn’t explain disodium inosinate or disodium guanylate.  I don’t know if it’s just fancy names for salt, or something I’d rather not know about anyway.

I believe that this needs further pressing.

Chip Wars: Snyder’s of Hanover


Well another response rolled in, and sadly they seem unamused.  This one’s from Snyder’s of Hanover, and I asked them about their (admittedly exaggerated) rift with Snyder of Berlin.  There’s no name attached, so the company itself wrote back to me.  Spooky!

My ramblings submitted via webform:

Hello Snyder Clan!

I’m mainly writing to tell you that I enjoy many of your fine products.  From the ridiculously delicious Snyder of Berlin Honey Bar-B-Q Potato Chips and incredibly savory Kettle-Cooked Sea Salt & Cracked Peppercorn Potato Chips to the tenaciously tangy Snyder’s of Hanover Honey Mustard & Onion Pretzel Pieces and decadent Peanut Butter Pretzel Sandwich Dips.  There are just too many good products to name!

I would like to know why each of your products has a statement on the outside of the packaging that vehemently denies association with the other company.  While reading the company history on each website, it’s clear that they started out of the same company… but it does seem to be a grey area.  What happened?  Why the split?  Why the clear almost stern warning that Snyder’s of Hanover “is not associated with” Snyder of Berlin and vice-versa?

The Snyder of Berlin story seems to start in Hanover during the Civil War, and the Snyder’s of Hanover story seems to start in the 1920’s… but it appears that Snyder’s of Hanover is the older business, and that Snyder of Berlin was the offshoot?  Then the stories jump to the 1940’s, and it seems form the Snyder’s of Hanover site that the Berlin company was sold in the 1950’s… but the Snyder of Berlin page seems to not mention the sale.  Color me confused!

So clearly, there is an association… and someone form each side needs to sit down to discuss & write a common history.  Perhaps some family counseling is order?  I’m sure that if you was around, your friends could recommend you to a great therapist or clergyman who would be able to help resolve the issues of animosity between the companies where they feel the need to lash out passive-aggressive notes on product packaging trying to invalidate the others’ existence.

In the immortal words of the beaten but not broken Rodney King; “People, I just want to say, you know, can we all get along? Can we get along? Can we stop making it, making it horrible for the older people and the kids?…It’s just not right. It’s not right. It’s not, it’s not going to change anything. We’ll, we’ll get our justice….Please, we can get along here. We all can get along. I mean, we’re all stuck here for a while. Let’s try to work it out. Let’s try to beat it. Let’s try to beat it. Let’s try to work it out.”

While we’re on the subject, do you feel any animosity towards Utz, Herr’s, Wise, or Shearer’s?  Perhaps the Snyder of Berlin and Snyder’s of Hanover ought to align themselves together in the battle against all other regional snack chains?

My wife and I really enjoy factory tours… We mostly go to breweries, but I’m sure we would enjoy a tour if we’re ever in your area!  I hope to hear form you, and hope that this familial rift is resolved (or on its way to being resolved) in the meantime.  I really look forward to hearing your thoughts on the subject.  Good luck to your in your healing journey!

Shalom,

-Eric Aixelsyd

(Actually, I submitted the same exact message to both companies.) And, then their answer:

from Consumer Affairs consumeraffairs@snyders-han.com
to world.and.lunar.domination@gmail.com
date Thu, Jul 8, 2010
subject RE: Contact Us form has been submitted
mailed-by snyders-han.com

Eric,

It’s really basically to try and make consumers out in the market place
aware that there are 2 separate Snyder companies.

Years ago, yes we were under the same company, but there is no family
relations and Snyder’s of Berlin decided to break away and try their own
family business.

Sincerely,
Snyder’s of Hanover, Inc.

[Yawn.]

So, clearly, Snyder of Berlin is the no-good upstart… according to Snyder’s of Hanover.  Apparently they did more than “try”.  I’d say they succeeded.

I can’t believe all my crazy comments and questions went unacknowledged  I brought out the Civil War and Rodney King.  Who references Rodney King anymore?