Free Swag From Guitar Center!


So, did you read the last post about the Guitalele & Guitar Center’s price match guarantee?  The whole thing is pretty awesome, especially if you’re a musician and you actively purchase gear.  It’s worth checking out, so click that link.

Once you’ve read that, this will make sense:

The gig bag & the stand are a perfect fit!  Thanks again to Luke for the excellent customer service, and to YaJagoff for sparking it!

Guitar Center does me a solid, and I didn’t even initiate it.


On the Saturday before Christmas, we were headed to a family gathering & gift exchange.  On the way, we stopped at Guitar Center in Monroeville so I could pick up a book of Christmas Carols that I had seen at the Guitar Center in Robinson.  I didn’t find the same book, but was pleased with two that I did find.

Guitalele GL1

Guitalele GL1 (Photo credit: matsuyuki)

Usually, I’m the one who lollygags in guitar stores, but the wife has taken up the ukulele, and over the past few years she’s the one that lingers near the ever-growing uke section at music stores.  In Monroeville’s Guitar Center, the ukes were right by the music books, so we both started looking.  Bethany was the first to spot our newest acquisition… The Yamaha GL1 “Guitalele“.  We both were fascinated by it, and I played with it a little as she asked “Do you want this as an early Birthday present?”

At first, I said no and went to hang it back up, but flipped over the price tag and saw that it was $99.99.  She gave me the “just get it” look, so we both new I just landed an early birthday present.  I do enjoy the wife’s ukulele, but the GCEA tuning did always mess with me.  Now I can play the ukulele without having to play the ukulele.  Although, if tuned “properly” the guitalele should be ADGCEA.  Of course, I dropped it to E because I didn’t like pretending it was a guitar with a capo on the 5th fret.  Although, I may have to get thicker strings or just suck it up & put it back in the A tuning.  They’re sort of like rubber-bands at this point.

Well, that’s just the first part of the story.  The second part stems from some interactions on Twitter.  I’ll try to post it all here as it happened, thanks to @YaJagoff and Luke from Guitar Center.

A simple question.  I gave the easy, flippant, and predictable answer.  Rock musicians are supposed to rail against the establishment and big business, right?  Well, Guitar Center proves to be awesome here…

These are the links I sent to Luke at Yourvoice@guitarcenter.com:

I only half-jokingly asked “Any chance I could get a gig bag or stand for free?”  I mean, it never hurts to ask, right?

I was met with a response saying I was getting both of them for free!  We discussed shipping details & the right size gig bag in a few more email exchanges… but they’re now on the way to me via UPS.

I’ve written to companies before, but I’ve never had any of them seek me out on a social media platform in a conversation that wasn’t even addressed to them.  It’s pretty cool that Guitar Center believes in their price guarantee so much that they actively go after any perceived detraction.  It’s also cool that they’ll not only go up against brick-and-mortar stores, but online retailers too.

That being said, the “little guys” could argue that they have no way to compete.  They can’t buy in quantities & therefore probably not at such a low price… so there’s no way they can pass on such savings.  Free enterprise, supply & demand, competition, it’s all very interesting & a continually evolving battle.

At any rate, I win out here… with a free gig bag & stand.  So, thanks to Ya Jagoff!!! & Luke for helping to set the whole thing into motion!  I’ll post some photos of the gig bag & stand as soon as I have them.

So, does the Guitalele count as a guitar in my “13 Guitars in 2013” goal?

Do(ugh)nut Despot Docility


Well, Krispy Kreme wrote back.  No doubt they believe that I’m absolutely undeniably insane at this point, but they thankfully decided to humor me anyway.  Here’s what I sent them…

From: Waldo Lunar <world.and.lunar.domination@gmail.com>
Date: Wed, Feb 15, 2012
Subject: Re: Case #1099627
To: krispykreme@casupport.com

Aloha Lyndon,

Thank you for your swift reply!  Hopefully Krispy Kreme is able to rebound to the Pittsburgh area, and stay a little longer this time.  It’s curious that you blamed the franchisees for wanting to get into other business ventures, yet I read an article on CFO.com from 2005, detailing corporate buybacks.  I’m not sure, but was that around the time when Krispy Kreme left the area?

I have used the store locator at KrispyKreme.com to determine that the Krispy Kreme closest to me is all the way down in Washington County.  This is too far away from me to take a chance on making a run hoping to get hot fresh donuts.

I’d like to resubmit my earlier message, with unanswered questions highlighted, and perhaps I’ll add some more that have cropped up after that.  I hope that you (or someone at Krispy Kreme) has the time someday to come up with some responses.

Greetings Doughnut Despots,

I’m writing to ask you what happened.  Occasionally I get an email reminding me to visit a Krispy Kreme, and I think to myself “yeah, that’s a good idea.”  Sadly, there are no Krispy Kremes around any more.  I remember the stir of excitement when you first came to the area many years ago.  I believe it was even a news story… “Pittsburgh is getting Krispy Kreme!”  The fervor for hot fresh donuts was palpable.  The neon sign beckoning me in for a visit worked on several occasions when I wasn’t even craving donuts.  I’d generally come in to buy a Boston cream donut & an iced tea or chocolate milk… all because of that glowing invitation.  I always loved the retro decor, the smell, and the ability to see the magical doughnut making process.  You quickly dispatched with local competition.  Dunkin Donuts most decidedly took a hit, and you wiped out some of the local weird places like Donut Connetcion and Mister Donut.

Then, you pulled out like an occupying force ordered home.  There’s hardly a trace of Krispy Kreme left in Southwestern Pennsylvania.  I’ve noticed a lot of area locations like Greensburg, Pleasant Hills, and Monroeville are now Chick-fil-A restaurants, and a still-empty Krispy Kreme building sits as a shell of sadness in Robinson Township.  I remember the “remodeling / be back soon” sign hung for years before someone just gave up.  I mean, I absolutely love all the full service Chick-fil-A locations, but I also like hot fresh donuts every once in a while.  You used to be in several Sheetz locations, but now I think they mostly receive their donuts from somewhere else.  Plus, they’re not exactly hot n’ fresh there.

Remaining on your email list has become simply receiving an occasional taunt for something I can’t have.  Perhaps I should unsubscribe?

Dunkin Donuts seems to be making a rebound, and I must confess that I find their Boston cream (Boston creme?) offering to be a much fuller, larger, and more satisfying confectionery treat.  But, they don’t lure me in with a hot fresh free delicious donut, and I can’t watch them being made.  (Is it doughnut, or donut?) There’s also a killer “mom n’ pop” donut shop that’s a bit of a hike for me, but worth the trip… Big Daddy’s Donuts.

The truth is… I miss you, Krispy Kreme.  Do you have plans to come back to the area with hot fresh goodness?  Are you going to make me drive all the way to Washington county to get a doughnut & take a chance on the hot light being on?  Why did all of the area locations shut down?  Were you muscled out by local donut barons?  Did too many yinzers line up for free doughnuts and not actually buy anything?  Did Sheetz want too much too soon?  Did people go on diets or realize that too many donuts are a bad thing?  Was you plan all along to wipe out local donut shops and leave the area starved of donuts because of the high geographical rate of diabetes, thus ensuring better health for the population of the Pittsburgh area?  I need (and feel that I deserve) some answers, my friends.  What happened?  Please don’t brush me off with the standard, “it’s not you, it’s us.”  I need some concrete reasons.

Thank you for your time, I hope you’re doing well.  I’m sure you’re as hot n’ fresh as always… just not for me.

Hungrily Yours,
-Waldo Lunar

Well, there it is.  And here are more that I have thought of since…

  • Why do you spell Krispy Kreme with K’s?  Why not Crispy Creme or even Crispy Cream?
  • What’s the difference between Cream and Creme?
  • Why don’t you call a Boston Cream doughnut Boston Creme?  Why is it Custard-filled?  Is the Custard just pudding?
  • Is it “donut” or “doughnut”?
  • Why spell “doughnut” in long form, yet blatantly disregard spelling in Krispy Kreme?
  • What’s your favorite doughnut?

Thank you once again for your time & assistance in satisfying my inquisitive nature.

Aloha,
-Waldo Lunar

Here’s what they sent back…

From: <krispykreme@casupport.com>
Date: Wed, Feb 15, 2012
Subject: Case #1099627
To: world.and.lunar.domination@gmail.com

Dear Mr. Lunar,

Thank you for your email regarding your questions about Krispy Kreme. We appreciate the opportunity to assist you. I have provided the answers to the questions that you have asked, I hope you find this information helpful.

– Why do you spell Krispy Kreme with K’s?  Why not Crispy Creme or even Crispy Cream? Krispy Kreme is spelled with the K’s simply to be different and stand out.

   – What’s the difference between Cream and Creme? There is no difference between the two words, “cream” is the American pronunciation and “crème” is the French pronunciation.

   – Why don’t you call a Boston Cream doughnut Boston Creme?  Why is it Custard-filled?  Is the Custard just pudding? It’s just the spelling we used for that doughnut. It can be filled with chocolate frosting, creamy vanilla, or custard filling. The custard filling is the same as the Bavarian crème filled, it’s just a different name.

   – Is it “donut” or “doughnut”? Either way is fine, “donut” is just the shortened form of “doughnut”.

   – Why spell “doughnut” in long form, yet blatantly disregard spelling in Krispy Kreme? Again, you can spell “doughnut” either way you would like. We just choose to spell it the old-fashioned way.

   – What’s your favorite doughnut? My favorite is the Original Glazed doughnut.

Pertaining to the inquiry of the 2005 article that you have provided us, we have no privy to this information here at Krispy Kreme Customer experience. We apologize for any inconvenience that this may cause you.

Best regards,

Lyndon Palmer
Krispy Kreme Customer Experience
www.krispykreme.com

Insanity.  Absolute insanity.  But, they did answer all of my questions.  Well, all of the new ones anyway.  They artfully dodged the highlighted paragraph o’ questions for a second time.  Should I send a follow-up?  Maybe I will drive to Washington to get a doughnut one of these days.

English: Krispy Kreme delivery truck.

Unless I can get them to deliver...

Downfall from Do(ugh)nut Domination


I’ve been getting emails from Krispy Kreme reminding me to come buy & eat some doughnuts.  The only problem is that there aren’t any Krispy Kremes around where I can go buy said doughnuts.  Much like Quiznos, they seem to have parted ways with our area.  I decided to write to them and see what happened.

From: Waldo Lunar <world.and.lunar.domination@gmail.com>
Date: Fri, Feb 10, 2012
Subject: So, what happened?
To: JBryant@krispykreme.com; hotlight@krispykreme.com; contact@krispykreme.com; lwatson@krispykreme.com; webmaster@krispykreme.com; jmorgan@krispykreme.com; friends@krispykreme.com; krispykreme@casupport.com

Greetings Doughnut Despots,

I’m writing to ask you what happened.  Occasionally I get an email reminding me to visit a Krispy Kreme, and I think to myself “yeah, that’s a good idea.”  Sadly, there are no Krispy Kremes around any more.  I remember the stir of excitement when you first came to the area many years ago.  I believe it was even a news story… “Pittsburgh is getting Krispy Kreme!”  The fervor for hot fresh donuts was palpable.  The neon sign beckoning me in for a visit worked on several occasions when I wasn’t even craving donuts.  I’d generally come in to buy a Boston cream donut & an iced tea or chocolate milk… all because of that glowing invitation.  I always loved the retro decor, the smell, and the ability to see the magical doughnut making process.  You quickly dispatched with local competition.  Dunkin Donuts most decidedly took a hit, and you wiped out some of the local weird places like Donut Connetcion and Mister Donut.

Then, you pulled out like an occupying force ordered home.  There’s hardly a trace of Krispy Kreme left in Southwestern Pennsylvania.  I’ve noticed a lot of area locations like Greensburg, Pleasant Hills, and Monroeville are now Chick-fil-A restaurants, and a still-empty Krispy Kreme building sits as a shell of sadness in Robinson Township.  I remember the “remodeling / be back soon” sign hung for years before someone just gave up.  I mean, I absolutely love all the full service Chick-fil-A locations, but I also like hot fresh donuts every once in a while.  You used to be in several Sheetz locations, but now I think they mostly receive their donuts from somewhere else.  Plus, they’re not exactly hot n’ fresh there.

Remaining on your email list has become simply receiving an occasional taunt for something I can’t have.  Perhaps I should unsubscribe?

Dunkin Donuts seems to be making a rebound, and I must confess that I find their Boston cream (Boston creme?) offering to be a much fuller, larger, and more satisfying confectionery treat.  But, they don’t lure me in with a hot fresh free delicious donut, and I can’t watch them being made.  (Is it doughnut, or donut?)  There’s also a killer “mom n’ pop” donut shop that’s a bit of a hike for me, but worth the trip… Big Daddy’s Donuts.

The truth is… I miss you, Krispy Kreme.  Do you have plans to come back to the area with hot fresh goodness?  Are you going to make me drive all the way to Washington county to get a doughnut & take a chance on the hot light being on?  Why did all of the area locations shut down?  Were you muscled out by local donut barons?  Did too many yinzers line up for free doughnuts and not actually buy anything?  Did Sheetz want too much too soon?  Did people go on diets or realize that too many donuts are a bad thing?  Was you plan all along to wipe out local donut shops and leave the area starved of donuts because of the high geographical rate of diabetes, thus ensuring better health for the population of the Pittsburgh area?  I need (and feel that I deserve) some answers, my friends.  What happened?  Please don’t brush me off with the standard, “it’s not you, it’s us.”  I need some concrete reasons.

Thank you for your time, I hope you’re doing well.  I’m sure you’re as hot n’ fresh as always… just not for me.

Hungrily Yours,
-Waldo Lunar

I also had a Twitter exchange of sorts, but it was all DM’s on their end…

https://twitter.com/#!/W_a_L_D/status/169099779022921729

https://twitter.com/#!/W_a_L_D/status/169100223275208704

They said:

@krispykreme | Please send us your email address and we’ll contact you.

https://twitter.com/#!/W_a_L_D/status/169127252334878722

They said:

@krispykreme | Thanks again for passing along your email address. You can also email us hotlight@krispykreme.com.

Then I DM’ed

@W_a_L_D | Thank you! Rock n’ roll! Looking forward to a reply.

And tweeted…

https://twitter.com/#!/W_a_L_D/status/169135815472070656

Heh.

Eventually, I received an emailed reply…

From: <krispykreme@casupport.com>
Date: Mon, Feb 13, 2012
Subject: Case #1099627
To: world.and.lunar.domination@gmail.com

Dear Mr. Lunar,

Thank you for your email regarding wanting a Krispy Kreme in the southwestern Pennsylvania area. We appreciate the opportunity to assist you. We, here at Krispy Kreme, always love to hear from our customers and it is great to hear that you enjoy our products!  We would like to take this time to thank you for taking the time to share your comments.

There are many reasons why stores close. Generally speaking, the franchisee decides to pursue other business ventures. We have shared your concerns and requests with our operations department for review.

Please be assured that we are working hard to open new stores and continue expanding throughout the United States and Canada. For your convenience, new store locations and details are also available on our website at www.KrispyKreme.com.  The site is regularly updated with information as soon as it becomes available.

Best regards,
Lyndon Palmer
Krispy Kreme Customer Experience
www.krispykreme.com

Krispy Kreme glazed donuts.

Doughnuts or Donuts?

I’m still left wondering if “Donut” is a bastardization, like “Late Nite” instead of “Late Night” or “Drive-Thru” instead of “Drive-Through.  If so, why spell doughnut correctly while blatantly (and borderline offensively) misspelling Crispy and Cream with K’s?  (I mean, add one more K in there…)  While we’re at it, is it Creme or Cream?  Are they the same, or different things?  And, isn’t the filling just pudding or is it custard? 

They declined to comment on the wiping out & eventual rebound of their spelling-handicapped competition.  Perhaps a classy move.  Dunkin’ Donuts never replied to that tweet, either.

HOT NOW

You know you want some doughnuts. Come get them. Eat the free one, then buy some more. It's hot, well... warm, and fresh... and you can see some being made. Man, you're hungry for doughnuts.

I don’t believe that Franchisees simply chose to “pursue other business ventures.”  You don’t quit if you’re making money.  You don’t all dry up if there is demand for your product and you’re selling it at a reasonable price.  I find it funny (odd funny not “ha ha” funny) that a lot of the old Krispy Kreme buildings became Chick-fil-A’s.

In fact, I’m not sure if they answered any of my questions directly.  Should I perhaps write back?

Also, tell me in the comments where you get your donuts!  Am I missing some great local shops?  Who has the best donuts?  What’s your favorite donut?  Is it “donut” or “doughnut”?  Let’s talk all things do(ugh)nuts in the comments!

Cleanliness and awesomeness at Market District in Robinson


Giant Eagle Market District Restaurant on UrbanspoonI’ve written about the Market District restaurant before (& specifically about the allergen signage), and have even posted a review & photos on Urbanspoon.  I probably will again.

I feel the need to write once more to applaud their cleanliness & friendliness at the BBQ station (OK, the Smoke & Fire Rotisserie).  Bethany & I were there for dinner & grocery shopping last night on a trip to get a bunch of stuff and take advantage of the dastardly cult-like fuelperks!®/foodperks!™ programs.  (Don’t tell anyone, but Tuesday night is a great night to go shopping there.)

PRETTY PLEASE! (with a cherry on top) USE MAIN ENTRANCE ←with a cart― NOT THE ROTATING DOOR
sign for the special sort of Yinzer…

I noticed a few things.  First, I noticed a sign above the soups that said that seafood soups would be available in the seafood section.  I wish I had snapped a photo.  It may not have anything to do with allergies & potential cross-contamination, but I like it.  Keep the deadly seabugs in their own little corner.

Next and more importantly, I noticed the employee that handled my order.  She told me that she’d be with me as soon as possible while she handled the order for the people in front of me.  I had no problem waiting, but the acknowledgement of my presence was a great start.  You can’t imagine how many people behind a food counter will just ignore you, and how such a simple thing as a hello makes all the difference.

The big surprise came after I ordered my turkey sandwich with St. Loius style sauce & grilled vegetables (which are so incredibly awesome).  I watched my new favorite employee take the carving knife carving, wash it in the sink, then come back to spray/wash/wipe the cutting board, then proceed to carve the delicious turkey for my simple yet tasty sandwich.

(You mean, there are steps beyond wiping a knife with a dirty rag?  Yes, I’m talking to you, Subway.)

Such simple steps, such a comfort for someone with food allergies.  I know I go to the Rotisserie station because it’s deathfish free, but hopefully this is an insight to Market District‘s overall food prep/handling policies.  If not put in place by training, I applaud this team member’s personal dedication to cleanliness!  I wonder if they’ve looked at FAAN’s guide to welcoming guests with food allergies?  I was already a fan of the place because of other chefs there that I had talked to regarding food allergies, and this just put it over the top.

I hope to write to Market District to express my awe & thanks.  If only they would do a few more simple things, they would indeed be the most awesome grocery store ever:

Turner's Tea-Bird
Turner’s Tea-Bird

Ernie and the Berts needs your votes! (via Ernie and the Berts)


Click through to see a shameless plug.

So, Ernie and one Bert decided to crash a Houlihan's open stage last night in Robinson. Apparently it enters us into a contest. We'd like to take the other Bert to round 2, so we'd like you to vote for us. How do you do that? Like Houlihan's Robinson on Facebook. Vote for us here. This is what we sounded like: …sort of.  Imagine that you ca … Read More

via Ernie and the Berts

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.

How to walk to your car in a parking lot: A public service announcement


There’s a problem I’ve noticed over the years since I first got my driver’s license.  It’s ridiculous, rampant, and totally uncalled for.  It doesn’t have as much to do with driving as it does walking, but I consider it a road-related  issue.

People don’t know how to walk in parking lots.  They have this “pedestrian has the right of way” mentality that has inexplicably warped into a strange sense of entitlement and devilish pleasure in making you the motorist yield to their ambling nonchalance.

Below, I have an illustration (thanks to Google Maps) of the new Market District parking lot in Robinson.  Please take a moment to study & understand before you move on to the next paragraph.

How to walk across a parking lot.
WALK IN A STRAIGHT LINE, NOT AT AN ANGLE.

I get worked up about this quite easily (obviously I guess), and my thoughts are all over the place…  so I’ll try to make my points concise with the aid of a bulleted list.  (I have blogged about this before too, if you find that you need further reading.) I really would like to start a discussion on this in the comments if you’re so inclined.

  • When there’s a cross-walk on the ground, use it. I understand that the crosswalk isn’t a magical safe-zone, and that jaywalking laws are rarely enforced in Southwestern PA… but it’s there for a reason;  So you can move across the road in an organized and quick fashion in a designated spot.   Yes, the parking lot is a potential mine-field of car vs. person vs. shopping cart accidents, but you can help minimize the danger by using cross-walks… and drivers will know exactly where and when to have a heightened awareness.
  • Walk in a 90° angle (or close to it if at all possible) when crossing the road. This may seem stupid, but if you look at my beautiful illustration above… you can see that a person walking a green path would move across the road much more quickly than the same person walking at the same speed using a red path.  Using the green path reduces wait time (and thus aggravation) for the driver trying to get into or out of the store.
  • Walk one one side or the other of each row. The beauty of this one is that you have a choice.  You can walk on the left or the right.  JUST. DON’T. WALK. DOWN. THE. MIDDLE. These are the  most annoying people.  There’s typically room for two cars to pass each other when moving in opposite directions, and a little extra walking room in most parking lots.  When you walk right down the middle of the aisle, you make all of this room disappear.

Focusing mostly on the middle-of-the-lane walkers, but also on the anglers, and the “too cool for the crosswalk”-ers, I’d just like to comment on the types of people that I believe they may be.

First, there are the truly oblivious.  I believe this to be the smallest sect of the parking lot meanderites.  I think some people are just really not all that aware of their surroundings, and have no comprehension of the havoc that they wreak around themselves.  (Arguably,  stopping time in a parking lot is not exactly “wreaking havoc”, but it sure bites my ass.) These people are just like Mr. Bean, and since Mr. Bean is somewhat of a lovable character, I can forgive these people.  If you know one of them, please tell them about parking lot urgency.  If you don’t know one of them… walk more quickly, in straight angles, in designated areas, and close to the cars in parking lots.  (Because you are one of them.)

Then we have category #2.  The entitled. They’re a pedestrian.  They always have the right of way, and that’s it.  In their minds, anyway.  I’d like these people to see what Pennsylvania law has to say

Title 75 of the Pennsylvania Consolidated Statutes, contains the laws which govern the operation of vehicles on Pennsylvania roads.

Chapter 35: SPECIAL VEHICLES AND PEDESTRIANS
Subchapter C: Rights and Duties of Pedestrians

Section 3541. Obedience of pedestrians to traffic-control devices and regulations
(a) Traffic control devices.—A pedestrian shall obey the instructions of a police officer or other appropriately attired person authorized to direct, control or regulate traffic.

(b) Traffic and pedestrian-control signals.—Local authorities by ordinance may require pedestrians to obey traffic and pedestrian-control signals as provided in sections 3112 (relating to traffic-control signals) and 3113 (relating to pedestrian-control signals).

Section 3542. Right-of-way of pedestrians in crosswalks.
(a) General rule.—When traffic-control signals are not in place or not in operation, the driver of a vehicle shall yield the right-of-way to a pedestrian crossing the roadway within any marked crosswalk or within any unmarked crosswalk at an intersection.

(b) Exercise of care by pedestrian.—No pedestrian shall suddenly leave a curb or other place of safety and walk or run into the path of a vehicle which is so close as to constitute a hazard.

and…

Section 3543. Pedestrians crossing at other than crosswalks.
(a) General rule.—Every pedestrian crossing a roadway at any point other than within a crosswalk at an intersection or any marked crosswalk shall yield the right-of-way to all vehicles upon the roadway.

(b) At pedestrian tunnel or overhead crossing.—Any pedestrian crossing a roadway at a point where a pedestrian tunnel or overhead pedestrian crossing has been provided shall yield the right-of-way to all vehicles upon the roadway.

(c) Between controlled intersections in urban district.—Between adjacent intersections in urban districts at which traffic-control signals are in operation pedestrians shall not cross at any place except in a marked crosswalk.

(d) Crossing intersection diagonally.—No pedestrian shall cross a roadway intersection diagonally unless authorized by official traffic-control devices or at the discretion of a police officer or other appropriately attired person authorized to direct, control or regulate traffic. When authorized to cross diagonally, pedestrians shall cross only in accordance with the signal pertaining to the crossing movements.

And the best part…

Section 3552. Penalty for violation of subchapter.
Any pedestrian violating any provision of this subchapter is guilty of a summary offense and shall, upon conviction, be sentenced to pay a fine of $5.

Interesting, no?  I’m not sure if these apply any differently in a parking lot, as it’s probably private property… but I’d love to see an officer out there passing out $5 tickets for every butthole who steps boldly out in front of a moving car with the incorrect assumption that “pedestrians always have the right of way”.  Why not?  I mean, they’re cracking down on parking in the South Side after years of chaos.  Is this any less ridiculous?

The third and last group?  The spiteful. They know you’re anxious to get by, but they don’t care.  They derive pleasure in knowing that you’re most likely impatiently waiting to move forward at a speed that actually registers on your speedometer, but that they alone have the power to prevent that from happening.  Maybe they had a bad day and want to pass along the crappy karma.  Maybe they have a controlling spouse, boss, or family member, and this is how they lash out.  This is the group that turns to look at you, but continues to walk down the middle of a driving lane instead of moving to one side so you can get by.  This is the woman that stops mid-stride and mid-lane to dig through her purse for her car keys while you idle and boil.  This is the group of teenage boys that walks 4 wide and dresses “hard” like they from the streets thanks to mom’s credit card and Journey’s or Hot Topic.  This is the wide-angle walker who sees you approaching, but instead of walking straight across the lane quickly looks straight ahead in their “5 rows over from where they started” path.  They’re also the ones who let you follow them down the echelon of filled  of parking spaces during the holiday shopping season, and cut over to the next row or put bags in their car and proceed to walk right back where they came from without giving you the courtesy wave-off or  the universally understood over-exaggerated mouthing of “I’m not leaving” while shaking their head and pointing or waving their arms.  I suspect that they’re also the people who double-dip, don’t flush public toilets, and kick puppies.

That should just about cover it.  So please, pass this along so we can all get on the same page.