Are You Serving #Cookies or #Dookies? Click to not break your guests’ hearts.


Nothing kills holiday cheer faster than when someone offers you Christmas cookies; you gleefully accept and are presented with a tray covered in little jelly-filled things, lemon bars, and crap with nuts or coconuts all over it.

“Cookies” implies deliciousness, like chocolate chip, Hershey’s Kiss or Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup cookies, peanut butter cookies (fork-pressed cross-hatches with no chunks of nuts), Rice Krispies treats (in any iteration including chocolate and peanut butter shenanigans), Christmas wreaths, or even lady-locks or lady-fingers (or whatever you call them).  I’ll even give you buckeyes.

“Cookies” does not include anything with jelly in the middle, anything with nuts on or in it, lemon squares, Fig Newtons, anything with coconut shavings or flavoring.  These are (in a term coined by my friend Saurav I believe) in fact “Dookies.”

Cookies vs. Dookies

Sugar cookies and shortbread are barely passable as cookies. (Sorry, Eat n’ Park.)

Pizelles can be tricky.  Some of them are delicious, and some taste like what I imagine licking the inside of a dumpster in August would be like.  If you use a spice called annis that sounds almost like anus, you get what you deserve.

Chocolate covered pretzels, Oreos, peanut butter crackers, etc. are acceptable.

Red licorice is OK, black licorice is not.

Thumbprints can be tricky too.  If they have chocolate icing, usually only the icing is edible.  The rest is tasteless powder formed into a cup of lies.

Do we need someone to make a flow chart?  Are you getting this?  Don’t ruin someone’s Christmas by offering cookies when you’re presenting dookies.

Please, sort it out in the comments.

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“Our hot air poppers are not designed with an on/off switch.”


Didn’t I just email & tell you that?  I think I did.

Perhaps I’m getting ahead of myself again.  Did you read all about the Evil Popcorn Popper?  It wants you to tempt death by electric shock each time you feel like making a tasty air-popped snack.  Others chimed in on Facebook with their tales of appliance treachery.  In the comments, I formulated an email. I sent it.  Here it is:

Hello Presto®!

I recently bought one of your popcorn poppers because we had one when I was a kid and air-popped popcorn is always better than that microwave stuff. We can agree there, right?

I have a few questions about your design choices.

First… The butter tray. Why doesn’t any butter that I put in it melt? I’ve tried actual butter and “I Can’t Believe It’s Not Butter!®” both to no avail. Did you guys test this out in the factory? Does anyone there own one of these poppers? They’ve never pointed out this problem? I can certainly melt it in the microwave, but it’s amusing to me that the popper has a butter tray that clearly doesn’t work (even long after all the popcorn has popped). Yes, I have sat there stubbornly for a while waiting for the butter to melt for many minutes after the last dead kernel spits out of the popper. When I was a kid, our popper had a metal tray. I think it did a better job of conducting heat & melting the butter. I think it even fit an entire artery-clogging stick (as long as my parents or the babysitter weren’t looking). Do you guys have any poppers for sale that actually pop popcorn AND melt butter? I’d like to see one.

Second (and more importantly)… The power switch, or lack thereof? It’s kind of scary. You guys seem to gloss over it on the video located on your site: http://www.gopresto.com/products/products.php?stock=04820

Is that guy a chef and an electrician? Is he certified to plug in live wires? Do you guys not see the spark(s) when you plug the thing in? Have you ever actually plugged one in? Do you feel that it’s dangerous? I almost want to plug it in to a mulch-outlet power strip with an on/off switch and use that to turn it on so I don’t accidentally put my thumb in between the prongs as I’m plugging it in.

Speaking of switches, you can get a nice rocker switch from Grainger relatively cheaply: http://www.grainger.com/Grainger/CARLING-TECHNOLOGIES-Rocker-Switch-1A822

I’m sure you can get them even cheaper if you buy in bulk… and I’m sure they’re not all that difficult to install.

Can you imagine if other electrical products didn’t have an on/off switch? Toasters? Curling irons? Hair dryers? (They almost all come with circuit breakers now!) Electric knives? Electric hedge trimmers or weed whackers?

You really don’t feel that it’s dangerous? Not so much as a warning label adorns the power cord? Do you use gloves to plug yours in? Why was the plugging done off camera in the video?

I really look forward to your thoughts on these issues. I might go make some popcorn while I wait. I’ll be sure to melt the butter in the microwave first, and I hope I’m not electrocuted when I plug the popper in so I can read your reply!

Inquisitively,
-Waldo

This was the reply:

From: Presto Customer Service <contact@gopresto.com>
Date: Thu, Nov 29, 2012 at 3:01 PM
Subject: RE: Where’s the switch?
To: Waldo Lunar <world.and.lunar.domination@gmail.com>

Good morning,

I’m sorry to hear of your dissatisfaction with your hot air popper.    We have not received complaints of butter not melting in the butter melter.  Please note that the instructions do indicate that soft/room temperature butter or margarine needs to be used, refrigerated butter will not melt during the short popping period.  I do not recommend that you let the unit run after the corn has popped, as this could cause the unit to overheat.

Our hot air poppers are not designed with an on/off switch.  I talked with our Quality Manager and he indicated that there are no plans to change the design to include a switch.  The unit has been tested very thoroughly and meets all UL mandates.  If you read and follow the instruction manual,  you can feel assured that this appliance is safe to use.

Have a good day.

Colleen
NPI Customer Service
Shipments made to U.S. or Canada only

Well, that was unsatisfactory.  Letting it run empty to melt butter is bad, but plugging in a live appliance is OK?  I call shenanigans.  Shenanigans because we keep butter in the ‘fridge, and shenanigans because plugging something in that sparks feels kind of dangerous.

I do find the sentence “I talked with our Quality Manager and he indicated that there are no plans to change the design to include a switch” highly amusing.  They had a discussion about my email.  This has never come up before?  Say it with me: Shenanigans.  I’d like to know what the quality manager really said.

Who exactly are Underwriters Laboratories and why do they put their logo on everything?  How did they decided that plugging in a live wire is safe?  Maybe I should write to them and ask about it?

⚡⚠⚡ The Evil Popcorn Popper ⚡⚠⚡


A while ago I bought a popcorn popper similar to one we had when I was a kid.  It’s a rather simple appliance, and I have many fond memories of making a mess by trying to use a bowl that was too small and putting way too much butter on it.  I still like popcorn, and the stuff from a popper is leaps & bounds more awesome than the microwavable kind (but not as cool as the little foil pan that puffs up when you hold it over an oven burner).

Presto® PopLite® hot air corn popper
Presto® PopLite® hot air corn popper

I have a popcorn popper that looks a lot like the one in the photo, I think it’s a Presto® PopLite® hot air corn popper.

The one we had when I was a kid was a little fancier… it had a cup that you filled with a trap door where the butter cup here is… and a butter tray made of metal about the size of a stick of butter in front of that. The one pictured here is like the one currently at home, and it sure doesn’t melt butter… even if you leave it long after all the popcorn has popped.  Did anyone test this at the factory before they boxed & shipped it?  No one that works there has ever tried to use this thing?

One similar feature to the one I remember form my childhood is a distinct lack of a power switch.  Don’t believe me?  Check out the video from their site:

One of the first things you learn as a child after the word “no”, not sticking things up your nose, and not eating stuff you find on the floor is to not stick your fingers (or anything else) into an electrical outlet.  Everything else comes with a warning label. directly on the electrical cord.. like your hair dryer, a toaster, or even a lamp.  This thing just plugs right into the outlet with a crazy little spark and a jarring whir of sound.

Perhaps one has to be a chef to operate the thing?  Maybe the guy in the video is just in a costume, I don’t know.  Maybe he’s an electrician.  Do they have professional popcorn chefs?  Was he trained to properly plug a live cord into a receptacle?  I like how they don’t show you that part.

I can’t think of anything else that’s on as soon as you plug it in.  You can buy a rocker switch rather cheaply.  Are they that hard to install?  Are they that much more expensive?  Should I write to Presto and ask them why they let his dangerous chaos continue?  I just might.

What kind of popcorn popper do you have (if you have one)?  I’ve never tried one that uses oil… or on of the ones that looks like a tiny cart.  Do you have a tricky death-tempting popcorn popper at home, or any other appliance that dares you to dance with 110v?

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!)

Conflicting Information from Arby’s… (Help Bronco Jalapeño write a song!)


So, on one hand… Arby’s is trying to placate the great Bronco Jalapeño with the promise of personal gain.  I think.  They don’t flat-out say that, but that’s what I read from it.  What do you think?

http://twitter.com/#!/Bronco_Jalapeno/status/184273238875062273

http://twitter.com/#!/Arbys/status/184282918540165121

http://twitter.com/#!/Bronco_Jalapeno/status/184345272032305152

Arby's

Arby's

So they intend to silence the great Jalapeño with a free sample or some coupons?  Perhaps with just their word?  I have not received a reply to the tweet yet… and I’m not sure how they would send a supply of Bronco Berry Sauce as I don’t think Bronco Jalapeño has an address… unless they know that I am Bronco Jalapeño… (which isn’t too hard to figure out) but then again I don’t remember if I provided my address in their contact form, and they haven’t reached out to ask me for it.

On the other hand, I received this email…

From: “customerservice@arbys.com” <customerservice@arbys.com>
To: me@my.email.address
Sent: Tuesday, March 27, 2012 10:20 AM
Subject: Customer Feedback #474233

Dear Mr. Carroll,

Thank you for your comments regarding our Bronco Berry Sauce.  Our customer’s input and comments are always welcome and very important to us. We use this information to guide the decisions we make about our brand and our products. We have shared your comments with our Menu and Product Development team for future consideration. Also, Bronco Berry sauce is not available for retail sale.

 If you have any additional questions you can give us a call at 800-599-2729.

 Thank you again.

 Sincerely,
Arby’s Customer Relations

Allow me to translate a few key lines…

Arby's

No hat is too big for Bronco Jalapeño!

“We have shared your comments with our Menu and Product Development team for future consideration.” means a couple of things:

“We’ve shared your comments” means that it’s off of their collective customer service desk, so they consider the issue resolved, and can blame any further lack of progress or answers solely on the “Menu and Product Development team.”

“For future consideration” means I won’t get a reply from them either, and this will most likely go ignored, completely negating the statements “Our customer’s input and comments are always welcome and very important to us. We use this information to guide the decisions we make about our brand and our products.”

Perhaps I’m too cynical.

Also, Bronco Berry sauce is not available for retail sale” means “too bad for you!”

Oddly (or perhaps not), the # 474233 indicates a second query when I still have no answer to the first… # 473197.

I’m not sure if Arby’s communicates well internally…

https://twitter.com/#!/AiXeLsyD13/status/184270277780307968
https://twitter.com/#!/Arbys/status/183361352306405376
https://twitter.com/#!/Arbys/status/183361594863005696

So I’m not sure what’s up there.

While we wait for clarification, will you help Bronco Jalapeño write a song?

https://twitter.com/#!/Bronco_Jalapeno/status/184273238875062273
https://twitter.com/#!/Bronco_Jalapeno/status/184274132156944384
https://twitter.com/#!/Bronco_Jalapeno/status/184345954655285248

It can be a protest song, maybe an old west ballad folk-type thing.

You may call me… “Bronco Jalapeño”


So, Arby’s never did respond.  It’s been over a week.

From: Eric <me@my.email.address>
To: “customerservice@arbys.com”
Sent: Wednesday, March 21, 2012
Subject: Re: Arby’s Feedback #473197

Hello friends,

It’s been a week, and I haven’t heard back from my feedback submission…  #473197.

Any hope of some answers?

Thanks,
-Eric
.seitilibasid gninrael fo nuf ekam ot ynnuf ton yllaer s’tI

I did get this engaging missive after I inquired about a response using my trusty tracking number…

From: “customerservice@arbys.com” <customerservice@arbys.com>
To: me@my.email.address
Sent: Wednesday, March 21, 2012
Subject: Arby’s Feedback #473197 Follow-Up

Dear Arby’s Guest,

This e-mail is related to your feedback tracking number 473197.

In order to better serve our customers, we would like to know if you have been contacted by a representative of Arby’s in our efforts to resolve your issue or answer your question.

We appreciate your comments and will use them to improve the overall experience of our customers at our restaurant.

Sincerely,
Arby’s Guest Feedback Team

So I wrote back (again)

From: Eric <me@my.email.address>
To: “customerservice@arbys.com” <customerservice@arbys.com>
Sent: Wednesday, March 21, 2012
Subject: Re: Arby’s Feedback #473197 Follow-Up

Hello,

I have not been contacted.  That’s why I wrote again.  Should I include a copy of my 1st email?

Thanks,
-Eric
.seitilibasid gninrael fo nuf ekam ot ynnuf ton yllaer s’tI

Is it just me, or was the purpose of my original email to state that I had not yet received a reply?  Yet, that asked me if I had received a reply?  Are you even reading these emails, Arby’s?

And that (of course) has gone unanswered again.

I even tried Wendy’s because they once owned part of Arby’s

From: “Domyan, Amanda”
To: “me@my.email.address” <me@my.email.address>
Sent: Wednesday, March 21, 2012
Subject: arbys

Eric,

 I’m sorry they have not responded to you, but Wendy’s and Arby’s are actually not joined together any longer.  We separated about 3 years ago.

 Amanda Domyan

Consumer Relations
One Dave Thomas Blvd.
Dublin, OH 43017
614.764.6800 (Office)
Amanda.domyan@wendys.com

Obviously no help there.

This is what happens when I think out loud, or in type…

https://twitter.com/#!/AiXeLsyD13/status/183032227028926464

https://twitter.com/#!/AiXeLsyD13/status/183032573079982080

Heh. Yeah. @Bronco_Jalapeno was born.

https://twitter.com/#!/Bronco_Jalapeno/status/183038291052986368
https://twitter.com/#!/Bronco_Jalapeno/status/183038412197081090
https://twitter.com/#!/Bronco_Jalapeno/status/183038454639239169
https://twitter.com/#!/Bronco_Jalapeno/status/183038681756610560
https://twitter.com/#!/Bronco_Jalapeno/status/183038762043965440
https://twitter.com/#!/Bronco_Jalapeno/status/183038807271153664
https://twitter.com/#!/Bronco_Jalapeno/status/183038854368985090
https://twitter.com/#!/Bronco_Jalapeno/status/183038888271544321
https://twitter.com/#!/Bronco_Jalapeno/status/183038933083500545
https://twitter.com/#!/Bronco_Jalapeno/status/183038979849990144
https://twitter.com/#!/Bronco_Jalapeno/status/183039017254785025
https://twitter.com/#!/Bronco_Jalapeno/status/183039099576393728
https://twitter.com/#!/Bronco_Jalapeno/status/183039128382869504
https://twitter.com/#!/Bronco_Jalapeno/status/183039215775383552
https://twitter.com/#!/Bronco_Jalapeno/status/183039233336942593
https://twitter.com/#!/Bronco_Jalapeno/status/183039267679911936
https://twitter.com/#!/Bronco_Jalapeno/status/183039349972156416
https://twitter.com/#!/Bronco_Jalapeno/status/183039395258048513
https://twitter.com/#!/Bronco_Jalapeno/status/183039428925722625
https://twitter.com/#!/Bronco_Jalapeno/status/183039579039862784
https://twitter.com/#!/Bronco_Jalapeno/status/183039602842542080
https://twitter.com/#!/Bronco_Jalapeno/status/183039643892187136
https://twitter.com/#!/Bronco_Jalapeno/status/183039675370450944
https://twitter.com/#!/Bronco_Jalapeno/status/183039850092564480

https://twitter.com/#!/Bronco_Jalapeno/status/183040607328018433

This is America, where the crazy vocal fringe minority gets their way.  Let’s get this done, OK?

Arby's Sign

If the sign says it's delicious, it must be delicious... Right?

https://twitter.com/#!/Bronco_Jalapeno/status/183195389812412418