McObservation


McDonald's on Urbanspoon

I’d love to think that I had something to do with this, but hopefully it stemmed from many other customer complaints about this place to the right people and not just from my persistent prodding.

I saw a tweet last night from another McCustomer in my area that made me laugh out loud:

Hey @AiXeLsyD13, went to the West Lib McD’s today. They had some bigwigs in monitoring operations. They had stopwatches & everything
15 hours ago via web

Thank you for the tweet, Heather!  I know Heather and a few other people from the area have expressed their exasperation with this McDonald’s via Facebook, Google, Twitter, & I think even Urbanspoon… and in the comments section in one of my blog posts about the West McLiberty location, and maybe something has been pushed through by Mr. Kausky since the last time I heard form Ms. Jones, although Ms. Jones did mention someone coming to help them turn into the “well-oiled machine”.  I doubt my tweeting had anything to do with it.

I encourage everyone to keep writing to this McDoanld’s and to corporate until customer service is at an acceptable level (like that of the McDoanld’s in Canonsburg).

McDoanld’s corporate contact form on the Web: http://www.mcdonalds.com/us/en/contact_us.html

McDonald’s #5834 (West Liberty Ave.):

McDonald’s #4856 (Canonsburg):

The McDonald’s Twitter Team plus a few more:

Time for a game: What does this say? + Storm Damage Photos…


So, the other night a ridiculous storm that lasted only a few minutes wreaked havoc all over Pittsburgh’s south hills.  With the electric out and not much else to do, the fun thing for us to do when  it’s light out & no longer raining is to go to the park with a camera.  I got some interesting shots of the storm damage as darkness fell, and we ran into a bunch of people in the park from the surrounding area, and we were all quite talkative.

(Is it odd that we have a regular “routine” for when the power goes out?)

One young man was walking his dog, and I got a few pics of the dog that he said he’d like to see.  No problem, right?  I asked him to write down his email address.

In hindsight, I have no idea why I don’t think like it’s the 2010s and just put information like this in my phone that’s always in my pocket.

Why is that an issue?  Well, this is what I got…

wmailwtf

abfdbzklxfdklgbzbkx7832sjjb34t

I’d certainly like to email the kid the photos… hopefully they have power by now too.  I just really have no idea what that says… other than “@msn.com”.  I think.

I’d appreciate any help/suggestions that you may have!

If you’re interested in taking a look at my photos, you can check them out on Photobucket:

Here’s a weird bug, a tree that just needed to sit for a minute, the dog, and a shot that isn’t storm damage, but I like it anyway:


EAT MOR CHIKIN? My pleasure.


I hate to sound like a commercial, and I know I’ve gone on & on about this before; but Chick-fil-A is consistently the best fast food chain around, without fail. I signed up for the Chick-fil-A of South Hills mailing list a while ago, and I’m always getting coupons and emails about specials and post-cards in the mail. One great recent one was that if you went in on Tax Day (April 15th for those anarchists out there) & saved your receipt, you could get the same meal for free on any day in May just by handing over the receipt! How cool is that?

The most recent cool promotion is that I got an invite in my email to request an invitation to try their new spicy chicken sandwich before it’s widely available next week. (The invites seemed to pop up all over Twitter & Facebook too, so they were readily available if you knew where to look!) I made the reservation, and printed an invitation with a custom barcode. I signed the wife up, so we could both enjoy a new sandwich.

Tonight we went & redeemed the coupons in the midst of some other errands, and the sandwiches were excellent… but the service (as always) was top notch. It was busy, but we were in & out of line quite quickly. We were greeted with a smile by the young girl at the cash register even though it was obviously a crazy work night. We even received beaded necklaces with a hot chili pepper charm to go along with our sandwiches. Of course, it’s always “my pleasure” instead of “you’re welcome” when you thank them for anything. Our food was out in a reasonably quick time, and seconds after we seated ourselves another young man in the dining area politely asked if we had everything that we needed.

About halfway through our meal, another young man came out with an envelope, on it was handwritten “Eric and Bethany Carroll”, and inside was this…

Thank you for coming to the Spicy Premiere Week!

Chick-fil-A | Thank you for coming to the Spicy Premiere Week!

Spicy Premiere Week - Free Milkshake

Free Hand Spun Milkshake

…yeah, it looks like the employees on duty tonight actually signed the postcard/coupon thing!

Apparently, it’s working because I’m blogging about it, and spreading the word, and I’ll be talking about it, and I’ll be crazy by working it in when anything remotely related comes up in conversation.

Before I was halfway to the garbage can on our way out this evening, the young man from the dining room took my tray & dumped it, this is usually a regular occurrence here too… just imagine it happening at McDonald’s, Wendy’s, Burger King, KFC, or Taco Bell. You can’t, can you?

These guys know how to get me to keep coming back, and how to get me to talk about them. Genius, I tell you. So if you’re into Spicy Chicken, try the new sandwich out. If not, check out Chick-fil-A anyway, for the best fast food experience you’ve had in a long time.

So I’m not completely biased… Chick-fil-A, if you’re listening, add baked potatoes to the menu! That’s the one thing you’re missing. I know I had one at a CFA in Florida… we want them in PA too!

May the Schwartz be with you, always.


Well, I still haven’t gotten around to sending the snail mail version of my Spaceballs Special Edition in 3D idea… but I did pop it off to a few other email addresses.  Of those, they did go to the dudes at Spaceballs: The Prequel.  Sadly, as I write this, that site is no more.  They seem so share my affinity for the odd, as illustrated by this excellent response…

from Aaron Dietz <aarondietz@gmail.com>
to Arik Cearbhall <arikcearbhall@gmail.com>
cc slave2moonlight@yahoo.com
subject Re: Spaceballs 3D – featuring more Yum! Brands characters?

Friends and mighty allies,

It gives me great pain to share that Dark Quino and I (Dark Aaron) will be closing down spaceballstheprequel.com within a month. We thought a lot about the decision and ultimately decided to move on to other projects. This is not because a prequel or other way of furthering the Spaceballs franchise is not merit-worthy! On the contrary, it’s still a fine idea, and it should be done.

However, after many years of fighting the fight, we have agreed to let the project rest.

Sadly, Arik, we were never able to get a personal reply from Mel Brooks, or even anything substantial from his studio. We do take partial credit in promoting Spaceballs enough that they created an animated series for it, but that’s as far as we got.

I wish you the best of luck with your idea, Arik. It is worthy of many exclamation points!!!!!

Love the R2D2 parody-character–yes, let’s put the soul back into the franchise with the most important piece! And Argbar–oh my, there’s no way that wouldn’t be on YouTube, and in people’s heads, and everywhere. Argbar is my new favorite uncreated character. Nice work!

Best to you all. And keep in touch about Spaceballs news at my other e-mail address: aarondietz@gmail.com (darkaaron@spaceballstheprequel.com will soon be going away).

May the Schwartz be with you, always.

Aaron (no longer Dark Aaron)

Heh.  That’s by far the best reply!  Although, the letter from Michael Winslow’s agent saying that Michale would be involved is funny on a whole different level…

Just in case you forgot….

Spacesalls Special Edition in 3D Character Designs

Spacesalls Special Edition in 3D Character Designs

I also wrote back to Rebecca Thornsberry at Chick-fil-A, you may remember that she suggested that I call corporate

Arik Cearbhall <arikcearbhall@gmail.com>  wrote:

Hello Rebecca,

Thank you for the quick & informative reply, even though this doesn’t have much to do with you!  Have you ever seen Spaceballs?  Are you a Mel Brooks fan?

I really appreciate the corporate phone number, but do you have an email contact there?  I prefer to communicate by email, as I have an intense fear of the telephone.

Good luck with your local Chick-fil-A, you’re consistently the most polite fast food chain, even via email!

Dink Dink, Dink Dink Dink… Dink. Dink. Dink,
Arik

And got another reply…

from Chick-fil-A South Hills  <cfasouthhills@gmail.com>
to Arik Cearbhall <arikcearbhall@gmail.com>
subject Re: Spaceballs 3D – featuring more Yum! Brands characters?

Hello Arik.  I do not have an email address for anyone because I am not sure who to send you to.  Just call that 1-800-CFA-CARE number and ask for someone in the marketing department.  That is what i would start with or they might be able to give you an email address. Since you are calling the corporate office, I was suggest actually calling at first.

Good luck,
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’re so polite, even in their replies to obviously insane emails.

Spaceballs Special Edition in 3D


So, if you’ve been following the Yum! Brands saga, you know that I’ve been messing with them for a while on both legitimate and goofy levels, and that I had this idea a while ago.  I finally acted upon it.  I had to set up an alias to do it, as I’m sure most of my contacts just cringe when email from me hits their inbox.  Mel Brooks either doesn’t have an email address, or it’s a closely guarded one… as it’s very difficult to find anything for him.  I may have to print this out & snail mail it.  I’m sure it has the potential to get a funny reply.

I see, your Shwatrz is as big as mine…

from: Arik Cearbhall <arikcearbhall@gmail.com>
to: [All kinds of people]
subject: Spaceballs 3D – featuring more Yum! Brands characters?
mailed-by: gmail.com

Hello my friends,

At last we meet again for the first time for the last time.

I write to you today with a revelation regarding Spaceballs. It is my belief that something needs to be done before George Lucas releases Star Wars in 3D, Spaceballs needs to have a re-vamped special edition (like the Star Wars ones released in 1997), possibly even jumping in to 3D before Star Wars.

The reason that I’m writing to both “Yum! Brands” and MGM employees is because I can’t find a good email address for Mel Brooks. Does Mel have an email address?

MGM still owns the rights to the movie, correct? Also, I address “Yum!” because, as you well know, two characters that are parodies of “Yum! Brands” brands appear quite prominently in the Spaceballs saga. If you don’t know, here’s some help from Wikipedia:

  • Pizza the Hutt, named after the pizza restaurant chain, is a half-man, half-Pizza Mafioso and a parody of Jabba the Hutt. He forces Lone Starr to pay one million credits to him. By the end of the film, however, a “news segment” watched by Lone Starr and Barf reveals that Pizza got locked in his limo and ate himself to death, thus meaning Lone Starr and Barf won’t have to pay anymore. The voice of Pizza the Hutt is performed by Dom DeLuise.
  • Colonel Sandurz[8] is a parody of the leading Imperial Officers from Star Wars, such as Veers and Piett or Grand Moff Tarkin. ‘Colonel’ is his rank; however, ‘Kernel’ is his real name. His name is a pun on KFC‘s founder Colonel Sanders. (At one point, Dark Helmet taunts him into action, saying, “What’s the matter, Colonel Sandurz? Chicken?“)

I believe that the Schwartz has aligned because at the time of the filming of Spaceballs, these were parodies of two wholly separate fast food companies. (Or were PepsiCo or TriCon in control at that point?) Now, they are just two of many systems in the “Yum!” galaxy, if you will.

The opportunity exists to film news scenes and digitally insert new characters… and in the spirit of the original; “Moichandizing! Moichandizing! Moichandizing!” I still never did get Spaceballs, the flamethrower. We are at a point in time with advertising and merchandising where a once preposterously offensive idea would now be considered almost normal.

This could be a huge cross-promotional tie-in empire, and may even save MGM from its current financial woes. I propose a set of new characters, new scenes, and new toys/products…

New Characters:

  • AN-UU (pronounced “Ay – en – double – you”), the fearless side-kick to Dot Matrix. After all, this is the most obvious glaring omission from the original Spaceballs movie. Yeah, you can combine Luke & Han, but you can’t drop R2-D2! He is the undeniable (albeit mechanical) heart of the Star Wars franchise. Imagine, he could be like a little root-beer bottle or vending machine shaped droid.
  • Tako Juan Bellobi, Lone Star’s other mentor, who gives him the Schwartz ring saying it was his father’s, then sends him to Yogurt to learn how to use it. Living in a desert, the Mexican tie-in, a colorful Mexican-styled blanket instead of the Jedi robe… a “Stinking Badges” Blazing Saddles reference, a cojones joke or two, this could be a comedic gold mine.
  • Long Jon Argbar, arguably one of the most recognizable internet memes of all time would be Admiral Ackbar’s “It’s a Trap!”. This simply cannot be ignored. Long John Silver and Admiral Ackbar would be a perfect mix given their similar aquatic nature. I see the character almost like Davy Jones from Pirates of the Carribbean: Dead Man’s Chest. Also, if we want to get super nerdy, I have derived the name Argbar from (obviously) Ackbar and the Latin for silver, argentum. Tie in fictional pirates’ proclivity to exclaim “Argh” or “Arg” or “Arrrr”, and we have a win-win-win situation.
  • The Wing Fleet – Not a character per-say… but a play on Tie-fighters and X-Wings, a rebel alliance and empire (“Yum!”-pire?) ought to be created… legions of the Spaceballs’ fighters could be shaped like chicken wings and fly out of a large bucket on top of the ship.

(Please see my character design concepts in the attached *.jpg)

New Scenes/Bits/Gags:

  • To parody the interrogation scene from Star Wars: A New Hope and to tie into KFC’s new healthier image… Colonel Sandurz could “grill” Princess Vespa much like the “comb the desert” scene. Can you see the giant grill now? The lines on her back? Perhaps a smells/tastes like chicken joke?
  • In the “It’s a Trap” spirit… Long Jon Argbar’s shtick could be to exclaim “It’s a ___!” over & over again, perhaps stopping all the action and looking at the camera after a particularly bad one… and shrugging his shoulders before moving on with it. The blank could be many different things; Tap (in reference to AN-UU’s root beer tap perhaps?), Carp (an aquatic fish reference), frap (Mr. Coffee/Mr. Radar joke), or many, many more things… like Tarp, Part, Wrap, Crap, etc.

New Products & Tie Ins:

  • Yogurt – Perhaps most obviously, yogurt ought to be offered as a dessert item on all “Yum! Brands” restaurants’ menus… perhaps in collectible cups? Everyone’s into this health-food malarkey these days. Perhaps even frozen yogurt, as to not be so disgusting?
  • Toys – Obviously the toys associated with kids meals would be big hits with kids & collectors alike. The toys from all the chains could represent their parodied character and a few of his friends… needing to visit all of the chains to complete your collection… possibly even getting a part of the Spaceballs ship (Mega-Maid) at each chain that are all put together Voltron-style, much like the Transformers reference in the Spaceballs movie?
  • If you guys want to get crazy, we could reach out to Starbucks and infuse them into the Mr. Coffee scene, and replace all references to “spacebucks” as “starbucks”. Perhaps “Yum!” could acquire them before the release of the film?

As you can see, this is a no-brainer, and once you have had the time to review my email, and perhaps forward it to Mel Brooks and/or Brooksfilms Ltd., you will most assuredly be prepared to move along at ludicrous speed. There is no way to not make money with this.  Star Wars fans will rabidly go after anything remotely associated to the movie, and most are geeks who love Mr. Brooks’ style of humor.

If new scenes need to be filmed, I’m sure Rick Moranis, Bill Pullman, George Wyner, Daphne Zungia, and the others would appreciate the work. Perhaps Barf could be wholly replaced by new hot funnyman Zach Galifianakis, as John Candy would be currently unavailable due to his deceased nature. You wouldn’t even need to add much fake fur to the costume. Have you seen the guy?

As far as my involvement, I expect nothing other than to be credited with the inception/inspiration of the project. I would just like to see it happen; perhaps a producer credit? From what I understand, those are mostly meaningless anyway.

I’d like to thank you for your time, and I’m sure you’re as excited about this as I am. These are the droids you’re looking for.

May the Schwartz be with you!
Arik

And, this was the attached photo…

Spaceballs 3D Special Edition Character Designs by Arik Cearbhall

I know, I have mad photo-editing skills.  You don’t have to tell me.

As an afterthought, I felt that all of the other fast food chains out there shouldn’t be denied, so… I re-sent the message with this as a forward:

Hello friends,

I write to you to present an opportunity that may titillate your funny bone.  I have recently written to Mel Brooks, MGM, and your competitor, “Yum! Brands” in the interest of putting together a “Special Edition” version of Spaceballs (perhaps in 3D) featuring new Fast Food related characters.  I have not yet received a reply, but after it was sent, I felt that I had been leaving out many other fine establishments.  Would you have any interest in participating in such a project?  I can certainly come up with new character designs as a parody of your brands.  I consider myself an expert on both Star Wars and fast food.

Please find my entire original message below, and see what you think as it pertains to you!

Hail Skroob!
Arik

Heh. This message actually got me the first few replies…

From a local Chick-fil-A:

from: Chick-fil-A South Hills  <cfasouthhills@gmail.com>
to: Arik Cearbhall <arikcearbhall@gmail.com>
subject: Re: Spaceballs 3D – featuring more Yum! Brands characters?
mailed-by: gmail.com

Hello Arik.  My name is Rebecca Thornsberry and I am the Marketing Director for the Chick-fil-A at South Hills.  Each store is individually owned and operated, so this sounds like something that you would have to get permission from our Corporate Office in Atlanta to do.  If you feel like you’d like to pursue this, you could start with the 1-800-CFA-CORP.  Thanks for offering this to us, but I am sorry that I cannot help you with this.

Thanks,
Rebecca Thornsberry
Marketing Director

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

From an irritable Quiznos employee:

from: Creative Requests <creativerequests@quiznos.com>
to: Arik Cearbhall <arikcearbhall@gmail.com>
subject: RE: Spaceballs 3D – featuring more Yum! Brands characters?
mailed-by: quiznos.com

I’m only writing you back to say that it is very inappropriate to include all recipients in the “TO” field and not the “BCC”.  Not only is this SPAM mail – unwelcome and unsolicited – it allows anyone on this email to know the emails of all recipients.

Please DO NOT email this address again.

The first reply from anyone actually associated with the project:

from: roger paul <rogerpaulmgmt@aol.com>
to: arikcearbhall@gmail.com
subject: Re: Spaceballs 3D – featuring more Yum! Brands characters?
mailed-by: aol.com

My client Michael Winslow would be up for the challenge

Roger Paul
1650 Broadway
Suite 1105
NY NY 10019
212-262-0008 Phone
212-333-5180 Fax
347-993-0939 Cell

Yeah, that’s actually Michael Winslow‘s management.  He’s “that Police Academy guy” relevant here as the radar operator in Spaceballs.  Dude is awesome.

Then we have…  Silence from everyone else, so far.  I can’t wait to get some more replies.  I just may have to send out some snail mail on this one to the actors & studios.  It is still early, hopefully more responses will pour in!

Blowin’ in the wind.


If you live in the ‘Burgh, you know we got some serious storm winds & some damage on Friday afternoon.  The storm hit one of my favorite places to take photos, Dormont Park.  So, of course I got some pictures of some trees knocked over and a utility pole down.

To see the whole album, check it out in slideshow or grid form.  We were without power for about a day and a half… and no damage was done to our place, so it could have been a lot worse.  I just thought the twisted broken trees made for some good photo subjects.

I reported the downed utility pole to Duquesne Light on Saturday right after I saw it… went back to look around today, it was still down… no caution tape or anything up, so I called the Dormont police.  Hopefully they send someone in to clean up, there’s usually a decent amount of people in the park, hope no one would come across the stuff & get hurt.

Also, in the same set of photos… nothing really to do with the storm, we hit up Chick-fil-A for breakfast & the use of a power outlet to charge our phones on Saturday morning as our power was out, I happened to have my camera in the car… I saw some kind of hawk or falcon on a light pole near the Chick-fil-A in South Hills.  At first I thought it was an owl, upon a second glance I really wasn’t sure at all.

Anyone know what it is?

Some kind of bird of prey outside Chick-fil-A in the South Hills...

3 shots of the Chick-fil-A Bird...

This is why Chick-fil-A is awesome.


These are individual promotions for the South Hills location, but I’m sure many others are doing things like this.

Got this in my inbox recently…

On Thursday, April 15th, you WILL NOT want to miss our Receipt Day 2010! In celebration of taxes being completed, we are hosting Receipt Day again this year! Come to any Pittsburgh Chick-fil-A on Thursday. Eat with us, save your receipt, come back any day in May and the SAME order is FREE! Your receipt will be printed on colored paper!

Lastly, on Friday, April 16th, join us again for Breakfast for Dinner. From 5:00 pm – 8:00 pm you can buy our normal breakfast OR dinner menu during our dinner time. We would love to see you in your pajamas!

We hope to see you sometime this week or maybe even every day! Thank you for being loyal fans and customers! This week is for YOU!

How awesome is that?  A free meal sometime in May?  Their little tiny nugget-filled breakfast sandwiches for dinner?  Genius.  It’s rare to see a grumpy Chick-fil-A employee too, at least in my experience.  I don’t know if they pay well, beat them into submission, brainwash, or what… but it works.

They’re always having ridiculous events.  I wonder if I can get a job as a Chick-fil-A cow?

EAt MoR CHiKiN

EAt MoR CHiKiN

Message from McDonald’s USA [ref#:6502666]


Heh.  McDonald’s wrote back about my brief stop and UrbanSpoon.com review (posted with pictures) the other night.

Here’s the message below, that rides the “impersonally personal response” line quite well.

Someone got rid of the pictures at UrbanSpoon.com… perhaps they were flagged as inappropriate?  I can see that.  Oh well, no reason I can’t show them here.

Stall #1

Stall #2

Here’s my review…

photo prime
“Sadly, had the best service there tonight in years…” by ERiC AiXeLsyD (98 reviews)
November 29, 2009 – Doesn’t like it – Small crew tonight, decent night-time crowd, stopped for a late dinner, was served relatively quickly… fries were a perfect golden color and hot… burgers were OK, super-greasy but it IS McDonald’s. We were out at an event earlier, on the way home… had to use the facilities… but they were trashed. Stall #1 had no TP dispenser, the roll was on the back of the commode, and the bowl was chock full of the stuff. Stall #2 had a broken doorknob/lock mechanism. One hand dryer was stuck on, the other didn’t work, and both urinals were full of urine. I know they can’t control flushing… but periodic checks/cleanings and some repairs might be in order.  Just when I thought this place had their stuff together for once… My advice? When stopping here, use the facilities somewhere else.

1 person likes this review Recommend

And here’s their response with my message submitted through the McWebform following below…

From: McDonalds.CustomerCare@us.mcd.com
To: eric_aixelsyd@yahoo.com
Sent: Tue, December 1, 2009 5:14:49 AM
Subject: Message from McDonald’s USA

Hello Eric:
Thank you for taking the time to contact McDonald’s Customer Service Center to bring your recent experience to our attention.First, I hope you will accept my sincere apology for your disappointment in McDonald’s. I can assure you that we want you to be completely satisfied every time you visit one of our restaurants.Because most McDonald’s restaurants are independently owned and operated, I have forwarded your comments to the franchise owner or local representative for follow up at the restaurant you visited. Please be assured that your comments will be investigated and, if appropriate, corrective action will be taken.

 

Secondly, although we did not completely meet your expectations, please know that our restaurant employees strive to maintain the highest standards of quality, service, cleanliness and value and it’s certainly nice to know that their efforts are appreciated. We want to recognize your complimentary comments and thank you for your kind words.

Again, thank you for taking the time to contact McDonald’s and giving us the opportunity to address your concerns. Customer feedback is very important to us as it helps us improve. McDonald’s is number one because of customers like you.

Ashley
McDonald’s Customer Response Center

ref#:6502666

————————————————————————————————————–

Please do not “reply” to this email response. No “replies” can be received through this mailbox. If you wish to contact McDonald’s Customer Response Center again, please visit our website at www.mcdonalds.com

You wrote:

The crew in the place tonight seemed to be operating well, were friendly, and quickly as far as the food was concerned, but the parking lot was full of cars for the bar next door, and the men’s bathroom was disgusting.  Please see this link for a review & photos: http://www.urbanspoon.com/r/23/1346713/restaurant/Far-South-South-Hills/McDonalds-Pittsburgh

Rarely is this kind of stuff ever followed up by the local chain. I don’t know if that’s indicative of stores nation-wide, or just in our area.  Then again… it gets me wondering…  I put my address in that webform… and my photo is up at UrbanSpoon.com.

Bad idea?