Tag Archives: feedback

Tuna Salad…? Really Dunkin Donuts? WTF.

I come back from a conference to this email from J:

I believe it was the tuna fish sandwich that finally sent me over the edge.

Tuna fish isn’t supposed to have that effect on people. With the exception of the brief mental interlude of the mid-90s where we all pretended we cared about dolphins enough to abstain from canned fish, tuna fish is known for its lack of ability to provoke. I reckon I could get the phrase, “bland as a can of tuna fish” to catch on or trend on Twitter if it wasn’t so damn many characters, because, well, how many times have you even thought about tuna fish?

I’ve been thinking about it a lot lately, and I blame Dunkin Donuts.

Dunkin Donuts, which for as long as I can remember has dominated the breakfast market with its donuts, despite the recent shrinkage of variety and size but not price, has apparently decided that they want to start serving lunch too. One of their officers announced as much to the financial paper of record when he said that the challenge would be to develop a slate of menu items that would attract a lunch crowd without turning off their primary breakfast market.

So the Dunkin Donuts brain trust got together and decided first they’d try tuna fish.

I’ve only seen the pictures and it looks like it has a lot of celery. I don’t want to try it, because it’s possible that my one purchase could skew their data enough to think that the whole idea is a raging success and if my life is to have any meaning it is to not encourage stupidity. I’ve given up on trying to make people smarter. As I watch our civilization decline a good part of me finds myself not caring as long as I can still watch reruns of my favorite shows on Netflix, but when I see the signage outside of Dunkin Donuts for a tuna fish sandwich it makes me want to stand astride the wave of civilization’s progress and shout STOP!!!

Ew.

The tuna fish sandwich is the last straw, but I’ve been watching this trend for a long time.

McDonalds started serving salads a couple of years ago. The chain that had made qui-billions (by the way, when did they stop counting how many billions served on the signs?) selling fast burgers and delicious french fries that Morgan Spurlock taught us never go bad, had come under a wave of bad publicity because Americans were getting fatter and it must have been happening because they were eating more McDonalds.

Interestingly, these stories started pouring out right around the time McDonalds was seeing real sales declines, but no matter. McDonalds decided to change its image by starting to offer salads, which, truth be told, are higher in calories than the average cheeseburger, and their spokesmen said that in a few years they would become for salads what they had been for hamburgers.

I hope not. I don’t go to McDonalds as often as I used to, but when I do go I get a burger or a chicken sandwich and I do not subject my children to those sliced apples masquerading as fries.

Taco Bell, which I practically lived off of during college because everything was either 59, 79 or 99 cents, recently started trying to pretend it was a high end Mexican restaurant by offering shrimp tacos. I am pleased to see that the marvelous science of aquaculture has brought the price of shrimp down to where it can be stuffed into a fast food taco, but if a restaurant can’t verify its meat is real I’m not trusting it with seafood.

Mercifully, the shrimp tacos didn’t seem to catch on, but that hasn’t stopped other stupidity from rearing its ugly head.

When I open a restaurant, it will have five items, including one vegetarian option for the self-important snot head who thinks they are better than everyone else because they eat grass. If you don’t like those five items, you can eat somewhere else.

I am not serving donuts and tuna on the same plate.

Now who wants pie?

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On the road…again.

On 11/10/10 at 11:05 a.m. J writes:

So I’ve been on the road again a good bit this week, but not really on the road, which means that I get my food stipend and can eat in places that I normally wouldn’t, because, well, I’m cheap. So food trucks serve a special niche for me because of their low cost goodness.

And before everyone starts to get all upity on me, you should know that some very highly placed journalists and industry PR people have enjoyed food trucks as well, so smoke on your pipe and put that in, or whatever.

This week though I was taking some out-of-town friends and colleagues out for a Philadelphia cheesesteak. They said they wanted the authentic experience, which, of course, as we all know, means Pat’s, Geno’s or Jim’s. We eliminated Pat’s and Geno’s because it was 30 degrees and while I do have fond memories of eating a cheesesteak from Pat’s at 3:00 a.m. when it was 12 degrees out, with my friends and I all saying various versions of, “YOU GOTTA WANT IT!!!” I think I might have been drunk at the time. So my memory might be cloudy.

Anyway, we went to Jim’s. Jim’s is the cheesesteak place on 4th and South. It has pictures of famous people and it sells T-shirts and hats. I’m not ready to call this an iron-clad rule yet, but if you are selling hats and reminding people that famous people once ate there, presumably before veganism and vegetarianism became morally superior, you really aren’t thinking about your food anymore.

We got to Jim’s at around 6:00 p.m. on a Sunday night and the line was out the door. There were people from Germany, Montreal and what I assume were other foreign countries because the line moved in an orderly non-disruptive fashion, so it’s unlikely they were all from Philadelphia.

My companions and I kept in good humor as we waited in line at the cheesesteak stand. By the time we got to the grill, I had in mind what I wanted to order. Whiz with extra whiz. My female companion behind me said she wanted the same thing, and the other dude ordered the same thing without onions.

We managed to find tables upstairs surprisingly easily given the crowd in the lobby, but while I enjoyed the company, the food was a total disappointment. I had paid $.70 for extra whiz, and I was left wondering what a normal whiz steak would have looked like. Part of the charm of a Philadelphia cheesesteak is when the whiz drips out onto the wrapper and you can sop it up with what’s left of your roll like a biscuit. But on this cheesesteak I couldn’t even taste the whiz.

In fact, all I could really taste were the onions, which were piled on top, rather than grilled into the meat like they are supposed to be and not quite cooked right. The bread was cold.

I paid $10.50 for the experience; money wasted.

On Tuesday night I wound up working late again and walked through the Gallery Mall. There’s a steak place there called Charley’s Fried Steaks, which gives out excellent samples on days when you are lucky. But here’s the thing- the actual cheesesteaks you pay for are not nearly as good as the sample.

I ordered the chicken club, which was supposed to come with cheese, bacon, tomatoes and lettuce. They grilled it, and didn’t put any bacon on it, which was my first disappointment.

Then they sent it down the assembly line to a surly little man who stood in front of the fixings bar. He stared at me. Not, with a “what would you like, sir?” smile but with a “what do you want?” look that didn’t have a question with it. I was going to say just put on what it’s supposed to have on it, but since they had already screwed up the bacon, I didn’t have much hope that they’d get the rest of the sandwich right so I proceeded to make my own creation.

And it didn’t work out. The combination of swiss cheese (yes, swiss cheese), ranch (I choked) and hot peppers (again, another mistake) made the whole sandwich a disappointment.

Equally disappointing were the cheese fries, which I had paid a premium for and which, well, wound up being far too soggy.

I paid $11.67 for the experience. Money wasted.

From now on, I’m just sticking with the food trucks.

Now who wants pie?

The Good People at HERRS

I took a sick day yesterday, and thus, was out of the office. When I returned I had several emails from J, 2 of which are related and posted here.

Yesterday at 3:58 pm J writes:

Food is just not living up to its responsibilities. I just ate a bag of Herr’s jalapeno poppers flavored cheese curls. They were stale. So I called the customer service line to complain. No one was available to take my call. What kind of crap is that? I ask you. I don’t have an answer; I’m just asking the question.

He also wrote this, at 4:10 pm:

Picked up when I called again. Don’t ask me how many times I called; it’s none of your business. They are very sorry for my inconvenience and they would like to send me a coupon for a replacement bag. They took my name and address and asked for the expiration date. They said they would send a coupon out in seven to ten business days, so I’m sort of excited that I have that to look forward to.

Here’s the kick in the ass, they asked me what size bag it was. Are they going to send a coupon for that exact bag?

This is the second time in my life I’ve called a customer service line about being dissatisfied with a snack product. The first time was Frito Lay. My Doritos had what I thought to be insufficient flavor and since 99 cents was a lot of money to me at the time (I was in college) I called them and let them know about it. They took down a lot of information and I mean a lot of information; they may have asked what I was doing when I ate the bag I don’t really remember.

When the coupon arrived though it was for ANY FRITO LAY PRODUCT. Man, I was in flavor country. My roommate and I drove right out to the grocery store and selected the largest bag of whatever we could find. We ate the whole thing when we got back to the dorm while watching really bad television.

I’m hoping HERRS will be as generous.


I write today, at 9:27 am:

There’s something magical about eating a ton of junk food while watching really bad television in college that somehow loses its appeal once you hit “The Real World” (not the bad television, the soul sucking abyss of personal responsibility and bill-paying).

J writes back a minute later:

The year after college is always the hardest socially. All the things that were fun and cool in college suddenly seem really dumb. You don’t bull until 4:00 a.m. because you have to get up for work in the morning. You don’t eat a lot of junk food because suddenly you’re not on a meal plan anymore and you have to budget for groceries.
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It’s true. So readers, what was YOUR favorite bad food/TV combo in college?

Mine was chicken wing/mashed potato night and watching South Park (which isn’t actually bad television, but I sat on my floor while I ate it).

No Subject

J writes via e-mail today at 1:53 p.m.:

I hate being disappointed with food, but after walking a block out of my way and spending $5.94 I am calling them out. Paganos. Your pizza sucked today. It reeked of sucktitudinosity. I wouldn’t eat it again if someone paid me to. It was dry. It was tasteless. It was way below what is normally served by your restaurant.

That's a mess.

You’re slacking. I don’t appreciate it.

I ordered steak and bacon and chicken and bacon. Both tasted dried out if they tasted like anything at all.

The pizza crust was chewy instead of that thin crispness.

In short, it sucked, and I had anticipated it too. Was really looking forward to it.

Thank you, Paganos, for ruining my day.

Fast Food, It Gives So Much and Asks for So Little

J writes via email at 2:52 p.m.

So on my way back on my walk today I stopped by the KFC in the Gallery Mall and got one of those boneless chicken filets; fried, not grilled. As an aside, if you order the grilled chicken because it is more healthy I submit you are an idiot. If you want to be healthy, don’t eat at KFC. Grilled chicken will just remind you that fast food chicken is not the same product they serve at fine restaurants and breading and deep frying covers over a multitude of sins.

There's another chicken in that chicken.

Anyway, I ordered the boneless fried chicken breast. This comes without the bun or any other garnishment for $2, or $2.14 with tax. Money well spent, but I also got:

The opportunity to give feedback. Yeah, I called the survey on the back of the form. I didn’t have anything worthwhile to say, but then again I seldom do as readers of this blog will attest (have you noticed that while methods of communication have proliferated we haven’t had anything worthwhile to say in them?), but I punched all the keys and did my thing. I hope I made a difference. Sometimes you just gotta get shit done because shit doesn’t get done by itself, know what I mean?

I was motivated to do the survey because if you do the survey you get entered into a drawing for $1,000. This made it sort of like a scratch and win lottery ticket. When I was in high school, I was addicted to scratch and win lottery tickets because in Ohio they didn’t do things like check IDs. I won $100 once and spent a lot of money trying to win $100 again. But I didn’t consider it money wasted because I enjoyed the time I spent scratching off the win columns. These tickets are at least $2 and up now, so in a sense my chicken was free because I had the opportunity to win $1,000. No, I didn’t win, but people don’t win the actual lottery much either.

And on top of everything else, they gave me a coupon for $1 off the new doublelicious combo, which is KFC’s way of saying they are not even trying to pretend they are healthy anymore. From the picture it looks like the restaurant’s answer to the idea that the double down was a bit too much because it’s a chicken patty with cheese, bacon and that special sauce that you can never reproduce because it’s made 1,000 gallons at a time. Interestingly they do have a grilled version, but it’s much smaller in the picture and has lettuce, so I guess they are trying. Good for them. I’m not going to eat it, but good for them.
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I respond:

I wanted to say this about KFC:

I can’t eat there anymore. And no, not just because I’m a vegetarian. Because I have reason to believe they put MSG in their food.

Who cares about MSG when it makes things more delicious?

Me. I do. Because the last time I had KFC (3 years ago), I had an allergic reaction. And not just “ooooh, my stomach hurts and I feel crappy” but like, a true allergic reaction;  hives, itching, sneezing, migraine.

My roommates and I lived in the ghetto of New Brunswick a short drive from a KFC. We saw an ad for a meal special: $7 and you get two sides (hello mac and cheese and mashed potatoes!), chicken, biscuits, and a soda. Why yes please! I’m in college, poor, hungry, and have low food standards, sure! I’d LOVE some comfort food.

Never again.

Bad shit man, mess you up.
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J retorts:

I think I heard this story before. You are starting to do repeats.

I think you may have even used the same tone and inflection when describing your love of mac and cheese and mashed potatoes.
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I sass back:

Look. We spend a lot of time together. I guess I’m sorry about the repeats. Not really though, because I wouldn’t repeat myself if you talked about something other than KFC and their doubledown sandwich.

So I say: Get used to it.

And I believe in spreading the gospel about KFC and the MSG in their food, ok? IT WAS AWFUL. Awful! My roommates got sick too. We were all out of commish for two whole days. That’s disgusting. For food!…that was alright I guess, but if we had just pooled our cash we could have prepared a chicken dinner with mashed potatoes and bought the mac and cheese at Wawa, it would have been MORE tasty and not as intestine-destroying.

And I believe in the beauty of a well-done macaroni and cheese.

And a free America.

What?

I’m just sayin.
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J replies:

Repeats aren’t all bad, I suppose. I do still like Seinfeld even though I could quote almost all the episodes by heart.

FREE TIBET!