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Sunday, December 23, 2012

Post# 291 - Chili's Quesadilla Explosion Salad - 5/27/12

Dear Chili's,

Last week I was at one of your restaurants with an important business client.  Drinks were going down nicely.  Agreements were coming together.  Handshakes and optimism were in the air.  We then decided to order some dinner.

As I glanced your menu, I decided to go with your fajitas, as they are my favorite.  I took a quick call as the others ordered their meals.  When our food came, our server asked, "Who ordered the Quesadilla Explosion Salad?"  I flipped out.  I dove under the table.  As I cowered, I heard the others call me "squirrelly" and a "real nut job."

A real nut job.

I take great offense to the name that you have given this salad.  You see, I am the sole survivor of a quesadilla explosion.  The incident took place in El Paso in 1983, in the kitchen of a tiny Mexican restaurant where I worked with several of my friends.  We were college students, prepping for a Cinco De Mayo holiday party for a bunch of kids.  Kids love quesadillas--they're Mexican grilled cheeses, after all.

We had this large tray of quesadillas for all of these kids.  With all of the fresh avocado and cilantro, we couldn't smell the gas leak.  Our boss, Hector, lit his cigar.  BOOM!  The headline the next day read, "Quesadilla Explosion Kills Four."  Those four were Reggie, Timmy, Alex, and our head honcho, Hector. 

For years, the very thought of a quesadillla made me sick.  I eventually got over it--time heals wounds. Asking me to remain calm when I hear about a Quesadilla Explosion is asking a lot though. 

Companies love naming things after natural disasters, after unfortunate incidents, and after famous killers.  I don't get it.  For every nine people who don't really care what you name it (as long as it tastes good), there's the tenth person.

I'm the tenth person, and I have spoken.


Their response, sent 5/30/12:

Dear Jerry, 

Thank you for sharing your story with us at Chili’s.  The Quesadilla Explosion salad has been a very popular item on our Chili’s menu since its debut in January of 2004.  It is our hope that this salad with grilled chicken, cheese, tomatoes, corn relish, cilantro, tortilla strips, cheese quesadillas, and citrus-balsamic dressing will give you a new memory when you hear the words “Quesadilla Explosion.”  If you would like to further discuss, please contact our Guest Relations Manager, Julee, directly at 972-770-3254.

Guest Relations

Reference Number: 670695

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Sunday, December 16, 2012

Post# 290 - Dunkin' Donuts and the Missing Quarter Back

I sent this on February 12, 2012.

Dear Dunkin' Donuts,

Today, in your drive through, I ordered a large coffee with cream and no sugar.  The bill came to $1.75. 
I pulled around.  I paid the gentleman.  I didn't have change, so I gave him $2.00 in paper bills.  He handed me my large coffee with cream and no sugar, said "Thank You!" and closed the window. 

I sat there for a minute.  My daughter, in the back seat said, "Mom--he's looking at you!"  He never opened the window.  He never gave me my quarter.  No sign of a receipt, either.  I would've pulled around and confronted him, but a) I was in a hurry and b) it would've seemed like I was arguing over a lousy quarter.  In reality, it isn't the quarter that I care about.  It's the principle.

Normally in the gratuity world of ballgame hot dog vendors, greedy servers at overpriced restaurants, I'm used to, "Are we good?" or, "Do you need change?"  Buddy, we all need change.  The best is the server who elects to bring you a $5 back in your $6 change so you're forced to either tip way, way over 20%, or leave a measly buck.  But I digress.

Do your cashiers and drive-through folk make less than minimum wage, like a server at a restaurant?  Am I wrong for thinking a tip isn't implied?  Should I be tipping flight attendants too?  The Avon Lady?  Girl Scouts with those sinful Samoan cookies that I fancy?

Look--if a tip is implied, I've been living a lie at Dunkin' Donuts for years.   I probably owe $150 in quarters.   I'll settle up now.   Seriously.  I'm a notoriously generous tipper.  If I'm at a table with another couple, and we split the bill, I'll always over tip to make us look totally awesome in the eyes of the server.

What are the social mores of a Dunkin' Donuts Drive Through?  I left thinking that "the donut holes aren't the only holes in that store!"  Was it him, or me.  If it was him, I don't want him fired.  Maybe just make him run a couple laps around the perimeter of the store.  If it was me, send me the bill for 20% on top of every doggoned coffee I've ever enjoyed in my 29-ish years on this big blue marble.  They've all been Dunkin' Donuts.

It makes me sad because I feel like in order to enjoy my Dunkin' Donuts Coffee, I need to have exact change, and we JUST don't live in an "Exact Change Society."  I'll be taking my business to Timmy Horton.

Just thought you should know why.


Their response, sent 2/13/12:

Hello Jerry,

First of all I want to say thank you for the feedback.  I hear you loud and clear.  After reading your entire email, I understand the situation completely and I promise you it will be resolved.  

It is not your fault at all it is my employee's fault.  I would like for you to let me know what time of the day you visited the store.  This give me a better understanding of which employee do I need to talk to.  
Our employees are paid the minimum wage and above and no tip is not considered to be part of the wages.  So our guests don't need to give tips at all but some do.   

We will address the issue and I promise you it will not happen again.  I know it's not about the quarter and it's about the principle.  We do not train out staff to "keep the change".  I understand this kind of act as stealing from guests such as yourself.  

Please give us a chance to correct our mistake, I would like to send you gift certificates that you can use at any Dunkin donuts store.  

Please reply back with your mailing address and the time/date of your visit to the Trenton location.
I look forward to hearing from you.

Thank you


Their follow-up response, sent 2/26/12:

Hi Jerry,
I apologize for the delay in responding.
I have mailed you the gift certificates to the address provided.
Please use at any Dunkin Donuts of your choice.

It would be really helpful to us that you provide the time/date of your visit to the trenton location.
Please understand that I'm not planning to fire the employee involved for this mistake, but I wanted
to make this situation into a learning oppurtunity and also to make sure this kind of act does not happen
to any of our guests in our network.  We value your business and hope you have a pleasant day.

Thank You
They sent two gift cards!

Saturday, December 8, 2012

Post# 289 - Saltworks Sea Salt: Do I Taste Fish Poo? 7-15-12

Dear Saltworks,

As a kid, I once ate a goldfish on a dare. Well, I put Sparky in my mouth, but spit him into my cup of water when no one was watching. When I did, I noticed that he had one of those really long fish poos dangling from his rear end.  Long story short, some ended up in my mouth.  I freaked.  Emergency Room Doctor said I'd be okay, and to quit being a jackass.  To this day, I have a real aversion to fish poo.

I recently tried your sea salt.  I was raised on the iodized stuff.  At the time, there was a lot of propaganda from the People Against Goiters and Nosehair (PAGAN).  Suddenly, sea salt became hip.

I tried your sea salt. At first, I liked it.  Then, my senses became so much more "sensitized." Maybe this is a direct result of iodine deficiencies.  Soon, with my heightened senses, I tasted fish poo.

Are you 100% certain that you aren't selling us fish poo along with the salt?  What do you do to get rid of it?  Do you have elaborate fish poo filtration?  I'm serious guys--I don't like it.



Saturday, December 1, 2012

Post# 287 - Bubba Keg Round Two: Bubba Keg Leaks - 7/15/2011

Back in 2008, I wrote a letter to Bubba Keg about my big leaky coffee mug, which has a design flaw that they fixed more recently.  I wasn't happy with their response, and may have stirred up a hornet's nest with somne Bubba Slappees by posting my letter on the Bubba Keg Facebook Fan Page.

I wondered if presenting the same problem 3 years later would net a different result.  Maybe the lady I dealt with jumped ship.  Maybe corporate policies have changed.  I used an alias and cut out all of the iditarod stuff (even though that really happened).
Dear Bubba Keg,

I have a 33 ounce mug that has a design flaw.  The gasket on the lid, over time, slips out of the groove.  The very act of screwing the cap onto the mug gradually unseats the gasket.

Eventually, if I forget to check the gasket, I get a coffee leak, and coffee on my shirt and pants.  This is annoying, and shouldn't be this way.

I see with the new mugs, you've totally redesigned this.  It's almost like you realized it was problematic, and did something about it.   Unfortunately, I'm stuck with the old one.  The one that leaks.

I'm very unhappy with my mug.  It's one more thing that as a father of 11 girls (still trying for a boy), I don't have time for.  I just wanted to let you know how dissatisfied I am with my Bubba Keg Mug.


Stephan Mariendo
Subject: Re: Leaky Mug
Date: Saturday, July 16, 2011, 1:28 AM

Thank you for contacting bubba brands.  We do not  have replacement parts available.  We would be happy to replace the entire bubba keg for you.  Please send the defective bubba to:

Bubba Brand Replacement Department
202 South 1st Street
Knoxville, PA 16928

Please include a note explaining the problem.  Upon receipt of the bubba keg we will request a replacement be sent to you.

Thank you
InZone Brands
Customer Service Department
From: Stephanie Marie <>
Subject: Re: Leaky Mug
Date: Wednesday, July 20, 2011, 11:43 PM

Thanks for the info.  I'm trying to figure out how much it's going to cost me to package and ship a design-defective mug to your shop in Pennsylvania.  Won't the cost of packaging and shipping cost almost as much as a new mug?
Can I photograph the problem, or are you planning on running some tests on it?  Are you worried that it might not be damaged, and that I'm after a second 33 ounce mug?
I'd be willing to photograph the problem and email it to you, along with a video of me destroying the mug.  No funny business.
Please advise. 
Thanks Again for Responding!
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