Erin's Journals

Mon, 08/20/2018

Erin’s Journal

Erin Davis Journal Link to Podcast

Just a thought… The executives who run the fast food industry are not bad men. They are business men. They will sell free-range, organic, grass-fed hamburgers if you demand it. They will sell whatever sells at a profit. [Eric Schlosser]

Welcome in! Thanks for all of the great comments on that salad blog on Friday. I’m making it again tomorrow for a couple from our Rotary chapter who are coming over. At least I’ve had practice!
Hope you had a terrific weekend – our smoke had cleared here from where we overlook the Haro Strait and a few US islands, and we were grateful to have our views back. But the smoke returned yesterday, so here we are again. The new normal here for BC summers, it seems. Kind of like flooding in downtown Toronto, too. 
Speaking of summer, I made a small boo-boo last week (and thanks to the reader who pointed it out): there aren’t three weeks until Labour Day, but two! I’m not sure why a careful check of the calendar didn’t make this more clear to me, but I’m going to guess it’s one of two reasons: I didn’t expect Labour Day to come so early this year or I’m not counting down to the long weekend the way I used to. But clearly, I’m over it!
A few quick thoughts about fast food here today. And then I will tell you a story of something so truly bizarre that happened to me in one of these places very recently. A costly error, even though it was free…
First off, I’m happy to hear that Tim Hortons is finally FINALLY going to look at changing their ridiculously leaky lids with raised ones like just about every other fast food joint has already adopted. There’s a great conversation from Global TV (linked below) about the company’s plummet in consumer trust and rankings; cost of the lid change is said to be minimal, but what’s it going to take to win back customers? Can it be done? An awful lot of comments on social media seem to point to people saying they’ve already moved over to McDonald’s coffee, among others. 
Speaking of the house that Ronald built…. On our recent road trip we were always looking for a place that had clean and reliable washrooms; for that reason, we stopped in at a McDonald’s in California one afternoon.
I made our lunch order at one of their automated kiosks and then stood and waited. Five minutes passed. I sat at a table. Another five minutes ticked away. As we eyed the clock and became anxious to resume our long day’s drive, I went to the counter and showed a worker my time-stamped slip. I said I’d ordered 13 minutes earlier and wondered what was happening. (There were no special requirements to my Filet-o-Fish; Rob’s sandwich was an ordinary menu item, too.)
She told me it was being processed just that minute and would be brought to our table shortly. And it was. But it prompted me to wonder how the restaurant that practically invented fast food had managed to slow it down so drastically? There needs to be some improvement there.
Then we come to A&W. I’m hearing anecdotally of people going to the stores to get the Beyond Meat veggie burger that they’re advertising so heavily, only to find that they’re back ordered for weeks, or that it was a limited-time offer. I sure hope that, somewhere, A&W is rethinking how long these should be available.
They seem to have captured lightning in a bottle; I hear that they’re delish. Hope I get to give one a try, some Meatless Monday. Or any day, if they’re that good and aren’t stupid high in calories like those of Licks, back in the day. Harvey’s has one that’s delicious, but their outlets are few and far between out here. Heck, there’s only one Swiss Chalet in Victoria and it’s tired, to put it kindly. 
Now to my bizarre tale of takeout. Before I left CHFI, I was sent a lovely and generous gift card from our favourite root beer outlet. Not being regular fast food customers, it sat unused for a very long time. Finally about a month ago, I thought I’d treat guests to something we never have, but what wouldn’t cost me: fried chicken. I remembered Chubby Chicken and thought that I’d order that.
I called ahead to our local A&W and told them I wanted 12 pieces of chicken. The lady who took the call was very friendly and asked if I meant the chicken sandwiches. “No,” I replied, “just the chicken. On the bone. You still do Chubby Chicken, right?” (I was starting to wonder if it was still on the menu; it occurred to me that maybe I hadn’t seen it on their order boards the times we’d gone in to get coffee on our drives. Sidenote: A&W sells really good coffee.) She replied in the affirmative and told me it would be ready when I got there.
Imagine my surprise when, after a ten minute wait at the counter, she presented me with our onion rings, fries, root beers and…12 chicken patties. No buns, no lettuce (after all, I’d specified not the chicken sandwich, please) just…chicken patties. And those 12 came to $48. 
I couldn’t bring myself to tell the same smiling woman I’d talked with on the phone that we’d somehow gotten our wires crossed; perhaps it was that she just didn’t have any idea that the stores once sold buckets of chicken. The fact that I wasn’t paying for these patties out of my own pocket also made me just suck it up. And I have a feeling the folks to whom I was taking dinner had leftovers for chicken parm sandwiches for days!
Okay, now that I’ve made you hungry, I’ll sign off for today and invite you back tomorrow for some truly heartwarming news. And here’s that link to Global about the Timmies lids.

Erin DavisMon, 08/20/2018