Monday, November 16, 2009

Commodites, Competition, and In - N - Out Burger.

UPDATE: Went to the In - N - Out on University Pkwy today. It's like Disneyland, huge line and nothing but smiles everywhere I looked. I can honestly say that I've never seen so many people be so excited in Orem before.

Got the double double with grilled onions, way good, pretty cheap. Awesome.

It was about 30 minutes from the time I got in line to the time I got my food, but it went by pretty fast. From what I could see there were 800 workers there, all smiles in their cute little unis.

I really do appreciate In - N - Out's devotion to customer service. Usually at a fast food joints some dead-eyed teenage worker gives me the figurative bird as I order. it was nice seeing employees who actively care about satisfying customers, and who seem to give a crap about their jobs.

And now, back to the original post...

Ladies and Gentlemen, let's give it up for Chadder's!

For all of you outside of Utah, let me give you the scoop.

In 2007 a place called 'Chadder's' opened in American Fork. I remember going in there with my friend Will and both of us being a bit uneased by the how much of a In - N - Out burger rip off the place was. Just stunning in its rip-off-ness.

We ate, we weren't real impressed, but hey, some dude making his place like In - N - Out because In - N - Out wouldn't come to northern Utah (they think they're so big). A second Chadder's opened in Provo earlier this year (in what use to be Hogi Yogi on 9th).

Apparently their was a lawsuit brought and settled that same year, Chadder's could still exist if they changed the names of their some of their menu items (I hadn't realized they ripped those off as well) and they voluntarily added a color to their design.

Later, officials from Draper approached In -N - Out officials in California and asked them to come to Draper. From there, and this is a pure rumour, since they were coming northern Utah they might as well open stores in American Fork and Orem to shut down those dirty Chadder's guys.

So, finally, after years and years of Utah residents eagerly awaiting for this beloved burger chain to grace us with their presence, they finally are coming to foil an adversary.

Part of me is thrilled, they're opening soon (in the parking lot of the Barnes and Noble, kitty corner from University Mall) and I'll probably go sometime next week to check it out.

The other part of me is just a bit annoyed. Seriously? It took some guy ripping you off to come here? You're coming to shut some business down? Why didn't you come just because, oh, I don't know, 700,000 people were dying for you to come to here! Why did they even give Chadder's a chance to open?

Another part of me is a bit remorseful for all the places that business will be hurt by their opening. Yeah yeah... (semi) free market economy and all that. I'm not so sad about any McDonalds or Burger Kings that lose business, and that new Five Guys (which I kinda love) will be fine, but what about the Mom & Pop places (there's a place called 'Stumpy Burger' on center street, and a place called 'Sammys' on 1st W. that are bound to take a BIG hit) that can't hack it? I realize that business is business, but I still have a twinge of regret for the jobs and money lost by those businesses.

So, if you have a second, drop a thank you card to Chadder's for cheesing off the In - N - Out suits enough to finally come here, and maybe I can get over my issues enough to box out the 10,000 nineteen year olds, order my double-double with grilled onions, push an old person out of their table and taste the commodified burgery goodness. Don't worry Mom & Pop joints, my heart will be with you while my money is In - N - Out.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

The Wisdom of the French Minister

I had to laugh at this article about disappointed French "youths" gone a-rioting after a company's publicity stunt of tossing envelopes of cash from a bus was called off because of security concerns. I put the word "youths" in quotation marks because a lot of the public disorder in urban France seems to be perpetrated by youths of a particular religious bent that media outlets are loath to specify. At any rate, here's the best paragraph from the article.
This kind of behavior by companies horrifies me," [Budget Minister] Woerth told Radio J. "They've done this in the United States but that's no reason to do it in France.
See, it's not our rioting, unruly populace that's the problem. It's the greedy and unprincipled, French capitalists who are mimicking the even more offensively greedy and unprincipled American capitalists!

The second feature of this article that is instructive is the length that folks will go for something that is "free." Free stuff is great and all--I mean I did adapt a Mike Meyers beat poem to that theme--but it comes at a price of time and association with the unwashed masses. Envelopes of free cash?! Sure, I'll hang out with thousands of restive youths and risk being trampled for a shot at a fluttering stimulus package. Since Minister Woerth naively associates this basic human foible with our nation maybe it is time we recognize "free-dumb" as the other great American export.

Friday, November 13, 2009

Holmestead II

The chicken flock. We have 5 hens and 21 young roosters running around the backyard. I believe the hen in the center is an australorp. We picked three of these up at the Amish fowl auction. One is a good layer but I'm not so sure about the other two. They may become chicken noodle soup if I don't see more evidence of ovulation. Between the three australorps and two plymouth barred rock pullets we have all the eggs we need and Jane uses the extras to help "pay" for her piano lessons. In the background you can see a few of our future suppers. About half are plymouth barred rock and the other half might be buff orpingtons (do they look like buff orpingtons to you Carly?).

Here's our first home grown chicken dinner. He had a broken leg from where a predator that got in last week took a chomp on him so it was time to put him to good use. (I am now packing heat and waiting for the varmit to return. It's probably time to invest in a good trap.) At any rate he tasted pretty good!

The electric co-op cleared out brush and trees along our power line. I asked them to leave the wood chips and bring us as much as they can from other jobs in the area. I've got six big piles and hope more is on the way. This stuff will be great because our soil is very sandy (my one complaint about our place). Adding loads of organic matter to the soil will help it hold onto water and nutrients that would otherwise seep right out. I will use it for our plants and as bedding for future Holmestead livestock.

On Tuesday I was able to fill up my pickup with spilled corn from one of my colleague's corn fields. I scooped it all from a few spilled piles where they had loaded after harvest. This was easily 700-800 lbs. The kids had a blast playing in it. Now I just need something to crack it with.

Hey big pile of junk from previous owners: you just got a BURN NOTICE!

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Veterans Day

Do any of you have veterans in your family? My Dad was fortunate in getting deferrals for the drafts in the Vietnam war. One of his best friends from Teton Valley died in Vietnam. My grandfather would have attended the naval academy in Annapolis but was rejected because of color blindness.

I've had two active duty students who were injured in Iraq. One had shrapnel in his leg from an IED that exploded near his vehicle. The other has been shot twice and turned down the purple heart because he says it gets awarded for trivial injuries. Our former bishop is currently in Afghanistan working on developing agricultural alternatives to the poppy crops for opium. His vehicle drove over an IED which failed to detonate.

Here is a link to the Veterans History Project. Go check out some of the stories. If you find one you like please refer us to it. The stories of our veterans create a lot of complex emotions for me. I admire their bravery and courage. I hope for a day when we will no longer study war.

Monday, November 9, 2009

This, my friends, is a roll of Benjamins big enough to choke a horse:

To clarify, Mikey once said something about wanting a wad of money big enough to choke a horse...this picture brought back that memory. I found it while putting together a power point for a class about pricing strategies. I searched the power point clip art for money and this is what I got. I informed my class that this picture represented how much money it would take to choke a horse. They appreciate such street smart gems of knowledge.