Letters From a Curmudgeon

Apr 2, 2023

Dear Peanut Butter Producers,

Maybe you are of the type who enjoys getting peanut butter on your knuckles as you foolishly attempt to scrape remnant ribbons of peanut butter from the bottom of the jar with nothing but the tip of a knife, making every attempt to ensure that you aren’t wasting product and money, while simultaneously trying to prevent a stage-3 meltdown as you prepare breakfast for a hoard of hangry kids.  Maybe it’s that you get your kicks watching the rest of us fumble through the process, laughing at us from your mountain of money, which I imagine to be more than just peanuts.  Or maybe your motives are something else entirely; something dire, bleak and treacherous that you and the jelly company down the street have conjured up…yeah, maybe that’s it.

Or, perhaps, you’re just stuck.  Perhaps you just need someone to tell you that it’s ok to evolve; to admit that the ways which once seemed right are now, well: wrong.  Perhaps you need someone to remind you that change is hard, but that admitting your mistakes will garner more support than trying to bury them at the bottom of a ridiculously flawed and ill-conceived vessel.  Well, I’m happy to be your shoulder…if your open to change, then we can get through this together.

Given where we are in scientific advances and engineering; that we have AI bots that can do our work for us, that we are on the brink of no less than 5, computer-generated movies centered around 9-foot tall blue cat people, and that we’ve heard inside a black hole, then I can only assume that your reluctance to pursue advancement stems from fear.  I get it, I do, but the proof of concept is already out there and has been for years.  One needs to look only as far as our friends over at the margarine container factory; see, those folks have it figured out.  Keep the same recipe, keep your chunky, your smooth, your natural, and organic.  You can even keep the material and screw-top lid.  Just ditch the jar and embrace the tub.

Sincerely, P.B.

Dear Managers of the Golden Arches,

I would like to make a recommendation, nay a request for you to add a segment to your core training program, specific to the handling of your boxed-up kids meals.

While I admit that we do not dine at your establishments often, I cannot deny that we do stop by from time to time as a sort of ‘special event’ for the kiddos.  On the past two consecutive attempts at these special occasions, however, we have encountered the same lack in communication that has led to this letter.  To be specific: we were not informed that there would be no toy inside the box.  Not only that, there was nothing to supplement that lack of gizmo or gadget, such as a colouring page or small storybook.  Now, don’t get me wrong: I don’t need more little plastic toys in my life.  Quite frankly, unless your going to bring back the Muppet Baby cars from my youth, I find your selection of plastic figures to be rather lacklustre and a waste.  But what I also don’t need is a van full of kids whose inner joy has just been crushed by disappointment, nor do I need to invest the extra time it takes to circle back around to your establishment, walk in to the restaurant and be told “Oh, yeah, we don’t have any more toys.”  Twice in a row.

So, my recommendation to you is to apply some type formula to your training program, whereby team members understand that:

Kids meal = toy.
If (sum of toys on hand) < (sum of kids in car), then kids meal = colouring book.
If (sum of colouring books on hand) < (sum of kids in the car), then kids meal = apology and heads up to the parents to prepare for the Armageddon, + 7 x apple pies.

Sincerely, Un-Happy McDad

Dear Drive-Through Donut Staff,

One of the exciting little indulgences we look forward to on long family car trips is stopping first at the local drive-through to fuel up on coffee, juice and a little box of those little round donuts.  We love the variety and selection, and our girls are always eager to open the box and divvy up the flavours among the family members as ‘fairly’ as possible.

Now, I want you to imagine yourself as a child, opening up that little box as though it were Christmas morning when, to your shock and horror, like finding a stocking full of coal,  half of the box is ‘plain’.  Yeah: not cool.

I get that there is a market for the plain varietal, so I don’t mean to judge harshly on the selection entirely.  I even appreciate, to a small degree, that unless I request otherwise, you’re going to need to unload the excess batches your baker prepared that morning, and so one, possibly two may end up in the box…which will of course default to being ‘the ones that dad gets to enjoy’, while everyone else gobbles down chocolate, honey, and sprinkles.  That said:

  1. I have kids in the car and you knew that based on the blaring Disney soundtrack you could hear in the background as I placed my order in the drive-through.  Kids, by and large, refuse to the eat the crust from a sandwich or piece of toast, that’s just a fact.  So, equipped with this knowledge, do you think they would want to eat something that resembles the taste and texture akin to someone taking all of those cut off sandwich crusts and then smushing them up into a little bite-sized ball?   I think not.  And,
  2. To load up the box with dry, flavourless little balls of wasted carbs and sugar, depriving us of the thing we look forward to at the beginning of our trip, ruining what was to be a glorious time spent in the family vehicle, enjoying our rare little indulgence as we sing merrily down the road…well, I think you just signed yourself up for the naughty list.

I am not sure if you are affiliated with the folks over at the kids-meal place, but I just wrote them a similar letter and, given the infrequency in which we embark on these little drive-through experiences, I am reminded each time why we don’t do it more often.  And while you could say that I should lower my expectations, is it not fair that my expectations are always just at the level where I only anticipate receiving what you say your going to deliver?

Sincerely, Just Plain Upset Dad.


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