Monday, July 16, 2007

Shiny Happy People

So I'm listening to this bunch of 90's covers by The Hunt For Yoshi (appropriately titled Nintendo Goes 90's), and they're really quite faithful to the original material, except they sound like they're being played through a Nintendo Entertainment System (yes, the 1985 one) sound processor. It's fun, but you really have to be into that sort of thing. The cover of Depeche Mode's "Somebody" is actually better than the original, I think, but equally depressing for the die-hard emo Depeche Mode fan.

I'm in a financial/business news kind of mood today:

Gerber is recalling half a million packs of organic rice and organic oatmeal cereal that may pose a choking hazard to infants. The non-organic stuff apparently doesn't have this issue. So take that, you damn hippies. You're just going to have to feed your kids the same genetically engineered stuff that your parents gave you when you were a baby.

If you're in college right now, I'm sorry, but your books are probably going to cost even more, since Houghton-Mifflin is buying the Harcourt divisions of Reed Elsevier, which, if I look over my old college textbooks, basically breaks down to ... over seventy-five percent of what I've got. Not only that, but consider the implications for potential abuse, such as if the head honchos at Houghton-Mifflin were to one day go, "You know what? The Holocaust was bullshit. We're not putting that in the history books anymore." I'm pretty sure that just about all of my high school textbooks (outside the Norton literature anthologies) were from either Houghton-Mifflin or Harcourt-Brace, so it doesn't bode well for anyone in the future.

The International House of Pancakes is buying Applebee's. I can't understand why anyone would buy Applebee's, because that's where you take your wife for dinner when you've been married for thirty years and neither of you gives a shit anymore; it's just too much work to go through the divorce, so you just stick it out until the other one dies. I'm pretty sure that's the point my parents are at. They go to Applebee's once every couple of months.

I also read that McDonald's is pushing breakfast and coffee more, which is driving up their sales, apparently at the expense of Starbucks. I'm not too sure that it's necessarily that McDonald's is taking away from Starbucks customers, as much as I think it's the fact that you can feed breakfast to a family of eight at McDonald's for the price of a venti latte and a scone.

Okay, it's not quite that dramatic, but, having worked at Starbucks, I know how the two companies differ with regard to their systems, and McDonald's, over the past few years, has turned into this amazing logistical spectacle. If there's five cars in front of you at McDonald's, you're still going to get your food in probably five or six minutes and be on your way. Starbucks? Fuck that, you're in for the long haul, especially when it gets hot and people start ordering three different kinds of Frappuccinos per car, because those things don't come out of a soft-serve machine; they have to get mixed and blended individually.

If you really want to see the Starbucks logistical nightmare in a level of chaos that could only be equaled by the release of a biological agent into a heavily populated area, watch what happens to a Starbucks drive-thru when it rains. The cars will wrap themselves around the building, and people will wait for twenty minutes for a cup of coffee they could have gotten in two, if they'd just gotten out of their cars and walked in the front door. And then they complain about how long they've been waiting, which was always my favorite part. It's like, you see how long the line is, you see that it's not moving, but you get in it, and you stay in it, even after the ten minutes before you reach the point of no return, where you're now stuck in the drive-thru line. Rain or shine, though, that McDonald's drive-thru gets the cars in and gets them the fuck out.

I suppose it all comes down to a mission-statement sort of thing, where McDonald's figures what's good for everybody is essentially good for the individual, whereas Starbucks takes the tack that every individual is different. Personally, I think it's just a matter of too many fucking options over at Starbucks and not enough automation. It's just coffee, people.

AIM: therbmcc71

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