Serving Suggestion

I hesitate to mention fast food again, but I’m going to anyway. This is prompted by one of my rare visits to the golden arches where I was presented with a Big Mac constructed with all the loving care of dirt being flung. Buns askew, cheese lopping down the side and meat patties half exposed. It didn’t look anything like the picture behind the counter. It’s not just Mickey D’s, of course. Ask yourself when you have ever gotten a fast food sandwich that looked like the picture on the wall or the sandwich on television. Now, let’s carry this on a step further and spare the fast food industry for a minute. Let’s look at frozen food. On the boxes of frozen entrees there are always pictures of scrumptious looking, neatly arranged repasts. If you search carefully you will find the disclaimer “Serving Suggestion.†It would be nice if it were possible to serve up the contents of the package in such a lovely manner, but most of the time it’s not. Somewhere in shipping and handling the peas got in the gravy, the turkey migrated to the mashed potatoes, and the stuffing got distributed all over the place. There are exceptions to this – pot pies come to mind – but it is true too often. If printers delivered their products in such a sloppy and haphazard manner they’d be out of business, but yet we accept often shoddy foods and come back for more. Reminds me of a story the late Paris Walker told me years ago. A man comes into a print shop and says he has a very specific order: “I want you to print 1,000 sheets but charge me for 1,200. Skew the type on the page, smear the ink, put on enough powder to coat each sheet, and dog-ear the corners before you box the order. “I can’t do that!†Replied the printer. “Why not? You did it for me last time.â€

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