Archive for November, 2008

fast food - stolen ideas

The new McDonald’s southern style chicken sandwich is a direct rip off of the basic Chick-fil-A. I heart the Chick-fil-A like crazy, but it’s just not nearly as widespread as McDonald’s. (Is anything? Even *$ can’t match Mickey D’s…) So is there any kind of intellectual property infringement going on here or is McDonald’s allowed to run roughshod over their competitors with zero consequences, stealing their sandwich styles with wild abandon? Is it because Chick-fil-A is so much smaller a chain that they figure no one will notice?

I suppose the fact that I work for an Intellectual Property lawyer means I could find out the answer to my question in short order, so to speak, but I’d rather rant. Bastards. Like I needed another reason NOT to eat at McDonald’s.

Speaking of noticing chain rip-offs, am I the only person who noticed how when Krispy Kreme arrived in New England Dunkin Donuts made some carefully orchestrated changes they surely hoped would slip under the radar? It’s true the two companies saw each other as bigger, more direct competition than they really were. What do I mean by that? New England will always choose Dunkin for their coffee, even in the face of a Starbucks location on every other block. Krispy needed merely to focus on their doughnuts and make having them a special treat. They did not do exhaustive market research before expanding beyond their capacity. It would only have cost them the price of a phone call. To me.

Dunkin saw potential problems ahead, unfounded though they were, because they did these three things:

  1. Dunkin made their logo more of a DD, mimicking Krispy Kreme’s KK.
  2. They changed the name of their “honey dipped” donut to “glazed.” The basic, delectably, insanely sugary goodness that they roll off the conveyor belts whenever the “Fresh Hot NOW” sign is on at KK is called a Krispy Kreme Glazed. Always has been. Seems to me that Dunkin changing the name of their donut is meant deliberately to confuse the customer.
  3. Dunkin began putting its donuts in a box the shape of a hat box, exactly like Krispy Kreme’s design. Dunkin used to use the old shoebox approach w/the donuts arranged vertically. The hat box allows horizontal layout with a prettier presentation, especially of holiday donuts.

I’m sure when/if questioned, Dunkin would come up with some reasonable justifications for these three changes, but you can’t pull the wool over MY eyes. I’m onto them.

Guess what I’m trying to say here is that not all the changes these corporations make in their branding and packaging go unnoticed by the general public. For whatever reason I am very attuned to these things and always have been. It’s probably a sign telling me I need a new hobby.

dinner aroma

It’s not even noon on a beautiful, sunny fall day.   The temp is warm enough that I have windows open to get some fresh air circulating inside.  Yes, I’m wearing a hoodie, but 1.  that’s nothing new, and 2. it’s just chilly enough to warrant it.

Point here is I wanted fresh air in the apartment and got what I wanted till a couple minutes ago.  Why, oh why, am I now smelling garlic, garlic, garlic?!   Anyone who knows me knows I am like the princess and the pea.  The smallest annoyance can set me off on a tear.  Being as aware as I am of my persnickety, I will allow this teensy rip in my morning joy and drop it.  Why expend all of my energy on this small setback on such a gorgeous day?

I’m not sure why, but I find dinner smells before noon incredibly unpleasant.  Not necessarily always before noon, but definitely early in the morning.  And extraspecially when I’ve just woken up.  Coffee smells are always welcome, always, but garlic, curry, spicy meal odors when I first wake up are just nasty.

Am I alone?  I’m trying to figure out what it is in particular that bothers me about this and I am not coming up with anything concrete.  No childhood traumas involving food smells (nothing specific, that is), no food borne illnesses ever, it’s perplexing to me.  Curiouser and curiouser.  I am a constant puzzle to myself.