Wednesday, June 23, 2010

23 JUN 10: Mc-Krystal Mistakes

No, our title today is NOT misspelled. We're not focusing on the controversy involving a top general in Afghanistan. When any U.S. General talks to Rolling Stone magazine, it's simply a recipe for disaster....

My recipe for dinner Tuesday night took me to a fast-food restaurant which admittedly has frustrated me recently. I stopped at Krystal - a place which has shown some funny TV commercials lately. Sonic guys eat Krystals, then Sonic guys are at the Wendy's drive-thru. What's next - guys in cow suits demanding burgers at KFC?

The banner outside Krystal promising $2.99 value meals seemed interesting to me. But when I walked inside, they weren't on the menu board above the register. In fact, there wasn't much on the board at all. A menu which used to stretch halfway across the room now is quite compact - as if it's a subliminal message against obesity.

I stared at the Krystal menu board. And I stared. And stared some more - because the dinner options didn't offer much beyond combo meals. You know, with fries and a drink. I could pour myself a drink at home. And I try to avoid potatoes because of reports the growing process poisons people - not to mention the fact that French fries almost rhymes with oversized.

After a long period of staring, I finally asked the Krystal server how the French fries are cooked. While most major restaurants have abandoned the use of animal fat in their fries, I wasn't sure if Krystal had. Hmmmm - come to think of it, I never did ask about the fat content of the burgers....

A woman in the back checked, and reported a new kind of soybean oil was used now. OK, that eased my guilt cloud a little. "But you still can't order just the sandwich," I told the Krystal crew.

"Yes, you can...." they contended.

"But it's not on the board," I noted -- recalling from other commercials that Burger King is the only place on Earth allowing you to "have it your way."

This is why Krystal has frustrated me on several recent visits. The menu board leaves the impression you can't order sandwiches by themselves anymore. Only one line mentioned "the famous Krystal" by itself -- and you have to buy 24 of them. Leftover burgers aren't quite as easy to reheat as Church's chicken.

The lowest-priced dinner option on the Krystal menu board was a bowl of chili for $1.69. Ordering chili in the heat of late June makes about as much sense as standing in line outside Brewster's Ice Cream on a January night.

Apparently I'm not the only one who's become frustrated with the Krystal menu board. "If you have a computer, let 'em know about it," an employee told me. "We've been complaining for a couple of years." It's sad to say we could start a stink over a sack of six. And it's even tougher to say that five times fast....

I finally knuckled under to the menu board, and ordered B.A. combo meal #10 for $4.89. Then the Krystal staff asked if I wanted cheese on it. For 24 cents more, I felt even more like a big spender.

But all I carried to dinner was a five-dollar bill and a little change. With tax, Krystal combo #10 cost me $5.49. That's when I admittedly showed my age, and made the woman at the register marvel - by mentioning I could remember when Krystals only cost 39 cents.

I wound up paying for dinner at Krystal with a credit card - and to me, that's a shame. This chain used to pride itself on little burgers at low prices. Now it acts like the place where people should get food to go with their Starbucks lattes.

As I waited for combo meal #10, I suddenly remembered something. Where were the $2.99 value meals mentioned outside on the banner? The Krystal counter woman simply pointed TO the counter - and a placard listing three choices there. All I had to do was look down, and my bill would have come down with it.

Oh yes - our title has a "Mc" to go with the Krystal. Am I the only person in Columbus staying away from McDonald's, because of that controversial commercial in France? Well, I did - but after an online check Tuesday night, my personal boycott is over. Of course, that probably means that tempting 69-cent cheeseburger offer will end this week.

-> Our other blog starts with poker, then goes in directions you might not expect. See what we mean at "On the Flop!" <-

BLOG UPDATE: The heat in "Rec-Gate" was turned up by both sides Tuesday. Parks and Recreation Director Tony Adams added Montgomery attorney Don Jackson to his legal team - making me wonder if they met on one of those basketball road trips.

Don Jackson immediately demanded the review of the Parks Department audit be moved from Columbus Police to a state agency. Jackson told WRBL the police are "not neutral" in this case. How does he know that, if he lives in Montgomery? Has Jackson been told of retired police officers losing bingo games at senior centers?

Don Jackson wants the review moved to the Georgia Bureau of Investigation or Attorney General's office, claiming "Rec-Gate" is politically motivated. But Columbus Police Chief Ricky Boren reports his office has barely started the review. And the last time I checked, neither Mayor Jim Wetherington nor Tony Adams were running for city office.

I wondered why Tony Adams would go to the trouble of hiring a Montgomery attorney, when he already has Stacey Jackson -- and then it struck me. Maybe Don Jackson's taking over because Stacey Jackson is about to be appointed Superior Court Judge. If Governor Sonny Perdue can remove crime lab money for Columbus, he might shock city leaders again.

Meanwhile, Mayor Jim Wetherington ordered Parks and Recreation employees Tuesday to cooperate with the police review. If teenagers behind concession stands answer hot dog questions by claiming the fifth amendment, we'll know we have a scandal on our hands.

Let's see what else was either meaty or "filler" in Tuesday's news....

+ The Muscogee County Election Board told WTVM only about 1,300 people have taken advantage of early voting so far. The rest of the voters obviously have been waiting for something - and it's about time Seth Harp's Insurance Commissioner yard signs appeared around town.

+ GPB reported the Stewart Detention Center in Lumpkin will be modified, so it doesn't feel so much like a prison. Detainees won't face pat-down searches. They'll have visitors for more hours a week. And if the accused illegal immigrants are really nice, they'll have a Mariachi night.

+ Miss America 2009 Katie Stam made an appearance at Gold's Gym in Columbus. At least that's the only appearance which was announced. Part of me wonders if Stam made a secret visit to 2009 first runner-up Chasity Hardman, and apologized for costing her a big recording contract.

+ The National Infantry Museum opened a summer youth camp by reenacting a Civil War battle. Once again, Port Columbus is being pinched by the big soldier down the street. Maybe it's time to point one of those naval cannons toward South Lumpkin Road.

+ Instant Message to retired General Sam Wetzel: What do you mean, White House aides are "real jerks?" Did you really tell WRBL the President's staff is to blame for Gen. Stanley McChrystal's mess, because they approved the interview? Isn't that a bit like saying Publix stores are to blame for my obesity, because they sell doughnuts?

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