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March, 2009:

PATRIOT ALERT# 3 – Louisville Mayor Jerry E. Abramson

 

As readers of this blog will know, in a great act of corporate branding Kentucky Fried Chicken agreed to pay to fill 350 potholes in Louisville provided they were allowed to paint their logo over them.

Not to be outdone, the radical animal rights group People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals sent a letter to the Mayor of Louisville offering to pay to fill 700 potholes. All they wanted in return was the right to paint an anti-KFC logo on freshly filled potholes. 

Now there is nothing I love more than negative ad wars between corporations. But there is an important principle at stake here. Fried chicken, big business and fast food are some of the most American things there are. And when you combine the three in the form of KFC… well, lets just say, God Bless America! On the other hand, radical, unwashed hippies whining about animal rights when we’ve got a recession on is, well, rather European.

Thankfully, Louisville Mayor Jerry E. Abramson had the courage to stand up for the things that make America great and turn down PETA’s offer.

WAVE 3 TV has the details:

“KFC is a great corporate citizen of ours. They employ lots of people in our town. They do great things for our hometown and we’re glad to work with them on this pothole program. But PETA, ummm… not so much,” said Chris Poynter, a spokesman for Mayor Abramson’s office.

Write Mayor Abramson and thank him for defending the things that make America Great.

Mayor’s Office 
Metro Hall / 4th Floor
527 W. Jefferson St.
Louisville, KY 40202
(502) 574-2003

http://www.louisvilleky.gov/Mayor/

#9. Automatic transmissions

DSC00578

Picture this scenario:

You’re driving through the British countryside looking for the B&B you’ll be staying that night. Like the typical American, you’ve got your map in one hand, a large coffee in another and you’re steering with your knees. Then suddenly, you see the street you’re looking for, but it is coming up fast. You slam on the breaks, and BAMN! The car stalls out because you didn’t have a hand free to downshift with.

Now you’ve damaged your car, spilled coffee all over yourself and stalled out in the middle of the road, all because it is very hard to find an automatic transmission car in Europe.

In America, such a thing would never happen because we invented something called automatic transmission technology.

It is a simple concept really. There is a machine in the car that automatically shifts between the gears, so the driver doesn’t have to. That way the driver is free to concentrate on other, more important things, like talking on the phone, eating dinner, reading a map or watching an in-car TV.

So next time you’re eating chinese carryout, drinking a coffee and talking on your cell phone while cruzing downt the highway at 75 MPH, put your drink down in your cup-holder, and take a minute to think about wheather or not you could pull this kind of driving off in Europe.

God Bless America!

#8. Naming rights

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America is a land of big companies, giant advertising budgets and even bigger egos. Mix that with our great nation’s entrepreneurial spirit and you get a land where the naming rights for everything are for sale.

And I do mean everything.

  • Have a car payment you can’t make? Don’t scrimp and save the European way. Just call a vehicle wrapping company and turn your car into a moving billboard.
  • Need money to send your son to school? Sell advertising space on your forehead for $10,000.
  • Is your city running out of money? Rename the town after the latest dot.com company and collect a hefty payday.
  • Need new office chairs at your university but you’ve already sold the naming rights to all the buildings and departments?  Never fear, try soliciting contributions for endowed office chairs. Some sucker will surley bite.

Naming rights popped back into the news last week when the mayor of Louisville agreed to let Kentucky Fried Chicken paint its logo on potholes around town. The catch was that KFC had to pay to have the 350 potholes filled first.  Some have decried this as a tragedy. They say it is a sad state of affairs when a city has to sell advertising space on the roads in order to pay for basic repairs.

But these critics don’t appreciate the American can-do spirit.

In Europe, local leaders might have been content to simply cry and whine for more repair funds – all the while letting their roads decay. But in America, we swallow our pride, we put our dignity up for sale and we get the problem solved.*

God Bless America

*Even if the solution might result in distracted motorists and increased car accidents.

What makes Europe Stink €2. Nescafé Instant Coffee

Desperate Times Call for Desperate Coffee Action

Europeans love to look down on Americans. They poke fun at our history, mock our mannerisms, and guffaw when confronted with our cultural achievements. But there is nothing that gives Europeans more pleasure than mocking our food and often-rushed eating habits. To the Europeans, our convenience-based food culture is the very meaning of uncouth.

But behind all of the turned-up noses, the Europeans are hiding a dirty little secret about their own food culture:  Europeans, the self-styled guardians of slow-food dining and coffeehouse culture, drink an awful lot of instant coffee.

When I say an awful lot, I don’t mean they drink it once or twice a week when they are in a pinch. No sir. Europeans drink a truly alarming amount of instant coffee. By one account, during the average week more than 93 percent of the coffee brewed (can you call it brewed when it is instant?) in British households was instant. And what is worse, Europeans seem to actually enjoy instant coffee. It is almost as if they don’t understand that normal coffee exists at all.

Of course, the Euro-defenders who hate America will crow that real Europeans drink nothing but Espresso.

Hogwash.

As any honest American that has traveled to Europe knows, the only coffee you can get over there is Nescafé instant coffee. They might have Espresso machines behind the counter, but these are largely just for show or special occasions. Restaurants, hotels, and coffeehouses alike all serve up Nescafé instant coffee. Sure, you could try to order an espresso, but the typical waiter would glare at you with a level of scorn typically reserved for Americans who ask to pay with a credit card.

So next time you travel to Europe, remember to savor that extra large coffee you got from the gas station on the way to the airport. As it will be the last good old American brewed coffee you’ll taste for weeks.

God Bless America!

 

ACTION ALERT: Help make Europe safe for coffee drinkers everywhere. 

Write Starbucks and McDonald’s HQ and ask them to step up their expansion plans in Europe ASAP! Be sure to mention that you’re concerned with the lack of real coffee in Europe. 

McDonalds 
2111 McDonald’s Dr 
Oak Brook, IL 60523 

Starbucks 
PO Box 34067 
Seattle, Washington 98124

New layout

I spent some time today changing around the layout of the site. The changes are:

  • Switched to a 3-column layout
  • Created a new header that incorporates the site name into the image
  • Added an ongoing list of the things that make America great, Europe suck, ect. so you don’t have to click on the pages at the top.

If you have any thoughts on the new layout, I would love to hear them.

Thanks to all our regular readers out there.

#7. KFC's Chicken & Biscuit Bowl

KFC                                                  Chicken & Biscuit Bowl

As a friend of mine once said, for the true American, there is no limit to convenience.*

He was right.

Being an American means getting what you want, when you want it, with as little work as possible.

If option A is even slightly more convenient than option B, a true American will opt for option A every single time.

This rule of thumb applies not only to where we shop and to how we work but also to how we eat.

That’s where the great American company Kentucky Fried Chicken – rebranded KFC – comes in.

KFC realized that it would be more convenient if Americans didn’t have to think about where their food was located on the plate, or juggle a fork and knife, while eating.

So what did they do?

In the great tradition of American innovation, they combined popcorn chicken technology with a bowl of mashed potatoes, corn and gravy to create the KFC Chicken & Biscuit Bowl.

Now, Americans need not take their eyes off the TV or road to look at their plate while eating. Because of KFC’s innovations, they can be confident that as long as they keep dipping their spork into the bowl, they will be rewarded with 780 calories of  a delicious mixture of potatoes, chicken, corn, gravy and biscuits.**

God Bless America!

*Translation, he told me yesterday over drinks.

**Some, such as comedian Patton Oswalt, (see below) have criticized the KFC’s Bowls, but a true patriot can see that they are an example of what makes America Great.

Also:

Check out KFC’s ad for the Chicken & Biscuit Bowl & comedian Patton Oswald’s take on them.

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WpbVKpoV_ms]

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tfan5MacmsI]

This topic was inspired by a recent Consumerist.com post.

Friday Poll: What do you hate most about Europe?

[polldaddy poll=1493703]

#6. Chargebacks and credit cards

Newspaper stand accepts credit cards

Maybe you ordered a new computer from a shady website that never came, or perhaps you donated $10,000 to the Presidential Inaugural Committee last year, but botched security prevented you from seeing Obama be sworn in.

Either way, if you are in America and paid for your purchase with a credit card, you’ll likely be ok. Simply contact your credit card provider and start a “chargeback” process. They will go after the merchant who wronged you and get your money back, just as American Express is doing against the Presidential Inaugural Committee.

In America, consumer protections offered by credit card companies are essentially available to every American for every purchase.

There are three reasons for this:

1. Easy Credit (until recently, hopefully to be continued in the near future) – Every man, woman or unemployed young child in America was barraged with pre-approved credit card offers every day. Getting a credit card was simple. All you had to do was open the most colorful advertisement you receive on a particular day, and bam, a credit line is yours.

2. It’s everywhere. Everyone in America takes credit cards. From a NYC taxi to a rural mom & pop restaurant, to newspaper boxes (see photo), everyone accepts credit cards. So charge away.

3. No merchant fees. This is perhaps the most important reason. In America, merchants can’t charge you a fee – or impose a minimum purchase amount – to use your credit card. Instead, the merchant needs to cough up the fixed cost and 1.5 percent +/- that the credit card company charges to process the transaction. If you’re lucky, your credit card company might even split the money the charge the merchant with you in the form of a cash-back scheme. So you want to charge that 89 cent coffee even though doing so will result in the store losing money? No problem. This is America, and that means we have the right to collude with big credit card companies against small businesses.

But don’t think you can charge your way across Europe with the same ease you can in America. No sir. Europe might be a welcoming place for people who don’t like to shower too often, but it not welcoming of credit card users.

There are two reasons for this:

1. Europeans hate customers. When you walk into the typical European shop or restaurant, it is abundantly clear that customer service is not the top priority. As a result, they don’t do anything to make your experience there easier – such as accept credit cards.

2. Europeans will shake you down. America might not have credit card surcharges, but Europe sure does. The typical merchant will add on enough to cover their fees plus a bit more to line their pockets with as well. 

So when in Europe, remember to take plenty of cash out from the ATM’s. But watch your pocket, as Europe is chock-full of pick-pockets who rely on the “cash-only” system to ensure they have plenty of targets.

And next time you go to buy a cup of coffee in the morning, go ahead and charge it – not because you have to – but because our great nation gives you the freedom to do so. If the coffee sucks, you can always call your credit card company and ask for a chargeback.

PATRIOT ALERT #2. James Guillow – Cup Holder inventor

The real shame with the history books is that all too often they overlook our nation’s greatest patriots. Take for example, James Guillow, the inventor of the cup holder. Now, I am not all together certain that Guillow is even an American – Wikipedia did not have too much info on him – but anyone who invents something as critical to modern life as the cup holder is an American in my book.

Apparently this Guillow fellow invented the cup holder in 1943. But due to some oversight (probably the fault of the douche bags in the corner office) the cup holder wasn’t widely introduced until the 1980s.

But the cup holder’s real proliferation started because of another great American institution – the personal injury lawsuit.

According to Wikipedia:

The installation of cup holders in automobiles increased significantly after Stella Liebeck v. McDonald’s Corporation, where a 79-year-old woman in Albuquerque, New Mexico ordered hot coffee from a McDonald’s restaurant. She then spilled the coffee on her lap and was seriously scalded. She subsequently sued McDonald’s in a jury trial. Liebeck was awarded US$2.7 million in damages by the Jury, which was later reduced by the judge to US$640,000.

A cornerstone of modern life, the cup holder, was born out of American ingenuity and frivolous lawsuits.

God Bless America. 

#5. – Open 24/7

CVS Open 24 hours

It’s 4 A.M and you’re hungry. Like any red-blooded American, you immediately turn to the freezer, pick out your favorite frozen meal and toss it in the microwave.* You push ‘Start” then… nothing. You bang the microwave a few times with increasing force, but still… nothing.**

Your microwave is broken and you’re hungry. What do you do?

If you lived overseas, your course of action would be straightforward: Cry yourself to sleep and try not to think of the hunger pains.

But you’re an American, and being an American means getting what you want, when you want it. No exceptions.

So you want a new medium-sized kitchen appliance in the middle of the night on a Sunday? No problem. That is why God invented 24-hour Big Box stores.

Just jump in your SUV and drive down to the nearest Meijer or 24/7 supercenter nearest you. You’ll be able to pick up that new microwave, some groceries, new clothes or whatever else you might want. Hell, while you’re out in the middle of the night, why not buy some pet fish, or a hamster or even an insurance policy for your cat. Meijer has those for sale too.

It’s not just Big Box stores that are available all night. America also has 24/7:

  • Car Washes
  • Oil Changes
  • Restaurants
  • Pizza Delivery
  • Pharmacies
  • Car Repair Shops
  • Liquor Stores
  • Pet Hospitals
  • Salons
  • And many, many more…

God Bless America!

(Thanks to John R. for the suggestion!)

* My favorite kind is anything from Hungry Man, although I’ll admit, I’ve never tried them. I just love the name.

**Banging on things has been proven the most effective and most American way to repair household appliances and electronics.

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