In which I eat lunch and make it a post again

d023d_o-YUMBO-570-570x330I swear, every time I eat at Burger King, it turns into a post.  Every single time.

Two things, before I start: first, I used to work at Burger King.  It was, in fact, my first job.  Now, when you work at Burger King, particularly if you work at the Burger King I worked at, which had an unofficial policy that you had to be a pretty girl in order to work a register, you’re going to spend a lot of time behind the grill.  What this means is that your entire life smells like grilled meat after a while.  It also means that the people who work back there will do just about anything on their lunch breaks to avoid eating burgers.  So I’ve been perfectly aware that the ham and cheddar (American?  Probably American, actually*) sandwich was a secret menu item of Burger King’s since forever, even if I don’t ever order it.  That said, when they brought back the “Yumbo,” making it official, I thought to myself damn, I used to eat a lot of those back in high school, and cravings took over, they way they do.  Here’s the second thing: If you happen to follow my Twitter feed you may remember my asshole cat preventing me from eating them last night; he was unable to do so today.

Anyway.  I begin every reference to Burger King by pointing out that I don’t eat there often; I have in fact not eaten Burger King since the last time I posted about it.  Maybe once, but not more than that.  The drive-thru experience is just too goddamn creepy even before you get to me not actually liking their food very much.  So as I’m pulling up to the drive I’m sorta mentally preparing myself to be aggravated for the next couple of minutes.  Burger King is all about SERVICE!!!!!!! to a degree that is actually incredibly off-putting, and I can’t believe that their corporate douchebags haven’t figured it out yet.

So you can imagine that I was thrown for a loop when my interaction with the cashier through the speaker begins with her shouting “Whatchu hungry fo’?” into her microphone.    There’s a moment of sorta shocked silence where I’m struggling to keep myself from laughing, and a second or so later, she just says “Hi!”, and I swear I can detect a note of embarrassment at the other end of the conversation.  I don’t think she meant for me to hear the first bit; call it a hunch.

Anyway, here we reach the second problem with ordering food from Burger King today: I am a grown-ass man, and I don’t really want to say “Yumbo” to anyone.  There is a delicious menu item at Denny’s that is called “Moons Over My Hammy,” and to this day I have eaten it several times and have never once said it out loud.  I point.

“I’d like two of the ham and cheese sandwiches,” I say, and pause for a second.  “The Yumbo?” she confirms.  “Yes,” I say, and finish my order.  She proceeds to tell me no less than three times in the next thirty seconds that I’ve made a “good choice” with my lunch today, which appears to be a new, unnecessary wrinkle that the overlords have added to the script.

Hey!  Burger King!  I don’t need your cashiers to validate my lunch choices.  I need them to record my order accurately, bring it to me, and charge me the proper amount and give me the proper change.  That’s it.  I don’t give a damn what they think about what I ordered, and furthermore it bugs me that you feel the need to make them reassure me about them.  This is bullshit.

She asks my name.  I lie.  We’ve already had this conversation.

I pay the lady at the first window without incident, other than her being super happy that I report that I am well when she asks me how my day is.  The woman at the second window manages to call me “Luther” four goddamn times in the process of giving me my food.  Fucking stop it!  It’s not folksy or friendly or whatever the fuck you think it is!  No one fucking talks like this.  It’s fucking weird and you need to stop.

And then I get a look at my receipt, and this is the point where this moves from me having idiosyncrasies to this shit being actively offensive.  Look at this:




At this point you have crossed a fucking line.  “Ultimate service” is getting killed for someone.  That phrase has a very fucking real and very fucking specific meaning in American culture.  Putting yourself between someone else and a bullet is “ultimate service.”  Not handing me a fucking bag of french fries.  I don’t want your “service.”  I want my fucking food.

I am at the point now where I cannot wait for this corporation to die.  I seriously can’t.  I’ve scratched my ham sandwich itch; I’m done.  Burger King has the ugliest corporate culture of any corporate entity I ever have to deal with– hell, Wal-Mart doesn’t offend me as regularly and specifically as they do– and I have to be done with this.

(How were the sandwiches?  Delicious, obviously; it’s ham, cheese, lettuce and mayonnaise on a toasted bun.  Kinda hard to fuck up.  But, still, fuck this; I’m not eating at BK again and I look forward to dancing on their ashes.  It can’t be that much longer.)

* This alerts me to the fact that I don’t actually have the slightest idea what the difference between “American” and “Cheddar” cheese is.  They are, to me, effectively interchangeable, but I doubt that’s actually true.

Speaking of book sales…

…yes, I know it was a few days ago, god, you guys have the attention spans of goldfish.  Anyway.  Yeah.  You remember the book sales post.  I have an addendum.  One thing that I did not discuss is that sales in the last couple of weeks have been… well, abysmal, at least at Amazon.  (Benevolence Archives continues to do well at Smashwords, and I want that one free anyway, so it not selling at Amazon doesn’t bother me.)  Here’s the graph:

Screen Shot 2014-12-29 at 8.07.52 PM

Nothing at all for two solid weeks.  Now, those two solid weeks were right around Christmas, and people tend to buy stuff for other people, not for themselves, around Christmastime, and ebooks are a shitty present, so I can come up with some reasons why sales might nosedive without trying too hard.  But this is still kinda ugly, and again: sales of Skylights have been virtually nonexistent on other platforms.  The sales I’ve had at Smashwords were from a direct experiment and haven’t replicated themselves.  And I’ve tried a few gentle reminders here and some more pointed Tweets at various times of the day and with varying levels of humor and seriousness, and… well, you see the results.

So: an adjustment.  As of right now, assuming that they believe me when I say I’ve pulled the book from sale at other outlets (I assume it will take a day or two for them to actually disappear,) Skylights is exclusive to and enrolled in the KDP Select program for the next 90 days.  The Benevolence Archives started in KDP, and I pulled it eventually, and I’ve been pretty happy with how the book has done on its own.  I’ve got several months of data of how Skylights did with my own marketing efforts, and now it’s time to see if three months of Amazon supposedly pushing it a little bit will either equal or exceed my own efforts.  The way I see it, I’ve plucked all the low-hanging fruit at this point, so if Amazon gets comparable numbers to how it did without KDP, I’ll keep it there.  (EDIT: This is a better comparison than I thought, as– purely by accident– the book has been on the market for exactly 90 days.  I got the first 90, they get the next 90.  To arms!)

I love experimentation, don’t you?

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2014 in review

The stats helper monkeys prepared a 2014 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

The Louvre Museum has 8.5 million visitors per year. This blog was viewed about 96,000 times in 2014. If it were an exhibit at the Louvre Museum, it would take about 4 days for that many people to see it.

Click here to see the complete report.

Holy whoa

Next comment is number five thousand WHO WILL IT BE?????4482196_orig

Random question for the olds

4899194035_30ee19703f_oI’m guessing you’d need to be at least 30-35 for your answer to this question to matter to me– old enough that you spent your life on analog/wired phones, and that you bought *yourself* your first cell phone.  Two questions:

1) Do you actually remember getting your first cell phone?  Like, was it an Event?  Can you describe the phone, or nail down what year it was that you bought it?

2) Can you remember sending or receiving your first text message?  (Preferably, for the purposes of this question, these two events did not occur on the same day– in other words, you had a cell phone before text messages were a Thing.)

Just curious.  And, for the record, I’m just as interested in the “no” answers as the “Yes, this is when it was” answers, so if you don’t remember one of the two, let me know.  Thanks.