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August 24, 2009
Chicken vs. All That Is
Good and Decent
From an opened door in an SUV, a woman was yelling at the little talking
box that takes orders at every drive-thru fast food joint. The Popeye’s
chicken shack had run out of chicken, preventing her from getting a
bucket of cheap food, as promised by the chain.
The box was silent. The shack itself stood empty and dark. A sign on the
door explained that particular franchise had run out of chicken and
closed. The woman’s loud complaints would have gone forever unheard by
another living human had there not been a Tee Vee news camera recording
New York Tee Vee station reported that two stores had run out of chicken
and couldn’t honor their $4.99-a-bucket offer. So they closed. The
report itself was filled with people complaining and shouting at the
darkened shack. When it comes time for reporting contests, it’ll
probably win an award.
Popeye’s suffered the humiliation of customers shouting that they
couldn’t get cheap chicken, it paled next to what was unleashed by one
of the chain’s competitors.
Kentucky Fried Chicken, conscious that its fried and greasy food might
today be a turn-off, rolled out a line of grilled chicken and a snazzy
promotion to stimulate interest. It would end in the tragedy of chicken
one can say how word spread so quickly, although it appeared to involve
Oprah. Sometime early in the summer, lines formed at KFCs across the
country. People were waving in their hands coupons promising a free
two-piece meal complete with two sides, biscuit and a drink.
soon became apparent that KFC had underestimated what demand it would
stimulate by offering free food. Franchises ran out, and the chain
announced that it was suspending the deal. Plus, someone had hacked the
Internet and printed off hundreds of free lunch coupons.
prevent rioting in response to broken promises of free chicken, KFC took
coupons and personal address information from people who had yet to
redeem them. The information was sent to some great database at KFC
headquarters, and after it was ensured that no one would get more than
one free meal on the Colonel’s dime, chits were mailed to individuals
that laid out a very specific time frame for which they could be
Even as this new system was working its way through the coupons printed
off by half the nation, something more insidious and chicken related was
afoot in America’s Heartland.
Reports surfaced over the weekend that the Colonel was market testing a
brand new sandwich called the Double Down.
Here is how a Double Down works – the filling consists of two slices of
bacon topped by two pieces of cheese, and between them is a dollop of
special sauce. That is it. That is the sandwich. Except for the bread,
but in this case, KFC’s novel new take on the sandwich doesn’t include
bread bookending the fillings. It comes with two pieces of breaded
chicken. It is literally meat and cheese sandwiched between two pieces
of meat. Here is how a Vancouver newspaper described the nutritional
“The results show this one menu item can be estimated to supply more
than the daily recommended allowance in fat (124 percent), saturated fat
(117 percent), cholesterol (105 percent), sodium (125 percent) and
protein (194 percent), as well as 61 percent of your daily recommended
Naturally, the thing also lacks fiber, guaranteeing a nice, long stay
for the Double Down toward the back end of your digestive system.
The reader is left to divine their own greater meaning from this –
either in its entirety, or as parts of a sum. What should be clear here,
however, is that in the final analysis the year Two Thousand and Nine
may be the darkest yet in human-fast food chicken relations.
North Star Writers Group. May not be republished without permission.
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