Get thee to the Whoppspital

A couple of weeks ago, I posted Quadruple bypass on a bun, amazed that such an excessively unhealthy thing could exist, even in Uruguay, home of the chivito. The other day, riding the bus back from Montevideo, I spotted this:

Burger King billboard, Montevideo

Curious, I went back to the Burger King site to see what this monstrosity might be. I found no “Ultra Whopper,” but there’s the same photo:

Whopper® Queso Bacon

To refresh your memory, on the product page there is a link to “nutrition information,” consisting of

cake and fries

To add to your gastric distress, perhaps you’d also like artificial chocolate goop or acrylamides via potatoes fried in “vegetable” oil.

But wait, there’s a punchline here, in the last line: Frente a H. Clinicas. So after scarfing down all this “good stuff,” you may not even need an ambulance: they can just roll you on a stretcher across the street to this grim monstrosity,

Hospital de Clinicas, Montevideo

the Hospital de Clinicas.



Maybe, maybe not.

pesticides sign, Tienda Inglesa, Atlántida, Uruguay

Pesticides? No thanks! Tienda Inglesa looks out for you. We monitor for the presence of pesticide residues in the fruits and vegetables that we offer.

Sorry: no you don’t. Now that you’re owned by Americans, your marketing people have determined that pesticides are becoming a concern to hoi polloi, so you pretend you’re concerned and looking after your customers. You’re not. It’s simply bullshit.

Oh but wait! There’s a Gmail email address. That somehow lends legitimacy?

OK, I will write them for specifics. But I just spotted this today, and I’m calling bullshit.

28 May update:

Sr.  ,

ante todo gracias por su contacto e interés en la calidad química de las frutas y hortalizas que consume, a continuación usted podrá encontrar las respuestas a sus preguntas.

Buen día,

Veo que están probando las frutas y hortalizas para detectar residuos de plagacidas, y tengo algunas preguntas:

¿Específicamente, que frutas y hortalizas están probando?

Se monitorean TODAS las frutas y hortalizas frescas que se comercializan.

¿También está probando la presencia de residuos de herbicidas, como el glifosato?

Se monitorean diferentes herbicidas utilizados en la producción hortifrutícola.

¿Prueban con qué frecuencia?

Se realizan monitoreos semanales

¿Qué laboratorio hace las pruebas?

Como usted habrá podido apreciar en la cartelería el laboratorio encargado de los ensayos es SMART ANALÍTICA

Los clientes de Tienda Inglesa, ¿donde pueden ver los resultados?

Con respecto a los resultados, se toman las medidas correctivas con productores en caso de tener que hacerlas.

Saludos Cordiales

It begins…

This summer (we’re now into autumn), we have been plagued for the first time by incredibly annoying acoustic pollution. Maybe as a kid, you loved hearing the piercing electronic truncated version of Für Elise, because it meant the ice cream truck was coming! Which maybe it did, once a day.

But not all day long, every day. Which is what the apparently-otherwise-respectable-in-terms-of-service gas company Acodike has been doing. When I wrote to complain, they responded that they can’t turn down the volume, because otherwise customers complain that they don’t hear it.

To which I responded, you have not been here the last eight goddam years, so how many customers, seriously, complained about not hearing something that didn’t exist?

End of conversation, needless to say. (I have a bit of a track record when it comes to ending correspondence using logic. A certain attorney in British Columbia comes to mind, but that’s another story.)

So fast forward, and the first deployment of anti-Akodike stickers has begun.

Sticker on trash container, Atlántida, Uruguay

Shut up, Acodike. It’s 2018. We have telephones.

Alas, these are just laser-printed paper labels. They won’t last long. I’ve got some high school kids, equally annoyed by this 1980s-era “marketing,” who may help post these. I say “may” because I delivered them to a couple houses  but not directly to the kids. Ya veremos. We will see.

This label stock is not sold in Uruguay, as far as I can find. I spent $30 to order 100 sheets @10/sheet, plus $7.95 shipping to Gripper, a Miami-Uruguay delivery service, and another $30+ to Gripper to get them here. And promptly trashed a couple sheets learning how to get them to print properly.

But it fits the characteristics of projects I like, such as freelance mentoring of at-risk adolescents in North Carolina, and adopting a bright and funny, but seriously socially disadvantaged 12 year old boy, also in North Carolina:

  1. I (we in the latter case) can maybe pull this off;
  2. If I/we don’t try to do it, nobody else will, and;
  3. It’s worth doing, even if it doesn’t end as you hoped (because it probably won’t, but that doesn’t mean you failed).

FWIW, the 12 year old boy is now cooking at Applebee’s in Prescott, Arizona, and has been awarded MVP (Most Valuable Player) status numerous times, and is training to be an instructor. I’ve lost contact with the others, but that’s OK: I didn’t want be a hero. Helping them navigate a little was enough. As far as I know, they are all doing well.



Patético (“marketing”)

We just bought some fresh mushrooms at Tienda Inglesa. The good news is that, since we moved here, they are usually available. Bad news is that they’re kind of ridiculously expensive — USD $7.50/pound. But they sell side by side with another imported brand that sell for almost 70% more. Have to wonder why anyone would pay that, but hey.

So here’s what we bought:

Mushrooms in supermarket, Uruguay

200 grams! 50 grams free! So we paid for only 150 grams?

Well, no — from the Tienda Inglesa web site:

Fresh mushrooms, Uruguay
Just have to note in passing that no accessories are included, and technical information may vary.

And what did we pay?

Supermarket receipt, Uruguay

94 pesos for 200 grams, as advertised. Yet we somehow got 50 grams free, paying 94 pesos for 200 grams?

Bill Hicks had a routine* in which he said, “If anyone here is in advertising or marketing, kill yourself … seriously, though, if you are, do.” I found that a little strong when I first encountered it.

But when I consider that these people are trying to convince me they’re giving me something for free when I pay the same for the same amount that I paid last week — well, thank you, Bill Hicks, and you marketers, kill yourself. Seriously. You’ll be doing your soul, and the rest of us, a favor.

*no link, because being Bill Hicks, it contains considerable profanity, but easy to find.