Saturday, May 19, 2007


You'd fall asleep in your food too if it was made like this.
I'm posting an article today about a company I think is the world's largest retail pet food supplier. And I'm hopping mad, too. Marketing, i.e., selling crap to the public with tame "scientists or professionals" praising it is a time worn (not honored) ploy. Having spent a number of years in advertising, I recognize hype and "close to the truth" bull. I made a pretty good living at it, too. But I never mislead the public deliberately.
Sadly, I am warning all the cat and dog owners about this revolting development in profit making.
That's right Profit Making. Not Improvements.
Apparently Purina (and who knows what other companies) noted that the "prestige pet foods" were cutting into their markets a bit. Now, these "prestige" manufacturers tried to sell their product to the humans who bought the food for their pets. (They all do, its just that prestige manufacturers were better at it. And they sold it for more money than Purina and companies peddled their product.)
Here's how (in an imaginative scenario) the big change might have gone at Purina.
The CEO examined the company sales, noticed that the up curve wasn't as sharp as it had been and called in his "team".
Sales Department said: "Well, these prestige companies are picking up more sales than we thought they would."
Research Department said: "We have a better product. It suits the carnivores dietary needs just fine."
Chief Financial Officer's Department said: "We're still making a good profit. Maybe it could be improved a bit by changing the formula."
Scientific Department (composed of in house veterinarians) said: "Let us re-check our formulas. Maybe we can find a way to cut corners."
Sales Department added: "It would be easier to sell to humans if we had an angle."
Advertising Department said: "We can spin doctor anything. Give us something and we'll sell it."
Sales smiled. Research frowned. CFO thought of more profit. Scientific looked afraid. The CEO thought about a new yacht and the Cadillacs his wife and kids wanted.
Finally, he spoke. "Ladies and Gentlemen we need a better profit line for the stock market. Go after these prestige food makers and beat them at their own game."
Meeting adjourned.
Much discussion and examination in Scientific. Much studying of the opposition's formulas. The tame vets came up with a new formula for the pet food. It wasn't what was really needed by the animals, but it sure as hell would make more money.
New meeting of the team.
The new pet formulas were shown to all those assembled.
Advertising immediately planned how they would promote the product. "We won't tell anyone."
Sales said: "Now we can take back a bigger market share. We'll show them we're even better than the prestige brands."
CFO smiled and smiled.
The CEO picked up the phone and ordered the new yacht and three new Cadillacs.
And that, ladies and gentlemen is how our carniverous cats and dogs came to being fed pet food whose primary ingredient is corn. Yes, corn.
Ignoring the domesticated vets whose income comes from Purina, I remember studying a particular idiosyncrasy while at Uni. Although you and I are quite capable of living well from a diet of fruits, vegetables and a little meat, certains animals do NOT do well on these diets. I have seen no reports from zoos that they have taken to feeding corn to their lions and tigers and wolves and coyotes. I have yet to hear from Kansas that dogs are running wild in the corn fields eating the ears off the stalks.
My advice? Read the labels on the bags and cans of pet food you are buying for your furry loves. Check out the ingredients. A little grass or insignificant amounts of oats will help them. Large quantities are not designed for their digestive systems. They cannot be good for their health nor well being. Click on the title to see Purina's brands and ingredients.
I can remember, living in Australia, that we bought kangaroo meat for our carnivores. From a butcher shop licensed to sell it. They lived long and happy lives, too.
"Products are made in the factory,but brands are created in the mind."— Walter Landor

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

ENJOY YOURSELVES Necessity is the plea for every infringement of human freedom. It is the argument of tyrants; it is the creed of slaves. -- William Pitt, 1783


Oh My Goodness. I remember Pearl Buck's books (from my youth--mother had all her books I think) about the poor Chinese and the war in their homeland. The books affected me with sorrow for and pride in the Chinese. I loved the people and what they wanted and their struggles toward it. Admiration loomed large in me.
I remember being upset about Chang Kai-shek being thrown out of mainland China and moving to Taiwan. After all, in my mind he was mainly responsible for defeating the Japanese Empire in China.
I had mucho respect for him and the Chinese people.
Which has what to do with a buffet? Well, nothing really. Just wanted you to know this post is not racially motivated.
We had company over in the afternoon on Mother's Day. A younger woman who looks on Wild Thing as her foster mother. You know, women who really like each other. Not that they talk too much, but that they always seem to have something to say to each other.
In any case, the afternoon wore on into early evening and we invited her to go with a us to a Chinese Buffet for dinner. That turned out to be a mistake. Not because she was dominant nor anything like that. But her presence caused me to stifle it. My anger, that is.
Happily we drove to the restaurant (China Star) and yakked our way up to the cashier's desk.
I spoke to the cashier, told her three and was presented with a bill for over $45. "Uh," I said intelligently, "I think you made a mistake. There are only three of us."
"Oh, no," she replied, looking as if I might jump the counter and abuse her physically, "on Mother's Day price is different. Sign is on door."
I went and looked and found the sign. She was right. The had raised their prices by almost 50 per cent. Per person. For Mother's Day.
Now, I had forgotten what day it was (WT is not my mother. She doesn't score anything from me on that day). Well, maybe dinner out. There are four kids to give her presents.
I did remember that, having taken my mother and dad out in the past, most restaurants gave some kind of little present to mothers on that day. China Star's present was an unjustified price increase. I pointed this out to the cashier, who responded with a weak smile and a "Would you like to see Manager?"
At this point the ladies faces were dropping. I chose not to make any more of a scene and paid the bill. Not meekly, however. I gave the bill a glare that should have ignited it into flames. That didn't happen, so I signed it.
I did whisper to the cashier, while the ladies entered the dining room, "I'd like you to give the manager a message. Tell him that he got me for 50 per cent more on Mother's Day, but he has lost my business for the rest of his life."
She promised she would pass my message on, but if she did, the manager never came to our table.
I guess I'm getting tired of being ripped off.

Monday, May 14, 2007


Down the crapper you go J. C. Penny's. For my readers in other countryies, J. C. Penny's is a long established conglomerate of department stores. Big chain of stores. You can see their home page by clicking on the title above.
My christmas gift for Wild Thing was a beautiful diamond pendant on a gold chain. It didn't cost a fortune, but it cost enough for a guy on a fixed income.
During the process of choosing exactly what I wanted and making the purchase, the salesman suggested I ought to buy an insurance policy on the chain. It did look kind of flimsy, so I bought the policy.
I felt very smug when WT looked at me sorrowfully one day last month and said morosely, "The chain broke."
I smiled my most "I love you dear" smile and told her I had insured it against breakage and J. C. Penny would be happy to replace it. Got some hugs and kisses for that, too.
So this month (two days ago) we saddled up and went to Penny's. Straight to the jewelry department. Straight to the saleslady named Lisa. Straight away told her the sad story of the broken chain. Showed her the insurance I had bought. She clucked like a mother hen consoling her chicklets (?) and told us there would be no problem. All we had to do was leave it with her and we would get it back within six weeks.
Six weeks? And leave the pendant? Smiling, the woman told us it would have to be sent back to the manufacturer who resided in Chicago. Chicago: 1338 miles from Albuquerque. Us: in front of a counter with lots of chains in the glass case. Why not give us a replacement chain from another piece just like it? There's one right in the case. "Oh," she said, as if her answer would solve the problem and avert our upset over this strange way of keeping a store's promise, "the chain is a complimentary."
With the phrase "complimentary what?" on my lips, WT said, "You mean he paid for a policy to replace the chain and you can't just reach in that case and give one to us?"
"No. We have to send it back to the manufacturer," she said. Seeing the red creeping up my neck (I think) she continued, "would you like to speak to a manager?" Would I? In my best Aussie accent (forgive me, ladies) I said "Bloody right, Sheila."
She had no idea of the meaning of my words, but got a manager there right away. He backed her up on having to send the piece out. "Why the jewelry itself?" I managed.
"I'm not sure sir, but the manufacturer requires we do that."
"OK," I tried, "then how come six weeks for a lousy chain?" I thought I had him.
"Sir, that's up to six weeks." I wanted to point out that I could drive both ways in less time, but the sadness on WT's face made me want to end the nightmare. "Well, let's do it then."
Manager went away, Lisa continued typing on the computer. She turned to us and said, "There's a question here. If we can't get the chain do you want a gift certificate or another piece of jewelry?"
"Neither," I snarled (yes, I had lost it). I want C A S H in that case."
"I don't think we can do that, " she said.
Manager guy had to come back. She told him what I had said. He looked at her, smiled at us, said, "We can, Lisa. We will cash the gift certificate for the customer." Hooray, I thought and began to look for the way out of this retail hell. But Lisa had forgotten something. "Oh, he would like us to mail the chain and pendant to them when we get it back. Can we do that?"
The manager gave her a wry smile and said something implying that we had been on the rack long enough and certainly J. C. Penny's would mail it to us.
J. C. Penny's used to be a great store to shop in. Everyone knew the merchandise in their department, they were genuinely happy to see you and the service was impeccable. And no one had to wait up to six weeks for a replacement part. Oh, yes, and no one had to go through a 40 minute effort to replace an insured part.
J. C. Penny has made my list. My list is not a place any business nor person wants to make.

Sunday, May 13, 2007


David has gotten me involved in a tagging thingee concerning five places where I like to eat meals. So without further ado:

1. Home. Wild Thing is the world's best cook. The only thing she has ever had a problem with is the time she tried to broil a cake. But that's another story.

2. The Olive Garden. Love their Fettucini Alfredo. The Lasagne is yummy, too. We have yet to be disappointed with the service.

3. Blake's Lotaburger makes a great Green Chili Cheese hamburgers. Take 'em home and enjoy.

4. The little diner called Cafe Ristra, at Isleta Indian Casino. The green chili burrito (beef or turkey) is huge and scrumptious.

5. Paul's Monterey Inn serves the best prime rib in New Mexico. And I appreciate that. Always cooked just the way you order it.

My turn to tag someone else? OK.

Lin at

Dan Mega at

Cuckoo at

Ethel and Lucy at

That ought to keep the Food Coppers away.