Inventor’s Help Line Feedback

By: Joseph O'Brien

Double-Decker Minivan

As you pointed out, this may be a sure sell in England, but we’re afraid the resulting lawsuits would drain away any potential profits. Regular (single-decker) minivans already have a high tipping potential. The double-decker would be a top-heavy death machine, liable to blow over at the smallest gust. We’d see them rolling like tumbleweed down our highways and byways.

Sausage-Link Fence

Any purpose the fence aims to serve would be undermined by the fact that it is made of sausage links. For instance, your dog would no doubt eat his way to
freedom and neighboring dogs would eat their way in. Also, in the summer months, the aroma of sausage baking in the hot sun would likely attract buzzards. One solution would be to shellac each individual link, which would preserve the sausage and make it inedible. Another solution would be to ditch the idea altogether, which is what we recommend.

Edwardian Beachwear Line

The sunglasses versions of the monocle and pince-nez are well-designed updates on old accessories, and the flip-flop spats seem functional enough, but we
suspect that even the most discriminating individuals abandon such formalities when it comes to a day at the beach. The appeal of such a line is simply too narrow, even for a specialty catalog item, as you suggest.

Cigar-Store Cowboy

You’re being overly optimistic in thinking that any tobacconist with a wooden Indian in their shop would automatically want a wooden cowboy as a companion piece. In fact, you’re mistaken. Native Americans introduced tobacco to
Europeans, which explains the Indian’s inherent connection to cigar stores. The cowboy, on the other hand, is connected to the Indian via gunplay and bow-and-arrow battles. The presence of both a cowboy and an Indian in the same store would create a friction that would be bad for business.

Small Yellow Gift Boxes, Wrapped With A Red Ribbon, That Explode When Opened

It’s true that kids who grew up enjoying the shenanigans of Jokey Smurf would very likely be interested in this toy. But we’ve got to think of the victims rendered limbless by the young pranksters using your invention. Just because it’s funny in a cartoon doesn’t necessarily mean that it would be funny in real life. We know that you have a lot riding on this idea and that you expect to see yourself “laughing all the way to the bank” once it hits the market. But, as an aspiring inventor, it is well to remember not to put all of your eggs in one basket (or one yellow gift box), because you never know when it’s all going to blow up in your face.


Soup To Nuts

By: Joseph O'Brien

To Whom It May Concern:

For the love of God, will you please stop putting carrot chunks the size of manhole covers in your otherwise satisfying soups! When I fish them out, as I have been forced to do on several occasions now, it has a considerable shallowing effect on the soup. It is not unlike what happens to the water level in a bathtub when a large man steps out after a long soak. A giant discus of carrot in my Italian Wedding soup does not make for a happy marriage!

I have noticed this trend developing with your Cream of Broccoli as well. I remember when bite-sized bits of broccoli were evenly distributed through the rich, creamy broth. Now I’m confronted by massive stalks bobbing at the surface of the soup, sometimes jutting up like the stern of a sinking battleship.

I suspect you may be trying to cut corners and save a few dollars by adding these enormous vegetables to your soups as filler. Now hear this I — would gladly pay up to fifty cents more if I were assured that my soup would be free of these cumbersome, unpalatable obstructions.

Now a note on flatware: While it’s perfectly understandable to have a supply of plastic utensils on hand to accommodate takeout orders, would it kill you to provide silverware for guests who choose to dine in? If the plastic must stay, I request that you at least discontinue the “spork” and give your adult patrons the choice of a spoon or fork.

While I’m at it, I’d like to mention what I see as a steady decline in variety on your candy rack. I often stop in your establishment midafternoon for a little pick-me-up. Lately I’ve been dismayed to discover that many of my favorites, specifically Necco Wafers, are only sporadically available, if at all. I realize that these may not be the cool, jet-set candies for the youth of today, but I for one have been buying them from you on a regular basis for years. I would appreciate the courtesy of a reorder when you run out. Business is a two-way street.

I also feel that the seasonal/holiday candy is left on display for too long after its time has passed. For instance, the Halloween Snickers treats that come in fun ghost and jack-o-lantern shapes were still on the rack this past Thanksgiving. Not to mention the Christmas candies which were displayed well into the New Year. You also brazenly offer Cadbury Eggs year round, which I believe is against the law.

My problem here is twofold. First, it calls into question the quality of the candy. Nobody wants to eat something that’s been collecting dust on the rack for months. Second, it tarnishes the spirit of the season. If you could get a Snickers shaped like a ghost or a Milky Way shaped like a Christmas tree any old time you felt like it, it wouldn’t be such a treat, would it?

In a way I thank you for your flimsy candy selection as of late. I’ve been trying to shed a few pounds and you’re helping to keep me in ship shape! I will say, however, that my diet recently led me to try one of the salads advertised on your new Heart Smart menu. I hope I’m not being too graphic when I say that the salad resembled something at the bottom of a garbage disposal. Perhaps if you diced the vegetables for the soups with the same vigor and saved the massive vegetables for your salads you could kill two birds with one stone!

My final complaint (sorry to be such a gloomy Gus!) has to do with your help. I appreciate your doing away with the long parade of ne’er-do-wells, second-story men, and sneaks that you’ve had posted at the register over the years. But this new woman is a different breed of cat, if you’ll pardon my French. While I believe her intentions to be good, she often holds up the flow of the checkout line bantering with the customers. I don’t personally enjoy being badgered with inquiries about the weather. I am not — repeat — am not a meteorologist!

What’s more, her moods turn on a dime. I recall an incident two weeks ago where, after what I thought was a nice conversation about your store’s shabby peanut butter selection, I clearly heard her refer to me as a “paunchy blowhard.” To another customer no less, when I’m sure he was well aware that I was still within earshot. I’m not the type to attempt to get someone fired, especially in these trying times, but I trust you will dole out the proper punishment.

I think it beneficial to both of us to have these grievances aired and to begin an open exchange as yours is the only deli convenient to my work and home. But if this neglect keeps up, I warn you that I may be forced to take my business elsewhere.

I am,

Sidney Gruten