Wednesday, December 20, 2006

I'm not a demanding person, really.
I don't spend hours and hours brooding over some imagined slight.
I just like things to go a certain way from time to time, damn it.
Every Tuesday for the past several months I have bullied my long-suffering family into consuming 90% of their weekly calorie intake with the "Nine Piece Mixed Spicy" deal at Popeye's Fried Chicken.
For $10.80 (no sides) we get a meal and leftovers to ship off with Gwynyth for lunch the following day.
Every time they ask if I'd like sides and every time I reject them. "No thank you."
And then I make my request:

Salt, Spices including Paprika, Seasoning Blend of Dried Garlic and Onions, Natural Flavors and MSG.

"I'd like some Cajun Sparkle, please," I add.
These little packets of joy are strewn all over the inside of the restaurant, free to anyone by the pound, for all the employees care.
Do these packets make their way into the bag?
Hell no.
To be precise, twice in a year, they have honored my request.
I usually have to guilt Shana into running inside while I idle in the drive-thru line to loot the bin by the napkin holder. I suspect each time she hates me a little tiny bit more.
I suspect that because she has told me so.
Now, granted I have a couple of hundred packets of the stuff by now. And each packet goes a miraculously long way.
It is the thought that counts. I asked for Cajun Sparkle. It doesn't kill their bottom line. I should get my damned Cajun Sparkle.
Paprika is a flavorless spice! What is the hold up? Why the hate, Popeye's Fried Chicken employees?
It should go in every order. Especially if it is requested.
I'm nice! All the freaking time! I shouldn't be forced to be content that there is no visible saliva on my chicken!
They say intermittent positive reinforcement is the strongest kind of conditioning. You want your lab rat to really lay into his food bar? Have it dispense a reward some of the time. Want your kid to be a full-time whiner? Give in—not all the time, but once in a while.
This is the behavior conditioning model that keeps me refreshing my own blog over and over, too. Almost no one ever reads it—still fewer people ever post comments, but those rare and special occasions feed my nearly bottomless well of hope that the next time I reload the page, I'll see that some minor Net celeb visited, read my article about getting ripped off by Popeye's over some stupid Cajun Sparkle, and posted a note of solidarity with my cause.
Nope, not this time. Nor this time. Not yet. Not yet. Nor yet. Nor yet. Nor—hey! Oh, no, it's just some spambot selling loin-stiffening pharmaceutical agents. Hey! It's herbal!
Nothing yet.
Nor yet.
Nor yet.

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