"Border-line Insanity"


Having previously alienated the giant headed CEO of Jack in the Box, I have gone on to write a piece for MSNBC.com that may get me banned from several other major fast food chains. Which will not necessarily be a bad thing for my ongoing battle against burger binges and their resultant burger bulges. It will not be available to entertain you and incur the wrath of the Creepy Burger King for at least another week (even web writing sometimes has pre-publication delays), but I just wanted to mention it to explain something I did recently. I went to Taco Bell.

Yes, I went through the drive-thru of one of fast-food-dom’s least respected practitioners, ordering, receiving and actually consuming some of their bizarro-world version of Mexican Food, in the name of research. (Here in California, as well as the rest of the U.S. West of Texas – and for some strange reason, St. Louis – we have the alternative of Del Taco, much better tasting, without the weird pseudo-Spanish product names and with french fries and Cherry Coke. I shouldn’t be eating their stuff either, but at least they have a reasonable pleasure-to-guilt ratio. But I digress.) In the process of receiving my Taco Bell order, I was issued the usual mass quantities of hot sauce packets. At times I suspect that they think their customers must bathe in the stuff; at more paranoid times, I think they want their customers to bathe in the stuff. Fortunately, for the last few years, the best thing about TB has been the little messages on their sauce packets.
(In fact, I’d say that probably 10% of all cars older than two years on the road today have Taco Bell sauce packets in their glove compartments that are at least one year old. I have nothing to back this statistic up, but doesn’t it sound cool?)
Other original “sauce wisdom” quotes:

The Official Sauce of Taco Bell
The Road to Mediocrity is littered with Empty Ketchup packets
So many Chalupas So Little Time
Save a Bun Eat a Taco
Live Life One Sauce Packet at a time
Warning You?re about to Make a Taco Very Happy
Be Gentle
My Other Taco is a Chalupa
Find Inner Peace in Every Piece of Our Marinated Chicken
Why Order a Taco when you can Ask Politely
Does a Grilled Stuft Burrito qualify you for the car pool lane?
If you throw this, would it be a flying saucer?
Open quickly? I?m burning up in here.
Nice palm. I read a great deal of pleasure in your future.
Do you add sauce left to right or right to left?
Willing to relocate.
Of all those sauce packets why me, why now?
Careful I don?t do well under pressure
Mi salsa es tu salsa.
[flavor] Sauce Seeking Friendship Maybe More
[flavor] Sauce the New Ketchup

In 2004, they held a competition for people to write captions for their sauce packets. Among the winners:
Okay, two out of three’s not bad. The other winners were:

Bike tires scare me
I’m in good hands now
My sause is an honor student at Taco State
Where are you taking me?
It’s okay, you can say it. I love you too

Pick me! Pick me!
Mmmm… sauce

(and I am not making this up) Hello.

In the interest of full disclosure, I did make several entries to the contest, none of which are among the winners (If I’d only known, I would’ve just submitted ‘Hello’), but which did include such classic lines as “I’m the clapper in the Taco Bell”, “For a change, open me from the bottom”, and the anti-littering message “Good on a taco, not on a sidewalk”.

They did it again in ’05 (I didn’t bother to enter) and the winners included several that appeared on the packets I received at my recent visit (yes, I only use “Mild” sauce; I am a gringo weenie, I know):
Other 2005 winners:

Ahhh? we meet again.
I?m taking the day off. See next packet.
Ketchup? Puh-leese.
Not it!
Ooh! Ooh! I call glove compartment.
Thanks for rescuing me,
[other flavor] was getting on my nerves.
Will you marry me?
This space for rent. Inquire within.
Will you scratch my back?

Not nearly as good a batch as the previous year. And a lot heavier on the random non-sequitorial stuff. I was quite perplexed looking at “I collect straws”, and “Make a wish” seemed to be just asking to be treated like a wishbone, which of course, would spill sauce everywhere and nobody would endup lucky.
Oddly, there were two more messages I got among my umpteen sauce packets that were not part of any published list:
I don’t know if these rate a “WTF?” but at least a “WTH?” What ‘feeling is mutual’? Does the sauce consider me something minimally adequate to cover up the taste of the finely ground meat from unknown meat-bearing animals in the tacos? And I am sorry, but “Scratch & Sniff” jokes went out in the previous millennium.

I guess I have lost my last reason to ever go near a Taco Bell. Besides, have you seen what the sauce packets and sporks do after closing time? [cute embedded video]

Okay, I’ll admit there was one lame thing about Del Taco: they used to label their less-spicy sauce packets as “Mild Hot Sauce”.
Thanks to this guy (a contest winner) for the full sauce message rundown. Sauce packets on black backgrounds are via The Condiment Packet Museum.

2 Comments (so far) about

"Border-line Insanity"

  1. :: jozjozjoz :: Says:

    I used to post my hot sauce messages on my blog, back in the day when I was still allowed to go to Taco Hell.

    I am still afraid to go since that’s where I got hit on by a homeless guy.

  2. wendell Says:

    C’mon, who among us HASN’T been hit on by a homeless guy at Taco Bell?

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