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Off/beat

Chick-fil-A's a taste of franchises to demand

By ROBERT KING
Published October 27, 2003

Some of you may recall that, in the waning days of 2002, I launched a very public crusade in this column to end an injustice in our community. I sought to rally support to a cause of vital public importance. One long overlooked.

It was our community's dire need for a Chick-fil-A of course.

Less than a year later, I am happy to report that a brand new Chick-fil-A restaurant is being built at the Coastal Way Plaza on State Road 50, right in front of Belk.

Isn't it obvious what happened here?

The people at Chick-fil-A headquarters in Atlanta were pressured by the untold masses who read this column and responded to their call to action. Rather than face crippling boycotts, Chick-fil-A caved to the popular revolt, lest it get out of hand.

I called Chick-fil-A headquarters last week to confirm my theory. But the guy I pestered last December didn't call back. No doubt he is still breathing a sigh of relief from the public relations nightmare he nearly brought upon his company had it failed to heed our call for waffle fries.

Buoyed by this success, I set my sights on a new crusade. And I ask you - good readers - what does Hernando County need that we we don't have now? Here are some thoughts:

A) Barnes & Noble.

In an informal survey around the newsroom, the clear choice was the well-known repository of latte and literature. But newspeople have an interest in the written word somewhat akin to a tobacco executives' interest in nicotine addiction. Besides, they all want to see their memoirs on a Barnes & Noble shelf someday. So this may not be a representative sampling.

So I turned to Hernando County's most authoritative source on consumer preferences - my wife - and found that she, too, is a Barnes & Noble fan.

Her fondness seems to rest in overstuffed chairs, flavored coffees and rows of kiddie lit - which she collects. That said, my obvious natural bias here is toward whatever Tammy says.

B) Krispy Kreme donuts.

Yes, we have two Dunkin' Donuts and one sitting empty. And yes, you can get boxed Krispy Kremes in the grocery store. But I was nearly threatened with violence by Krispy Kreme aficionados when I mentioned such heresies.

Remember, these are folks under the influence of fried dough. They keep mumbling something about the importance of the little red sign that lights up in the window of a Krispy Kreme store when hot doughnuts come out of the oven.

Frankly, I worry about these people. I have seen too many movies where people become zombies in the face of a blinking red light - even subject to mind control. Sounds like that's what is going on at Krispy Kreme. That said, I'll take mine glazed.

C) Sam Goody.

This one surprised me. But a couple of my colleagues say Hernando County's two main music outlets - Target and Wal-Mart - have too limited a selection for their eccentric tastes.

Of course, one of those eccentric tastes extends to CDs with dirty words in the lyrics. Some people simply can't find enough music with cursing. I disagree. But I accept the argument that our local Stuff Marts have a diversity problem.

Still, all the snooty alternative-music loving blowhards can complain if they like. There is a reason country music dominates the shelves: It is the music of the people.

D) Others.

In my scientific polling, a few other names cropped up. Among them: Starbucks, Dillard's, Hops, Carrabba's Italian Grill and Olive Garden. None are high on my priority list. I submit them to you as a public service.

Pick your favorite and e-mail your choice to me at rking@sptimes.com No phone calls, please. I'll report the results in a future column and start a new crusade to harass the corporate honchos of America into submission. Within a year, you'll have your heart's desire sitting at a commercial location near you. I guarantee it.

- Robert King can be reached at 848-1432. Send e-mail to rking@sptimes.com

[Last modified October 27, 2003, 02:04:28]


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