Tuesday, 20 December 2011

Fried Pickles

An odd choice of title I'm sure you'll agree. Fried Pickles appear on the menu at the Texas Roadhouse restaurant in Fargo, ND and eating there last week our server Jamie urged the party that they really had to be tried. Mmm, we wondered.... fried pickles?

Jamie explained how they were made - dill pickles were sliced into rounds, dipped in a spicy tempura batter and then deep fried.

We still weren't convinced.

And then Jamie clinched the deal by explaining that they were "like nothing you've tried before". Temptation got the better of us, and who could resist such a sales pitch for the risking of no more that $3.99.

The Fried Pickles duly arrived, we sampled them, and they were pretty horrid. But never mind, we had tried, Jamie was happy and no falsehoods had been exchanged in marketing a truly disgusting product. They were indeed like nothing I had tried before, and, to go further, they were exactly like a whole range of things I will never want to try in the future!

The power of marketing will never cease to amaze me. Especially when it is done with such elan as that showed by our server at the Texas Roadhouse. It does though beg the question as to what idiot decided to make Fried Pickles an integral part of that establishment's menu?

I hope, I pray, that is goes somethng like this. Owing to an admin error in procurement (Dave swears he will now finally get his galsses changed) the Texas Roadhouse get a truckload of pickles delivered last month instead of the usual two cases. What to do? Implore the vendor to take them back, or try to make the most out of an unusal windfall. A hasty staff meeting is called and it is there that out plucky hero Jamie suggests deep frying the little critters. "How d'ya suppose selling those?" comes that obvious question from owner "Houston" Hal Stetson III.

"Well, with a degree in marketing from University ND, I see this challenge as a mere bagatele", says Jamie "leave everything to me. I may be just a server to you, but in real life I'm a product strategist without parallel". Over the next 36 hours Jamie racks his brains for the killer strap line, the one that will make him rich perhaps....

...and perhaps not, because I will certainly not be going back to a restaurant that serves me such food and I imagine that others in Fargo will make a similar choice. Fried Pickles were a blip and Jamie was a shrewd tactician, not a cunning strategist. In the long term the truth will out and good products will beat bad ones.

Now I must go as my daughter is imploring me to come and watch X-Factor with her. "It's fun" she tells me, and I guess I can risk an hour of my life for a little fun.

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