You know how you see something every day and really don’t pay attention? You drive blissfully by, say, a fast-food restaurant multiple times in the course of a week and it just sort of fades into the background and you couldn’t describe it to anybody beyond “It’s a building and it has a door and some windows and … ” That’s the relationship between me and the Wendy’s restaurant in Muscle Shoals, Ala. I don’t think I’ve ever actually been in it (maybe a couple of times?) but it’s been a fixture on the daily commute and a navigational placeholder for years. You know — “Turn at the Wendy’s,” “go a couple of blocks pass the Wendy’s,” “it’s in that block behind the Wendy’s,” etc. And then the other day somebody said something about the new Wendy’s and I had no idea what she meant. “The new Wendy’s? In Muscle Shoals?? What are you talking about??? I pass by there every day and I haven’t noticed anything,” I (luckily) said silently in my head because I’ve learned through bitter experience to keep comments that make me look stupid to myself. Turns out that the old Wendy’s had been closed — which I vaguely was aware of — and then demolished and then this new Wendy’s rose from the ruins, in all its sleek and modern glory. Turns out it’s all part of a Pan to Modernize. Old-fashioned down-home folksy is out. (Tell that to the folks who gather around Jack’s fireplaces for their morning biscuits.) Minimal urban is in. Even Wendy herself got a style update. All I know is that this does NOT look like a Wendy’s to me. Sushi? Thai? Chinese? But not hamburgers. On the other hand, I obviously am not a reliable observer since I didn’t notice when it was nothing but an empty lot and some construction equipment, so what do I know?.
Now, I certainly am not one to criticize poor marketing choices or bad grammar or inaccurate wording … Okay, who am I kidding? I love doing that. But Younger Daughter and husband John Pitts are the champs at spotting those details that make you wonder what somebody was thinking. Such as this poster advertising Dairy Queen’s $5 lunch special — or, as JP pointed out, the “Five-dollar-bucks” special. Because that’s what it says. Probably, JP conjectured, the marketing coordinator presented a “Five Bucks” campaign to the DQ vice presidents in the corporate meeting room and one of the bosses said “We need a dollar sign there” and the marketing coordinator could either argue or agree and so we get a “five dollar bucks” message that is both confusing AND redundant. And now I want a sundae.