Lay’s Salt & Vinegar Chips: PART 2

8 Sep

dillons_logoOkay…so I know this post is ridiculous but it is near and dear to my heart so here we go!  As my constant readers know, I have been on a quest to find out why there are no Lay’s Salt & Vinegar Chips in Wichita, KS which you can read about HERE.  I contacted my local grocer, Walmart, local convenience stores, and of course…Lay’s.  So far I have received a generic response from QuikTrip and a personalized response from Dillon’s.  I wanted to share the response from Dillon’s because it is a lesson in A+ PR any business should practice.  Customer’s want a response when they contact a brand – this was one of the finer responses I have received:

Dear Ryan:

Thank you for contacting Dillon’s Customer Connect regarding Lay’s Salt and Vinegar Potato Chips. I appreciate the request to stock this item in your local store. There are many factors that determine which products are available to and sold in our stores– shelf space, product demand, supplier availability, and vendor contracts are a few. Special order forms are always available at the customer service desk as a courtesy to accommodate specific item requests.

I have shared your request with the store manager at our Central store as our office does not have access to inventory or ordering information. (I chose this store because it was the location you indicated in your email, if you would like to request this product at a different store, please let me know!) Your store manager has the ability to check inventory at other stores and can advise if the product can be stocked and/or special ordered.

Your second option would be to contact our Special Request Team who can see if they can order this item for a one time pickup at your store. This, however, cannot guarantee the product will be stocked in our stores as there are many factors that affect the availability. If you would like to make a special request please contact 1-855-345-5696.

I hope that you find this information helpful. My name is Sara and if I can be of further assistance, please simply respond to this email or call.

Thank you for shopping with us.

Sincerely,

Sara
Kroger Customer Connect 
The Kroger Family of Stores 

Having spent a week with Cox Communication’s “Help” department trying to get my phone to work and having the Royals game drop out twice during two different games…it was lovely to get some real customer service!  Seriously, don’t get COX cable…they are terrible.  I got very excited and was ready to call the Special Request Team when a co-worker posted on my Facebook timeline:

LaysSVChips

Walmart!  On the west side!  Of course the west side!  Now I have to see if I can get the east side location to carry them…though I have a thing about Walmart and try to do everything possible to avoid it thanks to years of spending hours there for business…though if they stocked them at the Walmart Neighborhood Market I would be fine with going there.

My co-worker brought them to work today and as I type to you…oh constant reader…my fingers are encrusted with sticky vinegar and salt as my roof burns ever so slightly from the greatest chip on the planet:  Lay’s Salt & Vinegar!  As well as I type, I realize that all this time I could have bought the chips from Amazon.  Either way…I feel like life is all that and a bag of chips today!

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Lay’s Salt & Vinegar Chips

3 Sep

8214271_origWhen I first moved back to Wichita, KS five years ago I was convinced my wife was messing with me when she told me she couldn’t find Lay’s Salt & Vinegar Chips at the grocery store.  It was impossible.  Dillon’s, the Death Star of grocery stores, had everything in their “Super Stores.”  Heck, if I can buy patio furniture and toothpicks…I should be able to get Lay’s Salt & Vinegar Chips too.  The next trip to the store my wife Kate and I went together and divided the list to save time.  “I’ll find the chips!”  I exclaimed, which was only appropriate seeing as I am the certified snacker in the family.  I huffed it over to the chip aisle and was shocked to find there were no Lay’s Salt & Vinegar Chips!  I snagged an employee and they pointed out the next aisle over.  An entire half an aisle dedicated solely to Lay’s Potato Chips!  Jackpot!  Kate had clearly done what I had done and only gone to the chip aisle and not looked for…hey…wait…there are no Salt & Vinegar Chips here!  I flagged down the employee and asked what the deal was.  “Maybe they were discontinued?”  He explained.  Then he offered me Cape Cop Chips or Pringles instead.

I think I cried.

Five long years later and I can tell you that Dillon’s does not carry Lay’s Salt & Vinegar, nor does Walmart, or Target, or QuickTrip, or any other place I’ve looked…and I’ve looked.  Co-workers claim to have seen them and bought them in stores but I am sure they got them in Kansas City, other towns, or the individual bags instead of the full-size.  If so, there is a salt & vinegar conspiracy going on and I want to know who’s behind it!!!  Labor Day Weekend was the final straw for me…my taste buds yearned for them so I tweeted a few retailers who replied with directions on how to contact their complaints departments.  I kindly obliged and urged Dillon’s (among others) to carry this fruit of the gods.  However, I felt the most energy should be focused on the source, so I wrote this letter to Frito-Lay:


 

To Whom It May Concern at FRITO-LAY NORTH AMERICA, INC.,

When I first moved back home to Wichita, Kansas five years ago I was convinced that your company had discontinued LAY’S® Salt & Vinegar Flavored Potato Chips due to the fact that I was unable to find them in any grocer or retailer throughout the Wichita area:  A sad proposition.  Upon traveling to Kansas City I was delighted to find the beloved chips on the shelves of a grocery store there and ceremoniously purchased what can only be referred to as “a boat-load” for my return to Kansas’s largest city.  Armed with the knowledge that my favorite chips in the world had not been discontinued, I set forth on an epic chip-quest to find them in Wichita.  Alas, my quest failed and instead of feasting on the tangy nectar of vinegar and salt clad potato chips…I was forced to swallow the fact that there were no LAY’S® Salt & Vinegar Flavored Potato Chips in Wichita, Kansas.

I have written letters to Dillon’s, QuikTrip, Walmart, Target, and other area retailers of chips.  In five years, I have yet to get LAY’S® Salt & Vinegar Flavored Potato Chips into Wichita.  I have been presented with other salt & vinegar options, but none of them suit my taste.  Must I be shunned to ingest detestable and harrowing options such as Cape Cod Potato Chips or the admissible Pringles when all I yearn for is to gormandize the contents of that light blue bag which haunts my dreams?

Snacking has become…spiritless.

You see, LAY’S® Salt & Vinegar Flavored Potato Chips has the perfect ratio of vinegar to salt.  Other charlatans veil their so-called chips in salt to besiege one’s tongue to eat more out of necessity, while LAY’S® Salt & Vinegar Flavored Potato Chips create a sense of longing to masticate more from the transcendence of flavor.  In layman’s terms:  Your chips burn the roof of my mouth from the vinegar and that’s the flavor I’m looking for because I associate it with a happy childhood.

As I’m sure you know Wichita was home to Pizza Hut under the PepsiCo brand from 1977-1997.  Being born in Wichita in 1979, LAY’S® was a part of my upbringing ‘til I left for college to pursue my dreams.  Now, a man of restaurateur ilk and persuasion, I have returned to Wichita with my culinary insight and sophisticated salt & vinegar chip palette.  These mountebanks being peddled to Wichita’s citizens is a wrongdoing of epic chip proportions and must be rectified forthwith before LAY’S® Salt & Vinegar Flavored Potato Chips become a forgotten memory in our nation’s heartland.

Please, I beseech you to bring LAY’S® Salt & Vinegar Flavored Potato Chips back to Wichita before their awesomeness is forgotten.  The last five years have taught me that once you pop…you can stop.  However, we can’t stop popping without your support.  Help me in the fight against poorly salted spuds and return peace to the taste buds of hundreds of thousands…or at least just me.

Your brother in alkali marinated fried potatoes,

Ryan W. Gates


 

Now…we wait.  If you want to join in my crusade of kindness to return Lay’s Salt & Vinegar Chips to Wichita, please let me know.  If you find them in Wichita, please let me know where.  If you are visiting Wichita, please bring some with you and share with me.

Potato Chips

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Video

Roughhousing Interview

21 Aug

An exclusive So Long Freedom Interview with Max and Dodge on the hot topic of roughhousing and beating up Dada.

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First Day Of School

19 Aug

Today is the first day of school for both Max (3) and Dodge (1).  I say School…but it is Preschool.  Maybe Dodge is in Day Care?  I don’t know…all I know is they are not in the house and my wife Kate is back teaching the fall semester at Wichita State.  Yay!  Sanity shall return to the daytime of our household!  This is Max’s second year and he was very upset to learn that his best friend is in a different classroom this year.  His best friend stopped taking naps over the summer and Max still zonks out for a few hours in the afternoon…which I’m all for.  Max didn’t seem to mind once he saw all the other kids and the toys in the new room.  “Bye Dada!”  Zoom!  He was off and playing.  Dodge was the same way.  Last I saw he was playing with a seesaw blue dog and saying, “bye.”  That was it…no fanfare.  Max is back and Dodge is in.

Kate and I tried to take one of those pictures all our friends have of their kids at the front door but Max wouldn’t stop making monster faces and Dodge kept standing up to look and see what I was taking a picture of…so these blurry pictures are what we got:

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I think the second one on the steps would be a sweet album cover for them if they released a single.  They did start a band over the summer called Spaceship Monkey.  Max plays the triangle and Dodge plays the tambourine.  We’re still working out the sound, and genre, and practice schedule.  It’ll come together.

Like her mother leaving after a visit, Kate cried in the parking lot after saying goodbye to the boys.  I quietly celebrated inside and consoled her as I imagined what things might be like when they go to school 5 days a week in the years to come.  Kate was fully aware of how good this is for them developmentally, socially, and how Kate would get her days back to actually work…but as she put it, her “Mom emotions” kicked in.  I think I danced…my “Dad emotions” kicking in…kicking my heels together in the air as I leap for joy.

So Long Summer!

Spaceship Monkey Album Cover

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Roughhousing Brothers

16 Aug

GatesBoysAwhile back I wrote about the importance of dads roughhousing with their kids and the developmental skills it helps develop in children.  I took the advice of a friend and started roughhousing with Max, who was 2 at the time, before bed and the results were awesome…he slept through the night and we developed a special bond.  Now Max is 3 and he has a little brother Dodge who is 1.  Dodge is the toughest most stubborn person I have ever met other than that ugly dude I see in the mirror every day.  Max likes to play “tackle” which involves running as fast as he can from the kitchen, down the hall, and into the family room where he them plows through me as hard as he can…then he gives me a few piledrivers for good measure…then repeats.  This was too rough for Dodge so we lightened the game up.  Dodge would ever so cautiously and gently push me with his tiny hands and I would pretend to fall over like a large tree (I’m 6’4″) while in the process scooping him up.  We would crash to the ground in pretend slow motion as I said, “Bwah!  Bwah!  Bwah!  Bwah…”  Dodge loved this and the game became known as “Bwah. Bwah, Bwah.”  We play it every night before bed.  Max loves it too.  Dodge gets gentle bwahs while Max gets more intense bwahs.

We are learning to set our boundaries.

Now Dodge is 17 months old and he has started tossing piledrivers like his big brother.  I’m getting the crap beat out of me.  The other day Dodge gave a piledriver to the tenders, confirming there would be no baby sister in his future, while Max sat on my face and farted.  Sorry…tooted.  They’re back in school and you can’t say fart…or booty.  Seriously?  Booty?  Another discussion.  The point is, the little buggers are ganging up on me.

They have become a unified Bwah, Bwah, Bwah front!

hoganlegdropFor the past 17 months Kate and I have done everything in our power to keep Max from hurting Dodge.  Now?  One look into Dodge’s steel blue eyes during Bwah, Bwah. Bwah and it is clear to see its only a matter of time before Dodge is the big kahuna round the Gates house.  So…I stopped separating the boys and started letting them roughhouse.  Guess what?  The 1-year old can beat up the 3-year old.  It will be more evenly matched soon and eventually one of these roughhousing bouts will escalate into a fight as they always do, that’s what boys do.  Its inevitable.  Til then, here is the adorableness of Max and Dodge roughhousing before bed where the loser gets tickled and the winner…also gets tickled.

Immediately following this video Max head-butted Dodge.  Dodge cried out, “Owie!”  Dodge then head-butted Max sqare in the nose.  Max cried.  Dodge laughed hysterically.  I feared for my life.

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