Thursday, June 20, 2013

Where's the beef?

So Tuesday afternoon I was at the Post Office downtown with the small child named after a large country.  We were headed to pick up Calla at her day camp when I received a call from an old friend asking me what I was doing in approx. 1 hr..  Well, headed home to make dinner and bathe the stinky children.  Same thing I do every night Pinky.  He wanted to know if I could help him out and attend a focus group for our age at a super popular local breakfast place to discuss and give my opinions about food.  Um.....So let me get this straight, you want to talk about food, and after I am done you will give me a gift card to said popular breakfast place for my trouble?  My first inclination.......What's the catch?  Then it was......wait, this involves a time share right?  No way Jose.  Nope, none of that.  We went into it thinking we were going to discuss new menu ideas, oh yeah, and they would feed us.  Ok, I was curious.  So I dropped the kids off with Dave to have a picnic in the living room and booked it back downtown to discuss what I thought were pancakes and all of the unique flavors they serve.

Once we walked in there were about 10 people sitting around a round table.  (Cliche, I know.)  I was handed a plate of hash brown casserole the size of my head and a notepad, and told to give my honest opinion about the questions but they couldn't let us know who they were from until they were done.

After that they began asking us questions about why we liked coming to the restaurant and then asked us questions about grocery stores and which ones we shopped at and why.  First light bulb that goes off in my head says ding ding ding, you guys aren't from the restaurant.  Maybe you are from Trader Joe's looking to see if Ft. Collins would be a great location for their store.  Nope.  Damn!  More questions about local vs organic vs humane etc. etc. followed.  There were no wrong answers, but at the same time you were trying to figure out who they were with so you could answer the questions a certain way even though you weren't supposed to.  Make sense?

Needless to say I found it all very fascinating.  Since I do a lot of the marketing, ok all of it for our business, they had my attention.  There were 3 other people fast and furiously taking notes in the background from the mystery company.  We were also handed color ads and told to put them in order of our favorites based on layout, the claims they were making, and what we would purchase.  Turns out we all pretty much chose the same 2 as our top two for various reasons.

At the end of it all, we found out they weren't with a large grocery store, but with a Co-op that represents 700 farmers across the US.  The farmers adhere to a strict set of guidelines in order to sell their meat and eggs and have them represented as such in grocery stores nationwide.  What I did respect about them was the help they give small local farmers to get their product in the hands of people who may live in a large city and really want to have that kind of food lifestyle, but aren't as fortunate as myself to have a chicken and pig farmer who butchers 3 miles from my home and gets fresh eggs daily.  I am also pretty sure rainbow fruit flavored cereal is not on the approved list of standards for feeding chickens.  Mine would probably starve or protest.

While this story has absolutely nothing to do with what I am usually up to, I thought you might find it interesting.  Besides it beats me telling you about how I was going to make a box of Mac and Cheese and watch the girls float in the bathtub like mermaids.

In the meantime, the children and I have a new craft project.  I'll give you two clues and get back to you after we are done.  It is hard taking pictures of someone's booth at an antique fair so it doesn't look like you are stealing their ideas.  Ok, so I was.  But only because I don't have $175 and I won't be mass producing these things on Etsy for a living.  I would also like to stay married, and if I spent that much on a doll, Chucky the tin man and I would be sleeping in the chicken coop.  So far we have a bunch of found bits and pieces and only $45 spent.  The girls are having a ball trolling the flea markets for materials.  It is like a scavenger hunt.

Adios.  Back soon.  :)

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