business news in context, analysis with attitude

Yesterday we reported in our Eye-Opener that Disneyland and Disney World have changed the Pirates of the Caribbean ride so that they do not show women being sold off as property.

I commented, in part:

The story notes that the changes have been met with mixed reviews, with some decrying how political correctness has affected even amusement park rides.

I’d have one response to such people: Tough.

Sometimes political correctness isn’t a bad thing. Sometimes, it is just correct. And, it corrects, or at least addresses, the sins of the past.

I’m sure that the guys - and they almost certainly were all guys - who created that ride thought the whole auctioning-off-women-as-property thing was funny. There are guys out there who almost certainly still think that it is funny.

But it isn’t. In 2018, it is indefensible … especially to our sons and daughters, who ought not be taught that such things are humorous or acceptable or appropriate or not worth paying attention to.

One MNB reader wrote:

History is supposed to accurately portrays what people used to think and do - not what currently is thought to be politically-incorrect. I think that’s why it’s called “history.”

Really? You think that “Pirates of the Caribbean” is positioned as a factual depiction - or even reasonable facsimile - of history?

Give me a break. That’s an utter crock.

One MNB reader agreed with me:

It’s easy for people (read: white males) who have not suffered from the stereotypes to find the movement towards being more politically correct inconvenient, but for those of us who have had to deal with it, it’s a welcome change in the tide. It’s not like this is an exhibit in a museum accurately portraying a historical event; it’s a feature at an amusement park for children, which has the burden of responsibly impacting the young minds consuming their content. Cheers to them.


Thank you.

When writing about the Washington, DC, Capital Pride festival yesterday, in which businesses of all kinds reached out to the LGBTQ community, Michael Sansolo wrote:

It was ironic, by the way, that this festival was being held - and embraced by local businesses - at the end of a week when a Colorado bakery owner went to the US Supreme Court and won the right not to do business with the LGBTQ community.

One MNB reader wrote:

What’s “ironic” about that?  This issue in question was the right to CHOOSE whom to do business with.  Nobody’s questioning the right of these companies to choose  to do business with the LGBTQ community.

The irony is that some companies understand that in an increasingly diversifying world, it is important to value people of all kinds, even if we don’t understand them or approve of their lives. Some don’t, and think that just baking a cake of a gay wedding signifies approval of same-sex marriage.

The Supreme Court may have said it is constitutional to deny products and services to gay folks under certain, limited circumstances. That doesn’t necessarily make it good business.

Finally, I wrote yesterday about how IHOP, after stoking speculation via social media about why it would change its name from “IHOP” to “IHOB,” announced that the “B” stood for “burgers,” and that the change was a temporary one that “celebrates the debut of the brand's new Ultimate Steakburgers, a line-up of seven mouth-watering, all-natural burgers.”

I commented in part:

I wouldn’t go to IHOP for pancakes. I sure as hell wouldn’t go there for burgers.

To me, this whole effort strikes me as a tease without a sufficient payoff. The bet here is that while the marketing folks probably thought this was brilliant, it’ll end up being a nothingburger with customers. (IHOP’s Twitter feed is pretty funny, especially if you enjoy people mocking a company for much ado about very little.)

Some MNB readers though this was a little harsh:

One wrote:

My wife and I love IHOP and go there all of the time. We love he food and the service we receive from our local IHOP. We also believe that it is a great idea to add a number of new burgers and we will be going there for them.

MNB reader Jim Huey wrote:

IHOP seems to be taking a swing that you laud in other companies. It may well fall flat but aren’t you the one who espouses taking swings?
From another:

Wow,  your comments were very harsh.

And another:

Just because you're not the target segment doesn't mean it didn’t work. Sometimes it's not just about us!

Ands finally, a knockout blow from MNB reader Tom Hahn:

Kevin, could you maybe give their burgers a try before slamming them? Wouldn’t that be the prudent thing to do? Aren’t you always advocating for companies to step out of the box and try something different to engage customers? Apparently that only counts if they are a trendy company.

Your typical elitist POV is showing – if this were Amazon or Starbucks or one of the many companies you have a man-crush on, I suspect we would get plaudits about their marketing acumen. But because it’s IHOP – which must be doing something right to stay in business – we get the typical dribble from you that I’ve come to expect. Out here in flyover country, we appreciate that IHOP offers value for the dollar; it’s all a matter of setting one’s expectations.

Shame on you for being so uppity.

First of all, you make an excellent point. Not about “dribble” … though I think you actually meant “drivel.” I may be old, but I’m not dribbling. Much. Yet.

I think it is a reasonable argument to say that I was too harsh yesterday. Maybe I was a little cranky. Maybe the bad experiences that I remember from past IHOP visits weighed too heavy on my memory. (At the time, the food weighed too heavy on my stomach.)

Tom suggests that I should actually try one of their burgers before being critical. While I sort of make a living commenting - or driveling - about stuff with which I sometimes have no personal experience, this is a case where I can jump in the pool.

Which is what I am going to do. Before the week is out, I will seek out an IHOP, order a burger, eat it, and report back.

And I will do my level best to go in without attitude or predisposition.

Now, just to be fair, the Boston Globe yesterday posted a review of the new IHOP/IHOB burgers yesterday, which you can read


Here’s an excerpt:

“The patty itself is made of USDA choice Black Angus beef. It is flat, but fatter than the average fast-food patty, greasy within reason, very well done. Even so, it has good beefy flavor. The lettuce is plentiful, the tomato abysmal (crunchy and pale), the flabby, fatty bacon assuredly not worth the $3.50 upcharge. But to the good, there’s American cheese, pickles, and signature IHOP sauce, a pinky-orange condiment reminiscent of other proprietary burger sauces you may have known and loved. It comes with a whole mess of very salty, fairly average fries. It is probably worth $6.99 (for a limited time only) for the classic Steakburger with unlimited fries and a drink. But when there is Five Guys to the left of me, Shake Shack to the right, this is not a good enough burger to bet the brand name on.

And one other note from the review, which seems especially appropriate considering our Eye-Opener this morning about In-N-Out closing its Texas stores temporarily because bun quality wasn’t up to snuff:

“It comes on the shiniest bun I have ever seen. It looks wet but it isn’t. I can see my reflection in it.”

On the other hand, miracles can happen. I got the following email from another MNB reader, who wrote:

By the way, I tried a MacDonald’s quarter pounder yesterday, fresh meat, not frozen, made when you order it. I never thought I’d say this: It was delicious, juicy tasty etc. What a positive difference!

Maybe I have to give McDonald’s another try…?
KC's View: