Dear Texas Cockroach,
As a concerned citizen and lifetime member of the SPJST Hall of LaCucaracha, I felt a duty to share a disturbing experience with the community. You know, someone’s always going on about signs of a total breakdown of our society, but I never pay too much attention to that kind of talk. Most of you know that I’m a straight shooter.
It all started when I received the following coupon on my computer electronic mail. I stared at it a while, feeling my blood pressure start to rise. Then, I told myself, “Hank, this has to be a typo. Just calm down and call the company; there’s no reason to get all riled up.”
Well I called, and expected to get someone in Pennsylvania or Minnesota, but this prissy little thing on the other end of the line had an East Texas accent. I explained that there must be a serious typo in this coupon that states I need to by a $100 gift card to receive a free basket of chips and sauce. She was real sweet, and put me on hold for a minute to check, but came back online and said that the ad was correct.
There was a long awkward pause, before I asked her if she could just clear up a couple of questions for me. I was as nice as I could possibly be when I asked her, “What if I purchase $200 worth of gift cards? Would it qualify me to receive a free glass of water to go with my chips and sauce?” This poor girl just wasn’t getting it, and told me she didn’t see anything about water on the coupon, but “she could ask.” I asked her while she was checking, if she could see if I would be able to substitute free refills on an iced tea purchase for the glass of water? She told me she was going to have to find a pen to write all this down, since none of it was on the coupon.
I asked before she took my questions to her boss, if she could tell me where she was located. I was stunned when she responded, “Dallas.” I said, “Texas?” She said, “Uh, Yeah.” I thanked her for her time, and ended the call. My wife walked in, and I was just holding the phone with my eyes closed. She started hollering at me, “Hank, what is it? What is it? Did your uncle Carl have another heart attack? Oh Lord, Carl’s dead…Kids, get down here!”
I said, “No, honey, it’s much worse,” and handed her the coupon. I then dropped the bombshell that this was a Texas company that goes around charging customers for chips and sauce like there’s nothing wrong with it – right out in the open in front of God and everybody.
Of course, I’m not naïve. I’ve heard rumors about restaurants charging for chips and sauce in other states, but I could never really bring myself to believe it. I thought it must have been some isolated cases of tourist trap dirty tricks.
I’ll admit I’ve only eaten once at a Chili’s when Darla was showing a steer at the San Antonio Live Stock Show. We just ordered queso, so they brought out chips automatically. I didn’t think anything of it at the time. I remember being preoccupied with the fact that it was the worst damn queso I’ve ever eaten. I started to ask the waitress if the chef skipped the three minutes of culinary school when they taught how to melt a block of Velveeta with a couple of cans of Rotel to make queso, but my wife saw it coming and headed me off with a stern look. She knew that queso tasted like crap, and I was going to make a scene. Oh well, at least the burger was good.
I hope your readers see what a serious situation this is. It would be one thing if some company from “back East” (wherever the hell that is), moved into Texas and started charging for chips and sauce. We could forgive them, once they corrected their mistake. But this is one of our own. Before long, Tex Mex joints on every corner will be doing it. I remember when tortillas were unlimited, but now a lot of places are charging for extras. What’s next – a state income tax? A charge for white bread with your BBQ? Where will it end?