Tag Archives: Taco Bell

Dear Taco Bell:

Dear Taco Bell:

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Last night my wife and I planned a taco night for dinner. It wasn’t Tuesday, but honestly, I’m feeling a little over the whole Taco Tuesday thing. Why should tacos be limited to just one day of the week? Is it really that important that taco and Tuesday both start with a T? And Tuesday kind of sucks anyway, as a day, it’s probably the worst day out of the whole week. The previous weekend and all the fun that came along with it is by now a distant memory, and the only thing you really have to look forward to is Wednesday, itself only celebrated for marking the halfway point of another miserable workweek.

I’m off topic already. I went to the grocery store for some taco supplies: ground beef, lettuce, tomatoes, I haven’t made tacos in a while, but I didn’t want anything too Mexican. American tacos were my goal here, crunchy yellow shells, shredded yellow cheese, you know, Taco Bell style tacos.

And wouldn’t you know it, I made a turn right down the “ethnic” aisle at the grocery store and right there, right next to the giant bags of Tostitos chips and jars of Del Monte salsa, I found a box, a Taco Bell box. It said, “Taco Dinner Kit.” Bingo. That’s what I thought at least, bingo, here’s a one-stop Taco Bell taco shopping experience.

I looked at the instructions: “Just add ground beef and toppings.” And I kind of felt a little deflated. Because what is a taco without meat and toppings? It’s apparently the contents of your “Taco Dinner Kit” box, it’s some shells, a couple of packets of Taco Bell sauce, and a spice packet. It’s nothing.

And to make matters worse, I looked at the instructions printed on the side of the box, you’re telling me I need eight ounces of Kraft shredded cheddar cheese, one container of Breakstone’s sour cream. I’m sorry, Taco Bell, but if you’re not going to provide me with the tools I need to get the job done, you’ve ceded any position in which you’re going to tell me what brands I should buy to make my own tacos.

Look, I’m not suggesting you try to make your product something it’s not. I’m trying to imagine the logistical hurdles of including shredded lettuce, chopped tomatoes, grated cheese and sour cream to your box. You’d have to keep some of the ingredients refrigerated, and would the corn tortillas lose their crunch in the fridge? Like I said, it sounds like a lot of work.

But to call what you sold me a kit, it just comes across as disingenuous. How about just calling it, “Taco Shells.” The sauce? Don’t bother. You give that stuff away for free by the fistful every time I visit a Taco Bell location, and so there are always some spare Milds or Hots floating around my kitchen somewhere. The taco seasoning, what is it really, salt? Cumin? Just throw it in for free and don’t mention it.

And I get it, you put everything in a big box, you make it look really official. I just feel a little duped, is all. I can’t see inside, and so how can I tell if my crunchy hard taco shells are intact inside of that box? These particular shells actually made it to my house OK, but that’s not the point. How was I to know? I had to take a leap of faith, just kind of taking your word for it that the shells had made it in one piece from production to my kitchen, and I really don’t need that type of low-level stress when all I’m trying to do is prepare a really casual Taco Thursday.

In closing, I hope you don’t take this the wrong way. I’m a Taco Bell guy through and through, I stand by your products and, in the future, if I’m ever thinking about making tacos again, I want to let you know that Taco Bell brand taco products are still on my short list of preferred purchases. Having said that, I see plenty of opportunities for improvement. Get rid of the whole misleading “Taco Kit” verbiage. Maybe make the shells a little bigger. Maybe offer me some Doritos Locos taco shells. That would be awesome.

Taco Bell, I love you, your restaurants stand as a model for what American fast food strives to be. Your grocery store offering, however, well … just think about it, this is just something to consider, is all.


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Rob G.

Four extra-large sodas

And I was like, “Just try to stay out of my way, OK?” which, yeah, it sounded a lot cooler in my head, I was going for the whole, “I got this,” or at a more basic level, “Don’t worry, don’t have any doubts in me,” but it came out the way it came out, arrogant, dismissive. It was too late for an apology, it would have killed the momentum, totally destroyed whatever we’d already set up for ourselves, the mood, the false determination.


A week earlier, my friend Rich had showed me this video online of two guys ordering four extra-large sodas at a drive-thru, and right as the cashier handed them their drinks, the driver threw the oversized containers back through the window. All you heard was the scream, she must have gotten soaked, followed by the crazy laughter of the two guys in the car as it sped away.

I remember laughing so hard at that video, the insane kind of funny that, looking back now, I’d never laugh, I’d never let myself. It’s too mean. I’d feel automatically too bad for that woman, she probably hates her job, or maybe she doesn’t hate her job, maybe it’s just me, I hate my job and I assume everybody else hates their job also. Maybe she’s happy. But she’s working the window at the drive through, she gets out the XL cups, fills them all up.

And then what does her boss say? The manager hears the spill, he looks up and the window-girl is doused in soda, there’s a mess everywhere. Did the computer get wet? What about the register? Did the soda make it to the cash? It’s everywhere. She feels bad, like even though everyone says they believe her, she’s worried some of them might suspect she’s making it all up. Because seriously, who would do something like this? And why?

But back when I was seventeen, when I finally had a car, independence, those were things I wasn’t focusing on, the who, the why. My whole world was all of the sudden open and new, I got such a crazy thrill out of anything I hadn’t been exposed to before. And this act summed up everything that I wanted in life at that moment, the ability to look around at the most mundane of situations and still be thrown for a total loop, like nothing applies anymore, everything you thought you knew, forget it.

I think Rich might have suggested we try it out also, or maybe he didn’t directly suggest it, but he said something like, “We would never do something like that,” just something to say, but I took it as this personal challenge, I was like, “Well, I would do that,” not even thinking about how this was already escalating dangerously. “No way, you would never do that,” so now here I was, Rich had thrust all responsibility my way, now this was my joke, my prank, my wild act to either carry out or chicken out of.

So we went to Taco Bell. My euphoria had definitely dwindled down into something else, an anxiety, my heart was still racing but I could tell that there was a part of me I wasn’t willing to yet consciously acknowledge that told me this was a stupid idea. And again, I wasn’t emotionally mature enough to be thinking about anybody else besides myself. I was purely concerned with what if we get in trouble, what if my parents have to get involved?

And Rich, he was pretty nervous too, but it was a carefree worry, like settling in to watch a really scary movie. Sure, he’d be along for whatever ride this turned out to be, but at the end of the day, he could always shrug and be like, I don’t know why Rob threw those sodas. I had nothing to do with it.

I pulled up to the drive-thru, I ordered four extra large Baja Blast Mountain Dews, and as we turned the corner to the window, we both kind of giggled a little bit. It was happening. The sodas had been ordered. Maybe this would be easier than the mental struggle I was setting up for myself here. Maybe all I had to do was throw and drive, and then I could laugh and laugh and laugh.

But we pulled up, and it’s this big dude, he’s passing me the sodas, telling me how much they cost. I didn’t even look at Rich, I just took out a ten, gave it to the guy, took the change, and left. Rich started laughing, I guess I deserved it, I guess he had to make fun of me, I mean, I was the one behind the wheel.

And looking back, I have that whole justification, the putting myself in the other person’s shoes, the realization that people shouldn’t go around throwing sodas at each other. But I still cringe, I still get pissed, like why wasn’t I thinking? Why did I sit there and let Rich make fun of me for the rest of the night? Why didn’t he offer me even a dollar for one of those sodas? Man, I haven’t seen my old friend Rich in forever. I wonder what he’s up to right now.

McDonald’s should sell a Quarter Pounder with a bun made out of Twinkies

When Taco Bell started selling those tacos with the Doritos shell last year, I experienced something of a personal fast-food renaissance. I started going back to all of my favorite restaurants, McDonald’s, Burger King, Wendy’s. But thanks to genius product launches like Doritos taco, Taco Bell maintains its lead against any would be competitors. And that’s what Taco Bell has always been about.

What do I get when I go to McDonald’s? Big Mac. What about Burger King? Whopper. Sure these chains all promote their own specialty sandwiches, constantly trying to earn a permanent spot on America’s taste buds, but it never works. I’m trying to think here and, without doing any research at all, the last time I can remember any fast-food place introducing something that stuck was when Wendy’s came up with the now classic Spicy Chicken Sandwich.

Taco Bell is different. By always pushing the envelope in terms what’s on the menu, Americans have fallen in love with items like the Chalupa, the Gordita, the Crunch Wrap Supreme. I could seriously just start typing Taco Bell favorites and I’d have an entire essay written right here. And adding Doritos to the mix changed the game entirely. What other fast-food/snack-food hybrid might we be able to come up with?

How about a Quarter Pounder with Cheese, but instead of a bun, McDonald’s can use Twinkies. They’ll call it the Quarter Pounder with Cheese with Twinkies. Or something else. I’m not much of a branding expert. I’m getting hungry just thinking about how delicious such a sweet and savory sandwich might taste. I’m tempted to run out right now to buy a Quarter Pounder at McDonald’s. Then I’ll head over to the grocery store to buy some Twinkies, so I can just make it myself at home and … wait a second.

Oh yeah, but Twinkies are getting shut down, so that’s not going to work out. Which is why McDonald’s needs to get moving on this sandwich. Think about it, I’m assuming Hostess is going out of business because it’s not selling enough Twinkies. And let’s face it, nobody’s wondering why. Who really eats Twinkies anyway? Moms today are making their kids eat rice cakes and baby carrots. It’s disgusting. I mean, I don’t necessarily blame them, because we’re all getting so fat, but when was the last time you saw anybody go to the store and buy a box of Twinkies?

It’s a food product that’s been around for like a hundred years. And now all of the sudden we’re getting so upset because Hostess is shutting the whole thing down. Stores are being looted for their Twinkies. News channels are running non-stop stories about Twinkies. After having lived the past ten years or so without so much as being reminded that it even exists, the Twinkie is relevant again.

McDonald’s, make this sandwich happen. Capitalize on Twinkie-fever before people wake up and think to themselves, wait a second, I never buy Twinkies, and nobody else does either, so I actually don’t care if it they get shut down. I guarantee you that if you bought the rights to the Twinkie and marketed this sandwich, you’d put McDonald’s back on the map. Because seriously, what else are you guys up to lately? I see you have all of these signs for a new CBO sandwich. Cheddar bacon and onion, right? Yeah, I get it, it just doesn’t sound very inspired. And I’m no ad man, but all I think of when I see ads for this sandwich is BO. It takes up over fifty percent of the title.

Do it. Make the Twinkie-bun sandwich. Give me credit for coming up with it. Or at least give Taco Bell credit. And then just send me a check. Nothing huge. OK, well, nothing too small either.