Creative Ideas

Chick-fil-A is my favorite of the chain stores in the fast food business.  There are other places with mighty fine fried chicken, but Chick-fil-A stands out for their excellent service and clean facilities.  It’s also inspiring to me when the owners of a large corporation are generous in their giving and open about their faith in Christ.  They don’t force their beliefs on others, but neither do they hide them.

As a devoted fan of Chick-fil-A I hope they continue to prosper.  That’s why I sent them a suggestion to add Thousand Island dressing as an option for salads.  Thousand Island was the only dressing I ate for many years.  My love affair began during the 1970s in Valdosta at ABC Restaurant.

Mrs. Balanis, the charming Greek lady who owned ABC, made her own delicious version of Thousand Island for the crisp fresh salads she was known for.  A padded booth in her restaurant is where I first realized a green salad can be a full meal.  I can’t claim that was a moment of divine revelation, but it was close.

I’ve gradually shifted toward vinegar and oil over the years and mostly rely on Olive Garden Italian dressing now.  But when I have fried chicken on top of a garden salad I go back to my roots and prefer a heavy dose of Thousand Island.  I emailed my suggestion to Chick-fil-A and got a prompt and polite response.

The fellow who answered my inquiry said they were glad to hear from me and appreciated my input, then he added that due to the potential for misunderstandings they are unable to consider such creative ideas.  He graciously explained their company could potentially already be working on concepts similar to what others might propose, which could lead to confusion as to who originated the idea.

I can see how that could be a concern in today’s litigious society.  Every few minutes there’s a heroic attorney on television encouraging us to sue somebody who did us wrong.  It reminds me of that lady who was in a minor traffic accident and said, “I didn’t know how badly I was injured until my lawyer told me.”

Doctors used to make those kinds of medical determinations.  Now you can call a toll-free number with no upfront cost if you’re willing to share a nominal 40 percent commission on your future winnings.

So, I understand why Chick-fil-A can’t readily accept suggestions.  But I found it amusing they consider Thousand Island dressing to be a creative idea.  If they think that’s creative, they should hear the late Scage Morgan’s story about onion ice cream.

Scage was a good friend of my cousin, Rooney Bowen, and he became a good friend of mine.  I enjoyed his entertaining stories, infectious laughter, and flare for mischief.

Scage had a deep affection for Vidalia onions.  He commented to someone, whose name I’ve long forgotten, that he loved Vidalia onions so much he could eat them in ice cream.  When a man has a prankful nature it’s not uncommon for his friends to be of like mind.  That’s how Scage ended up with a churn of onion ice cream.

“What’d you do with it?” I asked.

“I ate a bowl,” he said, noting his friend dipped him a generous serving.  “I smiled, swallowed, and thanked him profusely.”

“How bad was it?” I inquired.

“It was terrible,” he said.  “I almost choked getting it down, but I bragged on every bite.”

Onion ice cream is obviously a creative concoction, but I’m not recommending it to anyone.  Thousand Island dressing, on the other hand, would be a nice addition to Chick-fil-A’s choices.  If Mrs. Balanis’ recipe was used, I wouldn’t mind paying a little extra.

I hereby publicly affirm that I am in no way entitled to any compensation if this creative idea is implemented now or in the future.  As those friendly folks behind the Chick-fil-A counters always say with a warm smile, “My pleasure.”

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3 Responses to Creative Ideas

  1. EllenHunsucker says:

    A good, playful article! Onion ice cream, not so good!


  2. ab says:

    Agreed my favorite


  3. Wanda Hawke says:

    Hi Neil. Since I am from Valdosta, I do remember the name Balanis. Where was the resturant actually located? Enjoyed as always your stories.


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