I sat in my car and could not quite figure out what to think about this banner. Obviously this is one of those loaded phrases which means more than it at first offers. The implication, since this news is being advertised, is that this change in management is a good thing. Which means that the new manager must be somehow better than the previous management. You’re now realizing, as I did, that this lets a cat out of the bag:
Something used to be terribly terribly wrong at my neighborhood Smoothie King.
What could it be? Someone reminded me of the Denny’s scandals of the 90s, where people of color won big settlements for stuff like being forced to wait longer for food than white folks. Denny’s, knowing that their food wasn’t worth the wait for anyone, took some drastic measures, like making this commercial where George Jefferson is really excited about how much money he’s saving on his Grand Slam.
In fact he believes that the best idea is to have the Grand Slam “all summer, breakfast, lunch and dinner.”
I’m going to leave it up to you to decide how much this commercial may or may not reinforce stereotypes about African-Americans loving a good steal, or having less than healthy eating habits.
Obviously Denny’s has since been a beacon for racial reconciliation and harmony, as “Crazy Dennys Fight,” where a white boy and his girlfriend get taken care of by some black guys, demonstrates. My preference of Denny’s videos though, and there are many to choose from, is “Fight At Denny’s Massachusetts – Tha real shitttttt.” I value its authenticity, cinematography, and especially its carefully spelled and punctuated title.
To get to the bottom of this, I searched online for Smoothie King management news, but the most interesting thing I found was that Smoothie King appeals to “families and fitness enthusiasts alike.” Truly, we’ve all been waiting for a company to finally win over both of those key demographics, leaving the fat single people to fend for themselves.
Then I searched for “Smoothie King hates black people” but got nothing. Then I remembered the area I live in and tried
“Smoothie King hates Asians”
“Smoothie King hates people from the subcontinent”
and “Smoothie King hates Jews,” but that one was a bit of a stretch, I know.
Still nothing. There weren’t even any hits for “Smoothie King sucks” which means something HAS to be up. You can’t employ that many teenagers and not piss one of them off enough to get blasted on a myspace page somewhere.
By this time I figured the “Smoothie King ________” jokes were wearing thin, so I contented myself trying to learn more about this “Under New Management” business.
I want someone to explain this to me. The only people I can see who would be spurred by such a banner to enter the Smoothie King would be former customers who were so disappointed with the service that they have quit going. Can this truly be a big enough crowd to merit purchasing a banner – and displaying it, because apparently you need to pay to display banners in this town. Because you have to figure that only a certain percentage of your disappointed customers are going to buy in to the banner’s promise of redemption.
And to counterbalance that you’ve got people like me who see the banner and assume the worst of your shop. And yet maybe now I’ll go in just to satisfy my curiosity; I’ll look for blood stains on the floors, rat feces in the corners, etc. Maybe that’s the new business they’re banking on.
But if that’s the case I think “under new management” is not up to the task. You need something bolder, like, “No Urine In Our Beverages Anymore,” or “We Fired That Bastard,” or as a different route, something even more mysterious, like “Now Serving Smoothies.” If I saw a Smoothie King with that banner, I would go in. No question.
If you Google “under new management” you will find all kinds of treasures, like t-shirts you give to some newly married guy.
What I like about this one is that it swiftly confirms two of our favorite Western truths about marriage: that it involves a man surrendering his balls, and that women need it in order to get at our money since they have insatiable desires for shopping.
There’s also a shirt meant to represent America’s new management under Obama. I think churches really ought to get in on this, and have t-shirts for new members that say “under new management” but the letters create an outline of Jesus’s head.
I mean hell I’d like just a plain one for the days after I drink too much. You know, those “I’m never going to do that again” days.
The back could say, “No, for real this time.”
See? This could be fun, like a game: the shirt says, what bad life choice did I make last night?
Finally, searching “under new management” can lead you to gems like a Wikipedia entry on “The Enchanted Tiki Room (Under New Management),” which chronicles – over 13 paragraphs, mind you – the storyline of one of Disney World’s oldest rides, given a face lift in the 90s by the addition of Zazu and Iago.
Reading a step by step narration of a Disney ride is an exercise in language almost as bizarre as being left to decipher the subtext of Smoothie King banners, and so I leave you with this, my favorite paragraph:
Zazu tells Iago that where he comes from, no worries is “Hakuna Matata,” which Iago misinterprets as “Hunky-Tuna Tostada”. However, he seems to like it, declaring that Zazu is now his friend and that they should party. All the birds start to sing their own rendition of “Conga” as the Bird Mobile descends from the ceiling. Zazu sings about how Iago learned his lesson and will no doubt be more discreet in the future. Iago decides to show Zazu that he won’t be discreet, telling everybody to get on their feet. “That’s right — everybody stand up!”
Sadly, a fire recently damaged the ride and burned the shit out of Iago. The ride is set to reopen this summer, but in its original 1971 format. I hope you will join me in writing letters to Disney asking that they declare the ride to be “Under Old Management.”
P.S. In what world does Hakuna Matata sound like Hunky-Tuna Tostada?