Julia A. Stewart, CEO
International House of Pancakes Corporation
450 North Brand Blvd.
Glendale, CA 91203

Dear Ms. Stewart:

As a culture, it often seems that we undervalue the old. We have so much to learn from them, from their insights and experiences, and from the clarity of viewpoints that can only be the product of age. In order to avoid repeating the mistakes of the past, it is necessary that we learn the lessons which our elders have to teach; in order to ensure repeating the successes of the past, it is necessary that we heed the suggestions and advice which our elders have to share.

I was therefore shocked and surprised when I saw the sign at your Amarillo, Texas restaurant (the one on Western Avenue) advertising “Senior citizens: buy one get one free.” Besides the potentially terrifying consideration of where you might be obtaining the elderly people whom you are offering to give away, never have I seen such a trivialization of the value of human lives, much less human lives endowed with such a wide gamut of experience and wisdom. It is an outrage that our preceeding generations should be cast about with such little regard for their actual worth.

Not to mention impractical. Because their wisdom and experience notwithstanding, it is a sad truth that the cost of caring for the elderly has soared to incredible heights, especially considering the price of prescription drugs nowadays; and while stewardship over one senior might be a valuable and worthwhile endeavor, it seems to me that the care of two aged persons would have to be an extravagant luxury few could likely afford. Thus you are in a very real sense asking your customers to accept a financial burden which only the rarest of them could maintain, and which will therefore surely lead to an increase in these misbegotten elderly being cast away, and left for our tax-under-funded social services to cope with. For shame.

I understand that our modern culture, with its love of all things young and new, bears the ultimate blame for making such devaluation of the old into such good business. But please consider the responsibility you as a company have to eschew such easy ventures for the sake of sound morality. We should be teaching our youth that the old are to be revered as the bearers of heritage, not given away as gimmicks of marketing.

I hope that you agree with me, at least enough to reconsider your sales strategy. It might very well be you one day.

Optimistically yours,

Guy Petzall.



January 22, 2003

Dear Mr. Petzall:

I am responding to your recent letter regarding the advertising banner at an IHOP location in Amarillo, Texas. I am grateful that you were kind enough to take the time to point out how this sign might be misinterpreted.

I have forwarded your letter and photograph to our regional office in Dallas so they can provide the franchise owner with a recommendation as to how the sign may be re-printed to better illustrate the special offer.

Thank you again for taking the time to write.


Julia A. Stewart


Subway World Headquarters
325 Bic Drive
Millford Connecticut 06460


A few days ago, I was enjoying a sandwich in one of your restaurants in Northern Chicago, when I noticed that the cup from which I was drinking my soda had the words "25th Anniversary Celebration" printed on it. I asked the man who had made my sandwich if Subway really was 25 years old, and he said no, that it was the twenty-fifth anniversary of the turkey sandwich. I pointed out that in my mind, the turkey sandwich had been around since the days of the pilgrims, and he said, "No, not that kind of turkey sandwich, the modern turkey sandwich." I still did not understand, so he gave me your address for this inquiry.

Also, I was wondering two other things: how many Subway stores are there now? And are there any outside of the United States? If so, are they called Subway, or are they called, for example in Paris, France, Le Metro? In London are they called Tube Stores? I was just curious.

I enjoy your food and hope to hear from you soon.

Guy Petzall

Guy Petzall
5758 South Kenwood
Chicago, Illinois 60637

Dear Mr. Petzall:

Thank you for your letter concerning your recent experience at SUBWAY. Customers such as yourself provide valuable input which we use to improve our operations.

Yes, SUBWAY is 25 years old! with over 5000 SUBWAY stores worldwide.

The information you received was incorrect and as you pointed out the turkey has been around since the pilgrims, perhaps before.

We appreciate you taking the time to write and giving us the opportunity to serve you. Hopefully, we can look forward to your patronage.


B. J. Sano









Guy Petzall
5758 South Henwood, Bsmt.
Chicago, IL 60637

Dear Guy:

Thank you for your recent letter. It is always a pleasure to hear from loyal Jolt fans such as yourself.

Just recently (within the last 3 weeks), we have added 5 new distributors for the Chicago-land area.. This is probably why you were having such a hard time finding it locally. However, if you contact the belqw distributor, they can give you the name of a local store closest to you that carries our product. Even still, they may sell you the cases themselves.

Farneti, Ltd.
930 West 138th Street
Riverdale, IL 60627
Contact: Stephen O'Neill - Sales Manager

Do not let the location of the distributor scare you. They distribute Jolt in a number of counties around them. Anyone answering the phone should be able to give you the correct information.

If you have any questions/problems, please contact me. Sincerely,

Donna Bartoo
Administrative Marketing
The Jolt Company, Inc.

She seems awfully calm to me, considering.


Kellogg Company
Alpha-Bits Division
P.O. Box 3599
Battle Creek, Michigan 49016


While pondering the meaning of Life cereal the other day, I realized that I used to eat Alpha-Bits as a child, but that I no longer do. Upon a little further introspection, I eventually came to understand exactly what caused my decreasing interest in your product.

I realized that the reason Alpha-Bits is so popular with children is that they are learning to read and can therefore use your cereal to form new words in their cereal bowls. Most adults, however, are not so interested in isolated words; our thoughts and ideas are more complex, more mature. We need complete sentences to express them.

And what makes the key difference between words and sentences? Punctuation Punctuation combines groups of ideas together into a unified meaning It makes the difference between disjointed concepts and complete fluid prose It is what adults miss in Alpha-Bits and with that in mind I figure that if you were to include small sealed packets of punctuation marks in your boxes of cereal more adults would find Alpha-Bits more fun and useful and you would sell more cereal. Period.

While I have your attention, I want to make one further observation/suggestion. I asked my friend Geoff to count all the letters in a box of Alpha-Bits cereal, and although he got tired of it and threw it away before he finished the entire box, he did count quite a bit of it. In all the hundreds of letters he tallied, he encountered not one single letter E.

Of course, the box I gave him may not accurately represent the vast number of boxes you produce, but this happened nonetheless, and I just want to stress that the letter distribution in your cereal boxes should more closely approximate the letter frequencies of the language of whatever culture you are selling to. Thr's vry littl on can asily writ in our languag in trms of splling without th lttr . It is a vry usful lttr in narly vry nglish sntnce. And also I think that without the E, it's hard to make MONEY, which it seems every enterprise needs to succeed.

Without punctuation and E's, I couldn't even write you this letter. Please consider including them in future boxes of Alpha-Bits. The rest of America is just waiting to be Alpha-Bit-ized.

Hopefully helpfully,

Guy Petzall.

February 11, 1993

Mr. Guy Petzall
2543 N. Belden
Chicago, II 60647

Dear Mr. Petzall:

Thank you for your interest in Kellogg Company.

We are returning your letter. The item you mentioned is not one of our products.

Thank you again for contacting us. Consumer satisfaction is important to us.


Lori S. Truex Consomer Affairs Department


OK, so I goofed.

...but if at first you don't succeed...

March 23, 1993

Mr. Guy Petzall
1949 W. Henderson #2
Chicago, IL 60657

Dear Mr. Petzall:

Thank you very much for contacting us about POST® ALPHA~BITS® Letter Shaped Sweetened Oat & Corn Cereal.

We were sorry to hear that your box of ALPHA-BITS® did not contain an even assortment of letters. We do try to see that each letter of the alphabet will be equally present.

In manufacturing this unique product, a large metal mold, similar to a giant cookie press, is used. On the mold is a hole for each letter of the alphabet; all letters are formed. Once the letters are formed, the cereal continues through many processing steps. Because of the complex procedure, it is not always possible to keep the full set of letters together.

We appreciate your interest and hope you will continue to use and enjoy POST® Cereals. As an expression of our thanks for your comments, we'd like you to accept the enclosed coupon. Please don't hesitate to call or write again if you have any other questions.


Sandra Norris



Fred L. Turner, CEO
McDonald's Corporation
One McDonald Plaza
Oak Brook, Illinois 60521

Dear Sir,

As an American, I have been inundated since my youth with your ultra-fast food, your ubiquitous Golden Arches, and of course your far-reaching advertising campaigns. I have suffered numerous Big Mac attacks; I have crawled for miles on shredded, bloody knees for an order of your fries; I have given serious thought to exactly what it is that makes your special sauce do darn special; and in general I have always considered your restaurants to be a source of nothing but good feelings and gourmet fast food.

There is, however, one aspect of your widely distributed and apparently wildly successful advertising strategy which has continued to perplex me over the years. It involves your McDonaldland characters. You see, the majority of the residents of McDonaldland seem to make some sort of sense: Mayor McCheese is a cheeseburger, the Hamburglar is obviously a hamburger, and the Fry Guys can be nothing but your delicious french fries. And it is the apparent logic behind these characters which makes even more apparent the unclear nature of that lovable, huggable purple blob, Grimace.

What is Grimace? How did he get into McDonaldland, and why has he been allowed to stay there? Grimace puzzles me for two reasons: firstly because he is neither an apparent representative of any food that you serve nor does he seem to perform any other important social function as a McDonaldland citizen, and also because his name implies some form of pain, in that a grimace is, according to Webster's New Collegiate Dictionary, "a facial expression usually of disgust or disapproval." Does that seem like sound advertising to you?

I have asked several McDonald's store managers what purpose they suppose that Grimace serves, and I have received a variety of answers, none of them very satisfying. One manager told me that grimace is a shake. But you don't serve purple shakes, and besides, where is his cup and straw? Another told me that Grimace represents a grape. This strikes me as ridiculous. The closest I think I have gotten to the truth came from the manager who told me that Grimace is "just Grimace," which leaves me with my original question: what is Grimace for and why is he there? What advertising genius decided that there needed to be a nebulous purple tumor as a permanent resident of McDonaldland, and why has he been permitted to remain there for so long?

So finally I decided to write you directly and ask. Please respond, because I won't be able to sleep well until you do.

Thank you for your time.

Guy Petzall.

August 21, 1992

Mr. Guy Petzall
57, rue Montcalm
75018 Paris, France

Dear Mr. Petzall:

Thank you for writing to our senior chairman, Fred Turner. He asked me to respond to your letter. Customer feedback is very important to us, and for that reason, we apologize for the delay in responding.

You ask some very good questions about Grimace, a big fuzzy, purple fellow who lives in McDonaldland. I'll try to clarify your confusion with the following explanation.

when Grimace first emerged from his cave and confronted the other citizens of McDonaldland, he expected them to be frightened of him. The opposite turned out to be true. No other character in McDonaldland is more beloved, especially by the children who visit McDonaldland from time to time. While initially conceived as a character representing McDonald's shakes. Grimace has transcended his role and is now seen as Ronald's right hand man and closest friend. He still, though, retains his love of shakes.

Grimace is none-too-bright, but he is affectionate. He occasionally causes minor problems in McDonaldland because of his clumsiness and perpetual confusion. But these problems are generously overlooked by his many friends.

The Grimace walks with a rolling gait. His voice resembles that of Charlie McCarthy's friend from the country, Mortimer Snerd. He is, however, sweet and harmless.

I hope the above information is helpful in understanding Grimace. We certainly appreciate your interest in McDonald's. As a loyal customer, we're delighted to enclose~a few ngoodies,fl in appreciation of writing.

Thanks again for sharing your thoughts with us. Sincerely,


Nancy J. Manypenny
Senior Representative
Customer Relations


Just a note on the power of the Golden Arches: this letter made it to Paris on a 29-cent stamp. (I bet the coupons'd work in Paris too.)


M.J. Gordon, Prseident
Tootsie Roll
7401 Cicero Avenue
Chicago, Illinois 60629


I have eaten Tootsie Rolls since I was a little kid, and although I don't eat them quite so often as I once did, I do still indulge from time to time. But in spite of my long experience with your product, there remains one question which I am unable to answer: What are Tootsie Rolls made of? Neither the flavor nor the substance reminds me of anything else I have tasted in my lifetime. They're chocolatey, but not chocolate. They're gummy, but not gum. They fit into no food group that I know of, yet I have always just accepted them as food, and now that I am a few years older and have gained a little perspective on it, I have to ask: what is this stuff I've been eating all my life? I certainly wouldn't stop eating Tootsie Rolls by any means, even if they were made out of gross chemicals, so please feel free to answer my question honestly. I just want to know.

There is also another, more delicate issue I want to bring up with you. Your product is called "Tootsie Rolls." Why is that? Where does that name come from? The reason I ask, frankly, is that the word "tootsie" is a sort of polite slang word meaning buttocks, and from the point of view of a young child (around whom people often use the polite forms of slang words (and who are your primary market)), a "Tootsie Roll" conceptually translates to a "butt-roll," i.e. a piece of feces, a theory which the candy's physical appearance vaguely confirms. Of course, no one thinks that your product is actually feces, but you must realize that children being children, they do joke about it. I certainly don't suggest that you change your famous name, I'm just curious about its origin.

Honestly sincerely,

Guy Petzall.

June 17, 1994

Mr. Guy Petzall
1949 Henderson
Chicago, Illinois 60657

Dear Mr. Petzall:

Thank you for your letter regarding our Tootsie Rolls.

We are sending you a photocopy of our Tootsie Roll Midgee bag which has printed on it our list of ingredients as well as nutritional information.

We are also sending you a copy of our company history, which tells of the origin of Tootsie Roll and the Tootsie Roll name. We hope you will find it informative as well as entertaining.

We hope you will continue to enjoy our products for many years to come. Thanks again for writing.



Janet M. Vasilenko
Consumer Relations

I don't believe their story... I'm not even sure I believe their ingredient list...


Non-Better Liquor Store
1955 West Armitage Avenue
Chicago, Illinois 60622-1026

Hello. My name is Guy Petzall. I live in Chicago and was driving around the other night when I saw your store.

I am writing to you because the sign in front of your store says, "Non-Better Liquor Store."

In English, the prefix "non-" serves to negate the meaning of the following root word, in this case "better." Thus, your sign "Non-Better Liquor Store" means "[the opposite of better] Liquor Store," or more simply, "Worse Liquor Store." This is hardly complimentary.

I suspect that you intended the sign to say "None Better Liquor Store," and it's true that you got it almost correct, but that one letter E on the end of "none" certainly makes a world of difference.

I don't want to offend you in any way. I'm sure it was an honest mistake, and that you will want to correct it when you realize the truth of my advice. I just thought that you would want to know the true meaning of what you were advertising so that you could take steps to prevent this from hurting your future business.

With all due respect,

Guy Petzall.


Non-Better Liquor Store
1955 West Armitage Avenue
Chicago, Illinois 60622-1026

Hello there.

I hope you remember me.

I recently sent you a letter, alerting you to the unfortunate syntactical error inherent in your name, "Non-Better Liquors."

In the weeks since I informed you of this problem, I have realized an easy way for you to remedy it, a solution which would not require the costly expense of adding an "e" to the word "non" in your sign. My suggestion is this: take out the second "n". Make the sign read "No Better Liquors".

This would solve the whole problem, returnung the meaning of the intended "None Better Liqours" to your current, rather derogatory, sign. "No better" and "None Better" are synonyms, while "Non-better is antynomous to them both.

Anyway, I just thought I'd drop you a note and let you know that I've been thinking about you and your situation. I had the idea, thought it could help you, and am only too happy to share it. I hope it does you good.

Good luck.

Guy Petzall.

They kept ignoring me. Soon, one by one, the lights inside the letters started going out. At one point, the lit part of the sign read "No Beer Liquor Store". Finally, they went under. The building was later demolished.


Morton Salt
100 North Riverside Plaza
Chicago, Illinois 60606


Living in Chicago, I have often seen your large-roofed salt factory next to the Dan Ryan Expressway, and I have as often considered what good advertising it is. The huge letters bearing your name and logo, and the giant little girl with the sprawling umbrella, already deeply entrenched cultural icons, stand out boldly and effectively, catching the eye of every driver on the highway. These are images and ideas I've encountered all my life, and I am profoundly grateful for their stability.

But now it's winter time, and your roof is covered with snow. This causes me some degree of dismay, partly because I felt so glad to see those comforting familiar images every day, but mostly because I don't understand why the snow is there. Of all the companies in Chicago, you should be the most capable of dealing with snow. After all, you are THE salt people, the salt of Chicago if not the earth, and that's all it would take to get rid of the snow: good old no-frills NaCl.

Just spread some around on your roof, as though it were a huge tasteless mass of grits, and allow the words and picture to come through, the true flavor of the building. This would help us both: you'd get back your advertising really cheaply that way, and I wouldn't be a wreck by the time I got home, worrying and stewing over why you of all the companies in Chicago can't control the snow which engulfs us all. I guess that when it rains it pours, but when it snows it doesn't. Please consider the snow removal options which are entirely at your disposal. Pour on the Morton salt and spice up everybody's life.

Curious and anxious,

Guy Petzall.

February 18, 1993

Guy Petzall
1949 West Henderson St. #2
Chicago, IL 60657-2016

Dear Mr. Petzall:

Thank you for your recent letter.

In anawet to your question, please note that due to the slope. and height of our building's roof, we consider it too risky to have our employees climb the roof to remove snow. The roof's design holds the weight of the snow safely so there is no danger of collapse and we find the sun melting the snow is the safest and best method of snow removal in this case.

We appreciate your suggestions and interest in our company.



Rose Ayoubi

Consumer Affairs


Mr. Scott McWhinnie, Pezident
PEZ Candy, Inc.
35 Prindle Hill Road
Orange, Connecticut 06477

Dear Sir,

I don't mind that you change the designs of the PEZ dispensers without notice, or that you refuse to discuss strategic PEZ planning with the world and your collectors and fans. That's your business and it doesn't bother me. Nor does it concern me that you don't sell chocolate, peppermint, or cherry PEZ anymore. I rarely eat the stuff, opting rather to simply collect the dispensers. BUT, when you replace a perfectly good dispenser design with an inferior model, I think that is going a little too far.

You did this once before, when you discontinued the rubber-headed Batman dispenser in favor of the hard plastic Batman. And that time I didn't complain; the plastic dispenser serves its purpose, in a strictly utilitarian way, as well as the rubber version. But yesterday I went out and purchased three dispensers I didn't already have: Goofy with a green hat, a yellow truck, and a blue truck. It is with the trucks that I find a problem.

You see, I have some old truck dispensers from five or six years back, and I like them very much. They, like the trucks I bought yesterday, have wheels both under the cab as well as along the body of the dispenser itself. But the difference between my old truck dispensers and the new ones is that on the old ones, the wheels move. They actually rotate, allowing me to put the dispenser on a flat surface, give it a little push, and watch it roll along. The new dispensers, however, have molded-plastic wheels and axles which are completely immobile. Where's the fun in that? The truck doesn't roll when I push it, it skids -- and often fishtails as well. It's a dud toy and a dangerous vehicle, and what's more important, represents a distinct and noticeable decrease in the quality of your product, which I think is a bad policy not only in terms of consumer satisfaction, but marketing as well.

Other than that, I really don't have much to say. Just please consider what message you are sending to your loyal collectors when you lower the standards of your products. For years the PEZ industry has been on a roll. I hope it doesn't hit the skids now because of such policies. That would really be a shame.

Thank you for your time.

Guy Petzall.

April 12, 1993

Mr. Guy Penall
1949 West Henderson #2
Chicago, IL 60657

Dear Mr. Petzall:

Please be advised that the change to our truck dispensers is actually a product improvement which cost a significant amount of money to make the mold changes and increased the actual per unit cost of each dispenser.

The change was made as part of our long and consistent policy of product improvement, in this case to improve the safety of the dispensers and to be consistent with U.S. Federal Toy Safety Regulations.

The easily removed wheel/axle parts on the old truck dispensers could he defined as a "small part" under the regulations which limit the size of parts on children's toys to prevent choking.

Also, there are specific rules against potentially breakable axles on toys which could be defined as "sharp points" under the regulations whkh are designed to prevent puncture wounds on children.

We hope that the message this sends to parents is that we are very concerned about their children's safety rather than the message to collectors you suggest that we are lowering the standards of our products, have a noticeable decrease in quality and a bad policy in terms of consumor safisfac don and marketing.

If you looked at all of our PEZ Dispensers over time, you will note an ongoing program of improvement in terms of quality and safety.

I would suggest that you think a little more about why a product is chnaged or you ask a company why it was changed before you send such a critical letter to any company in the future. Thanks for your interest in PEZ.


Scott McWhinnie

i.e. tone is everything. But last I heard, puncture wounds are a natural part of childhood. Why subvert tradition?


Ms. Barbi Rose, 2CR
Manager, Consumer Affairs
Continental Baking Company
Checkerboard Square
St. Louis, Missouri 63164

Dear Ms. Rose.....

I grew up with Hostess products. I spent my childhood surrounded by Ding Dongs, Twinkies, Ho-Ho's, Cupcakes, and Chocodiles. But over the past few years and in quite a few stores I have been seeing something very disturbing taking place, something about which I think you should be made aware.

Ding Dongs are and have always been my favorite Hostess treat. In the good old days, they were available in boxes of twelve, each always individually wrapped in a square foil wrapper which could be rolled into a ball and thrown at the person sitting across the table. It was great. But it was not long of this world.

The first tragedy was a result of the advent of snack packages, i.e. small paper envelopes containing only two Ding Dongs, both wrapperless. I think that dispensing with the foil wrapper, regardless of cost considerations, robs the Ding Dong of part of its essential character. I can't think of Ding Dongs without thinking about their foil wrappers, but alas! These wrappers are very conspicuously absent from the smaller packages.

But now, the travesty of the omitted foil is dwarfed in comparison to the latest turn of events. I think you know what I'm talking about. I refer to none other than the recent name change, which I think is scandalous.

In my opinion, there is no food more aptly named than the Ding Dong. Its shape, its texture, its personality all shout very clearly: DING DONG! I always assumed that Ding Dongs were called Ding Dongs because that's simply what they are, and that the choice of name was really no choice at all. I always believed that Ding Dong was a onomatopoetic name. I always supposed that such a sturdy piece of marketing would never change.

But it has. For whatever reason, you have renamed Ding Dongs. King Dons. And I think that this is a grave mistake. Ding Dong fits the food so much better. And more than just being a part of the intrinsic nature of the food, the name Ding Dong is so much more appealing and memorable that King Don -- by a long shot. King Don brings to mind an oily mafioso leader with a gaudy crown perched atop his oily mafioso head. But Ding Dong...that name really rings a bell. In fact, it's part of our vocabulary, part of conventional English. And it's so easy to remember, so fun to say.

So please. Consider my pleas. Change the name back to Ding Dong, before any further damage is done. You can leave off the foil wrappers if you want to, just please restore the proper name. Thank you very much.

Shocked, but hopefully recovering due to my faith in the fact that you will see the truth of my words and act accordingly,

Guy Petzall.

April 11, 1991

Mr. Guy Petzall
5758 South Kenwood Basement
Chicago, IL 60637

Dear Mr. Petzall:

Thank you for your recent comments regarding the naming of our HOSTESS King Dons Cake.

Many years ago, the HOSTESS product Ding Dongs Cake was introduced with a bell as part of the advertising. So as not to confuse our product with a competitor's product, in certain regions the name was changed to King Dons, while in other areas the same product was called Big Wheels.

In the past, the original Ding Dongs Cake (with the bell) became Ding Dongs Cakes (without the bell), King Dons, or Big Wheels, depending upon the region.

In January 1987, our Marketing Department decided that in order to have national continuity, one name for a product was necessary, and the original Ding Dongs name was chosen.

This decision was short lived. In June 1987, the name King Dons was added, for the same reason as explained previously, to avoid confusing one product with a competitor's product which has a similar sounding name.

Your comments are appreciated and will be passed along to our Marketing Department so that they may be aware of your opinion.


Barbara K. Rose
Manager of Consumer Affairs

Guy Petzall
POBox 579193
Chicago 60657


Michael Quinlan, CEO
McDonald's Corporation
One McDonald Plaza
Oak Brook, Illinois 60521

Dear Sir,

This is a letter of appreciation and congratulations. You see, I travel all over the world, experiencing new cultures and places, trying new foods, and generally living in a wide variety of environments. However, such cultural immersions are not without their drawbacks, and at times I feel a pressing need to be in a familiar environment, to live something I║ve lived before and am comfortable with, to seek solace in the security of an American atmosphere.

And often when that mood takes me, it takes me to McDonald's. Whether I find myself in Indonesia or Indiana, Panama or Pennsylvania, I know that regardless of the location, there is somewhere I can go, for dependably consistent food, and dependably consistent surroundings. You provide a great service in the stability of your restaurants around the world. For me you represent so many positive aspects of the United States: your restaurants are clean, the food is sanitary and reliable, everything is created and presented with a commitment to a standard which, even in the most squalid of cities, is upheld. In a sense, you are America's most accessible ambassadors, exporting American values and integrity to the world, presenting our traditions for the world to see and hopefully, learn from.

And it seems to me that this is one of your big draws in foreign lands, that the local people can come to you not only for a taste of American food, but also for a taste of America itself, a place which for them seems like Eden and the promised land compared to the hard lives of so many less developed countries' peoples. You sell a haven of American culture to those who are fed up with their own.

But even knowing this, until I ate in the McDonald's restaurant which adjoins the Jakarta airport, I had no idea how thorough a job you had done. For there, I learned that not only do you present the advancement and modernization of today's America, you also promulgate older facets of our noble homeland's historical way of life.

For in that McDonald's, I saw a pair of wall displays, colorful installations featuring Ronald McDonald in situations I had net ever considered that you might make known abroad. The first, which adorns the wall next to the ordering counter, shows Ronald in an African setting, tropical with palm trees and sand, being presented with a wealth of your delicious food by a string of big-lipped, slope-headed black African tribesmen in traditional garb. They seem delighted by their task, to deliver something of such value to someone so great, a feeling which contagiously infects the people in your restaurant, making them feel like nobility with their own Big Macs and filet-o-fishes on their trays in front of them. The other painting, filling the wall over the central dining area, again depicts Ronald, only now in Egypt, where again a coffle of Pharaoh-dressed slaves hold their trays high in service to their white-faced, red-lipped lord. Tremendous.

Because let║s face it: part of what McDonald's does is not merely cultural exportation, but also cultural conquest, in the most benign sense of the word. You hold up an example to learn from, and, without direct force, allow other cultures to take from it, incorporating elements of our highly successful way of life into their own. And those two murals serve as a perfect example of this, in that those who see it can either choose to recognize that America, although it later banned the practice, was in part built by slaves who did a great deal of work to make us into the superpower that we now are; or to recognize that by eating in your restaurant, they become the overlords, benefiting from the labor of others, so different from many of their daily lives as underclass citizens in a third-world country. It had American values stamped all over it: the historical value of slavery, plus the right to choose how to interpret it, and I cannot help but think that the people who frequent that restaurant leave feeling good about themselves, about your company, and about America.

Although I do not travel with a camera, I was fortunate enough to have my friend Rick along with me during that particular meal. He photographed these McLandscapes at my request, which pictures I am enclosing for your enjoyment. I'm sorry the photos aren't better, but we were on our way to Singapore and were hurried to catch your plane.

Again, thank you for providing me with so many tastes of home on my adventures overseas, and I║m sure I will see you soon, somewhere in the world, wherever I see the Golden Arches looming in the distance, beckoning me to an island of civilization amid savage and undeveloped surroundings.

Keep up the good work. You are truly masters at what you do.


Guy Petzall.

Surprisingly enough, they didnÝt write me back claiming ignorance and trying to weasel out of it... And so, I try again:


McDonald's Corporation
One McDonald Plaza
Oak Brook, Illinois 60521


It was with a mixture of excitement and curiosity that I recently discovered the immigration of a new citizen to McDonaldland. For not only has that magical place ever brought to my mind sparkling images of a fantastic Eden beyond the wildest pale of any other nation, it has also meant to me a land continuously populated with only the friendliest, cheeriest, most delicious inhabitants imaginable. I had always attributed this remarkable demographic reality to the wisdom of the McDonaldland Immigration Authority, which only occasionally through the years has seen in some few applicants worthy material for acceptance into the Elysian paradise they sought. In keeping with their high caliber of character and proving the aptitude of the powers which hold the keys to the twin-arched, golden gates leading into that Idyllic wonderland, each of McDonaldland's residents has become immediately and essentially integrated into its society, performing some vital if not noble function and living toward the greater welfare of his new homeland and of the world. With all this in mind, you can see how eager I was to learn all about McDonaldland's newest inductee: "Iam Hungry, V.P. of Snacking."

At the risk of sounding patronizing, I feel I should here interpose the recollection of another letter I once wrote to you, a letter questioning the very mechanisms of McDonaldland Immigration and Naturalization which I have just finished praising. It concerned the wisdom of allowing the Grimace passage across McDonaldland's well-patrolled frontier, and was met with a response from you of such eloquence of praise for that huggable purple fellow that I could not help but feel shame at ever second-guessing your judgement.

But alas, I find myself again in the regrettable position of harboring such doubts, and so again come respectfully to you for guidance. You see, I simply don't understand what business such a corporate-minded individual as Mr. Hungry could have in a land so harmonious and successful. The McDonaldland Ministry of Snacking has ever amazed me in its previous utopian form, unneedful of any restructuring, and certainly not requiring an "aggressive, demanding, edgy and outrageous fuzz ball" of a Vice-President without any evident President to report to. Why then has he been granted asylum within the very fortress of fast food heaven?

Moreover, my usual suspicion of corporate types in general is further excited by his unlikely name. For after consulting a wide catalogue of baby-naming reference manuals, I can find no ethnic or linguistic antecedent for the name Iam. If such is indeed his real name (which I strongly doubt), it may be that he comes from a radical-leaning background, irreverent towards the customs and rules which enable peaceful society, and could, perhaps, harbor a rebellious spirit. He should be carefully watched, I think. The last thing McDonaldland needs is a freethinking upstart as a high-ranking member of government.

I hope these reservations as to Mr. Hungry's character are taken by you not as criticism, but rather as support and concern for the general good of a sovereign nation that is indeed so generally good, a "citty on a hill" from which out troubled world can learn so much. And since Mayor McCheese seems to have his hands full with the Hamburglar (another miscreant), I hope you'll let me offer you my services to aid in surveillance of this new Vice-President of Snacking. I feel wholly appropriate to the task, since, although this letter's superscription may indicate differently, my true name (usually concealed for personal reasons) is Richard McMuff, and I embrace a deep, passionate love for your Sausage McMuffins. Without plunging deeper into that topic, I hope you will agree that in this my true persona I can rub elbows with the McDonaldland society while arousing not the least suspicion as to my true mission, all the while espousing the merits of that sizzling pork sausage sandwiched between those lusciously soft English buns which I so continuously crave and adore. Ronald will be sure to enjoy the company of a fellow citizen of Irish descent, thus providing a cover for me to make my confidential reports, and to legitimize the process, please find enclosed my application for a visa.

I truly hope that nothing is amiss, and that my offer is revealed to be wholly unnecessary. If you choose not to employ me, I hope you will see fit to explain your policy regarding Mr. Hungry and his character. Iam Hungry for more information about him, to soothe my anxious heart.

Thank you for everything,

(especially the Sausage McMuffins),

and as always I remain

Guy Petzall

(a.k.a. Richard McMuff)

May07, 1999

Mr. Guy Petzall
P0 Box 579193
Chioago, IL 60657-9193

Dear Mr. Petzall:

Thank you for writing McDonald's and for your interest in lam Hungry. I appreciate this opportunity to respond to your letter.

lam Hungry is a part of the MoDonaldland gang. His appetite comes in handy when Ronald needs things cleaned up in a hurry (like cleaning off a marshmallowed, chocolate-sauced, sprinkle-covered spaceship). lam Hungry is an outrageous fuzzball who's all appetite.. especially for McDonald's food.

If Ronald's holding a bag of burgers, lam Hungry will chase him all over the place trying to get some for himself. If Grimace is enjoying some McDonald's fries, he's going to hear "lam Hungry.. .gimme food" over and over 'til he hands some to the little green guy with the big appetite.

Again, thanks for thinking of lam Hungry. Please use the enclosed "Be Our Guest" cards on your next visit to one of our restaurants. We look forward to serving you for many years to come.


Kathy Dowsek
Senior Representative
Customer Satisfaction Department

Enclosure 1: Breakfast Sandwich "Be Our Guest" cards (2)

Iam still sounds like a pest to me... and they send me coupons for EGG McMuffins?! How insulting!