Wednesday, December 08, 2010

It Is Better To Have Smelled And Lost Than Never To Have Smelled At All

I eat lunch at Schlotzsky's on a fairly regular basis.

Some history. When I was a kid, my cousin came down from the Arkansas boondocks to live with us and go to college. Remember, I grew up in a town of 7,000 people (Portland), and Corpus Christi was just across the causeway.

The only "restaurant" in Portland, for years, was Dairy Queen. There was also a pit barbecue place. That was it, though.

Corpus Christi, though, was much larger (over 200,000 in 1970), and it was food heaven by comparison. We didn't go there often, but my cousin had classes at a junior college there. One of the exotic franchises available in Corpus Christi was Schlotzsky's, and my cousin used to bring home these gigantic sandwiches for us to eat.

There was a particular smell to a standard Schlotzsky's sandwich back then. Not a bad smell, just kind of "mustardy." To this day, I'm sure I could identify that smell immediately.

Plenty of fast food/casual dining restaurants have "their" smell. Put me in an Arby's and I know where I am immediately. Chic-Fil-A is the same way. And Schlotzsky's, in the modern era, has always smelled like fresh baked bread with sandwich-type accents.

Recently, Schlotzsky's started carrying Cinnabon cinnamon rolls. Since Cinnabons are basically 90% sugar and 10% butter, they are my ideal product. Any time I want to blow 1000 calories on a cinnamon roll, my frist and last choice is Cinnabon. They also have this incredibly fabulous cinnamon smell.

Therein lies the problem.

When I walk into Schlotzsky's now, instead of smelling like Schlotzsky's, it smells like a gigantic cinnamon stick. That's a great smell, but it totally kills my appetite for a sandwich. Instead, I just want to stick my face in a vat full of cinnamon roll icing.

Also, it makes me less likely to go to Schlotzsky's, even though their product line is now enhanced. There's something about that smell not being there that mutes their standing when I'm trying to decide where to eat.

It will be interesting to see if I'm the only person who feels that way, or if their revenues begin to drop off due to their olfactory manipulations (a fine band name).

Yes, an alternate title for this post was "The Smell Is Gone," but I wasn't sure if it was easy enough to get from there to B.B. King.

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