Archive for June, 2006
Stop looking at this summary, and go post on the message board. While you’re listening to this week’s show, which is very funny and has a moment in it that will freak you out for sure, post on the message board!! P.S. Message Board. Post on it. Please.This post has related audio! Listen to the show over at Happy Time>.
We take the podcast to a new level, one where “thirty minutes or less” really means “almost an hour long.” Plus, we talk about the World Cup, bears of different species getting it on, and the whereabouts of one Claudia Schiffer. That’s probably an exclusive, too– not because no one else knows it, but because no one else wants to.This post has related audio! Listen to the show over at Happy Time>.
You probably shouldn’t ever start a blog post with “I’m sorry I haven’t much written lately,” but… I’m sorry I haven’t written much lately. As you’ve probably noticed, things haven’t quite worked out the way I planned them since my last design. But don’t worry about it– it’s not your fault. No one could have seen this coming.
So the other day I’m reading Fark, and I find this: Peanut Butter Hot Dog Craze Sweeping DuBois.
Apparently this kid in DuBois, PA really likes peanut butter, and he really likes hot dogs. Which isn’t too strange– a lot of kids like a lot of different things. But this kid apparently happens to be pretty spoiled, and his mother happens to know a guy that runs a meat market. So one community message board request later, the meat market guy, J. (Joe, I think) LeRoy Palumbo Jr. cooks one up. He actually mixes peanut butter with meat, puts it all in sausage casing, smokes it, and, honest to God, comes up with a peanut butter hot dog.
You’re lying to me right now if you don’t think that sounds intriguing.
Sure, not appetizing maybe. I wouldn’t want to eat one every day. Or maybe ever eat a whole one at all. But if there was someone standing in front of you right now with a plate of peanut butter hot dogs, and they asked you if you want to try one, trust me, there’s no way you could say no.
At any rate, that’s quite a culinary feat. In fact, it’s such a feat that Palumbo’s concoction sold out right away. And then they made another batch, and that sold out again.
This thing even spawned, according to the article, what might be one of the greatest local radio spots for a meat market (it’s a pretty narrow field, I’ll admit) ever.
Mr. Palumbo whipped up a radio commercial in which his two daughters discuss “the new buzz:”
– “Angelina and Brad had their baby?”
– “No silly, Dad’s new peanut butter hot dogs.”
It’s cute, it’s lovable, it screams “family owned”, it plays off the latest hot-button issues in the world today. It sells hot dogs, darnit.
And so I did the only thing I could when I heard about this little local meat market in Pennsylvania selling peanut butter hot dogs. I googled them. And found their website. It’s not even theirs– it’s located on the exact same community hosting service that spawned the hot dog request!
And I thought how cool it would be to call them, to ask them, big city Chicago man that I am, how much it would be to ship their new peanut-buttery, hot-doggy invention to Chicago as soon as they could. Of course, I was too chicken to actually do it. But fortunately for me, my co-worker wasn’t.
After a few busy calls, Trixie answered, and he said that she sounded like she was being run off her feet. He asked about shipping, and she said they hadn’t gotten anything in place yet, but they were desperately trying. Apparently the news about the peanut butter hot dogs is everywhere since the news story came out– she said she had family and friends in the store working for her just to meet demands. My co-worker asked how soon they might be able to ship, and she said to check back in a couple of days. He also suggested that they update their website, but if she didn’t tell him that was exactly the last thing on her mind, she would have been completely right to.
Even though that’s exactly how I found it.
See, at work right now, we’ve been talking a lot about Malcolm Gladwell’s book The Tipping Point. Yes, hipster bloggers, I know– it’s old news. The book came out years ago. But it’s all about how ideas transmit themselves. Why were slap bracelets popular? Why is Paris Hilton still famous? And how do ideas spread like a virus throughout our Internet-enabled society? At work, we’re trying to push a (I’ll be honest– somewhat unpopular) idea around the Internet, and so we’ve been thinking about all kinds of ways we can propogate our message around. We’ve been brainstorming ways to become the thing that people are interested in, the thing that people talk about.
And then these peanut butter hot dogs go out there and do it on their own. Palumbo’s Meat Market has been local (and, we’re guessing, relatively small) since 1927, but with these peanut butter hot dogs, if they play their cards right, they could stay in business for another 200 years. If they get a shipping method up, and set prices high enough, Palumbo could probably put a kid or two through college, based completely on the national response to this idea of hot dogs mixed with peanut butter. There’s an old saying that you get three million dollar ideas per year– most people just don’t act on them. If Palumbo acts on this, and becomes the only place in the world to get these things, peanut butter hot dogs are an idea definitely worth a million dollars.
So how’d they do it? I saw it on Fark, so there’s that– you have to have something that people are actually interested in. And it showed up on Fark because that Pittsburgh newspaper got interested in the story. So you have to get your idea out there in the first place, period. The good thing about that, though, is that a lot of people are willing to listen, if what you’re saying sounds good enough. And peanut butter hot dogs– well, you can’t argue with that. You can’t. Stop it.
But then, I had to go from “I should order these things,” to being actually able to call up and order them. It helps, I’m sure, that the phone number of the place is on the very first page of the Google search for “Palumbo’s Meat Market.” If I had to look past more than few entries, I never would have found it, and I wouldn’t be writing about them now. So the lesson there: be ready with information when people want it. Tell people about when you’re doing, and when they ask for more, be ready to give it to them.
Of course, the last part of the solution is up to Palumbo: if he wants to make a million dollars selling $3 packs of hot dogs, he’s got to find a way to make a ship 333,333 packs of hot dogs. I actually offered to help him with this part– my coworker and I were so taken with this peanut butter hot dog story, we actually emailed Palumbo and offered to set up website for him, including a way for him to recieve orders. We’ll see if he’s interested in taking us up on that (I would be more than willing to accept a lifetime’s supply of peanut butter hot dogs as payment). But we, of course, have no idea how to actually make and ship meat, and that’s what he’s got to do if he really wants to turn this idea into a million dollars.
At any rate, it’s an amazing story. The article came out yesterday, which means Palumbo probably came in this morning to a nation of people hungering for his peanut butter hot dogs. He and his family are probably exhausted and tired of answering the phone by now, but there’s worse way to spend your Monday’s in a local meat market.
We will give him a call later this week. Hopefully by then he’ll have figured out a way to ship a pack of hot dogs to Chicago.
And hey– when they show up, I’ll write about it. See that? I’m back on track already.
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