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From Issue: Volume XXI - Number 9

By Jay Beeler

Fast-food restaurants are generally something I avoid, because my body prefers a slower pace. When my wife and I travel to Indio to visit our daughter and her family we’ll often jump off at Perris Blvd. in the Moreno Valley for a Star Burger at Carl’s. You get a fantastic burger for a reasonable price and that’s sexy enough for me, despite the tone of their TV ads.

A few weeks ago I stopped in at the Traffic Circle Carl’s Jr. and was delighted in trying out their spicy chicken sandwich, which is only $1 and equally as spicy as some chicken wings. The clerk took one look at me, automatically deducted the 10% senior discount and I got a penny back from my dollar.

Wendy’s spicy chicken sandwich sells for more than $4. Ouch!

The commercials for Jack in the Box are funny and likeable, but some of their products don’t measure up when it comes to freshness and taste. Jack’s off my fast food radar most of the time.

Many Beachcomber readers agree with me that In-N-Out Burger delivers the best, no-nonsense hamburger for the buck. They’ve consistently won our Best of Long Beach contest for more than 11 years.

In the junk snack department it seems like Frito-Lay has captured the marketplace. A couple of weeks ago I went into our nearby Hody Lane Liquor Store to get some potato chips to appease our snacking computer technician. The only available large bag of chips was one Lays Garden Tomato & Basil. It tasted horrible.

In fact 95 percent of the snack food shelf space was devoted to Frito-Lay products and only a small portion of that space was devoted to plain Lays chips or plain Fritos, in small bags. And there were only a few bags of those products left. I think every one of the 33 Frito-Lay products is carried by my corner liquor store because the distributor is giving kickbacks, like all-expense paid vacations in Tahiti.

Then each product comes in yucky varieties like: cheddar, sour cream & onion, kettle cooked jalapeno, BBQ, limon (versus lemon), flamin’ hot, xxtra flamin’ hot, puffy, crunchy, nacho cheese, rancho dipped hot wings, flamas, chili cheese, honey BBQ, total ranch, baked, hickory BBQ, cool ranch, salt & vinegar … the list of foul-tasting products goes on.

I don’t mean to complain, but I will anyway. Even the basic Frito-Lay Ruffles – with ridges – was not on the store shelf. It leaves me to wonder whether customers are actually purchasing this other stuff. Thirty-three products times a few dozen taste varieties times several different sizes must equate to a manufacturing, warehousing and distribution nightmare.

Owned by PepsiCo, Frito-Lay is based in Plano, Texas, and accounts for one-quarter of the soft drink company’s North American sales. Personally, I like Coke.

A court back in New York recently overturned Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s attempt to ban soft drinks larger than 16 ounces, claiming the ban was “arbitrary and capricious.” There was nothing in the ban that disallowed persons from purchasing two 16-ounce drinks or going back for refills. So the judge was right and Mayor Bloomberg should learn to mind his own business.

Ditto that for plastic bag bans, they are “arbitrary and capricious” wherein some stores can use plastic bags (Lowes) and others (Ralphs) cannot. Now there is credible evidence that the reusable bans are subjecting us to bacteria, potentially killing us.

Suja Lowenthal was responsible for that inappropriate ban on plastic bags as well as forcing us to immunize our cats against rabies – when there has not been a single reported case of rabies in cats or dogs in Long Beach – EVER – or in LA County DURING THE PAST 26 YEARS. (And that one instance in 1987 was from a cat illegally brought into California from Mexico.)

Some politicians should focus on solving the city’s economic issues and stay the hell out of our personal lives. The only appropriate method for getting people to recycle plastic bags and stop consuming high-calorie junk food is through public education.

And that’s what newspapers are all about – delivered in plastic bags on rainy days – educating the public.