Contact King Kullen
(A slightly abridged version of the King Kullen Contact page.)
Name - Larry McCoy
Which King Kullen Do You Shop In? - Rockville Centre, NY
Questions or Comments*
Last week on returning from a trip to Maine we stopped at the store to pick up a quick dinner and decided on a roasted chicken, potato salad and a ½ strawberry-rhubarb pie. When we got home, our son was there and said he had a present for us. Jack had also been to one of your Majesty’s stores and bought a ½ strawberry-rhubarb pie. He knows we like the combination of strawberry and rhubarb. He doesn’t, or he might have taken one of the pies home.
That evening, after finishing my chicken and potato salad, I sliced myself a piece of pie and noticed the label listing the ingredients along with the price, $3.69. May I be so bold to ask, my Lord, is this a jest? Is it possible that in all of your glorious kingdom none of your ½ strawberry-rhubarb pies have strawberries in them?
They do, my Liege, according to the label, have rhubarb. Praise be to the Almighty! But, begging your pardon, Sire, I have studied the ingredients list at great length on several occasions now and have yet to espy the magical “s” word – STRAWBERRY. I see “sugar.” I see “salt.” I also see “soybean oil,” “syrup” (as in high fructose corn syrup), “sodium” (as in sodium citrate) and “sorbate” (as in potassium sorbate), but nay I have not been favored to spot, despite arduous research, the word I seek so eagerly and diligently, STRAWBERRY.
Believe me, your Majesty, I do know my place and it is not an exalted one, yet as a loyal subject I am bound to ask is there not grievous trouble in the land when our strawberry pies are barren of strawberries? Whilst it might be far-fetched to opine this dreadful situation is worthy of the late bard and his exclamation that “something is rotten in the state of Denmark,” is it not reasonable for a free people to expect – yea, even demand –strawberries in their strawberry pies?
Spare me, dear King, a few more moments of your time because this is a troubling development and yet there may be a ray of sunshine. Again, going by the list on the label, the pies we bought also have water in them as well as whey, lemon pulp,citric acid, dextrose and (note this well) guar gum. Although I could be mistaken, your Highness, is there not a hint in that last ingredient that court clowns may well have played a prank on jolly old King Kullen? To the trembling ear of this humble peasant, the words “guar gum” are but a silly mockery of the way Lucinda Williams sings the opening line of “Car Wheels On A Gravel Road.” Some knave perchance is pulling the great King’s leg. It might be wise to appoint a trusted courtier to mingle with the young lads in the labeling department for a spell to see if they have been up to some fun lately. Perhaps eliminating vital ingredients from the labels and inserting phony ones. It goes without saying, my Lord, that the courtier should also be alert to any humming or singing of Lucinda Williams’ songs among the lads.
As soon as I finish this missive, I pledge to deal with another curiosity on the label with the greatest of haste. To wit: Who or what is “Agar Agar”? Could that not merely be the name of an Egyptian thrown on the label as sport? Remember Boutros Boutros Ghali? Well, Sire, there could also be an Agar Agar Ghali.
I will communicate my findings on an urgent basis to your Majesty. In the meantime, it would be of enormous assistance if someone could be dispatched immediately to fetch a whole strawberry-rhubarb pie to examine the label and determine if there has been treacherous tampering there too in the matter of strawberries.
In the meantime, I remain your obedient servant, Larry McCoy.
(Posted September 28, 2011)
At 12:50 p.m. September 30th, I sent the piece to King Kullen. At 3:37:52 p.m., I got this response:
Dear Mr. McCoy,
Thank you for alerting us of the situation with the label, I have researched and the strawberry rhubarb pie does contain strawberries. We will revise the label forthwith. I appreciate your patronage and value you as a customer.
Good Times At HoJo's
February 27, 2014
To: Wyndham Worldwide
From: Larry McCoy
Subject: My recent stay in Saugerties, New York
For the first time in probably ten years I stayed at your Howard Johnson facility in Saugerties, bringing back memories of several visits there with my grandson when he was first learning to ski.
The last time Nick and I were there the swimming pool was closed. It’s open again, and I enjoyed a swim with my son, Jack, and his two daughters, Daniella and Cristiana. Not a big deal with me, but I will mention that the towels the desk clerk hands out for use at the pool could be a tad bigger. From top to bottom they must measure all of eight inches. In Indiana, where I grew up, we call that a wash rag. Well, that’s what my folks called them. The people in the fancier houses of Frankfort, Indiana, called them wash cloths.
It was good to see that the restaurant is still open and that nothing really has changed since Nick and I had breakfasts there. The broccoli- cheese omelet remains the flattest omelet I have ever seen, so flat you could slip it under a room door along with the motel bill if you wanted to. And like in the old days, the omelet is made with very yellow, very American cheese not really cheddar as the menu has claimed all these years. Again, not a big deal to me. I ate most of it, though I did leave a lot of the potatoes, an extremely generous portion, which could be used as a doorstop were you so inclined.
I always travel with my own pen or pens, so it was okay that there was no handy writing instrument in our room. Maybe you put old people in rooms without pens because who is going to call us? Certainly not work because we don’t work, haven’t in years and don’t miss it, if you must know.
Our room was warm. Let me rephrase that. Our room was warm every ten minutes when the heater was going full blast. It was then cold for ten minutes while the heater rested. This may not be entirely the motel’s fault, if fault is to be assigned. My wife, Irene, likes to fiddle with gadgets. The first thing she does when she gets into a car, any car, is to mess with the heating and air conditioning controls. She has the same habit in motel rooms. Seconds after I open the door, she’s over by the heater or AC, pushing or flipping whatever devices there are to be pushed or flipped. I seldom say anything about this. She isn’t going to change, so I focus on bigger issues such as whether I have time to squeeze in a nap before dinner.
Not that you asked, but overall I would say we had a good experience at the Howard Johnson in Saugerties, and the morning desk clerk is to be thanked for saving the best for last. Please give him our compliments. When I parked the car near the lobby entrance to return the room keys, the automatic door wouldn’t open. I thought perhaps I was at the wrong entrance but then the clerk walked from behind the desk over to the door and it opened.
“We’ve been having problems with that all morning,” he said.
I suggested perhaps it wouldn’t open because of my “chemical composition.” (In Indiana, where I grew up, we would call that joshing.)
After handing the keys to the clerk, I asked if I would be able to get out. He said, “well, we’ll see if your ‘chemical composition’ will open the door.” It opened without a problem.
I got in the car, checked to make sure we had everything and drove off. By this time the desk clerk was outside, standing in front of the automatic door. It wouldn’t open. As I drove by, he was doing jumping jacks in front of the door. Nothing. The door remained shut. But he sure looked good doing those jumping jacks.
Just a thought, and if you use the idea it’s yours free of charge: the next time there’s talk about changing the company logo or starting a new ad campaign why not try using a jumping jack figure? Jumping jacks are invigorating, and a jumping jack icon would indicate to people that Howard Johnson’s is still a fun place to be.
P.S. I used to love your chili. Too bad it isn’t on the breakfast menu.
(Posted February 28, 2014
Believe It Or Not, Two Years In A Row
Customer Relations North America
East Meadow, New York
Customer Feedback # 22220236sa
What have I done to deserve this? Lufthansa dropped me off last month in Munich, a day before my bag arrived. Before I could start skiing, I had to buy a ski sweater, pans, long johns, socks and underwear.
Last year Delta/KLM dropped me off in Munich, a day before my bag arrived. Before I could start skiing, I had to buy a ski sweater, pants, long johns and socks.
There might be those who would welcome the opportunity to appear on the slopes every season in the latest fashions. I am not one of those. At 76, my focus is not how I look on skis, but whether I have remembered to put on my ski boots, zip my fly, bring my gloves and helmet and make sure I don’t get off a lift and discover I’m wearing my computer glasses and can see approximately three feet in front of me.
Your competition, Delta/KLM, promptly sent me a check last year to cover the entire cost of the clothing I bought. They didn’t diddle around. You folks haven’t been as swift. Yes, you sent a check for about half of my expenses but further reimbursement depends on my mailing the latest assortment of new skiwear to you, though you do agree I may keep the underwear.
Just curious, but what in the world does Lufthansa and other airlines in the mighty Star Alliance do with barely used ski pants, sweaters, long johns and socks? Is there a Lufthansa vice president in charge of clothing? A Kleidermeister? If I go skiing in Austria again next year, what are the chances I will see someone whiz by me wearing the bright aqua ski pants I had on for about six hours last month? If this did happen, would it be rude to ask the person in the pants to check the pockets? I’ve been missing my favorite ballpoint pen since we got back from Austria.
According to your last email, Lufthansa is “unable to reimburse foreign transaction fees,” which means you’re refusing to pay the $16.26 MasterCard charged me when I had to buy ski clothes because mine were in your custody somewhere. Why is this my expense and not Lufthansa’s? I haven’t even mentioned the belt I ruined while trying on ski pants. In a hurry to get outfitted, I forgot that my cords were on the floor and stepped on them, snapping the belt buckle. Yes, I should lose a few pounds.
While I have the chance, let me observe that the emergency kit Delta/KLM gives to those with lost luggage is better than yours. Theirs has a larger tube of toothpaste and their shaving cream sticks on your face. It was my experience that Lufthansa’s so-called shaving cream stuck mainly on my T-shirt, ideal I guess had I wanted to shave my arms.
Lufthansa also makes a mistake by including a small packet of laundry detergent in the kit. A passenger with a missing bag is automatically in a bad mood, and the laundry detergent only adds to the fears that it’s going to be a good long spell before he sees his luggage and clean laundry again.
In lieu of paying me the $16.26 that MasterCard charged me, perhaps you will be so kind as to forward the following questions to the appropriate departments at Lufthansa:
1. What is Lufthansa’s official name for the pastry shell with a green, lumpy filling that was served as a snack on the flight back to New York?
2. Has anyone employed by Lufthansa who is still alive eaten this?
3. When food service was ended because of turbulence, why were those of us who were served this snack asked to put the boxes it came in on the floor? Was it the flight crew’s belief that the inherent turbulence of the green, lumpy filling inside the pastry shell might offset the turbulence outside the plane?
4. Is it possible that Lufthansa was running short on snack boxes and merely wanted to reuse the ones we were asked to put on the floor? (I confess I planned to squash my box real hard when getting off the plane but damn if I didn’t forget.)
5. Wouldn’t it save both me and Lufthansa a lot of time and aggravation next ski season, if arrangements could be made for my luggage to be sent directly from Kennedy Airport in New York to the bed and breakfast place where we always stay in Austria? Though it’s a little out of the way, delivery drivers have found it two years in a row. Who knows? A third time could be a charm.
6. Or is it Lufthansa’s recommendation that whatever airline I fly next year, I should board the plane to Munich wearing everything I’m going to need for that first day on the slopes, including ski boots?
A Miles & More Member since 1986
(Posted March 14, 2014)
April 7, 2014
Last week a second check from Lufthansa arrived. I think they were pretty fair. I came within $10 of getting back all the money I spent. I’d still like to know though what Lufthansa calls that pastry shell with the green, lumpy filling.
Hallo, Der Lufthansa
New York − Munich
New York - JFK Intl., NY (JFK)
Munich - Franz Josef Strauss (MUC)
February 1, 2016
Lufthansa German Airlines
Dear Herr Spohr,
I like German food and hope you do too. Allow me to make a few observations about what was served on Lufthansa flights in economy class to and from Munich late last month.
On the plane from Kennedy Airport, my grandson opted for the chicken and I decided on the pasta. When Nick took the lid off the chicken, it was grey. Shouldn’t grey chicken be served to seniors not a 26-year-old? Lifting the lid off my pasta dish, revealed tiny pillows afloat in a green river.
Knowing it would be many hours until we set foot in the Munich Hauptbahnhof and could have a bratwurst and roll while waiting for the train to Innsbruck, we took a few bites before slapping the lids back on the deceased.
Both on the way to Munich and heading back home we were given small packages of pretzels and crackers shaped like airplanes. These are perfect snacks for people in need of a high sodium diet. Lufthansa might save some money if it stopped serving these packages and instead gave every passenger the option of opening his mouth at the boarding gate and having a large container of sea salt poured down his throat.
Lufthansa though is to be praised for freely offering more wine to passengers after their meals as well as brandy. (I plan to send a copy of this letter to my cardiologist who days before my trip to Munich ordered that I cut out all alcohol. I’m hoping this is a case where a doctor will genuinely feel sorry for a patient and say, “Oh, hell. Ignore what I said.”)
On the return trip Nick asked for chicken. He took the lid off the container and immediately put it back on. He may have eaten some of the chocolate cake that came with the dinner but nothing else. I declined all food but asked for an apple juice, something the Germans know how to make. I was not disappointed.
Now, Herr Spohr, let’s talk about the snack offered to travelers flying last Thursday from Munich to Newark, New Jersey. The flight attendants said they were calzones, some with sausage, some with only vegetables. Nick and I decided to try our luck with the vegetarian selection, described on the back of the container as “calzone Thai red curry.” (Was not Red Curry, the goalie on the 1966 English squad that won the World Cup?)
It took me three bites into this puffy wad of dough to find any filling and when found it resembled wet cement with onions. I put it back in its box where it belonged. While doing that, I spotted the Lufthansa slogan on the box “Nonstop You.” Herr Spohr, do those words refer to flying through the sky or flying to a rest room after consuming a Lufthansa calzone?
I’m frankly surprised that an airline that has cut staff so severely that passengers now weigh and put destination tags on their own luggage would load something as heavy as calzones on its planes. Hundreds of gallons of fuel are wasted in transporting these bulky dudes across the ocean.
Let me tell you what I think you ought to do with these calzones:
Yes, that is one option, but I’m being polite here and you will note I haven’t mentioned any body parts. Not yet, anyway.
Eliminate both the sausage and vegetarian versions and stuff the Lufthansa calzones with gummi bears.
Nearly everyone who bites into these nasty things quickly realizes this is going to be an unforgettable experience, so why not make it a positive one? Hide a little prize in your calzones. A small plastic car, a whistle, a mint, a tiny Lufthansa key chain.
Though I’m disappointed with the food Lufthansa offered, you didn’t lose my luggage this year as you did the last time I flew to Munich. For that I’m thankful. If you don’t mind, I’d like to ask you a personal question: when you’re walking through the halls of Lufthansa headquarters in Cologne do people greet you by saying, “Guten Morgen, Herr vorstandsvorsitzender?” If I worked there I’d be tempted to play around with that word, especially the last part about sitting on your ender.
Miles & More Member 8810 1376 5643 346
(Posted February 1, 2016)
Update: More than two weeks after sending this note, I got a call from a Lufthansa representative in New York, apologizing and saying he was mailing me a 20% off coupon good for economy class travel until February next year. Thank you. But if I'm smart, I'll have two big meals at home before heading for the airport.