Reflections on Taco Tuesday, or, Thoughts on Apathy

Well, as Bageldog saw fit to remind, yesterday was, indeed, Taco Tuesday. Monica Guzman, writing for the Seattle P-I’s Big Blog:

Yesterday at 4:30 p.m. I asked the woman behind the register at the Taco Bell on 15th Avenue in Ballard how the free taco day promotion was going.

By the looks of it — well. Ish. The place had mostly cleared out, but the taco tornado had hit and hit hard. Yellow bits of cheese sprinkled the tabletops. Paper wrappers littered the floor. Corpses of drink cups lay where they fell. Poor woman had had had a long day. She looked at me and laughed.

“Oh my God,” she said. Her eyes went wide and she shook her head. “They made a huge mistake doing this.”

At the local level, I can only imagine that is how it felt. But this had nothing to do with the locals. After all, this was a national promotion, and spectacular enough to generate controversy. In Bellingham, Washington, the only two Taco Bells in the area decided late that they would participate in the giveaway despite earlier statements to the contrary.

Bellingham resident Alex Hardie, 20, was the first customer at the Sunset Square location to get his free crunchy seasoned beef taco.

“This is a special thing,” said Hardie, who said he saw the promotion while watching the World Series.

“I live out on Northwest, and I took a bus, so I really had to make a wild stretch.”

Store manager Staci Caralis said two extra employees would join the staff midway through the giveaway to help out.

The restaurant cooked an extra 30 pounds of beef in anticipation, Caralis said.

She added that the initial announcement that the location wouldn’t participate was a “miscommunication.”

Perhaps there were logistical concerns. Then again, Bellingham is a long way out. Considerably closer to Boston, Dennis Tatz fills us in:

Taco Bell restaurants in Quincy and Norwell had their fill of Sox fans during the three-hour window. People flocked to the restaurants to take advantage of the “Steal a Base, Steal a Taco” promotion.

In Quincy, police ordered the Taco Bell drive-through window shut down as traffic backed up on Hancock Street in the city’s Wollaston section. Inside, the line of eager customers was long.

The promise of free food at the Taco Bell on Route 53 in Norwell caused some tempers to flare and car horns to blare.

Taco Bell worker Kevin Sigourney of Hull looked relieved as he left the Norwell restaurant following the frenzy.

“All I can say is it was the craziest day I’ve ever had,” Sigourney said. “It was a sea of people and free tacos.”

There’s even a picture of Jacoby Ellsbury signing autographs at a Boston Taco Bell.

I confess I skipped Taco Tuesday. I also confess that I was so not enthralled by the World Series that I only realized it was over in retrospect. I saw Game 3, figured it would be over in four, and promptly forgot about it.

Life goes on.

You know, last month I happened to be down in Irvine, California, and actually stood in the shadow of the Taco Bell building. Drunk, weary, and mulling a shortcut back to the hotel, I remember looking up that night and thinking that Taco Bell was mocking me. And then I fell down the hill and lost my glasses.

TB spokesman Will Bortz apparently told someone that the promotion was a tremendous success. And why not? This one was big enough to hang a guilt trip on:

Nearly 10,000 people signed an online petition aimed at getting fast-food giant Taco Bell to donate money to help the American Red Cross provides services to those displaced by the California wildfires.

The online effort was tied to a nationwide promotion Tuesday in which Taco Bell gave away free tacos to customers nationwide for three hours. The promotion was tied to the recently concluded World Series.

Organizers had hoped that Taco Bell would donate money to the Red Cross that approximated the value of a free taco for every person who signed the petition.

Taco Bell, however, isn’t playing along ….

Taco Bell was, nonetheless, impressed by Mike Escordi’s effort. And Escordi himself found some redemption in the failed campaign:

“This was a tremendous effort on so many levels and we could not have been any more pleased at the response we got to a campaign costing nothing more than the $10 or so to buy the URL,” Mr. Escordi said. “Watching the numbers increase exponentially throughout the day provided a bit of renewed faith in human nature.”

It’s very easy, I suppose, to sign an electronic petition asking some large corporation to make a small gesture of decency, but let’s think about this for a moment. Fire danger. Refugees. Taco Bell saturation. If I’m making a bad joke here, it’s what I’ve got to work with.

Taco Tuesday? Somebody stop them!

So, anyway, Taco Bell is back with one of their absurd bets. This time, however, instead of waiting for a spaceship to crash into a target in the middle of the ocean, they’re just staking their tacos on stolen bases.

“Millions and millions of people will be watching the Series and hopefully tuning in to see when they are going to get their taco,” said Taco Bell spokesman Rob Poetsch.

There has been at least one stolen base in every World Series matchup since 1990. When the first base is stolen, the unit of Yum Brands Inc, will announce a Tuesday afternoon when consumers will be able to walk into the chain’s participating 5,800 outlets and ask for a free taco. Anyone who walks into a participating outlet during the give-away period would be eligible for a free taco.

Despite the promotion’s name, stealing the taco will not be required.

This won’t go well.

Don’t get me wrong, I do eat Taco Bell from time to time. It’s cheaper than buying laxatives.

I can’t believe Jose Padilla is in prison.