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Wednesday, October 29, 2008

I am, Perhaps, Too Easily Amused

On our recent trip to Wisconsin, we spent a lot of time staring out the windows of the car -- admiring the scenery and idly watching the store signs whiz past. It was fun to see Menards again, if only because it made us do our impressions for each other of the Menards guys. Their homemade commercials were delightful when we lived there because one Mr. Menards had a nearly-insane twinkle in his eyes and ended every ad with a giant toothy grin and a rousing "Men-ARDS!" in a voice that can only be described as piratical. Imagine the "ARDS" part of the store name is growled in your best pirate voice, given extra-added-over-emphasis, and followed by a crooked-jawed smile, and you have some idea of why we loudly declared (a la Captain Hook) "Men-ARDS!!" to each other every time we passed the store.

We also discovered this gem:

Yes, you read the words over the car bays correctly. This is Quaker Steak and Lube.

Seriously. I wasn't sure how good a steak an oil-change place might produce, but I sure liked the idea. I wanted to take a picture but kept forgetting. So I went online to find this one. Sadly, I learned online that this place does NOT fix your car while you're eating the steak they just fixed for you, despite the fact that that kind of practicality would be something you'd reasonably expect to find in Wisconsin. Instead, it's just a restaurant in an old garage. Total bummer to find that out on our return.

But we did have a great time driving past and speculating about whether it was really a car repair shop that served steak on the side, or really a family steak house where you could get your oil changed while you ate your iceberg lettuce salad.

Back at home, I did finally manage to take a photo of this place, which cracks me up every time we drive past:

I can't figure out if I admire their honesty or simply want to mock them for their lack of marketing savvy. Seriously? OK Cleaner. What do you suppose their company motto is? We're not great, but we don't totally suck. Or maybe: We'll get your clothes pretty nearly clean. Even if those things were true, wouldn't you name the place something else? Looking at the space they have for the sign, I can see that Excellent Cleaners or Superior Cleaners or Fantastic Cleaners wouldn't fit. Neither would Mediocre Cleaners, for that matter. But given the space requirements, wouldn't you suck up the extra expense, splurge for two extra letters and a hyphen, and at least name the place A-OK Cleaners?

And, to backtrack a bit, wouldn't you totally pay a bit more to get your oil changed at a place that would serve you a steak while you waited? Even if it wasn't a very good steak. Think what a booming business and actual Steak and Lube place would do. I'd go there every 3000 miles for sure. Wouldn't you?

I think it's clear: I should go into marketing.


OHmommy said...

OK Cleaners... that's great. It reminds me of that skit of SNL of the Long Island Furniture company. Gosh, I wish I could remember the name.

It is going to be on my mind ALL DAY long.

mandymomof2 said...

I have been to a Quaker Steak restaurant before and I have to say they have the best wings anywhere.

It would be great if you could get your oil changed at the same time you had you dinner.

You should go into marketing.

LceeL said...

That's even better - Quaker Steak and Lube is known for its wings!!

Marinka said...

Love OK Cleaners! I used to live near "Danal Cleaners" and then someone (not me) crossed out the "D". Good times!

Ree said...

It may make me actually GET my oil changed regularly... And I don't eat red meat... but if they served fries, I'd be happy.

Tara R. said...

I'd definitely pay extra if I could have a good steak dinner while having my car worked on. Loved the signs.

calicobebop said...

Great pictures! I'd totally go to a place that serviced my car and served me a steak! Great idea!

Aimeepalooza said...

I think I should open a restaurant that does oil changes. That is awesome. Lots of A-1, lots of ranch, lots of cottage cheese. And a nice sounding engine.

Rachel said...

I've always thought that more restaurants should have those fun tunnels that children crawl through on the ceilings. Like Chuck E Cheese, but with palatable cuisine and enjoyable for parents.

Now, tunnels AND an oil change... GOLDMINE! Let me know if you need investors! :)

The Glamorous Life said...

"we are not great. But we are OK"...Hey maybe they can get the Menards guys to do their commercials?

Tooj said...

So it's not OK as in...Oklahoma Cleaner? Just trying to help the poor store out....

Huckdoll said...

OK is totally short for Officially Kickass Cleaners... ? ... No?

And Steak and Lube?! Hahaha...EWWW. I will have to go someday. PS. Send that into Letterman!

MommyTime said...

Ahh, Tooj, you are so generous. Nope, sorry, the place is in Michigan, so I doubt the OK means Oklahoma.

Mandy and Lceel are cracking me up, though. It's true: "Steak and Lube has the best wings ever" is pretty funny.

Perhaps in our spare time, we can all start a great business together: food and oil changes. Yummm. Nothing complements a great meal like the smell of axle grease.

Jaina said...

But it's so hard not to be when there is so much fodder for easy amusement. :)


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