Oh, NRA, How I <3 You.

Every year for the last six years, I've gone to the National Restaurant Association show at McCormick Place. It's a surreal world of food gadgets, plates, frozen chicken nuggets and apps that promise (PROMISE) to make you more and more money from your restaurant. It's an odd combination of respected big brands and tiny new ideas trying to find their footing. It's a place of great innovation, filled with techology, and it's also a place where people sell gadgets to make your urinals smell better and animatronic moose heads that spout inspirational sayings.

The potential for comedy, especially if you have my odd sense of humor, is endless.

I always go around looking for my favorite tidbits. It's a way to stay amused while I'm reporting on the real stories (and there are plenty!). Some of these are ridiculous, some are marketing-speak to the max, and some are just funny to anyone outside of the industry.

For example, this gem.  "Tired of French Fries?" Clearly, you've never seen me in the McDonald's drive through at 4 a.m. They might be tired of ME, but i'm never tired of them. Plus, if your seaweed crunch wasn't "from the sea," there would be some vary serious questions I would need to have answered immediately.

Ok, yes. I know what this means - it's the ads stuck to those tiny dispensers of hand sanitizer. But when you call them "Billboards," it gives me a moment of pause. Are people getting out of their cars and letting roadside billboards sterilize their hands with UV rays?

Marketing speak gone mad. This is a giant sign for a fancy non-wax candle. I'm always mystified when someone prints out a fancy sign to advertise their business (presumably for big $$$) without copy editing it. Business idea? I count five errors. Anyone else?

Plus, i love the idea that a fancy candle can "enhance my leisure life style." 

I'm sure this sign made sense to SOMEONE at NRA. That person was not me. It would have been better to just say "What are PorterSIPS? They're Magic and You Should Buy Them." 

"It's public, it's personal, and it's your #1 problem." This vendor may have a skewed perspective - if spilled pee is your restaurant's number one problem, you are either doing incredibly well or your bathroom is some sort of urinary hellhole. 

This isn't a sign, but a product. I love America, the only land where someone could create an entire business AND bring it to a trade show around dressing coffee carafes up in little suits.  The business is called JavaSuits. Of course it is.


Let me be the first to say that I understand where this product is coming from. But can you imagine a world where a totally blitzed chef and manager, beset with 300 covers and drink orders and burst pipes and drunks, want to get a text message every time one of their staff does or does not wash their hands? 

I also intend to adopt the phrase "moment of non-compliance" into my life.  Boyfriend, I am watching for the very first moment of non-compliance!


My very, very favorite sign of NRA. Sometimes, you just need a mercy killing.