Wednesday, August 03, 2011

Who the heck is Curtis Stone?

What the heck is he doing splattered all over my grocery store these days? Am I paying more for broccoli in order to help support his degenerate heterosexual lifestyle? And whatever happened to helpful smiles in every aisle? Just asking.

Curt, if I can call him that, started appearing in HyVee’s slick advertising inserts a few weeks ago --- I forget when. Often quite large, full-length and with a big grin. Funny shoes. Usually attached somehow to a recipe (peach and mint iced tea, last week).

Then life-sized cardboard cutouts appeared in the grocery aisles, then “Curtis Stone” this and “Curtis Stone” that. What the heck is going on?

So I decided to look him up online. As it turns out Curt is a “young gun” --- what does that mean? --- celebrity chef and television personality from Australia who recently got his girlfriend pregnant (of course they’re not married). Who knew?

Is he Hy-Vee’s new spokesperson? Apparently. And how much is that costing? And how many other grocery chains is he spokespersoning for?

I figure Chariton’s homegrown grocery giant (executive offices now in exile in West Des Moines) is trying to sex up its act. The last public Hy-Vee spokesman I recall was the late Dwight Vredenburg, the “V” in Hy-Vee --- a great guy; not much sex appeal. That was when “a helpful smile in every aisle” was the corporate slogan.

Or maybe they’re just working on trendy (if Curt starts taking off his clothes, we’ll know it’s sex; stay tuned).

I guess I don’t mind Curt, but will have to pass on this week’s recipe --- grilled corn with sun-dried tomato-bacon butter.

There really are helpful smiles in most aisles at the Chariton Hy-Vee (although they’ve taken to moving stuff around so much lately even the staff can’t find the cooking oil). Once you learn (a) to avoid buying items that aren’t on sale; (b) that several of the “on sale” items really aren’t; and (c) because we’ve got a smaller store, several of the “sale” items won’t be available at all --- you’re all set. So I’m not exactly complainting.

But will there be a baby shower at corporate HQ for Curt and Lindsay? And how much is that going to cost us?


I’m told they eat cicadas in some cultures --- that they’re even quite tasty (females --- how do you tell? --- are “meatier,” online research tells me). I haven’t seen any in the meat case at Hy-Vee, however.

But we’ve sure been hearing them lately around here. We do every summer, that familiar buzz-saw background. I kind of like it usually. But when I went out at about 8 last night to finish watering, the cacophony was deafening, like there was a cicada convention in my front-yard trees. Maybe it was the heat.

But apparently the hot spell has broken here now --- and that is good news.


Ed said...

Bite your tongue or you will be 'blessed' with the larger version of the store as we have. Now instead of having separate liquor, pharmacy, chinese, sushi, etc. stores scattered around town, each not too busy on it's own, they are all crammed into one giant store and packed. That is not to mention that they had to double their staff for such a large building and of course, raise their prices to boot. Give me back my little old small store anyday!

Lynne said...

Frank, Curtis Stone is a well known Chef. I only know that because I saw a reality show this past winter that featured him along with some other famous Chef's. And you are right, I bet it costing the store a bundle.

Ken said...

Can't say as I've ever heard of Curtis Stone, but I can comment on your observation that certain "on-sale" items don't really appear to be. I worked at the Corydon Hy-Vee during my senior year of high school, and one of the first customer questions we had to learn how to answer was why a particular "sale" item was at the same price it always had been. We generally said something like "it's ON sale because it's FOR sale." Obviously, few people were satisfied by that response. As I think back on it, though, there may have been a better answer. As I recall, each week's sale ad contained four items that were system-wide; each store had to price those items at whatever Hy-Vee headquarters said. All other sale items could be priced at the store manager's discretion. It's possible that one of the system-wide sale items was already at the "sale" price at our store before the ad started -- perhaps as a loss leader. If so, the store would have no option but to engage in some verbal slight of hand. Just a thought, but one I'd like to think has some merit (since I have to think our store manager wouldn't have intentionally mangled the English language by equating "on sale" with "for sale").