Monday, July 13, 2015

Brave New World (of Beef Stick Treats)

America's most prolific beagle bloggers - Baxter and Daisy have agreed to take time out of their packed schedule to once again provide expert guidance and opinion for their legion of readers in another guest blog!

Hi Everybody! It’s Baxter… and Daisy with another blog for our readers.  It seems like it was just a month ago that we wrote a blog for Hank, Daisy.  That’s because it was a month ago, Baxter. Harry accused us of being privileged! Don't you remember? Here's a link in case you forgot.  That’s right. Harry said he was self-identifying himself as a beagle and we were going to take him with on walks so we could get the beef sticks at the Casey’s and Kum & Go that cost two dollars for three beef sticks.  It was a good plan but Hank said that even if Harry is a beagle and not a cockatiel he wasn’t going with us on any beef stick walks.  Harry said he was going to appeal to the Supreme Court but Hank said he consulted the SCONCSMIA and they decided by a 1-0 verdict that while Harry could self-identify as anything he wanted Hank didn’t have to take him on our beef stick walks.  What’s the SCONCSMIA, Baxter?  The Supreme Court Of N Center Street Marshalltown Iowa. And Chief Justice Hank has the only vote.  Hee Hee. I feel sad for Harry not being able to go on walks with us but I feel sadder for us because we still only get Aldi beef sticks on our walks  Yeah, I love Aldi beef sticks but I miss the Jack Links and Old Wisconsin beef sticks we used to get. 

Luckily on July 4th we had our 4th annual convenience store beef stick taste test.  We went to all the neighborhood convenience stores and sampled their beef sticks! YUM!! I love beef sticks! YUM!!  What a difference a year makes Baxter. Last year the most expensive beef sticks were at Casey’s. They were 59 cents each and two for $1.08 while everyone else charged $1 for two beef sticks.  Casey’s finished last in our 2014 beef stick awards. Jiffy and Kum & Go tied for first.  Kum & Go won the Daisy and Baxter beef stick award in 2013 and last fall they raised their beef stick prices to 89 cents each and three for $2.  The Jiffy won the award in 2012 and this year they raised their prices to 69 cents each and two for $1.29.

I don’t know why beef sticks are so expensive, Daisy.  Me neither. Hank said that because the beef sticks cost so much we couldn’t afford trophies for this year’s award winner like we gave out last year.  Luckily the Daisy and Baxter convenience store award is such a prestigious honor that a trophy isn’t really necessary.  We still needed to do our due diligence to pick the most worthy award winner so on July 4th we got up at 4am and had our breakfast before heading to our first destination, the Jiffy convenience store. 

On the way to the Jiffy, we passed the Wells Fargo bank...
the laziest, rudest, most beagle unfriendly bank ever.

On the way to the Jiffy we pass the courthouse and the Wells Fargo Bank. Hank doesn’t like Wells Fargo, Daisy, and he wrote about it in this blog post That’s because they wouldn’t let him deposit his chess camp checks last year. Now Hank uses the United Bank and Trust. We tried to like the Wells Fargo, Baxter.  When we were puppies we walked with Hank to use the ATM and we saw someone in the drive-up window.  They had a dog and the teller gave him a dog biscuit!  YUM!! I love dog biscuits! The next week Hank took us for a walk to the drive up window to deposit some checks.  And to get us some dog biscuits. But the teller was very rude and said that Hank needed to be in a car to use the drive-up window or he would have to go inside the bank.  But Hank couldn’t go inside the bank because we were with him. Finally the teller let him deposit HIS money in HIS bank account using the drive-up window.  But she didn’t give us any dog biscuits when Hank was done banking. Hank had to ask and then she gave us each a dog biscuit.  The dog biscuit was kind of dry but I enjoyed it. The next week Hank went inside the bank while we waited outside with Kathy.  Hank did his banking but the inside teller didn’t give him any dog biscuits.  When Hank asked for our dog biscuits the teller said they only had them in the drive up window and she wasn’t going to walk all that way (like around 15 feet!) to get dog biscuits for us!  Wells Fargo is an awful bank. They are rude, lazy, and quite Beagle unfriendly!  They’re the WORST bank ever. 

Poor Vince has to work so hard ringing up the extra money for beef sticks he can't make fresh coffee...

When we got to the Jiffy we were happy to see that Vince was still working there because we like Vince!  Hank got a refill cup of coffee for him and two Jack Links beef sticks for us. The beef sticks and coffee cost $2.46. The Jack Links beef sticks were as tasty as I remembered but kind of dry.  I thought they were very dry too. They seemed old. I think they don’t sell very many since they raised the price by 29%.  When we walked home Hank took a sip of his coffee and he almost threw up!  He said it was so bitter it was like drinking battery acid. Kathy told him to go to the Casey’s and get a new refill cup but Hank said he paid $1.17 for the coffee and he was going to drink it.  That’s what he said but by the time we got halfway home he dumped the coffee out in the street. It dissolved the asphalt and made a giant pothole!  It was nice to see Vince and the Jiffy again but the beef sticks were expensive and dry and the coffee made Hank sick. I’m only giving the Jiffy one paw.  If it was a beef stick and coffee award I’d agree with you Daisy but it is just a beef stick award. I liked the Jack Link’s beef sticks and they were in stock so I’m giving the Jiffy two paws.  That gives the Jiffy one and a half paws 

Jiffy – 1 1/2 paws 

The new Food & Gas Mart has a thing or two to learn about providing a top notch beef stick experience...

Our next stop was the Kum & Go at 9am. We took our normal walk past the cemetery but instead of heading home we turned left and headed to the Kum & Go!  We had a big surprise! There is no Kum & Go anymore. Instead there was a Food & Gas Mart!  The Food & Gas Mart looked a lot like the Kum & Go except for the sign. We waited outside with Kathy and Hank went in.  The Food & Gas Mart people are very nice but the only beef sticks they had in stock were the tiny tiny Slim Jims that are three for a dollar.  Hank got us three. I like the GIANT Slim Jims that Monica an Katie bring us! YUM!! The tiny tiny Slim Jims aren’t much of a snack.  Hank has to rip each slim jim open from its package. It took forever and then we only got two bites each.  The Slim Jims were small but very greasy so the flavor stuck on my lips for the rest of the walk. The three Slim Jims probably had as much meat as one Jack Links beef stick treat.  I think I prefer the beef sticks we get from Aldi, Baxter. There’s more meat and we don’t have to walk as far.  For once I agree with you Daisy. I’ll give the Food & Gas Mart one paw.  I’ll give one paw also. The Slim Jims were inexpensive which was good…  But we also got our money’s worth which wasn’t so good. 

Food & Gas Mart – 1 paw 

For lunch we checked out the Old Wisconsin beef sticks at Casey's General Store!

We took our morning nap while Kathy and Hank did their Saturday shopping and then it was back to work!  What a great job it is being a convenience store beef stick taste tester! YUM!! At noon we went to the Casey’s.  We’ve been going to the Casey’s every weekend morning. Hank gets a 74 cent refill coffee and we get Aldi beef sticks.  On the 4th we went to the Casey’s at noon and instead of Aldi beef sticks, Hank got us two Old Wisconsin beef sticks for $1.38 and since it was pretty hot he got us a cup of crushed ice with water for 15 cents.  Old Wisconsin beef sticks have more water than the Jack Links brand. That makes them taste a little on the fatty side. 

Amenites like crushed ice really made the Casey's stand out this year!

The ones we got were very fresh and the best tasting beef sticks of the day! YUM!!  I thought they were the best too. Hank was in and out of the store in seconds and the ice cold water and crushed ice was very refreshing.  There’s nothing I like better on a hot day than some crushed ice to go along with my beef stick treat! YUM!! I’m giving Casey’s four paws.  I’d like to give Casey’s four paws but I’m only giving them three because of the high price of their beef sticks. I did appreciate the crushed ice however!  I don't like judging the beef sticks on price. Maybe we should give Hank a half paw for being such a cheapskate! 

Casey's – 3 1/2 paws 

Our final stop was the Liquor Depot...

After our noon walk we took our afternoon nap and at 3pm it on to the Depot for our fourth and last beef stick taste test.  The Depot is a liquor store and a check cashing place and a convenience store three blocks down the street from where we live.  We walk past it on our three and six o’clock afternoon walks every day. Hank and Kathy hardly ever go in there because its so busy with people buying liquor… And beer… And cigarettes… And soda, candy, or groceries. One time Kathy went in there for a lottery ticket and was there for 15 minutes.  Hank went in there for beef sticks once and got stuck behind this lady having an argument with the clerk because he wouldn’t let her buy a 24 pack of Old Milwaukee with something called an EBT card.  I guess everyone got liquored up early on July 4th because there wasn’t anyone in the Depot parking lot.  I was so happy when Hank came out so quickly but then I saw he came out with two Slim Jims.  The Depot only has prepackaged Slim Jim beef stick treats. For a dollar you get two of them.  These Slim Jims were much bigger than the ones at the Food & Gas Mart but they were still pretty small.  I thought the Slim Jims were OK and I liked that we didn’t have to go out of our way. I’m giving the Depot two paws.  I’m giving the Depot one paw. My tastes are quite refined and I would like to have premium beef sticks for my treat. Plus it was still hot and the Depot didn’t have any crushed ice.  There’s no pleasing some beagles.  I prefer to think of it as a matter of basic beagle dignity but we’re getting a little off topic 

Note to Depot: Premium beef sticks and crushed ice would go a long way for a better score next year...HELLO...

The Depot – 1 1/2 paws 

Well Daisy, our 2015 convenience store beef stick contest is over and the Casey’s came back from their 2014 last place finish to win the award for 2015.  Yes. Congratulations to Casey’s for superior beef stick service, coffee that didn't make Hank sick, and amenities like crushed ice.  I wish we lived on the south side of Marshalltown instead of the north side, Daisy.  Why’s that, Baxter?  Because then we would live near the Dunkin' Donuts, McDonalds, Burger King, and Hardees!  And we could have a breakfast sandwich contest!  We could compare bacon and egg sandwiches!! YUM!! I love bacon and egg sandwiches!! YUM!!