Forgive us, Big Boy. Apologies, Tony Roma. Sorry ’bout that ride into the sunset, Ponderosa.

Yes, yes, yes, I love the Big Boy as much as anyone. Of course I had to have a photo op when I was in L.A. But I do have to be honest: it’s been many a moon (which Dr. Evil rode past in his Big Boy Rocket, of course) since I went inside a Big Boy and paid them money for something.

Why do we let the brands we love die?

If people really did love Hostess brands, we could have skipped the No-More-Twinkies jokes that, at their peak, occurred 48 times per minute around America’s office coffee makers (statistics approximated).

So what happened to all these brands in this list on Business Insider?

Generalizations are easy: they were old and irrelevant; they were upstaged by rivals; some were poorly managed, most were weak already, and the recession came along for the coup de grâce.

I’ll bet it’s more nuanced than that. They failed to recruit the young, to really keep pace with what their future customers would want as a new generation. They got a little too expensive for what they were providing, perhaps. They failed to look alive. They got stuck in dying malls. They had no social media interest and therefore no strategy. They failed to attend the details that do make a difference even though they’re boring—cleaning the sneeze guard on the salad bar and making sure the urinal mints don’t give off such a strong odor it puts people off when they’re standing at the hostess stand, that kind of stuff. [NOTE: THAT LINK THERE IS NSFW. IT’S PRETTY WONDERFUL, BUT IT’S NSFW.]

If you’re in the mood to make a comment, I’d love to see in the comment section what you think some of these places did wrong. (If there are no comments yet, hey, it’s only a matter of time—soon the flood will come. And yours will be first! Everyone will read it! …okay, enough desperate salesmanship. If I were Blimpie, this would be a perfect example of how not to act.)


  1. Blimpie signed up for its own demise when it partnered with Hess.  What once was a decent product which featured fresh sliced meats and cheeses had to be “dumbed down” to fit a convenience store labor model.  Fresh-sliced meats became pre-sliced vacuum sealed bricks to keep down the labor and workmen’s compensation costs (yes, those workers hurrying to do the work of two or more people did tend to injure themselves on the meat slicer).  The presliced problem became worse when faced with declining sales and pressure from local and regional management to show at least a 50% margin, workers would freeze the presliced meats to extend shelf life.  Quality was the last metric considered as it did not directly reflect in margins.

    1. Ignoring quality will do it every time. And it doesn’t help that there are now so many, many choices for a similar product. To be honest, also, I always found the name inescapably off-putting: I’ll go to the Bucket of Blood bar, I’m happy to show up at Fuddrucker’s if my friends will go with me, and I have no problem with irony, silliness, daring choices, catchy-for-catchy’s-sake naming and the general idea of blimps. Nor am I weightist. But I could never, ever bring myself to say, “Blimpie’s! Hey! Who wants to go with me to Blimpie’s? Blimpie’s sound good?”

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