Spent the 4th on Lake Michigan beneath partly sunny skies reading Hemingway’s Green Hills of Africa. Over our short holiday, my companion and I sampled fried perch, chicken burritos, sushi, and drank champagne and Rum Runners. We also stopped into a local Italian grocer for espresso and pistachio gelato. For a moment, everything was right in the world.

That is America.

On our way home, we pulled into Cracker Barrel for a final meal (one of my guilty pleasures while road tripping – though, usually reserved for breakfast). We ordered southern cooking, corporate style, and were fine with it, until we made our exit through the gift shop, where, in the center of the room, corporate America hit us straight in the face with Halloween decorations. I was disgusted. Seriously. It was pure corporatism placing its bottom line over customer experience. Worse – it reminded us that summer was almost over.

That is also America.

I know, that’s what I get for entering Cracker Barrel. And, there are bigger problems out there. But, I believe this kind of corporate thinking contributes to those bigger problems, particularly when it interferes with family and friends trying to enjoy the “present”.

Further, I ordered the slow roasted BBQ ribs, with all the fixin’s, from the Sun & Summer Fun Menu, and they were out. Can someone from home office please explain the company’s inability to deliver food that is advertised on its Seasonal Menu, while its gift shop is fully stocked with items for a holiday three months off?

Actually, corporate failed twice. First; by not executing its immediate responsibility; next, by time warping me to the end of October. This, among other reasons, is why I spend 95% of my business on local products and services.

Fortunately, dear readers, there is still one month of summer remaining. There is still time to catch a flight to some exotic locale; Time to enjoy First Class treatment from the moment you arrive at the airport. Time to sip bubbly, and engage in witty conversation, with fellow travelers seeking new adventure. And, yes, there is still time to fall into summer romance. I wish you all everything August has to offer.

And, I will not return to Cracker Barrel, unless, of course, I am in need of Christmas gifts prior to Labor Day.

Happy August!

Anthony Brancaleone