The Beanstalk


by David N. Townsend


January 6, 1998
11:00 AM

Prosperity for all

All right, slackers. I've given you nearly a week to find this page and add it to your daily routine. I hope the eggnog has cleared from your heads by now.

So as a service to my new legion of loyal readers, today the Beanstalk offers Ideas, which you are free to steal, borrow, or emulate in any manner you choose, as long as you give me credit. Not credit as in "it was Dave's idea," but credit as in "Hey, Dave, here's a $1-million Visa card with your name on it and I'll pay the bill."

  1. Freshness Dating for Underwear.

How many times have you pulled a grimy, torn pair of boxers or panties out of the drawer and said, "whoa!" Then you turn to your mate and say, "Honey, I really have to get some new underwear." This, of course, is an unmistakeable signal that the Honeymoon is over.

But the bigger problem is, you never seem to get around to buying that new supply. Somehow, those shorts that made it through college laundry rooms and public laundromats are still hanging around in your hamper, and show up back in the drawer, available for last resort use when everything else is, shall we say, soiled.

The solution is Freshness Dating. Doesn't the "best if used by" date on the package of Wonder Bread or Velveeta cause you to throw them out more readily if they're still in the fridge after the date has passed? (Okay, bad examples, those are both made of styrofoam and don't get stale, but you know what I mean.)

Now if you pulled an old pair of Calvin Kleins out of the laundry pile and saw that the label said, "best if used by January 1, 1992," wouldn't you finally find the strength to toss them in the rag pile?

It would be a great boon for the Underwear industry. They'd sell a lot more new underpants to slobs like us who figure nobody can see what's underneath, even if our mother did warn us that we might get in an accident, and the ER surgeons might laugh so hard that they couldn't operate because of the holes in our underwear (I missed that episode of ER, by the way, but it must have been a ratings winner, what with all the I-told-you-so mothers watching).

  1. Fascist Food Franchises

I've actually had this idea since the 1980s. Let's face it, your average Nazi, Skinhead, or terrorist just doesn't feel comfortable walking into a Burger King or McDonalds filled with people he is sworn to exterminate. But he gets hungry just the same, and dried Spam may spur romantic thoughts of life after Armageddon, but you can't eat gourmet every day. The same goes for Wonder Bread and Velveeta.

So what better way to cash in on the lunatic fringe than to offer them their own custom-designed eateries? That's right, fascist food franchises. They could be built to look like bunkers, with bullet-proof drive-thru windows, and surveillance cameras that show the employees to the customers, rather than the other way around. Servers could be dressed to look like hostages, so the customers could feel at home placing orders: "Get me a drink, slave!" When you pay for the food, to avoid feeling like you're giving money to the capitalist swine, there could be a fake Uzi, with a little slot where you stick the bills and coins, then you aim it right at the cashier and pull the trigger. Best of all, when you get your change back, they have to get down on their knees and pretend like they're paying you.

And the menu selections? The possibilities are endless: Grilled Imperialist Dogs. Fried French. Ayatollah Cola. A cup of hot Quadoffee. Chicken Fingers could take on a whole new meaning. Everything cooked in Castro Oil, naturally.

The name of the franchise? I've always been partial to Burger Führer.


Okay, those are my two big ideas for today. I'll let you know when I come up with some more. And I don't want to hear about any fighting among you all over who gets to get rich off these ideas. I want you to work together and share, okay?

See you soon.


© 1998 David N. Townsend

The Beanstalk grows out of my head, so to speak, but I welcome
any seeds that readers may wish to plant.  Just as long as you don't use
too much fertilizer.  Send me your comments, ideas, drool, at
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