06 February 2005

free beef

on friday, i took my car into Les Schwab, a tire store that is found all over oregon, so they could look at my back left tire, which seemed to have a slow leak (though, there were no signs of leeks. har!). i arrived at the work to a message explaining that i needed new tires. i was all sad about the several hundred dollar cost, but when i got to the tire store, everything got much better. turns out that any purchase of new tires comes with free beef during February (Free Beef Month). you get either one giant box of dried beef products (two summer sausages, one pack of beef jerky and one pack of beef sticks) or a small box of dried beef plus two types of refrigerated beef (hamburgers, chops, roasts, etc.). the thought of chosing something that could spoil sketched me out, so i went with the big box. the dreadlocked hippie girl, who was also in the shop retrieving her vehicle, looked horrified by the whole process. she was probably a vegan.

this is a brilliant promotional scheme. how could free beef be anything but genius? the folks who like beef are thrilled by free stuff; the folks who get a kick out of getting beef jerky at the tire store are so amused by the entire promotion that they forget that they just paid $400 to les schwab; the vegans and vegetarians of eugene are suitably horrified. me, my reaction was the desire to call every single person i'd ever met to tell them about the free beef. if it hasn't happened yet, it's only a matter of time before some media studies or cultural studies student writes some brilliant postmodern tract on meat, tires, the essentializing of masculinity, gender norms and road kill. you know, "Blood on the Road: Free Beef As Subtextual Gender Narrative" or something like that.


Blogger megwoo said...

This is too funny!

What I want to know is how did the beef fiesta taste?
Are you blogging from the comfort of your hospital bed, making a slow but sure recovery from food poisoning?

11:14 AM  
Blogger Deepfry said...

so far, i've only tried the beef jerky, which was incredibly salty. in fact, for all i know, it was sodium-soaked cardboard. the beef sticks and summer sausage are still, well, in the free beef box in the backseat of my car. i had to take the car back to Les Schwab (they had to realign it because they did a bad job the first time) and i was a bit embarrassed to still have the free beef in the car.

3:10 PM  
Blogger Josh said...

Wow, I totally forgot about this since I moved east. They have it in Montana, too. (Gasp! What a shock! Beef? Tires? In Montana? Most people think that's all they have. And, if you're discussing certain areas of the state, you're right.) My favorite part of that whole campaign was the clear satisfaction Les Schwab derived from offering it. In the commercials he barely speaks, just wears his cowboy hat and drives his little cart around. It's entirely likely that tires and beef are his two principal interests in life, and you've got to be happy for him given his ability to juxtapose them.

12:51 PM  
Blogger Mrs. Delicious said...

OH MY GOD! I totally remember the Free Beef!!! I can't believe they're still doing that, especially in Eugene.

11:42 AM  
Blogger Andrew said...

Hey EB: as I mentioned in our conversation on the quad but must now immortalize on your blog... as I recall, the "free beef" tradition stems from Les Schwab himself actually owning a cattle ranch near Prineville, OR.

For more about Les Schwab see this Fast Company article.

10:03 PM  
Anonymous Outlandish Josh said...

God Bless Oregon. How I miss her ramblin' wildwoods ways.

11:36 AM  

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