Attn: Jack (or any other Big-Wig at Jack’s Salsa)
Garden Fresh Salsa, Inc.
I love your salsa more than any tomato-based product I know of. Jack’s Garden Fresh Gourmet Salsa practically makes the tortilla chip irrelevant. My chip becomes the mere medium for more salsa. The onions, peppers, garlic, and cilantro are as well-balanced as the forces of Nature that hold electrons to their atomic orbit. When I open a carton, it is gone in two sittings. Some days, it is gone in one. I eat Special Medium as if it were the Elixir of Life. I eat the stuff until my stomach feels like rabid badgers are trying to escape its confines. I love Jack’s so much, I will eat it with a friggin’ spoon.
So it was a harsh blow when I arrived at Kroger the other day and saw my favorite Jack’s Special Salsa pushed to the back of the refrigerator. A tall row of Kroger’s generic, black-labeled Private Selection “Garden Salsa” now formed a protective wall against my Jack’s. I was shocked. I was… confused.
You see, Jack’s made a profound impact on my life. Your salsa restored my faith in the principles of capitalism. After my first mouthful, I began to think: Is a free market society really so bad when it allows any individual with sufficient skill in tomato-dicing and cilantro-sprinkling to rise above Pace and Taco Bell, to carve a niche for himself in this dog-eat-dog world?
Communists wouldn’t stand for that kind of success story. In China or North Korea, we would all eat bland, government-produced tomato paste with a white label that reads: SALSA. We wouldn’t have a choice.
Not so in America. Finally, I thought, I don’t have to choose between Chunky Crap and Poopy Paste. I have a viable culinary option—and at a Kroger’s chain, of all places!
Now, I’m not so sure. I see these cartons of knock-off fresh salsa, and grow pessimistic about the future of our great nation. What good is the freedom to excel at your trade—to make the best damn salsa this side of the Rio Grande (and for all I know, this side of the moon)—if some faceless corporation can just copy your product, undercut your prices, and drive you out of the market using your own idea against you?! I mean, I’m no hater of healthy competition, but this Private Selection Soilent Green is crossing the line!
Then I thought, maybe I should buy some and see if it is as good as Jack’s. It is a free market, after all. Private Selection is a bit cheaper. What if the Kroger recipe is an improvement? On the other hand, I thought, maybe I should hurl every last carton across the store, screaming: “Den of thieves! Brood of Vipers!!”
I just bought the last cartons of Jack’s Wild Mild instead. I took it home and ate in sadness. Perhaps this would be the last time. Since then I have found the Jack’s Special Medium back in stock, albeit side-by-side with Satan’s Selection Socialist Salsa.
My question for you, Jack: How can you stand for this? Can’t you send them a “Cease and Desist” letter, demanding they stop biting your style? Is there nothing you can do?
(Granted, unless Jack is a Mexican name and you are a hombre whose towering sombrero blocks out the Michigan sun, I suppose you must owe some credit where credit is due. But hell, I’m sure you employ some immigrants in your factory. Probably give piles of cash to Mexican-American charities or something, right? Viva la Jacko!)
More importantly, is there anything I can do to help you overcome this box-store Leviathan? Should I write to my local Congressman or the Kroger CEOs? Should I mail them gag packages that explode salsa into their pink faces? Should I organize boycotts and mass protests outside their stores? They are destroying America and souring my taco, man!!
Or have they bought you out? Has Jack—that swashbuckling hero of free enterprise—been gored by the saber of financial temptation? Have you sold your salsa soul to the corporate goons? Tell me it isn’t so!
Nah, that couldn’t be so. So long as there is a tomato in your field, I am sure that you will stand behind your Jack’s Special Medium salsa, Pace Picante be damned!
Tell me what must be done, Jack. I need your salsa—you need your ‘fridge space. Should I buy all of the Private Selection and throw it away? Or should I just keep buying your delicious product, keeping faith that the Justice of God and His confounding Universe will keep the good in the cooler, and put the bad out of business (or better still, burn them all in Hell!!)?
You just let me know, Jack. I’m your man. You always have a friend down here in Tennessee.
Peace, Love, and Cilantro,
[This letter was put in the mailbox on January 11, 2010. After waiting weeks for a response, I sent an email. After a few more weeks with no answer, I posted this online. Within an hour, I recieved a response from representative Bob Perrye in my comments section, which can be read here.]