Open Letter to Jack’s Salsa

Attn: Jack (or any other Big-Wig at Jack’s Salsa)
Garden Fresh Salsa, Inc.
Ferndale, MI
48220

Dear Jack,

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,

—Joseph Allen

[This letter was put in the mailbox on January 11, 2010.  I am still waiting for my reply.]

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12 Responses to Open Letter to Jack’s Salsa

  1. Bob Perrye says:

    Hey JoeBot,

    I just saw your post and love it.

    Kroger is a great customer of ours and I has been a strong supporter for many years. At the same time Kroger likes to offer “store brand items” to compete with brand and as a means to create items that they feel consumers can only pick up at their stores. Nice concept, but as you well know there is truly on one Garden Fresh Salsa!

    The best thing that you can do is keep buying the Garden Fresh Salsa and spreading the word to all of your friends and family. It truly is the nations best salsa.

    We appreciate your feedback.

    Best regards,

    Bob Perrye
    Garden Fresh Salsa

    PS – I did like the mental picture of you picking up the private selection salsa and hurling it against the wall, but I really wouldn’t recommend it.

    Peace, Love & Cilantro

  2. The JoeBot says:

    I have waited for this day for so long. Some people crave the attention of pop stars. Being a roadie, I couldn’t give a fuck about the attention of pop stars.

    All I needed was some validation, some sign that my hero Jack or one of his cohorts had heard the joyful noise that I make unto his salsa. I am happy to say, that day has finally come.

    Now I don’t have to switch to Margaritaville Salsa–which knocks off both Jack’s and Jimmy Buffet.

    Rock on, Jack (or…err…Bob.) May your salsa burn the gullets of the world!

  3. Kudzu Bob says:

    And after all that, they never did send you a case of the stuff, did they?

    Such rank Philistinism would never be tolerated in Europe. Over there they understand that the struggling artiste must needs have something to put on his corn chip.

  4. jerry thompson says:

    i could not agree more. I found Jacks at Costco and Piggly Wiggly at the coast. Well the cost is about 300 miles away. Costco has now stopped carrying Jacks. I have complained at the store and written the company to have zero luck. I then found it at Bloom to only have them drop it. I think some simple taste test in stores would create a following. I ow am not aware of any chaid near me where I can purchase. Please let me know if there is a source in the greenville South carolia area. Or i would buy direct by the case if possible. My email is jerrythompsonbus@aol.com

    • Alyson Johnson says:

      It was a dark day when I discovered Costco no longer sold Jack’s Salsa. It is the best! Harris Teeter sells it if you have one of those in your area. Best of luck!

  5. Brandon says:

    I like your letter JoeBot and agree with you that it is the best salsa ever. I first tried it years ago in Troy, MI. Minutes later I called the company and spoke to a man (maybe it was Bob). I told Him I enjoyed the product so much I wanted to sell it . . .come to work for him. He did not know quite what to make of me. I wish I would have pushed a little harder, or maybe I could have offered to work for free until they could afford to pay me. What a success story.

  6. Brandon says:

    BTW – My offer to work there still stands as I am sure that there is much more success in the making.

  7. Rachel says:

    I’ve never heard of Jack’s salsa here under my rock, but feel compelled to try it now.

  8. WireDog says:

    Joe,

    Loved your missive. I totally agree. I bought a small tub of the aforementioned elixir yesterday for the first time at about 5pm from an out of the way supermarket. By six thirty I was standing alone in my kitchen twitching like a crack addict “pinkying” the edges of the empty container. I was very distraught to find out that my local grocery does not carry it. HELP!!

  9. Karerenea says:

    I am in Minneapolis and have a Costco membership for one thing: Jacks Special Salsa. I could not believe my eyes when . . . (basically same as JoeBot’s experience and I could not say it any more eloquently) Jacks disappeared. I found two last containers hiding behind some new replacement look alike brand named “Santa Barbara” something or other. I snatched up the two Jacks running to the check out line demanding to know what was going on. The checkout gal apathetically stated “We rotate brands. It’s not coming back.”

    Weeks later I found a much smaller tub at a local grocery store but I swear it tastes different. It tastes like it has some sort of preservative in it. Does it?

  10. Korey says:

    I worked at Costco at the time Jack’s vanished, and it was an incredibly sad day. Ever since then, I’ve tried nearly every brand of salsa I could find, hoping that I might enjoy it, but I honestly can’t even enjoy the chip and salsa experience anymore. I’ve been forced to switch to pita and hummus. Does anybody know where I can find this heavenly creation in the Las Vegas area?

  11. Salsa Connoisseur says:

    Kroger’s “Private Selection – Medium” is exactly the same as Garden Fresh Jack’s Special Medium…enjoy the cost savings. It’s simply private labeled by Garden Fresh.

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