This past week, shockwaves were sent across the Internet when images appeared on a handful of websites depicting the KFC Double Down Sandwich. The images showed a "sandwich" where the bread had been replaced with two fried chicken fillets. The ads also boasted that the sandwich contained something called "Colonel's Sauce." Since then commentators have been angrily shaking their fists at the sky, cursing the god that would allow such an affront to decency to exist.
As the Internet's preeminent voice on fried meals, Cracked.com obviously had to find out what this sandwich was all about. And as Cracked's foremost "columnist with no outstanding warrants," I was the only one capable of crossing state lines to do this--a necessary step, as the Double Down Sandwich is only available in select test markets. When it became clear I'd have to travel to land this scoop, and after Cracked Editor-in-Chief Jack O'Brien agreed to pay absolutely none of my expenses, I decided I might as well go full bore, and visit KFC's corporate headquarters in Kentucky: The so called "Sleeping In Your Car State."
When I arrived at KFC Headquarters, I showed them my business card and several back issues of
magazine, and then explained what exactly Cracked
magazine was, and then maybe lied a bit to make us sound more influential in the poultry industry. My bona fides established, I was granted an interview with Senior Vice President of Product Development Frank Bryant. A cheerful receptionist ushered me into a meeting room where I was told to wait for Mr. Bryant. While cooling my heels, I admired several paintings depicting chickens dressed in business attire and sitting around in office settings; making phone calls, taking stenography, that sort of thing. Shortly thereafter, Mr. Bryant entered the room and introduced himself, insisting I call him Frank. Standing by the window overlooking the KFC campus, I launched into my list of questions.
"What is the deal with the Double Down Sandwich?" I asked, shooting my wad immediately.
Frank laughed. "I thought you'd ask about that. I'll be happy to tell you." A strange look came over his eyes then, like a great weight had just settled upon him. "I can also arrange a tasting for you, if you wish?" I indicated I'd appreciate that, and he made a quick phone call. Hanging up the phone, he turned to me, took a breath and began speaking.
"A couple years ago, KFC Corporation was in really bad shape. Growth had stalled, and even reversed in some markets. Some restaurant sales were way down. We were getting hammered in the press, especially on health issues. And on the flip side of the coin, we were getting squeezed by competitors offering triple stacked burgers with two types of bacon, cheese flavored mayonnaise and so forth. So we were starting to lose the 'Experienced Eater' market as well."
I started dutifully writing all of that down, but soon discovered I couldn't write that fast. I angled my notebook away from him and faked it. In fact a lot of what he said in the previous paragraph is completely made up. Sorry.
He continued. "It was around this time that we were coming up with some of our worst ideas."
I nodded. "You're talking about the Famous Bowl."
"Yes, the Famous Bowl." He shook his head and stared at his feet. I gritted my teeth, then stepped forward, slapping him as hard as I could. I think I left my feet.
His head recoiled from my blow, and he stumbled backwards, knocked off balance. He rubbed his jaw, staring at me while he regained his composure. "Thank you," he finally said.
After a moment's pause, Frank continued his story. "After a while, a new vice president, recently transferred from our European division, offered an unusual solution. His name was Mannheim Fritzpain, and he observed that for the past 20 years KFC had been chasing trends instead of setting them. Sometimes this strategy worked, sometimes it didn't; but it always meant we would be behind the curve. Fritzpain observed that the only time in our company's history when we were groundbreaking was in the early years, after the Colonel perfected his original recipe. Back then, no one had ever seen anything like it. We changed the world."
"So this guy suggested a new groundbreaking direction for the company? Like the Double Down Sandwich?"
"No, he suggested reanimating the corpse of Colonel Sanders."
A rush of blood to my head. A buzzing sound in my ears. I felt dizzy.
"Our European division has a weird history. Lot's of...." he waved his hands around searchingly, "...former Nazi scientists. For lack of a better word." He leaned back and adjusted himself in his seat. "Feel free to report that incidentally, no one will believe you."
I reminded him about the