Smugglers' Inn started as a theme restaurant in Blaine, Minnesota and has become, if not a legitimate advertising agency, then a viable agency alternative with two dedicated ad employees, Carol Henderson, art director and Jarl Olsen, copywriter. Read the whole saga in these posts or click the pirate to follow the entertaining tweets of our dishwasher, Pongo. Who may or may not be an orangutan.!/PongoTryHard

Friday, May 24, 2013

Found in our dumpster (the car, not the person).

Ok, our car only vaguely resembled this.  It was cut up into many rusty pieces and there was no engine or running gear.  Still, you don’t dispose of a vehicle in this manner, not even a Yugo.

Yugos, if you weren’t alive in the mid-80’s, were manufactured in the Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia.  They were supposed to appeal to Americans with less than $4,000 to spend on a new car, but later consensus was that the Reagan Administration had engineered the Yugo’s importation to quell domestic fears that The Soviet Union was only pretending to unravel.  Today, you can find the marque on every list of worst cars of all time.  Near the top.  

“Eets a Hugo,” our cook, Jorge #3 (4?), had said when he’d explained that he couldn’t dump our trash in our own dumpster because there was a car in there.   

We've been having one of those months at Smugglers’ Inn.  There had been a freak snowstorm on April 25.  Blaine,  for all its charms, is not one of our state’s winter wonderlands and by the time May rolled around,  paper trash and half-thawed dog doo were floating in an unappetizing lake that had formerly been our parking log.   Pongo, our treasured dishwasher, gave us a May Day surprise by asking for a 50% raise.  (Ha!)  On May 4, we learned that we officially did not win the Arby’s business.  OK, Smugglers' Inn is several sizes too small for a McDonald’s or Burger King, but Arby’s is a tax write-off for the Blackstone Group.  While the brief didn’t come right out and say it, it was understood that Arby’s agency of record would be tasked with just making it look like someone ate there.  We could have done that.  But no!  Now we have all this great work for a roast beef sandwich with avocado on a bagel that will probably never see the light of day.  Thank heaven, we took the precaution of copyrighting the name, “Texajewfornia”; we may still get reimbursed for our time yet.

“Can I take eet, boss?”  Jorge had asked. “Chew don’ wan a Hugo, do you, all busted up like that?” 

Jorge wanted every splintered table, dented light fixture and wheel-less bakery rack that Smugglers’Inn tossed out.  I don’t know what he did with all of it; the man lived in a trailer.

“Jorge,” I told him, “the only thing I want is my dumpster back.  Take her.  Go with god.”

Jorge made a call and in short order, a boy in a wispy mustache who looked all of fourteen appeared driving a battered pickup truck with makeshift plywood sides.  He and Jorge formed a 2-person bucket brigade and transferred all but the heaviest part from the dumpster into the back of the pickup truck.  Pongo came out and helped them load up the rear axel.  (Maybe the guy does deserve a raise.)

And like that, the bad thing was gone.

There are people you can call to take away your dirty laundry or your fallen tree—or your fallen relative.  We employ a security service whose uniformed employees can escort unruly drunks from our bar and place them in cabs.  There are even people who will come and take a disassembled Eastern European car out of your dumpster.   But who do you call to remove a month?”

I muse on this as I walk back into the restaurant and whatever fresh hell awaits me inside.  There are bright spots on the horizon, I remind myself.  We have a new bar manager coming on board and we’re expecting another ad assignment (finally!) from our old friend, Tours Abroad.   We’ll just gut out the last week and change of May and then we’ll be into June.  June is a good month.  June is June.

In the meantime, I’m sending Pongo to the mall to buy a padlock for the dumpster.  A big one.

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