19 January 2009

Corporate Responsibility

Perhaps if some other companies took a page from this book, there would not be quite the crisis we find ourselves in today.

If you received a sub-par sandwich of pastrami this last week, Ken and I would like to extend our sincere apologies. Let me explain.

Tuesday we discovered a part on our smoker was broken. We fixed it after making a large batch of pastrami. We didn't realize it had resulted in meat cooked at a lower temperature than normal, leaving many pieces unacceptably chewy. Unfortunately, most of our customers were too polite to complain and we didn't fully comprehend the extent of the problem until this weekend. Over several days, as many as a quarter of our pastrami sandwiches may have been rubbery.

We would like to assure you we have spent many hours over the weekend working with our staff to prevent this from ever happening again, instituting procedures and working with them to better recognize unacceptable pastrami and avoid serving it.

If you purchased a pastrami sandwich over the last few days and felt it was sub-par, I would like to give you a free sandwich to make up for our mistake. Please bring in a receipt or some other proof of purchase, and we will humbly help you forget your previous bad experience. I know that some of you may not have a receipt. If you felt you received chewy pastrami this last week, call or email me and I will try to make it up to you somehow.

You may have recommended a friend or family member try us this last week. You may have overheard someone at the office complain about their meal here. Please pass along our apologies and offer of recompense. We want to hear from them and let them know that what they got was not our best and not what they can expect in the future if they give us another try.

Thank you for understanding. Once again, our sincere apologies. We will send out a normal email soon, but for now, we just want to say we're sorry.

Nick "Zuke" Zukin
Ken "Kenny" Gordon

At the risk of sounding like a DFH, "small is beautiful."

While it may seem like a spurious analogy to compare pastrami sandwiches to home mortgage loans, if banks had known early that a significant proportion of their loans might fail and took action -- and accepted the possible loss of profit -- the financial crisis would not be as broad or as deep as it currently is.

Maximization of profit for the short term creates a "extraction mentality" that is unsustainable, in either business or natural resource management. If learning from a sandwich shop is how to learn sustainability, so be it.

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