Utah Coffee Expressions Review

Utah Coffee Expressions gave me a taste of what they had to offer and then left me wanting more. The sampler pack they sent me set the table, but it didn’t serve the appetizer, let alone the main course. My particular preference leans more towards full sized products than samples. The frustration I felt towards this sample has more to do with me being fussy than anything this company did or could have done differently. I like to have enough experience with a type of coffee to be able to talk about it without straining for the right sentiments. 

I have had the opportunity to try several types of coffee from Utah. For a state that might be thought of as the opposite of a coffee contender, they carry their weight and deliver many quality brands. Getting through the list of companies from this state has been quite the journey. I will give Utah Coffee Expressions credit though. They replied to me in a timely manner and were more than happy to fulfill my request. I didn’t expect their package to arrive so quickly. To my surprise, it landed in my mailbox before I had a chance to wonder when it was coming.

The best kind of coffee is one that has a lot going on. It’s the kind of coffee that beckons for you to drink it before you ever even pour a cup. Many varieties of coffee fall flat before they have a chance to deliver on their promises. This coffee is not one of them. It’s bold, but not so bold that it will overwhelm the average coffee drinker. 

I love it when coffee goes down easy. You’re able to breeze through it without having to worry about any hiccups in the roast slowing your journey. I had that experience with each cup of Utah Coffee Expressions coffee.

I will add Utah Coffee Expressions to the list of destinations of coffee haunts in my area. I want to meet the people whose coffee fueled so many pleasant evenings. Trying a certain variety is one thing. Meeting the people responsible for that coffee is something else entirely.

I can’t help but want to develop relationships with the coffee producers near me. I’m in their backyard. As a person who writes about coffee, I feel compelled to put them at the top of my list.

Utah Coffee Expressions, if you’re reading this, let’s talk soon.

Mary Kay Cosmetics: My Experience

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Recently, my wife signed up to be a consultant with Mary Kay Cosmetics and, as with any other project, we planned to do it together. The only experience I’ve had with pyramid schemes…I mean “multi-level marketing companies” (or MLMs)…came when my mom dabbled in Amway and Avon in the 90’s. Those experiences were fleeting and I had little insight into the inner workings of these businesses because I was so young. I thought that times and changed and modern day MLMs had a model similar to the relationship companies have with their affiliates on the internet. I thought that the people who were doing all the work (the consultants) to sell the products got to set the tempo and Mary Kay stood back, empowering them every step of the way. I’m a fool.

With MLMs, there’s always a catch. When I say catch, I mean the part of an MLM’s business model that tips the scales in their favor and creates a relationship that feeds off the person who’s caught and only benefits the MLM. Some of them reveal their catch sooner than others. Some of them hide their catch under all sorts of industry language and sales gibberish to soften the blow and pretend there isn’t a catch. I’m here to tell you there’s always a catch. If you decide that going into business with an MLM is the right thing for you, keep an eye out for it.

I thought that my wife and I could create a scenario where she pitched products to people while directing people to the online portal I managed. While she was covering things in our area, I would take to the internet and act like an ambassador to the brand, singing their praises and slinging their products. We wouldn’t have to dump all sorts of money into it and, when each product was sold, Mary Kay and my wife and I would benefit. Win-win, right? Wrong!

My delusion came crashing down when the person that signed up the person who introduced my wife to Mary Kay started talking about inventory. Apparently, Mary Kay practically requires all their clients to invest thousands in inventory. And there was the catch. Mary Kay does not care about their consultants. How much an individual consultant sells is irrelevant to them because they’ve already gotten paid. A consultant could strike out and sell nothing and Mary Kay would still line their pockets. The whole thing made me feel gross.

We decided that Mary Kay was not for us the moment they started to twist our arm to buy inventory. It made no sense for me to invest tons of money into something when I had zero clients. I would have not been able to recoup my investment for a long time. Who buys stuff from people who are embroiled in an MLM’s nonsense? Chances are that group of individuals is already being served by other people who are stuck with an MLM. I would have zero chance getting their business unless I started to get unethical and take business away from other consultants. As the reality of my bad investment would become more apparent, desperation would set in. My sales pitch would turn dishonest and my support system would get tired of it.

Are you thinking of doing business with Mary Kay? If you are, stop it.

There are so many better ways to spend your time and money.

Getting Past Gatekeepers to Contact Corporations 

There’s something about corporate juggernauts that gets my blood pumping. On one hand, I am reluctant to get on board with their ham handed tactics that suppress innovation and competition. On the other hand, there’s a mystique to some of them that’s all sorts of intriguing. There are some corporations I do not like, but I continue to give them business because of convenience and what other people in my life want at that particular moment. I plan to cozy up to a few of them that have my attention and business. Perhaps we can become friends. Who knows.

I do not like the fact that corporations are practically unreachable when you attempt to contact them. They have gatekeepers upon gatekeepers preventing anyone other than a few people from gaining access to decision makers. This is something that’s unacceptable and needs to change. I regularly bypass gatekeepers and contact the right people directly. This approach often backfires, leaving me forced to deal with the gatekeepers because the decision makers kicked my message back out. Being the persistent fellow I am, I wear down the gatekeepers until they have no choice but to open the floodgates.

Writing to someone who can do something is one thing. Getting a response from that person is something else entirely. I often lose track of how many emails I’ve sent that I know are read, but I’m left without any response. These aren’t emails that lack calls to action either. I could ask several questions and include multiple calls to action and still receive no response. Why is happens is beyond me. I personally respond to all my emails. Sometimes it takes me longer than I’d care to admit. I get around to it eventually. I would feel bad if I left an email unanswered, especially if it was one a person spent a long time writing.

Anyone who ignores emails should not have an email address. The corporate people who are guilty of this behavior should put their gatekeepers in charge of responding to their emails. All that gatekeepers do is send off form letters anyway. The least they could do is dust off their fingers and write an actual sincere response to a customer. I fear that such a gesture would cause the fabric of space and time to tear at the seams. Perhaps it’s just better to keep up the illusion of actual work being done.

Did You Go to the Wilshire Theatre?

The Wilshire Theatre was a movie palace that stood and entertained many from 1968 to 1998 in Ogden, Utah. I do not recall whether I went to this theater in my youth. I mostly became aware of its existence when doing research for my campaign to save the Cinedome 70. Since the moment I became aware of it, it has been the focus of many of my thoughts. I keep coming back to it because of the lack of information that’s available. In the age where there’s a hundred high resolution photos depicting every angle of everything, the only pictures that are available are grainy images ripped out of the newspaper.

I refuse to believe that a theater can be in a community for 30 years and leave such a small paper trail. I plan on starting a Facebook page much like the one I created for the Cinedome. Granted, it will be more of a memorial page than anything else since the theater has been gone for two decades. I want to find stories and pictures, giving this great establishment the afterlife it deserves. I’m tired of seeing former pillars of the community being lost in the abyss of history.

I would love to go back to the days when movie theaters were personal. The people who ran them knew you by name. You didn’t have to take out a second mortgage to pay for tickets and concessions. I hate going to the movies now because it seems like they don’t care. Large, impersonal theaters with unnecessarily loud sound systems packed to the brim with inconsiderate ruffians. Our movie viewing experience is this way because we wanted it. We were fooled by the glitz and glamour of the multiplexes. Little did we know that we’d have nothing but multiplexes in a few short years.

Why does everything we used to love end up sucking? The Wilshire Theatre is not the only theater that has fallen victim to the multiplexes over the years. It surely won’t be the last. I’m saddened at the fact that it’s impossible to find any information about certain things. More people need to tell stories of places like the Wilshire. Maybe then we might have a shot of restoring the world of the movie houses and leaving behind the scourge of corporate influence. Corporations control everything. I wish they would leave the world of cinema alone.

Antidote Review

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Antidote is the skilled purveyor of chocolate bars of many varieties. I tried three of them and each was very unique and bold tasting. I enjoy trying chocolate bars because they open me up to so many things I might not have previously thought were possible in this genre of treats. I also like chocolate bars because they showcase the considerable amount of effort the companies who made them put in to set their bars apart from the rest.

Another way of thinking of the bars from Antidote would be like thinking of a high intensity thriller movie. One of those movies that really makes you think about every possible aspect of what’s going on. You watch them so closely that you feel like you can practically see through them. You feel like you know what happened before your eyes until you pop it in again and find a laundry list of stuff you meet. You might not think that chocolate could produce the same experience, but that’s probably because you haven’t tried stuff like what’s coming from Antidote.

Perhaps I am speaking in terms that are too grandiose for the usual conversation about chocolate. I don’t know why that has to be the case though. We should be able to talk about chocolate in whatever terms we like, even if those terms seem like they’re dissimilar to the ones that other people are using. We are all individuals and the experiences we share are interpreted within the lenses each of us deploy to see the world. We might feel like we’re unique because we have felt certain things and that’s okay; however, the reality of our current existence makes this impossible. All that matters is that we express the way we’re feeling in the best way that works for us.

I know that I am going to enjoy the remainder of the Antidote bars I have in my possession. I plan to break them into all their different pieces and then sample each piece individually. I am well aware that this process will be time consuming; however, I have a feeling it will lead to a lot of inspiration. Perhaps I will be able to turn this inspiration into something. Perhaps there will be another post about Antidote coming down the pipeline. I don’t know what’s coming. I can tell you that it will be interesting.

Drink Tanks Review 

Drink Tanks produces drink containers that are capable of withstanding a natural disaster and coming out the other side intact and filled with your favorite hot or cold beverage.

I tested their 64 and 128 ounce models over the course of a few weeks. I put both hot and cold drinks in them and tried to see how long they would last before they would lose their heat or become warm. Let me be the first to tell you that Drink Tanks delivers on everything it claims.

The 128 ounce model is intimidating in its size and the amount of liquid it can hold. I enjoyed taking this behemoth with me when I’d go out and about all day. I was able fill it with more than enough liquid to last me through the day. This thing is so big that it didn’t even move in my car. All I had to do was prop it up against a seat and it didn’t move once.

The 64 ounce model was impressive because it took what’s great about the 128 ounce model and put it in a more portable package. This tankard came in handy on shorter trips to the park or other journeys where space was limited in my car. I plan to make this unit a regular part of my travels.

I have only one complaint about the two tankards from Drink Tanks. The mechanism on the top of each tank is kind of dicey. You have to apply a considerable amount of force to get it to close. As you’re applying this pressure, it feels like the entire apparatus could fall apart at any moment. Plus, you make so much noise trying to get the lid on. 

I can’t complain too much though. Drink Tanks knows what they’re doing. They make great products to help every worldly traveler go forth into the world with their favorite drink in hand. That’s an admirable thing. We all have drinks on which we like to depend in our lives. It’s good to know there’s a company that’s making sure none of us go without.

You could try a million containers from a million companies or you could come to grips with the fact that you need a drink container that’s as tough as you are. Drink Tanks has the containers that will check all the boxes and leave you satisfied in the process.

Let’s Drive Down to Dee’s! Dee’s Drive-In – Utah and Beyond

Dee’s Drive-In locations were a fixture throughout the state of Utah for nearly five decades. Towards the end of the 1970’s, the family sought to change its business model away from drive-ins to sit down family restaurants. The chain was sold to Hardee’s around that time. Based on my research, it doesn’t appear that the land on which any of the Dee’s Drive-Ins stood is involved with any fast food restaurant. I will be looking at each former location individually to see what it is now. I’m not ruling anything out. Any help to fill out the location list would be amazing.

I’ve lived in Utah for most of my life and I just barely heard about Dee’s Drive-In. I went to Dee’s Family Restaurants, but I never knew they were once a drive-in burger chain. 

I performed a search of Standard Examiner’s archives stretching back to 2001. I turned up one article. One article about Dee’s Drive-Ins in nearly two decades. The article itself wasn’t even about the chain. It was about an artist who created sculptures representing various Utah icons. Dee’s Drive-Ins were included on the list for being so iconic that the article in question was its only mention in the press in 20 years.

I know that a chain that hasn’t been around for 35 years is the exact opposite of what people think of when they think of news. I’m not saying that every Utah media outlet should cover Dee’s Drive-Ins ad nauseam. What I am saying is that one of them might have thought to cover this chain more than once since 2001. 

I will give the Salt Lake Tribune. They put out a “Whatever Happened To” profile on Dee’s Drive-In a little while back. While I appreciate the fact that this article exists, it is very dry and too brief. Topics get touched on, but not enough is done to expound on them. You’re left wanting more, but the stories end with those threads waiting to be pulled. I will not repeat a lot of the information the article presented. If I do, it will only be in an introduction to an article that expounds on it.

By the end of this series, we will all have a record of Dee’s Drive-In that’s so comprehensive that it will stand as the definitive resource on the subject. As always, any help people could provide is much appreciated. Email me at allenglines@gmail if you have anything to add.