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Old 07-15-2012, 09:02 AM   #1
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2005 28' International CCD
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Travel Swag: Chil-fil-a's Crazy Great Condiment Buffet

Dear Friends,

This is the Airstreamer-formerly-known-as-JBSVirginia. I'm changing my user name into something with more character and to coincide with a new blog I'm starting on my adventures as an Airstream Dad. Here's a link to the new blog, if it's of interest: airstreamdad | One Dad's Adventures in an Airstream Travel Trailer

I have just two posts up, but thought I'd share today's, on a highly useful lunch visit to Chik-Fil-A. I hope it's useful!

Fellow Travelers and Airstreamers,

Today’s post is the first in an anticipated series I’m titling “Travel Swag.” ”Swag,” as most of you probably know, is an acronym for “Stuff We All Get.” I first encountered the expression as a business development executive attending conferences and trade shows and receiving branded Tschokes in exhibit hall booths. The “Swag” term is now generally referred to in any situation where free stuff is handed out to all comers. Often, one can receive a gift bag, AKA “Swag bag.”

Travel Swag is what I’m calling the free stuff obtained out in the world that is useful to us as business travelers, adventurers, and family travelers, in particular for those of you on the road car camping and RV’ing. On to today’s “find.”

Travel Swag Vol. I

Chik-fil-a’s Crazy Great Condiment Buffet

This fast food chain is well known for it’s good chicken sandwiches, waffle fries, and nutritious kids meals. The drive through is convenient, but stopping in an actual location can have several benefits, especially on the road: a break from driving, often a play zone with climbing structure for the kids, free WiFi.

But when recently visiting a Chik-fil-a in nearby Chantilly, Virginia, I discovered what was possibly the best fast food condiment section I’ve ever seen, fully stocked with items to not only enhance your in-store dining experience but to equip your business travel day-bag, car camping cooking kit, trailer cupboard, and even your purse or briefcase with useful essentials. Here’s a shot of what I’m calling the “condiment buffet:”

I had noticed nice swag at other Chik-fil-a locations but never one this huge. You actually can’t see in this photo the three baskets to the left on the encounter featuring three additional items they set out. But here’s a snapshot of the items I found in the buffet:

A total of eleven separate highly useful items in convenient single-size servings, perfect for the road. These were:
  • Separately wrapped plastic fork, spoon, and knife
  • Mayonnaise (which I keep in a cup in my Airstream fridge, beats keeping a big container of regular Mayo that is used infrequently and can spoil)
  • French’s yellow mustard packet
  • Texas Pete Hot Sauce packet (very useful for business travel to spark up an otherwise boring in-flight omelette, potatoes, or other meal)
  • Splenda, white sugar, salt, pepper packets (yes, available everywhere)
  • Heinz “Dip & Squeeze” ketchup packet. These were new to me perhaps because I hadn’t been in Chik-fil-a often, but this nice design allows you to either tear off the end and squeeze out the contents or rip the top off and dip fries, etc. Very handy! Ditto on storage in fridge, no need for big container
  • Purell santizing hand wipe, one wipe. Universally useful across multiple travel applications. Doubly useful for the kids.
  • Small condiment cup of cheerios! My kids are out of the high chair cheerios years, but for those still in it, very nice! Quick snack for the car for the shrieking fourteen month old that needs a quick distraction
  • After-dinner Mint. To cleanse the palate of chicken-pickle taste or otherwise freshen your breath while on the road (business meetings, etc.)

While technically a purchase, I also liked the Mercer Mayer Little Critter book included in the kids meal, along with a nice plastic place mat, also useful reused in the trailer dinette.

So there you have it, my first Travel Swag post on the Chik-fil-a condiment buffet. One note of caution: let’s not take advantage of the nice Chik-fil-a service by grabbing handfuls of this stuff on the way out (especially if not dining there), lest they move them behind the counter or restrict the offering. My personal policy is to enjoy a meal with my wife and kids, then, as needed, perhaps grab 2-3 each of useful items on the way out.

Cheers, and happy traveling,

The Airstream Dad
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