Food This Exit...
Each time I pass a sign similar to this on Highway 63 at the AC Exit, I envision the PJP logo pointing our customers to our location a mere three miles from the highway. And finally, today I took the time to figure out just how to make it happen.
I started my quest on the Missouri Department of Transportation website and searched for information...finding none (likely because I didn't really know what I was looking for...do they call it "food exit" signs?). There is a lot of information about "adopting a highway" and while I'm supportive of community service, I'll pass on picking up cigarette butts, soda cups, soiled diapers, and whatever else people throw out on the side of the road. (Though major props to people nice enough to participate in the program...way way way nicer than me).
Frustrated, I filled out the quick contact form on the MoDOT website and when I clicked submit, I guessed that a response would come about as quickly as it takes the transportation department to finally widen Interstate 70 through Boone County (i.e. NEVER). So imagine my surprise when an email arrives in my inbox 12 minutes later. And not an automated response...an actual email from an actual human at MoDOT (let's all pretend that all the dollars we pay in sales tax and transportation tax made that human response possible). The email included a link to the company that makes and manages those signs - Missouri Interstate Logos (http://www.missouri.interstatelogos.com/state/home.aspx).
Is this the part where you think I'm going to say the process is seamless and you should expect to see the PJP logo on a sign near you in the immediate future? HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHHA. Turns out, we don't even qualify to be on the sign. Of course.
To be eligible, you need:
- To be in continuous operation 12 hours a day;
- Serve two meals a day, seven days a week;
- Provide restroom facilities for the traveling public;
- Provide a public telephone.
Also, there is a $1,500 fee for those that do qualify.
Interesting, no? The whole "public telephone" thing makes me think that whomever wrote these rules wrote them in 1991. Also, now I have that Lady Gaga featuring Beyonce song "Telephone" stuck in my head.
I would be more accepting of the PJP exclusion if I felt like the rules for qualification made any logical sense. But shouldn't the point of the sign be to alert motorists to all sorts of different places where you can buy food? And actually, don't most of those restrictions lend themselves to promoting chain restaurants that have the financial and physical labor resources to be open 12 hours a day, seven days a week? So what about directing potential customers to local, independent businesses in the cities and towns throughout Missouri? No signs for that? Sadly, that means that we all miss out on discovering some of the unique and wonderful small businesses in our state. But we can always find a Subway.
PS...today is Jeanne's birthday. Let me tell you that if you are going to be on a journey to world pie domination, Jeanne Plumley is the only person in the world to do it with. She is basically one of the most awesome people in this world and she deserves the most awesome things in return. As a bonus, if you stop by PJP Buttonwood tomorrow and tell her "Happy Birthday", you'll receive 61 cents off every item you buy.