Friday, June 25, 2010

Bring Back The Automat

One of the pleasures I had growing up in New York near The City was going to an automat for something to ease the hunger pains. An automat, for young whippersnappers who don't know, were pre fast food eateries, mainly in NE metro areas, where you could choose what you wanted to eat from coin operated windows that surrounded a sit down cafeteria.

It was good, cheap food - Horn and Hardarts only accepted nickels for as long as I ate in them in the 60s, and the beauty of these places was that you could see exactly what you were paying for through a window that opened up when you dropped the coins in. Kitchens in the back kept food constantly supplied. If stuff didn't look good it didn't sell and was replaced by something more fresh and appealing. All the usual fare was offered but then there were also the soups and casseroles and desserts. Automats disappeared when burger joints proliferated, and even with their limited menus the allure of drive throughs and standardized junk food they peddled proved too much for automats to survive.

The consumer on the go lost truth in advertising. So when they promise this:


you're more than likely going to get a squashed something like this that you'd never buy if you saw it through a window, but how will you know until it's too late:



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