If you caught Parks and Recreation this week, you're probably already familiar with the amazing fake commercials that aired during the super meta episode “The Johnny Karate Super Awesome Musical Explosion Show” — but apparently not everyone realized the commercials weren't real. One extremely angry Redditor dashed off an equally angry email to Chipotle after witnessing the “Verizon Chipotle Exxon” spot… but Chipotle's response? It is the best. Seriously, you guys. This is how it's done.
A Redditor going by the name Stumpnuts wrote about the whole experience on the r/TIFU sub yesterday, and the story is nothing short of epic. Being “a fan of wake and bake,” said Stumpnuts, s/he had woken up, packed a bowl, smoked it, and then flicked on the television to find Parks and Rec playing (I assume we're talking about a morning rerun, since by my calculations, this all happened on February 19). Here, though, is where it gets a little tricky: Stumpnuts fell asleep and woke up to an unpleasant surprise. According to the ad playing on his/her television right at that moment, Verizon, Exxon, and — inexplicably — Chipotle had decided to merge into one giant supercompany. I mean, I guess I can understand how the confusion might arise; the ad, after all, was relatively convincing:
Although I would also like to take this moment to point out this very important consideration: Exactly what would a communications/fuel/burrito company do? Because I've got nothin'. Ah well. Moving on.
“For some stupid reason, I was pissed,” wrote Stumpnuts. “Hell, Chipotle just took an item off the menu because of the way they were treating animals — how could they possibly justify teaming up with a company who is destroying the planet?!.” So: What's an angry consumer to do? Write an angry email, of course. Knowing Chipotle's track record when it comes to customer service (that is: excellent), Stumpnuts wasn't surprised when a response came back within an hour. Here's what it said:
“We definitely haven't partnered with Exxon. The only thing I can find online that might suggest this is a fake commercial that aired on Parks and Rec recently. Which is an awesome show as far as I'm concerned, but I'm sorry if it caused any confusion! You can read the article I found on that here.”
The link led to an E! Online article about this week's pair of episode. Continued the email, “Thanks for your support of our stance on the carnitas shortage! From the Fellowship of the Foil, A.”
Aaaaaaand this is why you should never get really, really high and then watch Parks and Rec.
At least Sumpnuts felt sufficiently chastened about his/her weed-induced leap to conclusions and apologized. The mysterious A replied in kind, writing, “Glad to have set you straight, Alex. The next time the munchies hit, hopefully you can head for Chipotle and feel good about where your money is going. Your friend in the burrito business, A.” Chipotle's burritos may not be the healthiest thing you could eat, but there's no denying that the company is a class act. Well played, Chipotle. Well played, indeed.
Hilarious and personalized customer service emails aren't the only thing Chipotle has been doing right, either; as Gregory Ciotti wrote on HelpScout's blog in 2014, their whole “inside-out” marketing strategy — that is, building their marketing based on the narrative of the company — and sticking to their story has been a successful venture, indeed. I realize that customer service folk often have to put up with unwarranted ire — but this? This is the way to deal with it.
Now if you'll excuse me, I need to go find myself some tacos, because… well, that's what happens when you write about Chipotle first thing in the morning.