Ok, hold it, residents of Earth. From the fast food giant who notoriously struggles with their potato offerings comes a bold new product: Satisfries. The folks here at the Catchword office have bantered a lot about the name. It’s on everybody’s mind because there’s a huge sign advertising Satisfries right outside our office door at the Burger King 30 feet away.
Personally, I have conflicting opinions about the name. On one hand, I always smile when I hear someone else say it. “Satisfries” is funny because the corruption of the word “satisfy” comes at the end of the word. By the time my brain registers the first two syllables, it thinks it will be able to fill in the rest like it always does. But surprise! Satisfries pulls the rug out from under the word “satisfy” at the last minute.
However, whenever I try to say the word myself, I’m never sure how it is going to come out of my mouth until it does. The “r” doesn’t slide too easily into the word satisfies—and again it’s because of the pattern. My mouth is so accustomed to saying the word “satisfy” that it takes a lot of thought to change the mechanics of what my mouth is used to doing. Hence, when I say “Satisfries” out loud, I am almost worried that my muscle memory will override my brain and just say “satisfies.” Old habits fry hard.
So, is it funny or is it cumbersome? I realized that there was only one way to find out: I needed go to BK and order me some Satisfries…so I did! After work, with the distracting smells of food wafting around me and the pressure of a line of strangers forming behind me, I approached the counter. What would come out of my mouth? How would the person taking my order respond? Well, they had no idea about the gravity of the situation, that’s for sure. This is how it went:
“Could I please have one small order of Satisfries?”
“Will that be all?”
WILL THAT BE ALL? How disappointed I was that he didn’t crack a smile, wink, or give an enthusiastic “Of course!”
This is what I learned from my fieldwork:
It is definitely harder to order Satisfries than regular fries, and not only for the lack of excitement from the BK employees. That extra “r” and two syllables makes it longer to order fries (maybe that explains the line), but more importantly I spent a lot of mental effort considering how I should ask—is it better to ask for Satisfries, some Satisfries, an order of Satisfries, a small Satisfries? I think what threw me off is that usually the word “fries” is stressed (can I have some FRIES!?), but in this case one says “SATisfries,” which feels wrong when the most important part of the order is and has always been the fries. This stress problem doesn’t exist when ordering Spicy Fries or Curly Fries—just Satisfries.
It also felt a little silly to say Satisfries, and it would have felt silly to say even if I was just a regular customer not on a top-secret mission.
Conclusion: I’m still up in the air on this one. As a fan of puns and wordplay, I really like Satisfries as a marketing campaign. But making the customers say the word takes a little away from it (though maybe I would get used to it with an extended stay in the field).
I’ll let BK speak for themselves for the grade.
Grade: Will that be all?
NB: For those who want a gustatory review, the Satisfries were obviously less fried than normal fries. Fewer calories, slightly higher price, and way less fried. B-