As Excited As Ever for the Presidential Debate

Next weekend I will travel to watch the biggest college football game of the year thus far when Clemson hosts Louisville. The battle of unbeatens will take place in front of a nationally televised audience at 8 p.m. on ABC. Both teams will be vying to stay eligible for the College Football Playoff. A lot will be on the line.

However, the football game next Saturday has nothing on the competition that will take place tomorrow night. Up for grabs will be much more than a spot in the coveted “final four” of college football. You think Louisville’s star quarterback Lamar Jackson is going to feel pressure? Take a moment to realize what must be going through the minds of the two people who will take the stage at Hofstra University on Monday night.

Four years ago I wrote a long blog post about why I love the presidential debates. Not only is that passion still inside of me, it is magnified more than ever. Is that a surprise, though? Never before has a presidential debate been more anticipated, analyzed, and unpredictable. Coming from a major sports fan, I concede that the script for tomorrow night’s debate is perhaps greater than any Super Bowl or Game 7.

In the wildest presidential race our country has seen, the two candidates will finally come face to face tomorrow evening. The storylines are endless, I could go on and on. But instead of throwing out a random assortment of ways the media has framed the debate, let me just be simple about what Monday evening will finally bring: Hillary Clinton vs. Donald Trump.

I couldn’t be more excited. Competition simply doesn’t get any better than this. The stakes don’t get higher. The scrutiny doesn’t get more intense. In short, the drama tomorrow will be through the roof.

I am giddy to see how Clinton and Trump perform. I am interested to find out how the debate is moderated. I am intrigued to learn how the American people will respond. It just doesn’t get any bigger. Preparation, dreams, and reputations will be put on the line tomorrow night…for millions of people to see. Talk about pressure.

For an undecided voter, this first debate will be extremely suspenseful for me. I have never followed a presidential race as closely as this one. I followed the primaries, attended the rallies, and watched the conventions. I am dialed in on the main issues and the platforms of the candidates. I am now ready to watch them battle it out in front of each other.

I attended a Hillary Clinton rally as well as a couple rallies for Republican presidential candidates. As an undecided voter, I am invested in this race.

I attended a Hillary Clinton rally as well as a couple rallies for Republican presidential candidates. As an undecided voter, I am invested in this race.

Bring on tomorrow night’s competition! In another example of why this country is so amazing, we will get to watch the two frontrunners for the highest office in the United States express their views while critiquing those of their opponent. Sleep well tonight, Clinton and Trump, a big day awaits both of you tomorrow. Don’t Blink.

Thursday Rundown Here We Go

Good evening and welcome to the Thursday Rundown. Because I have a couple topics tonight that will be more or less summed up with a photo, this might be the shortest Thursday Rundown (in terms of word count) that I have ever done. Here we go…

Tweeted at by Dateline – As I mentioned before, I watch news magazines like crazy. When you like them as much as I do, you have a dilemma come Friday night. When 10 p.m. rolls around, do you watch 20/20 or Dateline? This past week I tweeted out the decision I ultimately made. It didn’t take long for a reply from the main Twitter account of the program I didn’t choose. Although the blunt assessment of my choice was a little cold, I still found it pretty awesome that Dateline tweeted at me.

Not even a minute had passed before Dateline responded to my tweet.

Not even a minute had passed before Dateline responded to my tweet.

Gas Going Up – One of the major stories in South Carolina right now is rising gas prices. Because of a major pipeline leak in Alabama, our state has responded by raising prices. Ironically, the person who alerted me to the crisis was on the other side of the country. Pete, a good friend of mine from my Missoula days, texted me about the problem Friday morning. After work I filled up hassle free for $1.79 per gallon. I beat the mad rush to the pump that occurred over the weekend and of course the new $2.05 per gallon price.

Last week, gas was at &1.79 in Myrtle Beach. I filled up before it went up.

Last week, gas was at &1.79 in Myrtle Beach. I filled up before it went up.

Too True – Okay, okay I apologize for sharing comics in consecutive weeks but this was too good to pass up, especially for a blogger. The below strip comes from a comic called Crankshaft. As my brother, sister, and wife all routinely give me a hard time for blogging about “nothing,” I felt they would get a kick out of this.

This Crankshaft comic strip had me thinking about what my brother says about my blog.

This Crankshaft comic strip had me thinking about what my brother says about my blog.

Big Brother 18 Finale Reaction – I can’t put into words how disappointed I was about last night’s Big Brother 18 finale. For those who don’t watch the show, you just need to know this: The person who should have won did not. Just the fact alone that the vote was close provided enough of an insult but for Nicole to actually WIN over Paul was asinine. When you looked at Paul’s body of work throughout the show compared to that of Nicole’s it appeared as if there was no debate on who should win. It seemed so cut and dry. I didn’t like Paul from the start of the show but I wanted to see the person I thought deserved to win bring home the $500,000. I literally stormed out of the room last night when the deciding vote was cast.

From The Archives – I have a couple past blog posts written on September 22 to share with you. Two years ago I told the world about my top five favorite fast food restaurants. As I sit here presently, I can tell you that my list has since changed! The changes include both the order and a couple of the restaurants included. An updated list will come in the future. Three years ago on September 22 I wrote about the life, death, and legacy of our family cat, Nabisco. We had her for 16 years and she brought my family so much joy.

Nabisco and I...the best cat I have ever known.

Nabisco and I…the best cat I have ever known.

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Sorry to end the Thursday Rundown on a somber note. However, snap out of it by realizing football is on tonight! While you might opt for the NFL game, I will be watching Clemson vs. Georgia Tech. Have a great weekend. Don’t Blink.

Beating Me To It

For years I thought about doing something pretty silly. Scratch that, I had done more than just think about it, I had talked aloud about it on numerous occasions. However, up until today I never had the guts to do it. Now it is too late because two people beat me to it. Perhaps not surprising, they are both journalists.

Back in my college days I remember sitting with my friends discussing a certain topic in our all-you-can-eat dining hall (it was called the Food Zoo…I am not kidding). Thinking we had come up with a crazy, rebellious idea we continuously pitched this idea to one another: What if we stayed in the Food Zoo ALL DAY LONG?

This is me inside the Food Zoo at the University of Montana in 2007. On this day they had a holiday cookie decorating event for the community (which explains why you might see some older people in the background).

This is me inside the Food Zoo at the University of Montana in 2007. On this day they had a holiday cookie decorating event for the community (which explains why you might see some older people in the background).

Oh man, what a groundbreaking, newspaper worthy moment that would be. How would we not earn instant glorification from campus if we wasted a whole Saturday in the cafeteria acting annoying and filling up plate after plate of food?

This lofty goal inspired me in other environments too. Also in college my friends and I went to this $5 all-you-can-eat pizza dump quite frequently. We plotted doing a day-long stakeout there as well. But I would later develop higher aspirations. As a way to make good on my college scheme, I considered spending several hours at a Golden Corral. Not only would the food be of a higher quality but it would make a good blog post. Too late now.

Two journalists from the Business Insider, Hollis Johnson and Kate Taylor, went to their local Red Lobster and stayed for eight hours. They did this to cash in on the restaurant’s Endless Shrimp promotion. In a long but entertaining summary of their experience, the two wrote about what it was like to spend the day in one of America’s most popular casual dining chain restaurants.

Although I am a little bitter at the fact they stole my idea, I can’t help but admit that they did a lot more than what I would have done. You see, Hollis (he is a male) and Kate didn’t just loiter around Red Lobster for eight hours while picking at shrimp every now and then. Rather, they went completely all-in. Between the two of them, the duo consumed 305 shrimp.

This is Kate Taylor and Hollis Johnson at the Red Lobster they spent eight hours at. They consumed 305 shrimp (photo is courtesy of Business Insider).

This is Kate Taylor and Hollis Johnson at the Red Lobster they spent eight hours at. They consumed 305 shrimp (photo is courtesy of Business Insider).

If I ever went through with the plan to spend a day at a buffet or at a restaurant with an “endless” promotion, my number one goal would have been just to hang out and watch the time go by. Sure I would have ended up eating a lot but I would not have focused on stuffing myself silly. I would have done it more for the awkwardness of a customer overstaying his welcome as opposed to setting personal eating records. But these two journalists checked off both objectives…

Well, not exactly.

Hollis and Kate actually called the Red Lobster beforehand and let management know about their plans. They didn’t catch anyone off guard. The restaurant knew they would have some guests sticking around all day and they knew to prepare extra shrimp. So yes, that reality does take a little bit of the luster away from their story.

So does that leave the door open to me? Should I wear a hidden camera and walk inside a restaurant unannounced and sit down for eight hours while eating an exorbinant amount of food? Nah, I don’t think so. I like to reason that I have matured just a little bit since my college days. And while I will do just about anything for this blog, I don’t think I will go that far (even if I did do this). Well done to Hollis and Kate for executing a pretty brilliant story idea. Don’t Blink.

Wearing A Ring

I normally don’t wear accessories. Necklaces, earrings, and grills just aren’t my thing. Shoot, I don’t wear hats all that much either. But when Sidney and I married in June a piece of jewelry was automatically added to my daily dress.

For over three months I have proudly worn a wedding ring. Until we said “I do” I had never worn a ring for longer than a day in my life. To go from never wearing something to wearing something almost 24/7 is an adjustment. However, that transition period was much shorter than what I thought it would be.

Although a little strange at first, it really was just a matter of days before I got used to the shiny ring Sidney bought me. By the end of the first week it truly felt like a piece of me. Today marks the 102nd day I have worn my ring but because the ring feels so familiar it kind of feels like the 10,200th day I have worn it.

I have now worn my ring for over 100 days and it feels completely natural.

I have now worn my ring for over 100 days and it feels completely natural.

However, just because the ring feels comfortable and natural doesn’t mean I haven’t established some habits with it. For starters, I take it off two times each day: when I work out and when I shower. Having the ring get caught on a weight or a machine is not comfortable. Also, perspiration causes my ring to slip off my finger. Thus, you can probably guess why I take it off when I shower. Water seems to encourage my ring to slide right off so I always remove it before exercising or bathing.

With the exception for those two instances, I keep my ring on. I eat my meals with it on. I sleep with it on. I do all my work with it on. Sidney and I do ring checks on each other quite often and I think I am 100% for having it on when she performs her inspection.

Fr. James LeBlanc, pastor of St. Andrew Parish in Myrtle Beach, looks on as we sign our marriage certificate. I had worn my ring for about 30 minutes up until this point. (photo courtesy of Nicholas Gore Weddings Photography).

Fr. James LeBlanc, pastor of St. Andrew Parish in Myrtle Beach, looks on as we sign our marriage certificate. I had worn my ring for about 30 minutes up until this point. (photo courtesy of Nicholas Gore Weddings Photography).

One thing I do find myself doing is tugging at my ring when I am thinking or watching TV. Using the thumb and middle finger of my right hand I will pull it up about halfway on my ring finger and then drop it back down into its proper spot. I can do this over and over at a frequent pace.

But besides my habits of taking my ring off, wearing it, and tugging at it, there is one thing that causes me to think about my marriage symbol a lot. Unfortunately, that “thing” is the fear of losing it. Always in the back of my mind I fight off the possibility of misplacing my ring. Even when I take it off to shower I will step out and dry off only to freak out for a split second because I forgot that I purposely removed it. I continually question myself about how I am going to make it through the rest of my life without ever losing it. The normalness of wearing the ring set in quickly, the paranoia of losing it did not. I hope as time goes on my fear will subside.

I love wearing my ring. I love how it looks. I even love showing it off! Most of all, I love that an amazing woman bought it for me to symbolize something very special. Don’t Blink.

Some Sound Advice

Every now and then I flip the page on my Life’s Little Instructions calendar and I come across a piece of advice that is worth blogging about. I couldn’t help but mention today’s entry.

I have learned this over the years.

I have learned this all too well over the years.

Sometimes in life it takes a while to learn a lesson. It might take a quarter century or so to really understand how the world works. I read today’s Life’s Little Instructions piece of wisdom and a sarcastic smile spread across my face.

Call me gullible but I used to think a free check up, a complimentary inspection, or a courtesy evaluation was a gesture of goodwill from a business or professional. I thought a company would actually be objective during the “free” inspection and let you know honestly whether work/action needed to be done/taken. Even as someone who is in marketing and should see right through something like this, it wasn’t until a couple years ago that I really understood that these types of offers are really gimmicks.

To people who are slow like me, please heed this advice: If you take your car in for a free inspection, if you have your blog evaluated for SEO optimization (I get offers daily), or if you have an appliance looked at in your house, the person doing the “consultation” will find “problems.” It never fails.

For almost ten years I would automatically act on the advice and go along with whatever was recommended. However, after realizing I was getting burned, I learned that the concept of a second opinion wasn’t just reserved for medical professionals.

Don’t get me wrong, I am not bitter toward people in industries who offer free inspections/evaluations. It is a great way to get new customers into the shop. Also, for the most part, it is completely honest. Although most of the time the evaluator will find problems, you never have to authorize the business to act on them. Furthermore, I don’t want to generalize too much. I know there are some professionals out there who won’t find a problem with someone’s car during a free inspection.

But for the most part, I am hesitant about participating in these types of promotions. Although you can reason that there is nothing to lose by going through with the free inspection, the problems presented always weigh on my mind, even if I know they aren’t legitimate. Also, it isn’t always comfortable to decline the services of the business immediately after they gave you the free service (you can distinctly feel the pressure to go through with the recommendations). But, you live and you learn. Don’t Blink.

Our Part in Fueling the Bottled Water Craze

For the past month or so, a certain consumer trend has found its way in newspapers and on news programs. For the first time ever, bottled water sales will surpass that of soda sales. At the center of this changing drinking behavior is safety. With significant news coverage on problems such as the lead contamination in Flint, people are opting for bottled water over tap water.

You can say that Sidney and I are part of the bottled water trend. We buy our fair share of water from the store (as well as soda), however, our reasoning isn’t because of contamination. To be fair to Myrtle Beach, the water that comes out of our tap tastes just fine. Rather, we consistently purchase bottled water simply for the convenience.

Sidney and I drink a lot of bottled water.

Sidney and I drink a lot of bottled water.

I remember 20 years ago when bottled water was just starting to catch on. There were a few major distributors selling it and for the most part it was not in bulk. You could buy a Dasani from a vending machine or purchase an Arrowhead bottle of water off the supermarket shelf for $1. Since then, in the past couple of decades, the bottled water industry has exploded. Bottled water is now sold in bulk and the the price is dirt cheap.

I can walk inside any store ranging from CVS to Walmart to Target and buy a 24-pack of bottled water for $2.99. For those doing the math, that is less than 13 cents per bottle. The downside of course is carrying the bulky 24-pack to your car and then inside your house but I think the value is worth it.

At $2.99 for a 24-pack, bottled water is cheaper than ever.

At $2.99 for a 24-pack, bottled water is cheaper than ever.

But wait one second, Brent. What value are you talking about? Water from the tap is free. Why do you mean when you say “value”? Yes, I understand your point. However, as I said above, it is all about convenience. To me, convenience = value.

When we bring our pack of bottled water home, we rip it open and make neat rows out of the bottles in our refrigerator. From that moment on, we pluck the bottles out of the refrigerator like it is the last water source in the world.

When we go to bed at night, we each take a bottled water to the bedroom. When I get home from work, I grab a bottled water. When I am sitting around watching television, I help myself to a bottled water. By the end of the week, our bathroom trash can is filled to the brim with empty plastic bottles.

There is no guilt drinking the water at this rate simply because it doesn’t hurt us in the checkbook. Likewise, when you don’t have bottled water, you have to grab a cup from the cupboard, fix some ice, and pour water from the faucet. When you have bottled water in the fridge, you don’t have to go through that process. I know I sound like the laziest person in the world but it is true. The abundance and cheapness of bottled water in stores everywhere has caused us to buy more of it and actually drink more of it as well.

One thing we are guilty of in the Reser Household is not paying as much attention to the environment as we should. Yes, I have heard that when it comes to our planet it is not the best practice to consume bottled water. To those who don’t agree with our bottled water habits, I apologize.

However, rest assured that at least today I won’t purchase another pack of bottled water. Why? Well, I bought one on Thursday and we still have a couple more days to go until we need a refill. Whether you consider bottled water a scam, a risk to the environment, or a lifesaver, this much is very true: it is a major industry that is doing very well. Don’t Blink.

An Alienating Thursday Rundown

Good evening to you all! Who is ready for the latest Thursday Rundown? Here we go…

The Countdown – Did you know there is a Twitter account called Christmas Countdown (@ChristmasCount)? I discovered it yesterday and the account gives you a lot more than you bargained for. Besides the countdown to December 25 you also receive information on how many days remain until other holidays such as Halloween and Thanksgiving. And, as an added bonus, you are also treated to emoticons galore. For those who love the holidays, I wanted to put you in a good mood right from the start of my Thursday Rundown.

This Twitter account and the way this Tweet is formatted just made my day.

This Twitter account and the way this Tweet is formatted just made my day.

Great News for Geofilter Fans – Sorry for the back-to-back social media items but I wanted to alert all the Snapchat users out there about something. When I talked to people about the On-Demand Geofilters that became available for everyone to produce several months ago, I heard one consistent complaint: What about us non-designers? You see, to create a geofilter you needed to design it in Photoshop or other similar program. Not anymore! When you go to the geofilter website, you can now choose an already-made template and just fill in the blanks! I discovered this when I visited the site last week to upload a geofilter I made for our monthly birthday celebration gathering. Although I plan to continue to just make my own, I might use a template in the future if I needed to activate a geofilter at the last minute and didn’t have time to create one.

When I went to upload this geofilter, I saw that Snapchat now offers geofilter templates that anyone can use. By the way, I am with my nephew Harrison in this photo.

When I went to upload this geofilter, I saw that Snapchat now offers geofilter templates that anyone can use. By the way, I am with my nephew Harrison in this photo.

The Final Three of “Big Brother” – Here I go again with possibly alienating a lot of my readers but I wanted to drop a quick note on Big Brother 18. Last night the final three was established. For someone like Sidney and I who have watched the entire summer, it is kind of a big deal. With James, Nicole, and Paul the last people standing, I 100% want Paul to win. For most of the season I didn’t even like him but I just think he has played the best game in the house and deserves the prize. Also, to be honest, and don’t tell anyone I told you this, but Paul has also rubbed off on me just a little bit.

Comic Relief – As I mentioned in a previous blog post, I now make it a point to read the comics each day. Despite reading 20 or so on a daily basis, I never really find any worth sharing. However, this one I saw today kind of speaks to my dry sense of humor. Yes, after reading thousands of comic strips over the last several months, this selection from the strip Shoe is the one I decide to share.

My dry sense of humor goes well with this strip.

My dry sense of humor goes well with this strip.

Seahawks Follow Up – Because I wrote about it this past weekend, I just wanted to quickly congratulate the Seattle Seahawks for standing with unity on Sunday. I thought it was a beautiful and powerful team act. Thank you to all the players and coaches for participating.

This was so cool! Special shout out to Brock Coyle (#52 in the photo), he was a marketing intern for us when I was at Montana. - Photo courtesy of USA Today

This was so cool! Special shout out to Brock Coyle (#52 in the photo), he was a marketing intern for us when I was at Montana. – Photo courtesy of USA Today

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So there you have it, another Thursday Rundown in the books. I wish you the happiest of weekends and I thank you for your readership. Remember, only 101 days until Christmas. Don’t Blink.

People Forgetting How To Drive

Two totally different conditions, one general characterization.

In South Carolina, we get hit with heavy rain storms quite frequently. When I say heavy rain storms, I mean torrential downpours. When the sky opens up and the water starts to fall, locals say one thing: People forget how to drive when it rains.

In Washington and Montana, we had no shortage of snow. The white stuff came frequently. However, whether it was just an October dusting, a few inches, or a whiteout blizzard, people in the area would all say one thing: People forget how to drive when it snows.

Both conditions aren’t particularly fun to drive in. When it comes to some of the summer rain storms here in Myrtle Beach, good luck with your windshield wipers keeping up. This is no joke. The rain falls so quickly and so intensely that it is as if your windshield is obstructed by a permanent screen of giant blinding water spots. You can put your wipers on the highest setting but it won’t matter. The loss of seeing the road is made worse by the unsettling sound of violent rain pounding down on your vehicle.

Driving in the rain isn't particularly fun. I have had a lot of experience doing it since moving down South.

Driving in the rain isn’t particularly fun. I have had a lot of experience doing it since moving down South.

I had not experienced such intense rain storms on such a frequent basis until I moved down south.

When it comes to the snow, it almost feels like Russian roulette. No matter how cautiously you drive when the roads are covered, you never know when you are going to go over an icy patch and your car is going to spin out of control. Additionally, snow presents other challenges such as your vehicle becoming stuck, visibility dramatically decreasing, and harmful objects on the road getting covered and then ran over.

I would drive in rain over snow any day.

I would drive in rain over snow any day.

So although we say “people forget to drive” when it rains or snows, it is obviously not true. People still understand that you use the steering wheel to turn, the little pedal to go, and the big pedal to stop. I think we can all admit that driving in heavy rain or a snow storm is more difficult than driving in clear conditions. The fact that some drivers might be more impacted by deteriorating driving conditions than others causes the more skillful drivers to say “people forget to drive.”

I am here to admit two things:
1. I am not a perfect driver in either of the two conditions.
2. However, I would always choose to drive in rain over snow.

Driving in a downpour is tough. No one likes driving blind. However, when it comes to the snow, there is a more terrifying condition in play. What I am talking about is the fear that you can’t stop. Many times when you are driving on a snowy and icy road, you have to keep going. Even lightly tapping the brake could result in a spin out. At least with the rain you always have the opportunity to just pull over. I would rather fight water than an unpredictable sheet of ice.

I don't miss driving in the snow at all.

I don’t miss driving in the snow at all.

Perhaps the phrase should be changed from “people forget how to drive” to “people forget how to drive safe.” Remember to always stay alert on those roads! Don’t Blink.

A Great Reality Show Idea

Our cable contract is ending this week. In order to take advantage of the best promotional deals for new customers, Sidney and I are switching cable companies. Last night, I called our soon-to-be new provider to cash in on a pretty good package.

About five months ago, I wrote about how impressed I am with customer service agents for major companies. Although the process of actually getting to speak to one might be a little frustrating, once the connection is made I have found the dialogue to be very pleasant and helpful. Since five months ago I have had to talk to other customer service agents here and there about various situations. Each time the agent was completely professional.

Soooooo….how did last night’s experience go?

Great! In keeping with the trend, the woman I spoke with last night offered excellent customer service. She answered all of my questions with thoroughness and courtesy. She seemed to talk honestly. She even showed great patience when I put her on speaker phone so my wife and I could interrogate her at the same time (Sidney needs her DVR!). When the phone call ended we were very satisfied.

It appears to me that the trend of putting value on great customer service at company call centers is not going anywhere. Because of this, I am still very intrigued about the professionals wearing the headsets and providing help to people all over the country.

In my post from April, I asked my readers who work as customer service agents to come forward and tell me about their jobs. The response was underwhelming. With my ploy for exclusive information a failure, I now must try a different method.

For any television executive out there, I have an idea: How about you do a casting call for the best call center representatives out there? With an eccentric and diverse group of customer service agents, you could take a prospective television show a couple different ways.

You could do a talent/situational reality show. I am thinking it would be a mix of something like “The Voice” meets the old MTV show “Boiling Points.” Contestants would go up on stage and have to take a call from an over the top angry or incompetent caller. The customer service agent would then do his/her best to walk the caller through his problem. It wouldn’t be easy. The pressure would be on. A live audience would watch the whole thing.

My second idea is much more general. Simply take a bunch of customer service agents and put them on “Big Brother” or a Real World type formatted show. It would be so interesting to see how these people would interact with one another and whether any shouting matches would break out. In my head I have a vision of company CEOs tinkering with the vocal cords of all customer service agents so whenever they have the urge to raise their voice on a call, their throats are engulfed in pain.

As you can tell, I am still very much intrigued by professionals who are able to hold it together all day talking to people who most likely aren’t very happy at that given moment. I want to know more. Who out there has TV connections? Don’t Blink.

My Top Five Favorite Corporate America Milkshakes

Although I dislike “national days of nonsense” for the most part, I find no shame in using some of them to inspire content for this blog. While reading Parade Magazine, I found out that today is National Chocolate Milkshake Day (it didn’t say when National Vanilla Milkshake Day or National Strawberry Milkshake Day is). Because I love ice cream, you can probably guess I really enjoy milkshakes.

I will never forget going to my family’s restaurant and ordering a milkshake. The thick, homemade shake would come out in a steel malt cup with a spoon. To this day, diners across the nation still offer milkshakes in this old fashioned way. I am sure we all have a favorite hole-in-the-wall location where we always order the perfect shake.

However, tonight I want to connect with everyone as I evaluate the best milkshakes. Thus, you won’t find the delicious shakes made by such places as Ray’s Drive Inn of Dayton, Washington, in this blog post. Instead, I am going mainstream. Tonight I am giving you my top five milkshakes made by corporate America.

5. Cook Out – Sorry to alienate my friends out on the west coast, but Cook Out is an institution out east and the shakes are good so I am letting it crack the top five. Two main reasons why Cook Out makes the list: the shakes themselves are dirt cheap and ice cream just goes great with a bunch of fried food. The flavor list is also the second best on this countdown.

4. Applebee’s – I am not a huge fan of Applebee’s, but I do like their shakes. A frosty cookies and cream shake is a perfect match with the appetizer sampler. Also, the atmosphere of the restaurant usually jibes really well with a good milkshake. With each location usually decorated in memorabilia from its local community, enjoying one just seems really American. It also helps that I have a couple of great memories enjoying a shake at an Applebee’s location with my wife early on in our relationship so it is also a nostalgia thing for me.

3. McDonald’s – Mickey D’s just seems to have it down to a science. Although the shakes are simple, they are also consistent. For the most part easy to drink (doesn’t take a lot of straw power), the McDonald’s milkshake can be described simply as refreshing. However, it is just a tad depressing to order one. Why? McDonald’s makes sure to have calorie counts posted clearly on all menus and I want to say that a shake racks up a whopping 700 calories, much more than even a McFlurry.

2. Carl’s Jr/Hardees – In high school, I would love going through the Carl’s Jr. drive-thru and ordering a milkshake. They would present to you a huge clear container filled to top with milkshake topped with a large dome lid that was filled and completely overflowed with whipped cream. By far it was the best milkshake deal around. Don’t think it was just quantity either. The quality was there and with a large straw it was easy to do some big time milkshake drinking.

1. Sonic – Big surprise, right? I am not just giving the top spot to Sonic simply because this wildly successful chain runs commercials like crazy and is known for its ice cream. In reality, a Sonic milkshake is just as good as advertised. Not only is each sip delicious but the flavor list is about a mile long. Stay with a basic chocolate shake or go for an Oreo cheesecake shake. They both taste incredible. I personally love how Sonic offers two different levels of shakes…you can order a Classic Shake or a Master Shake. Whatever you get, you can’t go wrong. Sonic is the undisputed king of milkshakes in corporate America.

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As usual, I am up for any critiques on my list. To make the list fair, please know that I stayed away from chains that specialize in ice cream such as Baskin Robbins and Cold Stone. Other than that, let me know where I went wrong. Don’t Blink.