Fuzzy Bacich and Facebook — compare and contrast

Peter Spurway thinks I’m romanticizing Don “Fuzzy” Bacich’s legendary crankiness about patrons who wanted to slather his delicious French fries with ketchup:

“… and another bastion of quality and tradition falters.”

Tradition, yes. Quality? No.

Not providing something that many of your customers would like to have has nothing to do with quality. It has everything to do with the perspective of the owner. While I certainly grant the owner the right to fashion their product to their own liking, they have to accept that a percentage of their current and potential customers are not going to like it and it will be seen by some as a detraction from the offering.

A lazy choice of words on my part. Still, the eccentricity of refusing to supply ketchup at your chip wagon reflects a certain charming integrity.

Some guy named Silas* in Orangedale writes:

There is a funny contrast between the top two stories on contrarian tonight.  One praises the unfortunately named Fuzzy’s Fries for refusing to bow to their customers’ wishes re condiments.  The other criticizes Facebook for doing refusing to bow to it’s customers’ wishes re locations.  Rooting for the little guy is a bias I share with Contrarian, but I’ll be darned if I can come up with a sensible justification.

How about persnicketiness? Will that do?

* [Disclosure: Orangedale resident Silas Barss Donham is my son.]

Under new management — corrected


This afternoon, in a move sure to flabbergast longtime French fry fans in Sydney, a worker at Fuzzy’s Fries offered a patron a plastic packet of ketchup.

FuzzKetch-closeCivilization, as we know it, may be in peril.

Former owner Don “Fuzzy” Bacich, who founded the landmark chip wagon at The Esplanade and Townsend St. 40 years ago,* offered a selection of salt, pepper, and vinegar, but had no truck with ketchup.

He knew his proud creations owed their universal acclaim to the golden simplicity of their potatoey goodness. A little salt? Certainly. Some vinegar? Sure. But to slather his chips with the garish, tomato-based condiment was to to debase them.

So vehemently did Bacich hove to this creed, legend had him berating customers who dared even inquire as to the availability of the red stuff. Fairly or unfairly, this habit won Bacich a sobriquet based on the fictional owner of a Manhattan soup shop regularly featured on a longrunning New York-based sitcom.

But time marches on, and another bastion of quality and tradition falters.

* [CORRECTION] Contrarian reader Weldon Boone writes to say Bacich acquired the chip stand from a Montrealer named John Landmeyer, who founded the operation in 1959. At the time, Boone worked with the late Jack Colombus at CHER, which aired Fuzzy’s Fries commercials. [Thanks to Contrarian reader John MacNeil for supplying Mr. Landmeyer’s last name.]

Contrarian readers’ vocabulary chops — updated

In response to yesterday’s post about Merriam-Webster’s vocabulary quiz, on which 60-year-olds leave younger word-users in their dust, Contrarian readers of various vintage have shared their scores. In alphabetical order:

Andy Weissman (70+) 3420
Andrew Bourke (40-something) 3700
Anna Daniels (20-something): 3660
Blair MacKenzie (30-something): 3720
Charlie Phillips (50-something) 3660
Contrarian (sexagenarian): 3660
David Rodenhiser (5040-something) 3960*
Elaine Fournier (40-something) 3700
Greg Lukeman (30-something) 3900**
Jeffrey Shallit (50-something) 3900
John Denault (70+) 3720
Mike Targett (30-something) 3760
Peter Spurway (50-something): 3860
Shelley Porter (40-something): 3140***
Stan Jones (70+) 3800
Steve Manley (30-something): 3480
Suzanne MacNeil (20-somthing): 3400****

* Current raw score leader, verified by screenshot.
** Current leader on an age-adjusted basis.
*** Ms. Porter has filed a protest over the only word she missed. The judges have responded with majestic indifference.
**** The plucky Ms. MacNeil, punching above her age-adjusted weight, got adamantine right. Contrarian would have flubbed it.

To be added to the reader scoresheet, send your scores and age cohort to comment @ contrarian dot ca. If you believe you have surpassed a top score, please include a screenshot.