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What I've Been Thinking About Lately #32

The World's "Best" Burger

I landed in Denver, CO today on a trip and found myself scouring for food in an area of which I have little personal context, in my ride to my hotel, I see a quaint looking restaurant with a vinyl sign out front that in big letters proclaims, "World's Best Burger". The irony is palpable as this sign is sun-bleached and peeling, revealing the truth about the joint's faith in their food.

If we were to take this messaging at face value, my decision of where to eat would be straightforward—after all, who wouldn't jump at the chance to savor the world's best of anything? However, if what we are after is quality, this sign should serve as a cautionary beacon rather than a mark of excellence. To me, the sign is counter indicative of a good burger because the company is competing on reach rather than quality, targeting the easily swayed—those too hurried or indifferent to seek out the genuinely good from the merely visible.

Other examples of this phenomenon include the barrage of Amazon products that pay to be among the first results of a generic item search, companies that put multiple "A"s at the start of their name to get to the top of the Yellow Pages catalogue, and celebrity endorsed products.

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