L.A. Times front page feature today

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What a thrill for this native Angeleno to pick up the "bulldog" (Saturday's preview) edition of the Sunday L.A. Times and discover that reporter Steve Gold's delightful story about the 76 Ball was on the front page, under the fold!

Welcome, L.A. Times readers, and for those who haven't seen the piece yet, you can read it online here. (But to see the silly photo of me posing like Atlas with a 76 meatball in my palm, you'll have to pick up the paper.)

And there are so many terrific comments on the  petition this morning. Please sign if you haven't already, and spread the word to your friends. If the 76 Ball is going to be saved, it's up to people like you to quickly show the new owners that this is just bad business.

Who cares?

Honestly... sorry to rain on the parade, but I'm more concerned about the price of the fuel being sold underneath the 76 ball.

76 Ball -- Lessons from the Past

One thing these corporate folks understand is the bottom line. When you mess with something your customers like, you run the serious risk of losing those customers. I present the following lessons from the past, which they would be well-advised to heed:
When I was growing up in TX, there was a very popular Mexican restaurant that occupied a former house. There was always a wait for a table, so folks sat in what had been a parlor of the house, smelled the good smells, and chatted amoung themselves. The "regulars" all knew one another, and enjoyed that time of socializing and anticipation. The owners decided that with all those folks waiting, they should enlarge the restaurant. After that, there was no longer a wait for a table. In fact, tables became easier and easier to get, until they were all empty all the time. The restaurant failed.
And -- remember "New Coke"?
I predict Union 76 will take a huge hit as a result of this change, which cannot possibly be offset by a "common image". The key word there is "common".