Home > Musings > The Great Panera Birthday Letdown

The Great Panera Birthday Letdown

Today I was excited to get an email from Panera Bread, because when you are a 30-year-old single guy with no family and a job that’s more boring than a Moby song, something like this can actually get you excited. It’s my birthday in two days, so Panera sent me an email wishing me a happy birthday. That was very nice of them, and also surprising, since I haven’t received a birthday card from any family or friends.

The email said they put a special birthday surprise on my Panera card, so I had to head over there to find out what the surprise was. I had all kinds of ideas in my head, but was prepared for being let down, because it would be hard for Panera to deliver what I was imagining.

“♫ Happy Birthday… ♫”

Was it what I was looking for? Not exactly. By not letting me know what the prize is, they let my imagination run wild, so I imagined the best fantasy birthday present that Panera Bread could offer. So while the free pastry was nice, it doesn’t top Kate Beckinsale popping out of a birthday cake, singing happy birthday to me and then feeding me soup. And in case you’re wondering, Kate was dressed as her character from Underworld. Hey, those movies may not be much plot-wise, but they’re fun to look at.

I suppose I was expecting too much from a company that pushes overpriced (but tasty) deli sandwiches and salads. If there is one restaurant that could offer a worthy birthday surprise, it would be Hooters, where food is secondary to boobs, tights and 80’s track shorts. Or someplace with an awesome New York Strip. Unfortunately, though I love pretty much everything else about Hooters, their food sucks. And since that’s kind of important for a restaurant, I don’t eat there.

So I started to think about what companies should be offering me a birthday surprise. To whom am I a good enough customer to reward? Free businesses like Facebook have no need to keep me happy. Bright House Networks should at least give me a free soft pillow or something since they rape me every month. They’re not the type to offer aftercare, though. Getting a birthday gift from an online dating site would only make my birthday more depressing.

Sorry that none of the dates you’ve had through our site have worked out for you. Since it’s your birthday, we want you to have a good time anyway. Click here for our free gift of a one month subscription to Maxim Magazine and some hand lotion. Yeah, that’s right, Maxim Magazine, the PG-13 version of porn magazines.

So maybe it’s best if no business recognizes my birthday. I’d rather people not realize I’m getting older anyway.

Update: Panera actually responded to my blog post in a tweet. See below. I wonder if they thought I was serious.

  1. Jeff K. Endall
    January 16, 2012 at 8:14 am

    Ha. Just came across this as I was googling to find out what MY Panera birthday surprise is. Funny. And very well written too!! I’ll have to read more of your blog.

  2. March 12, 2012 at 5:11 am

    It’s not often I find humor, proper grammar, and the answer to my question on the first Google result. Thank you Sir, and I do hope that your next birthday comes bearing rewards from Sam Adams or the like.

  3. AMY
    June 4, 2012 at 8:14 am

    I just received the Panera Birthday email and did the google search as well. FUNNY entry =)

    • June 4, 2012 at 9:24 am

      Thank you. I’m glad this post turned out to be so informative.

  4. Tess
    June 21, 2012 at 12:13 am

    Now I know I’m getting a pastry, and I didn’t even have to log in @mypanera.com. It will go so well with my free Starbucks drink.

  5. Erin
    July 2, 2012 at 7:47 am

    Funny and informative – thanks! I think I’ll skip my birthday pastry tomorrow and just get my free Ruby Tuesday burger.

  6. gmc
    July 10, 2012 at 6:56 pm

    I thought I got the same email from Panera last year but I could not remember what the “surprise” was so Google lead me to your blog. :-) So far Benihanna, Red Robin, Rudy Tuesday, and Mongolian BBQ are the ones I am signed up for that will actually gave a free meal (not just a pastry) for a birthday.

    • July 10, 2012 at 10:08 pm

      I didn’t know about those other deals. Thanks for sharing.

  7. carrie
    July 30, 2012 at 8:45 am

    You can get a free burger at Red Robin too. And free Grand Slam @ Denny’s if that’s your thing!

  8. Caitlyn
    July 30, 2012 at 1:54 pm

    Hi I just wanted to let you know that Ihop will give you free pancakes and Dunkin Donuts will give you a free medium sized iced coffee, tea or hot coffee :) You have to sign up online.

  9. jenn
    August 22, 2012 at 4:45 pm

    Brighthouse comment lmao too funny

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