Musta Been "Mess With the Intern Day"

Cub Foods climber asks Midwestern newspapers to detail rivals' advertising spending

The online version of the publishing industry bible Editor & Publisher today carried a short story detailing what appears to be the stupidest summer internship assignment ever:

In an extraordinary e-mail sent Tuesday to nearly three dozen papers ranging from The Post-Crescent in Appleton, Wis., to the Chicago Sun-Times, Cub Foods requested a detailed accounting of spending by other supermarkets. The e-mail was forwarded to E&P by one of its recipients.

Here is the text of the e-mail:

"Good Morning!! Cub Foods is continuing to update our Advertising Database, and would like a monthly update on our competitor's spending. If you could insert the appropriate information into the form below, that would be great. You can email this information back to me as soon as you have finished it or if faxing is easier, our fax is listed below! Please send to my attention."

The e-mail is signed by a person identified as an intern by a receptionist at the chain's Stillwater, Minn., headquarters.

There is, of course, the possibility that this was a particularly irritating intern who deserved to be sent on a snipe hunt. And the possibility that the supermarket chain tries this every so often because newspaper sales departments have interns, too, and every so often one of them, in a fit of zealousness, just up and answers this kind of query.

In any case, it doesn't seem likely, however, that is was a career-enhancing gambit on the part of the intern, who we're going to guess is a junior in business at UW-Stout. Many of the members of the editorial brain trust here at City Pages have some intimate knowledge of summer internships that mostly revealed our failings, our utter lack of suitability for a lusted-after job or aspirational ladder. As such, we're going to step up and promise that if the now-disgraced Cub intern has the courage to reveal his or herself, we're offering s/he the chance to ride out the balance of the summer in a much better internship. Come on down to our offices here in Minneapolis' bucolic Warehouse District and we'll discuss the myriad opportunities for compiling this kind of market data on escorts, garage bands in search of new, addiction-free vocalists, and middle-aged men looking for an afternoon tryst.

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