Crazy Eddie–His Prices Are INSANE!

Crazy Eddie.

Heard of him?

If you live in the northeast and are of a certain generational vintage, you most certainly have.

His were the ads for absolutely every type of late 1970s and early 1980s “cutting-edge” electronic equipment, from stereo speakers to, well, whatever you could buy back in the day.

You couldn’t ignore these ads. Crazy Eddie himself was the star, and like every bad train-wreck, have-to-watch metaphor, Crazy Eddie’s was the ultimate low-budget ad you couldn’t not watch. He screamed, he jumped up and down, he screamed some more. You hated him, but you couldn’t stop watching him. In fact, if you were willing to admit it, you actually waited for him to reappear. He completely mezmerized you as he hawked the same cheap electronic gizmos over and over, screaming in his trademark pack-and-a-half-a-day hoarse voice about how great his prices were.

How could you NOT buy an in-dash tape player for your rusted-out Pinto?

My step father loved Crazy Eddie. Loved to hate his ads. Loved to hate to watch him.

My step father loved to hate him so much, he bought the cheapest, most useless products with one goal in mind–to get a Crazy Eddie T-shirt. Being insane himself, and willing to buy just about anything to get the T-shirt, he bought so much junk, that Crazy Eddie sent him two T-shirts.

He gave the T-shirts to me, the thrill of the chase now over. I proudly wore these bright yellow shirts, emblazoned with the trademark “Insane” slogan, for years and years.

I also saved what eventually became faded yellow shirts and passed them on. Restaurant Gal Son and Daughter proudly wore them, too, fully appreciating their out-of-control wackiness, despite never having seen a Crazy Eddie ad, even once.

And when Restaurant Gal Daughter lent her Crazy Eddie T-shirt to a friend, and he failed to return it right away, she annoyed him for a year and eight full months to get it back. “We better wash it, Mom,” she said, gingerly placing it on top of the dirty clothes pile in the basement. “I have no idea how many times he wore it.”

Alrighty, then.

Today, I had what could only be described as a Crazy Eddie day.

I watched as a trainee went on a rant and walked out at the start of the shift, leaving me alone to work a double. I wanted to shout at her, in all her lack of professionalism, “Are you some kind of INSANE freak?”

Early into my double, I was pulled aside by my manager, who asked, “So, how’s it going?” I went on for a full five minutes about my entire day, when all he wanted to know was why a couple had complained that I had been rude to them five minutes ago. All I had done, that I could remember, was direct them to a host for seating.

A complaint? About me? What? Seriously, I may feel angry, frustrated, tired at work when things are rocking a little out of control–but I never, ever, NEVER take it out on a guest.

So when the unhappy guest approached me as she and her girlfriend were leaving the restaurant–as I was very knee-deep in training an entire night shift to buy into a new system of seating walk-ins and logging in reservations–and she said a little too close to my face, “What is your name?” I stopped everything I was doing to give both of them my full attention. Because she asked my name in the way that customers ask, when what they really mean is: “What is your name, you hopeless employee, because I am so going to complain about you as far up the ladder as I can and hope you get fired.”

I replied with my sunniest smile, “Restaurant Gal!”

But what I really thought was: “What on earth could I possibly have done to make you so INSANE?”

Much later, when I finally got off after 10 hours without a break–any break at all–I got a call from Restaurant Gal daughter, who is sick out in Colorado, too many hours and miles away for me to be there to make sure she gets the care she needs, and all I wanted to scream was, “Has the whole world gone INSANE?”

I was supposed to go to Ohio this weekend to see Restaurant Gal son. Now I might be in Colorado. I hope Ohio wins this contest. I hope Colorado is just a momentary worry that doesn’t need to be reckoned with.

I am going to trust in the power of antibiotics and decent out-West doctors, and then I am going to make a sacrifice to Crazy Eddie himself:

–I promise to iron his T-shirts that my kids left here at home, casually tossed on their closet floors.

–I promise to stop thinking ill of coworkers who act stupid and claim I don’t train them properly and then walk out, simply because they don’t want to work too hard.

–I promise to never give any guest a reason to complain about me ever again, for real or imagined reasons, unless the guest is nothing less than certifiable, at which point I promise to relinquish control to the MOD–smiling my sunny smile, of course.

Work with me Crazy Eddie. Your prices are insane.






19 responses to “Crazy Eddie–His Prices Are INSANE!”

  1. briliantdonkey Avatar

    Wow, calling on the powers of crazy eddie……I remember those commercials as well though I am not sure if it was from when I was in the northeast(I am pretty sure I would have been far to young to remember that) or here in the southeast. Hope your daughter gets better and soon so you can go to ohio instead.


  2. Dani Avatar

    My sweet son-in-law had a similar experience while working a in retail. He has a very long imposing sounding name and is the third of his kind. So when the irate customer asked his name, he gave her the whole thing. Her response was, “Oh great, there are three of you!” and stomped away. ๐Ÿ™‚

    In answer to your question…..yes the WHOLE world has gone insane. Just so you know.

  3. Ceetar Avatar

    I’m too young for Crazy Eddie too, but if you’re kids are wearing the shirts, they might as well see the commercials ๐Ÿ˜‰

  4. rach Avatar

    i’m way too young to know who crazy eddie is. how old are your kids?

  5. redrhino Avatar


    I REMEMBER CRAZY EDDIE, HIS PRICES WERE INNNNNSAAAAAAANE! However, I think Eddie was more insane than his prices.

    He has a web page->

  6. Christine Avatar

    We have Crazy Gideons out here in California. He is pretty insane too:) Hope your daughter feels better soon!

  7. Emma Avatar

    my brother’s and i fight over my dad’s and grandfather’s old crazy eddie tshirts. they are now totally faded and almost see-through but some how they are the best.

    crazy eddie, his prices, and the world, are indeed insane.

  8. Foo Avatar

    A tiny correction– the manic huckster in those commercials was a well-known NYC disk jockey (can not remember his name). Crazy Eddie himself was investigated by the SEC for fraud surrounding his company, he fled to Israel, was remanded, and was then sentenced to 8 years in prison. Seems he was living up to his name as a sort of truth in advertising.

  9. Aaron DeLay Avatar

    Crazy Eddie has nothing on Manila…:)

  10. Christine Robinson Avatar
    Christine Robinson

    Hi — R. Gal, I’m along time reader and have really enjoyed your writing.
    If your daughter is at the U. of Colorado in Fort Collins she is welcome to call me if she needs someone to make an emergency drug store for her. Drop me an email and I send you my phone #.
    Take care

  11. Kelly Avatar

    Check out “Crazy Gideon”…looks like almost the same type of ad. This is what we have out in California, late nights the commercials run just about every break!

  12. Kelly Avatar

    oops forgot to post the link:

  13. little miss Avatar

    RG, congrats on your one year! I remember coming across you ages ago and have been stopping by ever since- even recently set up a link to you! Enjoy the glow of one year of hard work that is paying off, and don’t go too insane! ๐Ÿ™‚

  14. restaurant Gal Avatar

    T-shirts are ironed and folded. Today’s coworkers still working. Today’s guests all happy. Ohio wins the parental visit. For now, we are all very relieved.

    –The Gal

  15. Robin in Ohio Avatar
    Robin in Ohio

    Dear Gal,
    Dress warmly…it’s COLD here in Ohio. ๐Ÿ™‚

  16. question girl Avatar


    i grew up @ 2 hours outside of NYC, but visted family there twice a month – i always knew we were “almost there” when i started hearing the crazy eddie ads

    thanks for the trip down memory lane

    as for your day – i think it has to do w/ the weather = my day was like that too

  17. jali Avatar

    The world is insane if these people were complaining about you.
    “When you think you’re ready..
    go down to Crazy Eddies..
    ’cause Eddie has the lowest prices in town..”

  18. Sha Avatar

    I just gotta tell ya… Craig Ferguson mentioned Crazy Eddie on the Late Show With Craig Ferguson and I laughed out loud because it reminded me of this post ๐Ÿ™‚

  19. restaurant Gal Avatar

    Sha–So, either he reads my blog or I am a step ahead of the network boys!

    The Gal