The restaurant industry tends to be cyclical. It’s one trend followed by another. You’re cutting edge for a while and then you’re chasing the pack. It can be a real rat race. Perhaps lemmings are involved?
Yes, I’m trying to include lots of references to rodentia. We’re talking about restaurants here. I don’t recognize sacred cows. Like always I gotta keep it classy.
There’s a trend where celebrity chefs are seen everywhere except in their own kitchens. I’m looking but not looking at you, Naomi Pomeroy. Squee. One final Beast reference.
Honey Badger, though, will have the last word. Keep reading.
Some life lessons I learned at a young age. I had good teachers. Just lucky, I guess.
Now, this is funny. Let me catch my breath and I’ll continue. “Woot, squee!” Or is that, “Squee, woot!” Either way, I’m rolling on the floor laughing, because, what a riot.
Okay, okay. I’ll try to be serious. Life can’t always be fun and games.
Like the time a group of 6th graders got me down on the ground and beat the shit out of me. Then, in the aftermath, I was taken to the principal’s office for a spanking while they all got away scott free.
See what I mean about good times?
Then, while in fourth grade, a third grader stood next to me in the bathroom at the urinal stalls, turned, and had a nice laugh while peeing all over me. What can I say? I wasn’t exactly redshirted, know what I mean? Sadly, not all ribald tales like this one can have happy endings. Years after graduation I heard he was killed after being involved in a grisly accident where he was thrown clear and a car ended up on top of him.
One of my earliest recollections is going on a bus trip with other kids from my church. I think I would have been in the first grade. Years have faded the memories as if looking through prisms of time constructed from stained glass. I remember being excited because dad had loaned me a real camera. We visited an old Oregon town and I took pictures of a scenic and historic church. Back on the bus the kid in the next seat and I were discussing the experience. Suddenly he snatched the camera from my hands and opened the back, exposing the film. (This is a substance that, in the past, was used to capture photographs. Look it up.)
He claimed this wouldn’t hurt anything. But later back home there was a strange gap in my pictures. All of the church photos were gone. Obviously an important message from above. I learned the lesson and I learned it well.
And then there’s the strange case of Saturday Night by the Bay City Rollers. Inexplicably, I owned a 45 containing this song. A 45 was a song, called a “single,” pressed onto a small vinyl disc that played at 45 rpm on a turntable. It had a song on the “b-side” but I no longer recall what it was. One day, not knowing the dangers, I loaned it to a “friend.” When he returned it a few days later, he had cleverly scratched the shit out of that thing. It never played again. Was he a future music critic? I never found out.
These are just a few important life lessons that I was fortunate to experience at an early age before the shit got too real. What are some of yours?
The Family Owned Rest-O-Taunt
Kids in restaurants: What more can possibly be added to the conversation on this grisly topic? What are the chances of any new pithy insights, useful anecdotes or even a side serving of a modicum of wit? Hell if I know, but I’m going to give it my best shot.
Every once a while a restaurant will make the national news because they do something daring like “banning” children under the age of six. That’s old news by now, even though the practice didn’t exactly become the norm.
So, unfortunately, we’re all desensitized to fine dine experiences that include the boorish behavior of other people’s kids. I dare say, bad form. Especially on top of all the other usual nonsense like cell phones, loud mouths, drunks and cigarette smoke.
But there’s a particular variant of this that was recently brought to my attention by the kindly staff at a local eatery the other night: When the kids aren’t just fellow guests but are owned, operated, sponsored and provided by the restaurant itself.
Duh, duh, duh!!!
I guess we could think of them as the amuse-bouche of upgrade comps. Now that’s a hot ticket!
Diner At Eats
Good news. By clicking to read this post an 18% gratuity has already been added to your bill.
Don’t worry. We still provide a space for “tip” that allows you to recognize unparalleled service. You don’t normally review your charges, do you? Have you tipped 20% on top of an 18% gratuity lately? Trust me. It’s fun.
I survive on your tips. The lion’s share of the profits go to management. Luckily, though, my proceeds are not subject to “protection” charges by the blogosphere syndicate. I haven’t been syndicated. At least not yet. Won’t you help pay my way through college?
A local restaurant just closed. The “chef” had her parents invest lots of their own money which I can only assume has now vaporized. The building is shuttered and construction workers have brought in scaffolding and are tearing things apart.
The food had a reputation for being quite good but the portions were notoriously tiny. The prices were though the roof and the place was easily one of the most expensive in town. The restaurant never seemed to do anything about bad service though the stories were the stuff of legend and spread like wildfire through our small town.
I heard the chef had an explanation for her failed enterprise. “The community just didn’t support us.” Yeah, I’m sure she’ll be successful wherever she lands.
After doing Saturday morning computer work for a friend, I was “paid” with a buy-one-get-one-free coupon for this very same restaurant. Hell, that probably makes it my fault they closed just a few days later. Whatever. Yet another guru freebie and without gratuity, to boot! I guess I should frame that coupon and hang it on my wall to remind me of how the world works.
Continue reading →
Wrest Buy Drive By Whiskey Tango Foxtrot
Shortly before Christmas the online store known as Best Buy had a sale on iTunes cards. Twenty percent off. A $100 iTunes gift card was only $80.
What? You mean I’ve been paying full price this whole time in iTunes when I could have been getting my balance at a discount? Idiot… idiot… idiot…
I had never heard of such a thing. Of course, I’m always the last to know.
So I did something I rarely do, maybe a handful of times per year. I went on the information superhighway and made myself a purchase. I spent $80 on myself. “Merry Christmas to me!”
I figured Best Buy would link me to the code and I could punch it into my Apple device and the alternative death metal would soon be music to my ears. Sure, the order said “free shipping” but why would they spend money on that when they could be all digital up in that grill?
Boy, was I wrong.
Continue reading →
Hollywood’s summertime blues
Everyone say it with me now: Awwwwwwwww!
Poor, poor Hollywood.
Hollywood is feeling sad because the summer of 2011 had the lowest movie attendance since 1997. That’s so sad. So all you peeps in the industry only made thousands of times my yearly salary? Wow. I feel for you. Truly!
Because I am a benevolent guru, I’m willing to take a few previous moments out of my day to offer a little advice that just might help you out of your doldrums. Even though I know never in a million years will you listen or follow this advice. You’d rather die first, right?
The solution is simple. Make the movie going experience more fun than licking all the urinals in town.
The problem is simple. Your product is defective. Seriously. Who the fuck wants to go to a theater and sit with a bunch of rude and disgusting assholes?
Hey, I’m serious. Not once in my life has a movie theater ever given half a shit about my “experience.” Not once!
Not once have I ever seen a movie theater eject people for talking. For answering cell phone calls during the movie. (Even during United 93.) Or for any reason.
Never have I seen anyone ejected. Ever. The fact of the matter is this: Movie theaters have no system for proactively protecting the experience. Actually, I find that a bit mind boggling because that experience is their product.
In the world of business there is sometimes a principle which holds true: Don’t give a shit about your product and your bottom line just may be affected.
Fix that and maybe more people will decide to try your product again. Until then, fuck it. We’re willing to wait and watch at home.
Fix your product and they will come. I’m mostly talking to the theater chains here, but I’m also talking directly to Hollywood. They’re nitpicky about all sorts of other things, I think they should give a shit about their end users, too. They should team up with the chains to improve things. It is only to their own benefit. The reality is simple: If people find it too unpleasant to go to the movies they’ll eventually decide not to go, especially when faced with ever-growing exorbitant ticket prices.
Make going to movies fun again, dammit. Or shut yer bitching about declining attendance.