Thursday, September 20, 2007

SEPTEMBER 20, 2007

Okay, time to rant about Red Lobster. (What is blogging for, after all, right?)

When my sister Jenni was here visiting last Friday, we went to Red Lobster, because she's a big fan of their Endless Shrimp promotion. I hadn't seen any commercials for it or anything, so I wanted to confirm they were indeed offering the special before we went. So I call our Bakersfield Red Lobster and...

Red Lobster Employee: We're having a great time at Red Lobster today, how can I help you?

(Okay, now this just annoys me. There is nothing wrong with just answering the phone, "Red Lobster, how can I help you?". I can almost guarantee at 3 PM when I called, the place was close to dead, most of the employees--especially the bus boys and janitorial crew-- were NOT having a good time, and if you're just going to be fake about it, you might as well just answer the phone normally.)

Brent: Hi, are you currently doing your endless shrimp promotion?

(This took will power, because as you can tell from the comment above, I sometimes feel the sassy need to answer back, "I'm just having an okay day, I'm a little bit gassy, but can I place an order to go?")

Red Lobster Employee: Yes, ma'am we are.

(OH SNAP! She did NOT JUST CALL ME MA'AM! Trust me, we were both on a land line, there is no way she said "man". It was definitely "ma'am".)

Brent: (startled and stunned at being called a woman) Oh... thank you.

This in itself almost made me not want to go. But for my sister, and who am I kidding, cheese biscuits, we went.

Jenni did indeed order the Endless Shrimp, and it reminded me of my beef with these "endless" specials. About four or five years ago, I went with Julie's family to Red Lobster and order the Endless Crab Legs, and I remembered how "endless" is a very relative term.

See, they bring out your first plate of shrimp/crab legs with no problem. You get your sides, and you are still filled with the hope and promise of an evening of plentiful seafood. When you are ready for seconds, the server smiles, and brings you another plate of food, and it seems now that it is too good to be true, and yes, they are going to keep bringing this stuff out until you get all the value out of every last penny of your $16.99.

That's when they mess with you. I swear, they instruct their staff on this, because it is too much coincidence that the same thing happened on their "endless" specials four years apart. You already know the third plate they bring you is going to be smaller, but it's okay because you can technically order 20 of these little plates if you like.

What's not cool is they wait about 20 minutes to strut it out to you. OK, I know there are lots of folks in the restaurant ordering the special, but you can't tell me when you're offering this promotion, they're not back there making shrimp by the truckload. They purposely wait to bring your third plate so your stomach starts telling your brain that it's full. If that's not the textbook definition of "deception", I don't know what is. Of course, they smile at you and say, "We're making more right now, it will be out in a second"... but they're really thinking, "Get full now, tubbo, we get a bonus when we hold you to four plates or less".

Then, after the third plate, they ask if they can bring your check. I think our server messed up when she confessed that once they bring the check, you can't order any more plates. So, my sister wisely ordered another one before we took the check. Now my sister isn't a big eater by any means, but she wanted to enjoy her endless shrimp! If they're going to offer it, why once you get there, are they going to try and get you to order less?

So, owners of Red Lobster, should you come across this blog, hear this! I am on to you, my friends. Yes, your cheese biscuits cause me to love you blindly, but we all have our limits. Charge me a little more, offer the promotion for a more limited time, come up with another solution that you like... but if you offer me endless seafood, make it endless. Don't take your time, don't try and talk me out of it, don't place brochures about seafood contamination on the tables... let me enjoy my feast as you described it on television. It's already bad enough that the rest of my party is looking at me with crazy eyes as I keep eating when they've been finished for 30 minutes. Please let me eat in peace in a timely and un-hassled fashion.

And oh yeah, while you're at it, don't call me ma'am ever again. :)

A recent study says that babies who watched an hour or more of television a day knew fewer words. Good! Less words means less talking.

Researchers at the University of Washington recently found that those so-called educational videos like the Baby Einstein may actually hinder kids' development. In the study, babies 8 to 16 months old who watched one hour or more of TV a day knew fewer words than babies who watched no television.

This is bad news, because as most moms know, TV is a lifesaver that allows them ten minutes to, I don't know, use the bathroom, take a shower, maybe make a phone call! I just don't buy it, I think as long as you are sitting and reading with your kids on colors, numbers, letters, and shapes, and also getting them physical exercise as well, a little TV won't hurt.

Did you know the answer?

Q: 37% of households punish their kids this way.
A: Take away their Internet access