Friday, November 17, 2006

Working in the old folks home

My particular Red Lobster store has likely the second highest amount of people over the age of 65 in the country, with all of South Florida coming in at #1, and Arizona a close #3. I sometimes wonder to myself if the rush hour traffic slow down in front of our store is created by old people driving too slowly with their blinkers on as they make their way to Red Lobster. If Red Lobster was really serious about increasing their guest counts, they'd have deals like some Indian Casinos do where they send buses around to pick people up at the Casino's expense. Also if Red Lobster was smart, they would build stores next door to the Casinos. I can imagine there would be a long line extending from the Nevada Casinos into every Red Lobster next door. It'd me more popular (and profitable) than the Nevada hookers. I can just imagine all the Red Lobsters on the Jersey Seaboard.

Working in my store is quite hazardous because of the old people. First, they move very slowly. This is in direct conflict with my needs as a server. Second, they are unpredictable. They might be slowly moving, but can stop at any time without warning. Always in the middle of traffic. Just like they drive on the streets. Third, they don't see or hear well in a lot of cases. This means they might move directly in front of you, as you carry scalding hot food on a heavy tray, and have no clue they are doing it. You can call out to them, but it's no use. You know if you dropped more than a biscuit on them it would likely penetrate the paper thin skin and break every bone as it passes through their body. I can see the headlines now: "Waiter drops fork, 1 injured, 1 dead."

They further make my job difficult by speaking softly. I understand they barely have enough oxygen getting into their lungs to keep them alive, but it is nonetheless difficult to hear them as they whisper into their menu with all the noise of the restaurant. Add to that the few cocktails they were nursing all afternoon and slurred speech is sometimes also a factor. And probably adds to the driving problems and the rush hour traffic issues.

And if that wasn't enough, they are intent on making restaurants across the world one gigantic obstacle course. There are times my store looks like a parking lot for walkers and wheel chairs. Some at least fold up to reduce the amount of room they take. But for some reason they still have a mindset of imminent domain, and thereby feel that wherever they choose to place their walker is now their property. We try to move them, and when possible to the front of our store where guests and employees aren't trying to walk. But some of these old buggers seem to think that if they can't see their walker, it might cease to exist. Sure, it might get stolen, but really I think I could carry 6 or 7 old people out to their Cadillacs on each arm if called on. I have become an expert over the years in all makes and models of walkers, and I'm slowly catching up on wheel chairs. I suspect sometime in the near future Red Lobster will installing conveyor belts from the front of the store into our sections so the old people won't even have to walk. That'll make the people too fat to fit in a booth happy too.

On any given day, between 4:00 and 6:00PM there is enough oxygen in tanks in my store to create an explosion to rival Hiroshima were they to all ignite simultaneously. Some of these things are a nice manageable size, but others are only slightly smaller than a welder's set-up. Most of them are very quiet, but a few sound like a fish tank pump from hell. And of course, these are always placed in the worst possible locations so that we might catch their tubing with our tray jacks, or stumble over the dark gray colored ones because they blend in with the carpet.

And all of this so they can split a half order of broiled Cod or Flounder. And to have butter on their biscuits. And of course don't forget the tartar sauce, which they'll never order before you ring in your meal.

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Skwerly said...

Thanks for the Friday afternoon laughs!!! :D

OldSchool36 said...

I have mixed feelings about this post: On one hand, I think it's a bit harsh. On the other hand, I know EXACTLY where you're coming from. My lunch hosting partner (from back in the day) and I used to have a comedy routine based on real life which we'd perform for co-workers, the convo went like this:
"Hello ma'am, how are you today?"
"Ok, what is your smoking preference today?"
"Ok, I have a booth right inside the dining room, is that ok?"

Lobster Boy said...

I will say some of my favorite regulars are old people. One particular old couple is my personal favorites, and they visit us every 4 days. I wait on them most of the time, but with our three table limit there are a lot of times I am unable to meet their request of me serving them because they don't want to wait 30-60 minutes for one of my tables to open up. They are pleasant, kinda like my adopted grandparents. But then there are those like my second table tonight, an old lady who was about as friendly as a shark with a tooth ache.

Lobster Boy

zelda1 said...

Mean people come in all ages. I, for one, think there are already too many bad jokes about our elderly, which, by the way, sets them up to be dehumanized and often abused, after all, they are just old and in the way. One thing about old age, we all get there, if we live long enough.

Brad #1 said...

I'm not getting old, so you don't have to worry about me. :)

Denise said...

zelda1: i don't think that lobsterboy is at all advocating geriatric abuse. in fact, being able to sit back and laugh at all of the silliness of it all probably prevents geriatric abuse.

briliantdonkey said...

I think we have all had to deal with the walker obstacle course at times. Great post as usual.

::::I can imagine there would be a long line extending from the Nevada Casinos into every Red Lobster next door. It'd me more popular (and profitable) than the Nevada hookers. I can just imagine all the Red Lobsters on the Jersey Seaboard.::::

Just be careful you are in the right place when you say "I'll have the crabs" or it could be a bad thing.


Lobster Boy said...

As Homer Simpson says BD "It works on so many levels!"

Lobster Boy

st. paulite said...

Oxygen tanks are not explosive. They can add fuel to fire but cannot just explode themselves. Maybe under extreme pressure and heat they could (Like in a fire or oven) but just having them in the restaurant won't pose any danger.