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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