A few days ago, I first saw Applebee’s with a commercial that was based on the TikTok videos that helped a certain song that is widely loathed in the music critic circles I associate with called “Fancy Like” whose lyrics reference the restaurant and its menu and have helped shape its menu by encouraging the return of shakes for at least a while to their menu (more on that later). While I do not share the intense loathing of the song that many people have, I am often intrigued by what draws people to feel so strongly for or against something, when my own feelings are a benevolent indifference to so much of what people loathe. Obviously, I have different standards than others.
So, it happens that this evening I watched the second half of the opening game of this year’s football season at Applebee’s, on a night when the restaurant and the bar were pretty heavily slammed. I managed to find a quiet place to finish reading a book on creativity for the Christian and have my usual dinner while watching a dramatic game that featured some exciting back and forth. One of the waiters for the restaurant had put money on the game–somewhat foolishly in my opinion–making a combo bet for $300 that Tampa Bay would win the game straight up (they ended up winning 31-29) and that Antonio Brown would get 75 yards or something close to that, which he did. The game was rather sloppy, though I can’t say I was upset with how it ended personally.
After the game was done I had a chance to talk with the bartender, who I know a little bit because the place is close to where I live and therefore is a place I have spent a fair amount of time over the years. It is always interesting to chat with people and see how things are going for them. And it was no great overstatement to say that things were not going very well for the bartender, who was left all alone at the bar top as well as handling various drink requests (including both smoothies and shakes, which use the same solitary blender that she has). One of her many rants was that she went through ice cream at an alarming rate because of the commercials and the fact that the restaurant (temporarily) added shakes to the menu without taking out smoothies, which use the same blenders that have to be washed out between every different product being made on them.
Nor was this the only thing that I politely heard a rant about over the course of the evening. A large amount of turnover and the immense difficulties in finding people willing to work–a common problem from what I have seen in a great many businesses–a problem exacerbated by the willingness on the part of our current government to prolong unemployment benefits indefinitely even while punishing those who want to work by trying to enforce bogus vaccine mandates. This was even less popular than “Fancy Like,” admittedly enough. And to add to all this, she had a limit of five pounds that she could lift with her right hand because of a broken right pinky finger, which she showed me some pictures of, which has been slow to heal so far. Suffice it to say, things were not going very well for her today, a problem in which I must say I was both a small part of, as well as a part of the way that she coped with her difficulties through communicating to someone who was at least a somewhat sympathetic ear, a common if not always welcome fate for me.