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Friday, August 08, 2003

Corporate Food: Oxymoron of Obscenity?

I was out in scary suburbia, I had an hour or so to kill, and I was a bit hungry. The two breakfast options appeared to be Denny’s—a corporate assembly line answer to dining—and another place that looked like it was trying desperately to reach Denny’s level of institutionalized awfulness. I chose the upstart joint; I think it was called Mickelstien’s or something like that.

It got weird as soon as we entered. The seating hostess scanned several sheets of restaurant seating maps before taking us to a table. She informed us that she would be our waitress and promptly left before taking my order for coffee. Maybe my coffee drug addiction is talking here but what kind of asshole doesn’t take your order for coffee? A few minutes later another waitress came by and announced that she would be our waitress. I didn’t really care who would eventually be our waitress, I just wanted—make that needed, desperately needed—a cup of coffee.

You could tell the place was micro-managed half to death by the geniuses at their evil world headquarters. The menus had pictures of what the food should look like in a perfect world--always a bad sign. The waitress took our order on some sort of palm pilot. She asked us if we wanted ketchup, as if this is an item too precious to simply leave out on the tables. I imagined her returning to the kitchen to face a tribunal of shift managers. “So, did you at least try to talk them out of the ketchup, Miss ‘Let’s just give out free ketchup to the whole world’?” The total number of customers that the waitress is unable to talk out of using valuable condiments is undoubtedly put on her permanent record.

The food was completely terrible, as you might have guessed. I know what you are saying to yourselves. “Where does this punk get off expecting that just any restaurant can pull off a complicated meal like breakfast?” I really don’t know what I was thinking. Did I actually think that a restaurant, just any restaurant could actually serve edible (eatable?) food? How naïve.

Speaking of Denny’s, they have a new slogan: A good place to sit and eat. No shit, I seen it on the TV. I’ll bet the guys at the swanky Madison Avenue ad agency that created that gem tossed around “A good place to park your fat ass and stuff your pie hole with really salty or super-sweet garbage.” They had to nix that one because it was too long. “A good place to sit and eat” is actually perfect for a dump like Denny’s because it sort of implies that eating is something you have to do, it’s like you are a shark and eating is your only function on this earth, eating is all you do, you fucking pig, and where you do it isn’t of great concern. For God’s sake, you’re close to starving.

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