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The New and Improved Olive Garden?

And now a word from Arlene Sinclair, the cafeteria lady at Stroman High School in Victoria, Texas who asked me if she could use my blog as a place to express her concerns about a very serious issue:

Hey, y’all, first off I have got to thank The Bitchy Waiter for letting me say some words on the internets, but I have shocking news. My favorite restaurant in the whole world played a new commercial last night and it just about turned my world upside down, y’all. Lemme just say it: I love Olive Garden. I cain’t help it, but I do. Those bread sticks just do a number on me and I cain’t stop eatin’ ‘em. I hear they have a never-ending salad bowl too, but best I remember, I ain’t never had that ’cause it’s got lettuce in it. Anyways, I was watching the telly last night. (I love Honey Boo Boo!!)  and I sees a commercial on for Olive Garden and it was totally different. You know how they usually show a bunch of people sittin’ around a table laughing and eating food and and then at the end they say, “When you’re here, you’re family?” Well what I saw last night they showed a woman doing some of that yogi bear exercise and a bunch of kids taking pictures on the cellular phones. How in tarnation does that have anything to do with Olive Garden? And then at the end they just said “Go Olive Garden.” Don’t mess with my Olive Garden.

I did a little bit of Internets research and found this article telling me that OG is changing the way they are advertising because their business is down. Now that don’t make a lick of sense to me since every time I go to OG it’s as crowded as the Wal-Mart on Black Friday when they’s selling 102″ flat screen t.v.’s for $1.99. I also read that they are starting to have some food that has fewer calories for people who are watching their weight. Now don’t get me wrong, I watch my weight too, you know. I watch it get higher and higher, LOl! I don’t go to OG to watch my calories. If I want to eat healthy and lose weight, I do what all Americans do: I go to Subway. Please DO NOT change, Olive Garden, I beg of you on all things holy and deep fried.

One thing that does look kinda interesting is this new “Dinner Today, Dinner Tomorrow” offer, which gives customers who come in for dinner a second meal to take home. They’re cold and then I can just heat ‘em up the next day. I might like this idea a lot because I can buy a fancy Olive Garden dinner for my kids and husband but I won’t have to leave a tip on it, and that puts more money in my purse.

I suppose I understand that all things have to change, I just don’t like it. I still recall how upset I was when they changed the recipe for Coke so long ago and came out with that new Coke. Lordy, I was so pissed off about that and I skipped breakfast for a week. I finally switched over to Dr. Pepper and life went on but I just don’t know if I can handle all these changes at the OG. On Friday afternoons after me and all the other girls from the cafeteria are done with work, I loves to go to the OG and get myself a glass of white zin and eat some bread sticks. That’s sorta like my own little tradition, you know? I just want things to stay the same and if Olive Garden is changing, what next? Is Arby’s gonna start selling salads or is McDonald’s gonna start selling pizza? Where will it end? If I want pizza, I do what every other American does: I go to KFC.

Okay, I guess I better go. I am at work and the first batch of kids is about to be served lunch. I need to go open up five gallons of mac and cheese and pull those fish sticks out of the oven. I just wanted to vent about Olive Garden. “When you’re here, you’re family” is no longer, but to me, those waitresses at the OG will always be my family. I love ‘em so much which is why I always tell them how great they are to me and my friends. I make sure to tell every single one what a good job they’re doing because I think that’s what they really want from me. We can all make money, but how often do you get a compliment?

Thanks again, Bitchy Waiter for giving me this platform. Go, Olive Garden? I say “Go, Bitchy Waiter!!”

No, Arlene, Thank you.  -BW

(And everyone knows that this wasn’t really written by a woman named Arlene, right?)

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Another Kid Gets Drunk at a Restaurant

I always considered my childhood a good one. I had two loving parents and two younger brothers and I remember being a happy child. It turns out my youth was not as idyllic as I thought, because not once was I ever given booze by a waitress who wasn’t paying attention. Man, my childhood sucked. Well, everything old is new again, because we have reports of yet another child getting drunk on the sweet nectar. If it’s not a drunk ass baby The Olive Garden then it’s a drunk ass baby at Applebee’s.

A restaurant in Clearwater, Florida is the latest establishment to be all trendy by serving liquor to a child. Two moms took their kids on a Mother’s day outing to a place called Frenchy’s South Beach Cafe. The kids had earned a “special treat” so the moms ordered them each a virgin strawberry daiquiri. The waitress hit the wrong button on the computer and the next thing they knew, two four year olds were partying like rock stars at Club Med. One of them drank the whole daiquiri in ten minutes which says two things: number one, frozen daiquiris are the bomb and number two, this kid a has a real future as a lush. The other child did not drink his which says one of two things: either the kid was holding out for a Guinness or the moms only ordered one strawberry daiquiri and they are saying that both kids drank them so the story sounds all that much more dramatical. Looking at the receipt, I only see one strawberry daiquiri, so “I’ll go with ‘moms being all dramatical,’ for a thousand Alex.”

Shortly after though, one kid “started acting a little strange, falling asleep, stumbling over things … then he started vomiting.” Damn four year olds, can’t ever hold their liquor. The child was rushed to the hospital in an ambulance where the doctors were probably like, “Yes a four year old should not be drinking daiquiris. I would suggest starting out with something like a wine cooler or maybe a gin and tonic. Also, it helps if they drink plenty of water as they go on their alcohol binge and always follow it up with a banana and an aspirin.”

No charges are expected to be filed against the restaurant or the waitress since it was pretty clear that this was an accident and there was no intention to get a kid trashed on Mother’s Day. The moms, understandably, want some kind of system in place so this doesn’t “happen to another child, where they die,” said one overly dramatic mom. It’s called “plastic cups,” people. That way you know that nothing alcoholic ever goes into plastic, kids never have a glass that might have alcohol in it and it also means when the kid knocks that shit over (and they will) the glass won’t break.

It does seem to be happening a lot lately or maybe it happened all the time and thanks to videos and stories “going viral” we just hear about it more often now. Either way, it’s my cue to go to Party City and buy myself a baby costume and head right over to my nearest Olive Garden, Applebee’s or Frenchy’s South Beach cafe and order a smoothie and keep my fingers crossed that it will show up as  a cocktail but they will only charge me the non-alcoholic beverage price.

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Drunk Babies Are the New Black

Drunk Babies Are the New Black

Drunk baby.

It seems like only yesterday that I was writing about a baby that went into an Applebee’s as a sweet innocent toddler and came out as a drunk alcoholic 15 month old with addiction issues. Apparently, getting babies drunk is all the rage because it happened again this time at an Olive Garden in Florida. A two and a half year old boy was mistakenly served sangria instead of orange juice and he got all drunk and bleary eyed. The mother said that as they were eating, the waiter came over and whisked the cup away and just told them he had to get them another one. When the nosy mother asked why, the waiter explained the mix up. So wait. This waiter was going to just try to sneak it away without telling them what the fuck happened and try to pass it off as no big deal? He was seriously going to not tell them why he suddenly had to pull the cup away from the thirsty kid? He thought it was okay to not tell the mother that he had accidentally served her child sangria? I really like this waiter, but he could have stuck to his plan and not tell her that they got the baby trashed. He could have just said that he realized the glass was dirty or the orange juice was expired. Of course the worry-wart mom took the baby to the hospital and he is fine. C’mon. It’s sangria from The Olive Garden. We all know that shit is mostly fruit punch with a tablespoon of cheap red wine thrown in it. But if The Olive Garden is going to start indiscriminately handing out sangria I may have to rethink my opinion on them.

Now I don’t have a baby, but this got me to thinking. I have a plan. I want to wrap my dog up in a Snuggie and take him out to eat with me at Outback Steakhouse. I will order my “baby” a cranberry juice and tell them that he is getting over a urinary tract infection. When they bring his cup to the table, I will dump out the cranberry juice and substitute it with some Cosmo that I will have in my flask. I will then proceed to make a scene. “Oh my God! My baby is drunk! My baby is drunk. The dingo ate my baby! My baby is drunk! Who served a Cosmo to my precious baby? I will sue, I tell you! I will sue!!” At this point the manager will come out and ask me what the problem is. I will show him my baby and tell him that before he was served a Cosmo he was a perfectly fine baby. But now he is slurring his words, his eyes are bloodshot and he is covered in doggie fur. This is clearly the fault of the restaurant who accidentally served him a Cosmo. I will rush my baby to the veterinarian right after I phone 1-800-SUE-THEM to get my case set up. I will settle out of court for a lifetime supply of Bloomin’ Onions® and Aussie Cheese Fries.

I don’t know what’s going out there in the world where servers are getting babies drunk. All I know is I have a shift tonight and if there is a baby within of ten foot radius of my station I am going to force feed it a tequila shot and make it play a round of beer pong with me. Drunk babies are fun!

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Could I Work at Olive Garden?

Olive Garden…

I was slapped in the face with the aroma of a bread stick a few days ago and then fell into a bowl of never ending salad, for I stepped into the wonder that is The Olive Garden. I have written before about this feast for the senses and have poked fun at it many many times. So why did I allow myself to return to this place that is overflowing with tourists and people from New Jersey? I needed a gift card to give to my parents for Christmas and they freakin’ love that place. Yes, I am giving the gift of The Olive Garden to my parents. And since I know they don’t read this, I am not worried that they will find out about their majestic gift before Christmas day.

Before I walked in, I put my hood over my head and pulled my scarf high around my neck. The Olive Garden is right down the street from where I work and I certainly couldn’t take a chance that someone would see me and think that I was going in for lunch. I had never been into an Olive Garden here in New York City and I was pleasantly surprised when I was safely ensconced inside. Unlike most New York City restaurants, the place was bright and expansive with lots of room between the tables. Most of the time here, you are crammed in so close to your fellow diners that you can pretty much bump elbows with each other as you break bread. The hostess greeted me with a warm smile and a friendly hello. Suddenly, I really did feel like family. I noticed the servers were wearing crisply starched white shirts with nice ties and clean bistro aprons. The whole corporate feel was really working for them. They all seemed happy and content and I caught a couple of them laughing together. Then I saw an old waiter who looked days away from either collecting Social Security benefits or just flat out keeling over. After I pulled myself away from seeing my own harsh future, I thought, “Hmmm, I wonder if they’re hiring. If I worked with Grandpappy Pasta over there, I wouldn’t be the oldest server at my job. I’d feel like a kid again!” Would it be so bad working for a chain restaurant? It’s not like I haven’t done it before; Houlihan’s, Pizzeria Uno, The Black Eyed Pea and Bennigan’s were all heavy on the corporate. I bet Olive Gardeners get meal breaks with free pasta and salad. They can probably eat all the bread sticks they want. But then look at who they have to serve. Oh, yeah. No amount of never-ending salad would make up for serving Roy and Loretta Jerseytown who thought they would come into the city for dinner and a show. I would puke listening to them talk about how much better Phantom of the Opera was this time than the last time they saw it. And have you ever walked passed The Olive Garden on Sixth Avenue on a Friday night? Good lord, I don’t want to have to wait on that crowd. Not that it wouldn’t give me plenty to write about.

I went up to the bartender and purchased the $75 gift card for Mommsy and Poppsy. The girl behind the bar was all fresh and clean and corporate. She told me to have a nice day and I didn’t see one teeny tiny marinara stain anywhere on her uniform. Impressive for sure. I gave her three bucks for her trouble and took one last whiff of the sweet smells of pre-packaged Italian food and Sysco products before heading back into the real world. Once on the cold dirty sidewalk, the warmth of The Olive Garden seemed so much further away than the thickness of one plate glass window. Gift card safely in hand, I headed to my job where it’s crowded with tables and dimly lit with candles which perfectly conceals the fadedness of my uniform. I’m not meant to work in a fancy place like The Olive Garden. I’ll just dream about it. Visions of chicken Parmesan dance in my head.

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When I Was There, Was I Really Family?

This is a post from a while back, but I have a very busy day ahead of me and my lazy ass doesn’t have time to write new shit. Understandable? Or totally lame? You decide.

Forgive me father, for I have sinned. It’s been about a million fucking years since my last confession, but while I was in Texas I did something I am completely ashamed of. The guilt has been eating away at me like a fat lady eats an order of eggs benedict. The shame has completely consumed me so that I can barely function. Last night at work, I found it difficult to maintain focus and give my customers the attention they so rightly deserved. My mind kept wandering to a dreadful night eight days ago when I did what I swore I would never ever do. Something that makes me shudder with revulsion. I ate at The Olive Garden.

It was my last night with my parents and I wanted to take them out to dinner. They live in a small town and when you want to eat someplace nice, the options are limited. There, they think The Olive Garden is fancy. Real fancy. When people go there they do it without any hint of irony at all. So that’s where we went. I must admit that I was looking forward to that never-ending bread stick/salad bowl thingy even though someone once told me that each bread stick was 310 calories. Our server was a young girl who was obviously new to the world of food service. Someone at our table asked her which wine she thought was better. I was pretty sure that all of the wines at The olive Garden would be equally mediocre but she had an answer. Her answer sounded like it was in the form of a question. “Uh…I dunno? You’ll have to ask someone else because I’m not old enough to taste the wine yet?” Then she giggled. Okay, listen, new waitress. You never say you don’t know; you just make shit up. You can always say. “Well, the chardonnay is much more popular than the pinot grigio” or some other vague ass answer like that. The table ordered three different glasses of wine so when she showed up she was holding three glasses in one hand and had three bottles of wine cradled in her arm and up against her chest. She squatted down to get them to the table and then gave a big sigh of relief. “Whew! I made it and I’m the captain of dropping things.” And then she giggled. Ay ay, captain, just shut the fuck up and take my order.

I had a chicken parmigiana and I inhaled three breadsticks (930 calories…), had some salad and two glasses of wine. I enjoyed the food. It sorta remonded me of the chick parm you used to be able to get at Burger King and I loved that shit. It was 9:15 and we suddenly realized we were the only ones left in the restaurant. It being a Tuesday night in small town Texas, people headed home early I suppose. Maybe they had to get up early on Wednesday and till the farm or clean out the chicken coops. We asked if they were closed, but they informed us that they were open until 10:00 and there was no need to hurry. A few minutes later, Giggles the waitress came to our table and said, “So, I’m gonna go ‘head and go home now? So…uhh…” We took that as our cue to pay the check. We left her a 22% tip which in that town was enough for her to go buy a two bedroom one bath house. I enjoyed my meal at The Olive Garden. When I was there, I really did feel like family. That may have been in part due to the fact that I was eating with my parents who are actually family, but regardless, it was nice.

I hope you can forgive me for eating at The Olive Garden. I hope Jesus can forgive me but most of all I hope I can forgive myself. I shall say 100 Hail Marys and clean the lids of twenty ketchup bottles in hopes that I can be resolved of this most monsterous of sins.

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