For years I thought about doing something pretty silly. Scratch that, I had done more than just think about it, I had talked aloud about it on numerous occasions. However, up until today I never had the guts to do it. Now it is too late because two people beat me to it. Perhaps not surprising, they are both journalists.
Back in my college days I remember sitting with my friends discussing a certain topic in our all-you-can-eat dining hall (it was called the Food Zoo…I am not kidding). Thinking we had come up with a crazy, rebellious idea we continuously pitched this idea to one another: What if we stayed in the Food Zoo ALL DAY LONG?
Oh man, what a groundbreaking, newspaper worthy moment that would be. How would we not earn instant glorification from campus if we wasted a whole Saturday in the cafeteria acting annoying and filling up plate after plate of food?
This lofty goal inspired me in other environments too. Also in college my friends and I went to this $5 all-you-can-eat pizza dump quite frequently. We plotted doing a day-long stakeout there as well. But I would later develop higher aspirations. As a way to make good on my college scheme, I considered spending several hours at a Golden Corral. Not only would the food be of a higher quality but it would make a good blog post. Too late now.
Two journalists from the Business Insider, Hollis Johnson and Kate Taylor, went to their local Red Lobster and stayed for eight hours. They did this to cash in on the restaurant’s Endless Shrimp promotion. In a long but entertaining summary of their experience, the two wrote about what it was like to spend the day in one of America’s most popular casual dining chain restaurants.
Although I am a little bitter at the fact they stole my idea, I can’t help but admit that they did a lot more than what I would have done. You see, Hollis (he is a male) and Kate didn’t just loiter around Red Lobster for eight hours while picking at shrimp every now and then. Rather, they went completely all-in. Between the two of them, the duo consumed 305 shrimp.
If I ever went through with the plan to spend a day at a buffet or at a restaurant with an “endless” promotion, my number one goal would have been just to hang out and watch the time go by. Sure I would have ended up eating a lot but I would not have focused on stuffing myself silly. I would have done it more for the awkwardness of a customer overstaying his welcome as opposed to setting personal eating records. But these two journalists checked off both objectives…
Well, not exactly.
Hollis and Kate actually called the Red Lobster beforehand and let management know about their plans. They didn’t catch anyone off guard. The restaurant knew they would have some guests sticking around all day and they knew to prepare extra shrimp. So yes, that reality does take a little bit of the luster away from their story.
So does that leave the door open to me? Should I wear a hidden camera and walk inside a restaurant unannounced and sit down for eight hours while eating an exorbinant amount of food? Nah, I don’t think so. I like to reason that I have matured just a little bit since my college days. And while I will do just about anything for this blog, I don’t think I will go that far (even if I did do this). Well done to Hollis and Kate for executing a pretty brilliant story idea. Don’t Blink.