My mother-in-law gave us a gift card for Applebee’s for Christmas, among many other things. I love restaurant gift cards because they are free money and a decision-maker all wrapped into one. The usual, weekend conversation:
Me: Where do you want to go out to dinner?
Hubs: I don’t know. Where do you want to go? (Once again, putting the decision back on me.)
Me: Oh, wait, [insert name here] gave us that gift card for [insert restaurant here]. Let’s just go there.
And, just like that, we don’t spend an hour discussing what cuisine sounds good or whether they have a kid’s menu. Problem solved. Decision made for us. And, the best part: it’s free!
Applebee’s is kind of like a bar that still offers a kids menu and crayons. At the center, there’s a Cheers-style bar with flat screen TVs overhead and several couples mixed in with single men. The single men are usually hunched over the bar, with their mouths almost settled into their pint glasses. They’re serial-killer creepy and it’s best to avoid eye contact with them. They look like the lead actors from a Lifetime movie. The characters that end up behind bars before the closing credits.
When I say Applebee’s is like a bar, I mean in every sense of the word. There are loud, drunk people. They offer Buzztime Trivia (The only real value in the joint, for me). They offer bingo for gift cards. They offer daily drink specials. The bathrooms are messy, probably from all of the drink specials. And, the most hilarious bar similarity is that they offer Jell-O shots! Parents are buying Jell-O shots, while feeding their toddlers or babies. I sure hope they taught their toddlers how to drive!
We were about to enjoy a free meal, so the scene around us was funny, not annoying. That was until my daughter said, “Mommy, there’s Play-Doh under the table.”
I was distracted by the next trivia question, so it took me a second to realize what she was saying. When I turned to look at her, she was under the table peeling the “Play-Doh” off! I instantly pulled my sanitizer out and slathered about half of the bottle on her hands. I grabbed her and rushed her to the bathroom to slather even more soap on her hands (I may have emptied the entire dispenser).
“Mommy, what’s wrong with the Play-Doh?” she asked.
“Honey, that’s not Play-Doh, it’s gum and it’s dirty, so please don’t touch it again,” I replied.
And, then we continued our last visit to Applebee’s.