Read today that a big portion of the Bennigan's chain is closing.
I worked at Bennigan's for a little shy of two years in college.
During that time I served up many sides of ranch, endured inane Quality, Service, Cleanliness! trainings, and memorized a 25-word phone greeting.
I pilfered hot chocolate from the supply room, smoked pot with the dishwashers, and was once disciplined by a manager named Bob for not being more like Tamika. Tamika, said Bob, is perky.
I met the guy who would eventually become my ex-fiance, had my first lesbian crush, and got in a 120 decibel screaming match over a Country Fried Chicken Salad with a cook named Ringo.
I loved customers. Hated customers. Had customers where I was totally indifferent. I served beer to Mateen Cleaves and iced tea to Governor Engler. I saw marriage proposals and prom dates.
Mostly, I worked my ass off. 8, 10, 14 hour shifts. I never got any love from management, except the $50 check I got when the rest of the staff voted me Most Valuable Employee.
I think it had to do with the Tamika effect. I was 22 years old and very much a Midwesterner, i.e. too naive to see the benefit in flirting with grody married managers in their 40's.
Had I known then what I know now, I would have definitely went for it.
Bennigan's managers had the power to make or break you. In the right section you could pull $200 and get out well before midnight. The wrong section and you'd make $30, work just as hard, and be stuck until 2 a.m. cleaning. Guess who always got the wrong section?
I quit on Father's Day, the busiest day of the year. I purposely picked up a double shift the week before, so they'd have to find not one, but two people to replace me.
My hatred has dulled over the years, but reading this news I still felt a little more satisfaction than is probably normal for someone of my forgiving nature.
A few minutes ago I went on the Bennigan's site and found the number for my old location. I called it. Still in business. Still that same, lame long-ass greeting. I immediately hung up. Nothing personal, Tamika.