Red Lobster Is Not Essential

Red Lobster Is Not Essential

y mother has been a server at Red Lobster since Ronald Reagan served as President. When I was growing up, unclaimed takeout seafood had a dependancy of showing up in our fridge. I guess you could say I was once born with a Cheddar Bay Biscuit in my mouth. While the Red Lobster menu has changed slightly over the years, the wage has not: two dollars and 13 cents an hour plus tips. Two-thirteen is a bad guess for pi or a good time for a nap, however not a living wage. It’s left to the customers to add a few greenbacks to the bill for my mom for silly matters like her mortgage. So she puts on a show for tips, and because, as she says, “I do love meeting people.”

The Red Lobster the place she works is near Myrtle Beach, in South Carolina. She collects stories from ocean-bound tourists, Yankees who have moved South, and customers from overseas who occasionally laugh at her joke that “standard tipping in the U.S. is fifty per cent.” She likes telling her stories, too: about her “silver fox” husband, four kids, and three grandbabies. If you’ve had my mom as a waitress, you’ve definitely heard that I live up in New York City and that I don’t name her enough. At Thanksgiving last year, I surprised her during her shift. When I got here in, a host whom I’d never met hollered “Zach’s here!” and then added, “We’ve heard so many stories about you.” I watched Mom bounce around her tables and chat with her co-workers, a mother hen to a gaggle of twentysomethings. She smiled when she saw me in her section. She took my order, delivered extra ranch, and refused my tip.

At a press conference on April 20th, Henry McMaster, the governor of South Carolina, announced the reopening of the state: “Our aim was to cause the most damage feasible to the virus while doing the least possible damage, at least permanent damage, to our businesses.” Three days later, he instructed the accelerateSC task force that “the last factor any of us want is to have a relapse.” He might as well have named the project force toofastSC. The beaches were reopened immediately, to be accompanied by hotels and indoor dining. According to the Times, dine-in restaurants are in particular dangerous for spreading the virus, due to high people traffic, sustained visits, shut contact, and indoor settings. On May 11th, McMaster reopened them. ?

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