If you’ve been blogging for a period of time, you are bound to write a post that rubs people the wrong way. You will receive angry emails or insulting comments. I’ve seen bloggers quit because of all the conflict. I’ve been lucky, mostly because no one really cares about my opinion. There are a few times I thought I wrote something “controversial,” about race, for instance, and I was up all night, biting my nails, wondering if someone was going to write a comment like:
“You’re a racist pig. You suck. Your blog sucks. And your penis sucks. I’m never reading this blog again, and I’m telling everyone to never read it again, too.”
Of course, these comments rarely show up when I expect them to. As much as I try to be a loud-mouth Bill O’Reilly type, nobody ever seems to want to take me on. The posts that attract the most negative attention are the dumbest posts possible, the ones I wrote in ten minutes while wearing my underwear at 1 AM.
On December 5, 2005, I described my first experience eating at The Olive Garden. It was a relatively minor post in my oeuvre. The “plot” revolved around a moral discussion I had with Sophia over “sharing” some of the salad she was going to order of the chain’s all-you-can-eat soup and salad, since she wasn’t going to eat too much of it herself:
“Sounds good,” said Sophia. We can get one unlimited soup and one unlimited salad, and we can share it. They even give you unlimited breadsticks. I think I’m beginning to like this place.”
“Sophia, I don’t think you understand. Each unlimited soup and each unlimited salad is for one person only.”
“What do they care if we share it?”
“Because then what’s to stop ten people from coming in here and ordering one unlimited soup and one unlimited salad and just sharing it all together.”
“That’s ridiculous. Besides, it doesn’t say anywhere, “no sharing.””
“Olive Garden cannot stay in business if everyone shares the same unlimited soup.”
As you may notice, I was the “good cop” in this story, defending the sacred rights of The Olive Garden to limit sharing. In the course of the post, I made a few jabs at the restaurant, mostly about the “authenticity” of the chain restaurant’s food and ambiance — but nothing very threatening. At the time of the post, the restaurant chain had a commercial on TV where some Italian-American family brings their grandma straight off the plane from Italy — to Olive Garden — and Grandma feels right at home, even though I doubt her local trattoria in Sicily gives a guest one of those grimy “buzzers” that vibrate when your table is ready.
Despite it all, I rated the Olive Garden soup and salad as “pretty good.” I even made a list ranking chain restaurants, and Olive Garden came in as my #2 chain restaurant!
The Cheesecake Factory
So, the question remains – why all the hate? For two years now, I’ve been getting comments and emails angry about my opinion of Olive Garden, as if I attacked Jesus himself. I don’t know who these people are, or WHY they are so passionate about the Olive Garden.
Is it possible that people are finding my post on Google? It does come in as #8 when you search “Olive Garden.” But why all the insults? Are these frustrated servers? Or is it management doing ego searching? There seems to be a lot of pent up anger about everything to do with the Olive Garden… and it is all being taken out on me.
This is a comment from TX OG server –
Supposedly we make the rest in tips… but cheap asses come in and run us into the ground with soup and salad refills and then leave a dollar… so we really don’t make enough to live on. Thanks, it’s assholes like you that don’t tip, that perpetuate poverty among single mothers who can not do anything but wait tables for a living because they didn’t learn any useful skills before the man who lied to them and told them to have kids, up and left and never has to pay child support because the government doesn’t pursue deadbeat fathers if it’s too difficult because he’s out of state and doesn’t work but commits crime and sells drugs for a living. Shitheads! Why don’t you think about that, and leave a decent tip. It’s customary and YOU FUCKING KNOW IT.
Good point, TX OG server, but I don’t ever remember saying anything about the tip.
From “Jeff Kennedy” –
Are you serious? You went to the Olive Garden and expected..what? Anyone with half a brain knows what to expect from a corporate giant in the food industry. Too many of your cynical observations gave you away as to what kind of critical pessimistic, nitpicker you seem to be. For instance, how did you know the birthday boy was “bratty”? And as for the hostess, do you honestly think that a teenager who’s working for minimum wage at the OG is really putting that much thought into table availability times for the HORDES of people who inundate those places daily? 99.9% of the people who go to the OG regularly (who are incidentally NOT on a fact-finding mission) just want to hear that they will be seated “soon” and then they take their place with the other cattle and wait patiently (or sometimes not) until they are called. What’s going to be your next revelation? Maybe the fact that NOT EVERYTHING IS A DOLLAR AT THE DOLLAR STORE?? Horrors!!!
You are right. I cannot know for sure whether that annoying boy was “bratty,” other than my observation. But what makes you so sure that I am a critical, pessimistic, nitpicker with half a brain?
From “Fred D” –
This is the Hotel Reality – Check In Please!
I don’t know what people expect when they go to a restaurant. I expect to eat and have a drink with my meal. I realize that if you go at a peak time, you will have to wait. I get the impression that those who are down on a place because they try to make a profit, would be better off at McDonald’s (they make loads of money) and they would probably want to bring their own bottle of Skrew Kappa or Riunite in a brown paper bag and pour it into their water glass – no servers to oversee the sneaky deed.
Can someone please tell me what Skrew Kappa is? Do they serve this at The Olive Garden?
From Josh –
sigh @ you… first of all… if you’re going to write a blog, at least attempt to be responsible and don’t lie or exagerate to make a point. The soup is not more than 3.95 by itself in any price bracket throughout the country and the salad is 4.95. The soup & salad is 6.95 at the most for lunch, lower when on promotion. The OG has tried hard to maintain this extremely low price because it knows its guests value it and it wants something for everyone. and do you go to buffets and pay for one person… grab a plate and give it to your friends? cheap ass….
“If you’re going to write a blog… don’t lie or exaggerate to make a point.” HA HA HA, that made me laugh for ten minutes!
And this one, from two days ago, I deleted because I wasn’t sure if it was anti-Semitic or just crazy.
From Jose “Jerkoff” –
Olive Garden is great. At least the employees are forced to be clean and presentable. I ate at a Kosher Italian restaurant in Los Angeles. It was filthy, weird and they made me buy an extra cup to share a pot of hot tea. So all restaurants are about selling, wake up.
I know that restaurant, Jose. Your problem is that the weird staff probably put you in the “non-Jewish” section of the restaurant. We get free tea flowing constantly at our table!
Let me just come out and say it — I don’t hate the Olive Garden. There are plenty of targets that are closer to my heart. Have you ever actually eaten dinner at IHOP? Now that is disgusting! The sausages at Denny’s? Taste like metal! The burgers at Carl’s Jr.? Greasy and the buns are flaccid!
I’m sorry if you hate working at Olive Garden so much. I try to always leave a 15% tip, even 20% if you bring me a second basket of breadsticks.
Since 2005, I’ve been to Olive Garden a few more times. We have one nearby, at the mall. It’s decent enough for a quick meal before the movie. Let’s be honest, their Italian food is as authentic as the “bagel breakfast sandwiches” at Burger King are Jewish. Italian food is my favorite cuisine, and Queens has some of the best Italian restaurants around, so I am a harsh critic of Italian food. I have spent years complaining about the mediocre food at most REAL Italian restaurants in Los Angeles. I DO NOT go to Olive Garden for a real Italian meal.
However, if I have insulted you, Mr. Olive Garden, please accept my apology. I hope that these emails are coming from frustrated servers and not from your main office. I’ll save my rant about your overcooked pasta for another post.