Saturday, April 21, 2018

Why I Will Not Go Back to Applebees Anytime Soon

This is an example of what happens when decisions are made
at the corporate level without local feedback.
My family had a particularly unpleasant night at Applebees the tonight. Going out to dinner with a three year old is always an interesting experience, but we can generally manage things and keep The Koalid entertained. This particular trip, that was impossible.

We are trying, with limited success, to limit her screen time, and if we are having dinner together at the table, either at home or at a restaurant, there's no screens. We'll bring toys, crayons, books, anything interactive that we can think of. We are both very busy, and she ends up in front of a screen far too often when we have something we need to do. We're not going to let her spend what little time we do have to spend with her in front of a screen.

Think you can just remove the tablet? Think again! They're
everywhere, and they're staring at you.
This seems like a pretty reasonable policy, we think. Normally, it is relatively simple to enforce, but it becomes more difficult when we walk into a restaurant and there is a bright, shiny, idiot box on every table, facing us as we walk in.

We tried to be clever and stash the tablet before she saw it as we were sitting down, but we were thwarted. Every other table has a table as well, including the kids at the table behind us who were playing with it.

So, our dinner of uninspired, generic and overpriced corporate impressions of Latin and Asian inspired food was punctuated with a constant and unremitting litany of "They're playing games. I want to play games. Why can't I play games? It's not fair."

One might argue that, perhaps this is a problem for us, but for many kids, these devices are helpful to keep them busy when otherwise they'd be unmanageable. I disagree there as well. The table behind us has three kids and one tablet. Care to surmise what we heard before we left? That's right. "It's my turn! I want to play! Let me play!" The whining from the table where they were letting the kids play the games were as loud as they were at ours where we forbade it.

I mentioned it to the waitress, and she agreed that the tablets cause more problems than they solve, but corporate mandates it, so they have to do it.

So, to Applebee's Corporate out in Kansas City, Missouri, you have lost a customer for a long as these devices clutter the tables of your restaurants.

In the spirit of good cheer, I'll be eating somewhere else tomorrow.