The joy of Free Pancake Day. A stunning NYT resignation. And hijinks at the Waffle House

I believe this is my first-ever post dominated by talk of breakfast restaurants… it is my favorite meal of the day, though.

I think I’m a lot like most consumers: Show us you care about us even a little, and you get our deep respect.
It doesn’t take a whole lot to make us happy. So International House of Pancakes (I always wonder: Is there a “national” house of pancakes somewhere? Or did they just go right to the worldwide moniker?) made me happy Tuesday with Free Pancake Day.
Basically, all you had to do was go into an IHOP from 7 a.m.-10 p.m., say you wanted the free pancakes, and three steaming-hot flapjacks were yours for the bargain-basement price of $0.00.
And so I did. I went into my local IHOP, enjoyed the yummy pancakes as much as I always have (IHOP was a very big part of my childhood, from waiting on line on Sunday mornings, to enjoying the Funny Face chocolate pancake, to the guaranteed hilarity of saying “Rooty Tooty Fresh N’ Fruity” over and over again).
They also had donation baskets to help raise money for Shriners Hospitals, a very worthy cause.
See, IHOP gets it. Just like Ben and Jerry’s got it when they used to have Free Cone Day: Sure, maybe you lose a little of the ole’ profit margin for one day a year. But you also get a satisfied customer who appreciates the gesture.
Well done, IHOP people.

**As a journalist in these times, I’m pretty well immune to being shocked at people leaving one writing job for another. We all are being downsized or laid-off or refusing to go down with the ship, so we jump to another ship.
Still, was saddened and surprised to read this today. Frank Rich, for my money the best and most important liberal writer in the country, is leaving the N.Y. Times and moving over to New York magazine.
For more than a decade Rich was a beautiful voice, literate, intelligent, and able to make his points. He cut through all the b.s. on the Iraq war, when everyone else was cheerleading. He doesn’t make excuses for liberals, either, taking them on when needed.
He was a major part of Sundays for millions of us. And he will be sorely, sorely missed.
Here’s last week’s column if you want a taste of his work:

**There are very, very few places I won’t eat. I love food like Charlie Sheen loves saying idiotic things. But I swore off Waffle Houses many years ago, after one too many inedible and undigestable meals there.
Still, they are damn entertaining places to people-watch.
For example, if you were in a Louisiana Waffle House recently you could’ve seen this: A 32-year-old WH female employee was arrested for fondling a female co-worker.
Apparently it happened twice.
Please insert your own “sunny side up” sexual joke here.
And frankly, having been in Waffle Houses, I wouldn’t want anyone who worked there touching any part of my body.

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