Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Taco Night

A few weeks ago my wife and I were eating with family at a local Mexican food chain. These particular eateries permeate the southeast and have several characteristics in common:

  •  Must have a nonsensical name (usually referring to an inanimate object) that is only acceptable because it is in Spanish. (Las Escobas / Los Frascos / El Urinario etc…) 
  • Must serve complimentary salsa with marginally stale tortilla chips, but will always charge for white cheese dip. 
  • Establishment must serve at least 15 “combination” entrees designated only by numbers.
  • Food must be served on superheated tableware capable of permanent epidermal damage. 
  • Interior walls must be adorned by at least one oil painting of a shirtless Aztec male. Said painting may or may not contain deer.
In this particular instance we had finished our meals and were in the process of saying our goodbyes directly outside the front door. It was at this time that I noticed a hand-written sign that read as follows:
Taco Night Has Been Moved to Thursday until Further Notice

I remarked that since this was Wednesday I was surprised that a large mob hadn’t formed outside the doors demanding whatever special treatment normally afforded to them on taco night. Despite the fact that every member of our party had eaten at this restaurant on several occasions, none of us could recall hearing anything about “Taco Night.” I could only assume that one evening a week, the restaurant dropped the price of their cheapest delicacy an unprecedented amount.

My wife and I had walked to our car and were pulling away when we got a call from my sister-in-law who wanted to inform us that after we left a man had walked to the front door, read the sign, and immediately walked away in disgust. She laughed and said she figured that I would want to know.

I immediately began pondering how this rudimentary sign had changed the course of this gentleman’s entire evening. Here he has been working all day, undoubtedly comforted by the knowledge that it was Taco Night, only to show up and have the rug pulled out from under him. That might have been the final straw. He could have been driving there muttering, “Although everyone else in this cruel world has turned against me, I can find solace in Wednesday Taco Night!” Even more shocking was that after having traveled all the way there he was so crestfallen than he couldn’t bring himself to go inside. If I cared about Taco Night that much, you can bet I would at least attempt to bargain with the manager instead of sitting at home bitterly consuming a cheeseburger.

I almost watched the news to see if that same gentleman had begun a multi-state crime spree complete with requisite footage of his neighbor telling the local reporters, “He always kept to himself and acted friendly. In fact Wednesday was his favorite day of the week because it was Taco Night! I cannot imagine what would have incited such violence…”

I mean, how good was the deal on “Taco Night” that paying menu price of 94 cents was unfathomable? I spent the next day wondering if the patron had returned the following evening or if the betrayal had been so damaging that he couldn’t bring himself to come back.

On the flip side, what would be the advantage of the restaurant moving Taco Night in the first place? Was there a logistical problem that required four full weekdays of prep time instead of three? Was there an incident the week before that caused the manager to throw up his hands in frustration and announce that it would be a cold day in Hell before he discounted tacos on a Wednesday again? It did seem a little irresponsible to toy with the public’s emotions by even suggesting that the move might now be permanent. Just move it to Thursday night and then end it so we can begin the healing process.

Of course, there is always the possibility that “Taco Night” is simply code for a narcotics transaction and they had to alter the drop day due to Federal surveillance. This would explain why even frequent customers were unaware of the promotion and why this gentleman was so deeply affected by the information. Either way, I believe an investigation is in order.

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