Tuesday, May 01, 2007

How Could This Be Bad…?

Beer. Wings. Chicken breasts. Hold the chicken.*

Before going any further, I feel the need to state that my wife adamantly dislikes Hooters and the fact that I’ve even been to one (well, more than one – but only with basketball coaches, so I call them “business meetings”). I would say that her dislike of the restaurant franchise follows closely behind her vehement dislike of Jennifer Love Hewitt. In all fairness, I’m going to disclose the fact that she admitted to me last year that she was planning on taking me to Hooters for dinner on my birthday (I can’t remember if this included us taking Danica, which definitely would’ve stretched the “family-friendly restaurant” vibe that Hooters gives off).

Regardless, I spent part of Friday, March 16 at Hooters in Costa Mesa, CA celebrating the second of the two national holidays that week (start of March Madness, duh). I was there with some friends watching the Long Beach State 49ers take on the Tennessee Volunteers in the first round of the NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament. Just so you all know, there were two guys and three girls, and it was at my friend Melissa’s suggestion that we go to Hooters, plus I had a coupon for twenty free wings (hmm… I seem to be covering my behind more than I should feel the need to).

When I arrived, Melissa and a couple of my other friends were already there. They’d just ordered some waters and a pitcher of beer. The waitress brought everything and proceeded to pour the beer… with a 2-inch head on it. She just sloshed the beer into the glasses! I don’t know about the rest of you, but 1) my friends and I don’t like foam on our beer and 2) I thought they taught servers to pour down the side of the glass to avoid leaving a huge head on the beer. Regardless, we asked for a couple more glasses and ordered another pitcher since we were waiting for some other people to get there. When our server came back, I said that it was fine, and that I would pour the beer, to which she playfully responded, “What? Are you saying I don’t know how to pour?” Um, yes. We shoulda said it, but we didn’t.

We were sitting where we had two 42” flat-screens and a 27” standard TV in front of us, so it was a nice spot. The 27” had on Fox Sports and the “Big 12 Report” for some reason, one of the 42’s had on the Long Beach game, and the other had on ESPNews, which we asked them to switch to another CBS feed. That went without too much error, though when they switched from ESPN to CBS, it was still the Long Beach game.

What you have to understand here is that during the first round of the NCAA tournament, there are four games going on at any given time. They stagger them for TV by 5-10 minutes, but traditionally, during the first round, you want to have two or three screens going with separate games on them. When they switched the second flat-screen, I just figured that maybe that particular CBS feed was showing extra footage of the Long Beach game and would switch to back to another game. Nope. It was the same feed.

So we had three TV’s and one game. I just figured the kid who changed the channel put it on the same fee instead of a different one. Whatever, we were there to watch Long Beach play. As we sat there watching the game, I looked around and noticed that the Long Beach game was on probably half the TV’s in the place (12 or 13 of the twenty-five I counted).

Hooters normally has on rock over the P.A. system, but we wanted to know if they could put the audio for the game on. We asked our waitress, who said she had to ask her manager. She came back saying that her manager said that they couldn’t put on the audio, which was crazy, since the only other “live” sport on was NASCAR and another NCAA game. We asked her to get her manager so we could ask him. He came over and said that they weren’t allowed to change the audio because they don’t want to deal with one person wanting to hear one game and then another wanting another game. The only time they are allowed to listen to live audio is if UCLA, USC, or Florida is playing. Apparently, they are the local “Florida alumni” Hooters, so in addition to the Gators, they are only allowed to listen to broadcasts of local teams. Um, Long Beach IS a local team… In fact, from where we were sitting, it was twelve miles away, which is a heck of a lot closer than either UCLA or USC. He said that his son graduated from Long Beach, and he would change it if he could, but he couldn’t. Um-hmm. BUT THE GAME IS ON HALF OF YOUR TV’s! No dice.

Anyway, Long Beach was getting trounced, so we were looking to maybe watch another game. We asked our waitress to switch the second TV to a different feed, and when she came back she said that they couldn’t get another game on there “because [they] don’t have satellite.” Um, excuse me? There were at least five TV’s in the place that had a different feed. What do you mean, “We don’t have satellite”? Oy.

So, in answer to the title of this piece, that’s how it could be bad. Sheesh. I might be nit-picking, too, but the waitresses were a little too sweet and flirty. It’s nice if they’re hot, but you don’t want a girl who is overtly flirty. It’s just boring when you know it’s an act. I doubt I’ll be returning to Hooters any time soon, which is a shame, because it’s a great place to hang out if you’re at the Final Four and wanting a place to sit all day, eat, drink, and watch games. *sigh* I guess it’s what’s on the inside that counts. =)

* -- Before you all jump me, this joke isn’t mine. It’s from a guy named Blake Sasaki, who currently works for the San Francisco 49ers in their corporate sales division.

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