Lowering the Bar: Fewer Expectations & Finding the Positive

7 years ago

A&W2 Date Night

Last night DH and I had a date night and went to dinner. We didn't go to one of our favorite little South Minne eateries or even try a new one on our list. Nope. We went to ...Red Lobster.* Yep. Red Lobster. Neither of us had set foot in a Red Lobster since college, where it was actually considered one of the nicer choices in town; and we haven't missed it. So why on earth would we want to go to a Red Lobster when we have so many choices available to us here in the Twin Cities? Well, when I was in Nashville at Blissdom Conference, I won $40 in gift cards and received a $20 gift card in the goodie bag. And I'm a sucker for free stuff.

DH & I laughed about it, but then we decided to take a trip down memory lane and go there with our gift cards for dinner. Plus, we used to love those cheesy biscuits, and we were curious what we would think of them now after so many years of exposing our palates to really great food.

When we pulled in the parking lot, we were surprised to see it was almost completely full. We were even more surprised to find that there was an hour wait for a table. So, we sauntered over to the bar and waited our turn. We ended up getting seats at the spacious bar and decided to stay there to eat our meal.

The Positives

The service was friendly and attentive. Our bartender, Quinn, was quick to suggest staff favorites on the menu and ever ready with a smile. We found that we enjoyed sitting so close together chatting at the bar. And yes, those biscuits are still just as tasty. The rest of the food was subpar, but we weren't expecting much. And the best part is that 60 bucks goes pretty far at Red Lobster so our whole meal, drinks and all, was covered by our gift cards. And our bartender/wait staff even got a 40% tip since we were eager to use up our gift card amount.

We chatted and people watched and we met a lovely couple, who were also on a date night. Greg struck up a conversation as soon as they sat down at the bar to await their table. Greg and his wife, Kari, had gone to a firing range prior to dinner as part of their date. I peppered them with questions regarding the firing range, their interest in firearms, etc. Apparently, they own a few guns, usually locked in a safe, but Kari didn't know how use them. So, they decided to kill two birds with one stone... or bullet so to speak, and turn it into a date night outing. Greg said "it's like going bowling. Just something to do." I suppose so; even though I have never thought about going to firing range for any purpose. They were an interesting, funny and talkative couple.

Lower Standards

On the whole, we lowered our standards and our expectations in going to dinner at Red Lobster. But this was something we were prepared to do in order to get a free meal. In so doing, we were pleasantly surprised by a few points of the evening: great service, tasty biscuits and meeting interesting bar mates. These positive experiences made the whole experience worthwhile.

This is often the case in politics, as well. This week, I'll be writing about contacting state and federal legislators and constituent services. Many times we must lower our standards and/or expectations when choosing a candidate to vote for or when "our candidate" doesn't win the election. Yet if we are willing to do this, we might find that we are pleasantly surprised by the leadership qualities, strength of character, voting patterns, constituency contacts or relationships built by such a lawmaker even if their politics is a bit {or very} different from our own.

Just Call Me Pollyanna

Of course, this is the "Pollyanna" "glass half-full" "Mr. Smith Goes to Washington" kind of approach, which is how I tend to view politics. I am often disappointed, as I will explain later this week, but I truly want to believe that our elected officials from city council on up the chain of command to U.S. President honestly has each citizen's best interests at heart and everything he or she does is in furtherance of the welfare of his or her fellow Americans.

Call me what you will: naïve, a bleeding heart liberal, ignorant, romantic, dreamer, wishful thinker or just plain dumb, but the truth is, I don't want to change how I view our elected officials. I prefer to have a positive, but educated opinion about our countrymen and particularly the leaders of our country. They might just live up to my standards and affirm my belief in our government.

The Scoop

Tomorrow, Monday, is President's Day; a holiday for many of you. I will be posting some trivia about our U.S. Presidents, the history of the holiday and any other interesting tidbits I dig up regarding President's Day. On Tuesday, I will have a guest post from a U.S. Representative regarding constituent services. Over and out...


*To those of you who love Red Lobster: No disrespect is meant regarding our general avoidance of such restaurant. It's not just Red Lobster, but most chains, in general, that we avoid. It's simply our opinion that we can eat much better food in other restaurants in our metro area....well, really everywhere, not just in our Twin Cities. Refer to: Gastronomical Adventures: Favorite Eats Part 1 for my admission to being a food snob.

To Red Lobster: We were ever so grateful to have these gift cards & partake of this meal free of charge; and we thank you for that. It was a clean, well run restaurant and pleasant dining experience, as stated above.

**The photo is NOT an example of lowering expectations, but simply a date night photo from long ago.

You might also like:

America’s Message: 2010 Election Recap

Culinary Adventures: Favorite Eats Part 2

Food for Thought: Food-Borne Illnesses, Contaminants & Recalls


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