Saturday, August 13, 2005

Corporate America

Having never been north of Redding, I was excited to check out Oregon and southern Washington. Lord that’s a lot of driving! What does Oregon have that I like? It has lots of green trees, rivers, bridges and blackberry bushes. My wife said “if you ever stalled on the side of the road you wouldn’t starve, just eat the blackberries”. What does Oregon have that I don’t like? Lots of traffic and aggressive drivers just like good old Cali. So much for first impressions.

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The world's largest slow sign is appropriate

I know I’m going to flip flop a little here so bear with. About three hours into the eleven hour trip I start to bemoan the corporate takeover of the U.S. Starting soon when you go online for driving directions it will read. Start in Marin go north 73 McDonalds, 22 Taco Bells, and turn right at Subway number 62 and arrive at your destination. Go into any mall and you could be anywhere USA. All the kids wear the same clothes and talk the same. There are contingent groups Goths, Preps, Gangsters etc. Within each group they all try to emulate the same fashion trend.

Here comes the flip or flop. At twelve hours into the eleven hour trip, corporate starts to look pretty good. We arrive in Vancouver, Washington and register at the Marriot Residence Inn. In the small print I discover that our room includes both a hot breakfast and manager’s reception. I took that to mean beer, wine and snackies. To my surprise they served a different meal each night with the alcohol. During our stay those meals included sub sandwiches, nachos, pasta bake and shepherd’s pie. All of which are at least fair to good. Our room is a called a penthouse, it has two bedrooms, two bathrooms, full kitchen and living room. There are four of us and the rate is $134 per night food included! Corporate strikes its first blow.

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hot breakfast includes waffles, scrambled eggs, sausage etc

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nacho night

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pasta night small portion

By the time we arrive it’s too late for free food so we walk next door to Olive Garden. Ouch! More corporate. There is something comfortable about knowing what to expect at the end of the day. We are provided with a good meal at a reasonable price by a great waitress. The waitress is a local and more than earned her tip by providing us with sightseeing tips. The downside was the constant pitch to add on to the check (no doubt drummed into the head by the corporate trainer). Approach the table with wine to sample. Well wine of course. Would you like appetizers? No thank you. After the bread sticks arrive, would you like some marinara sauce with those? Ok, got ya add $3.50. Total bill for four people $105 including good tip. We are so tired from our trip we did not photograph the food, sorry. Tomorrow in search of non corporate.

3 comments:

Anonymous said...

I've never eaten at an Olive Garden as I prefer to eat at mom-and-pop places and NON corporate places. I've heard some good things and some bad things but I can't believe they charge for a bowl of sauce to dip the bread sticks in! Now I know I don't want to EVER eat in one! What a rip-off! I realize at the end of a long day, and a very long drive, you don't want to complain about stuff but I would've been just burning from that!

Did you know that Coca Cola owns Olive Garden??? Talk about Corporate with a capital C.

That is one of the main reasons I won't eat there - if I never taste one of their famous breadsticks!

Love your blog.

RisaG

Greg said...

It's getting hard to find those small mom and pop shops.Got to keep looking.
G.

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