Tuesday, January 19, 2010

BOGO: A Rant

So, it's another chilly, yucky night here in Louisville, hot on the heels of another chilly, yucky day, and I'm crankier than usual. Despite the awesome weekend spent with my best friend, Cousin Lou, and the four day week, I feel like I did two days of work today at my meatspace job, and I'll have to tackle the same workload tomorrow.

And all I really want right now is to bundle up in my big puffy down coat and head on out to a local eatery and have me some beers and comfort food. It's Tuesday, so the logical choice would also be the closest: Buy One Get One Burger Night at the MonkeyWrench.

But the problem is obvious: I'm flying solo tonight. There's no "get one" option for me. Sure, maybe back in the 90's when I had an awesome metabolism and food flew through me like mercury, leaving no trace on my gut or my hips, I might have been able to scarf down two burgers. But now, I can barely finish one.

And this just seems to always be the case for discounts on food here in Louisville. Every year, I buy the Entertainment coupon books, and almost all of the restaurant offers are BOGO. Today the Louisville Originals had their several-times-a-year discounted gift certificate sale. Ignoring the fact that it's nigh impossible to actually snag the certificates to the more popular restaurants unless you log in right when they go on sale, the certificate dollar amounts (which don't cover drinks, usually) are too high for a single diner. I couldn't possibly spend $50 at Avalon, by myself, without drinks (include the drinks, and that's another story entirely). Restaurant.com often features gift certificates at 80% off, but most of the certificates require a $35 minimum purchase, before drinks.

All of this is fine and good when Roommate is in town. When he's around, we pretty much do most evening stuff together, and that includes dinner. But-- and it makes me a little misty just thinking about it-- 2010 may very well be the year that our seven year cohabitation draws to a close. And then I'll be a solo diner more often than not.

I know what you're going to say, Dear Reader. "Get some goddamn friends, Lou!"

2009 was the year that I finally got some friends, thankyouverymuch.

The point is that I like being a solo diner. Sometimes, more often than not actually, there's nothing better than a pint and a burger in the company of a good book.

Just last night, I actually lied to Big Mama Lou and told her I was "meeting friends" for dinner and a late movie. I had no intention of meeting friends. I hadn't even made the offer. But Big Mama-- though she's been single since 1977-- thinks I'm weird for enjoying my own company so much. To the best of my knowledge, Big Mama has never gone out to dinner alone-- at least not in her hometown. And I know for a fact that she's never been to a movie theater alone.

So, this isn't a "Poor Lou doesn't have anyone to play with" rant. This is a rant about the fact that discount restaurant offers don't work for us singletons (oh, I hate that I just typed that word) because they're created with couples (or more) in mind. Let's face it, us solo diners are also obviously living in single-income situations-- who needs to save money more than solo diners?

Last Friday, I took advantage of Dragon King's Daughter's nightly late night happy hour (10p-12p) where they have a large menu of discounted sushi. It was lovely, and I'm going to do it again very soon. But, only after I ordered my drink (hot sake) did the bartender tell me that I could take home the rest of the $10 bottle of wine that was on sale. So, that's a solo diner win. But their ginormous sushi rolls are a bit of a challenge for one stomach. One isn't enough and two is too many, and when you have sushi it's really nice to have a couple of different things to eat.

What's the solution? In a perfect world, I'd love to see sushi restaurants in general, and Dragon King's late night menu in particular, offer half-rolls. It's a total win for everyone. For the single diner. For the adventurous diner who doesn't want to commit to a full order of a roll he/she hasn't tried. For the restaurant for any number of reasons. Just a thought.

And BOGO restaurants? How's about just saying half-off? I promise you, Monkeywrench, give me a half-off burger, and my bar tab will make it worth your while. And all you discount restaurant gift certificate folks, would it kill you to include alcohol? Or to create different options for the single diner? $20 for one person? $35 for two?

My tummy is growling. Off to figure out the food situation. And despite having hundreds of bucks in gift certificates and coupons at my finger tips, I'm sure I'll pay full price.

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