When I was a Freshman in college, I worked as a host at Red Lobster. It was…not enjoyable. But tbh, better than my previous job as a cashier at Staples. I always associated Red Lobster with my grandma because she loved it. Although I never really ate there much myself, which is why I would always recommend the cheddar bay biscuits when I was asked what my favorite dish was. These are the free biscuits brought to every table. I may not have gone above and beyond with my recommendations but those biscuits are ridiculously good so they deserve the hype.
I have stories from my time at Red Lobster that I’m sure many of you could relate to. Like the time I was bussing a table and spilled an entire soda on myself so I had to borrow a giant white button down from my manager. Or how I would try to entertain myself on the drive home by singing along to a playlist of true bangerz like the Ghostbusters theme song. But there is one story that is so bizarre, I have a feeling you haven’t shared the experience.
I got into work one Monday afternoon and started tidying up around the host stand. That’s when I noticed the lobsters weren’t in their tank. A few minutes later my manager came over and told me we lost power the day before and the lobsters had been moved to the freezer in an effort to save them. I’m still confused as to why that would work but I guess they didn’t have a lot of options. Besides, what do I know about lobsters? I’m the cheddar bay biscuit biddy. Anyway, she needed me to help bring the lobsters out and put them back in the tank. Cool, no prob, I’m all over it. That wasn’t all though. My manager proceeded to inform me that I needed to massage the lobsters before I put them back in. Ok, this is getting weird… Not to warm them up, but so they would um…do their business on the tray and not in the lobster tank. Excuse me?! I literally had to massage the crap out of these lobsters.
I was the only host working at this time, which meant I would have to go back and forth between massaging these lobsters and greeting/seating our guests. We weren’t allowed to call them customers, they were guests. I think it was supposed to make the experience more personal or something. Well it was about to get v personal between me and these lobsters, but I don’t think that’s what corporate had in mind. It was still pretty early, so thankfully there were no guests at first. I started massaging the lobsters and immediately felt uncomfortable. To make matters worse (or better?), they just wouldn’t go. #ConstipationCity. But you know what, sometimes that happens after a big trip. No shame little lobsters, no shame.
My manager came back out to check on my progress and was not thrilled about the lack of poop. She told me I wasn’t massaging them hard enough and demonstrated how I should be massaging them. Literally, what is happening? My manager walked away and I returned to massaging the lobsters. Then a couple walked in. “Welcome to Red Lobster!” I said as I let go of the lobster and removed my latex gloves. “Party of two?” I asked as I picked up menus and tried to act like everything was normal. A consummate professional. They were obviously confused but followed me to their table and sat. On one hand I was surprised they weren’t like “???… f this, let’s go to Olive Garden” but on the other hand, the cheddar bay biscuits. You might as well stay for a round of biscuits while you read the room.
After I sat them I went back to the front, put the gloves back on and got back to work. For the record, only one lobster actually pooped on the tray before I put it in the tank. One little bastard went right after I dropped him in, which I felt personally offended by. Like, really? That’s how you want to play this? Ok then, I see you little lobster. It was beyond rude.
When I put the last lobster in the tank, I went back to the host stand and spent the rest of my shift trying to figure out why things like this happen in my life. If you were wondering, I never had to massage another lobster. I still can’t believe this happened though, what a truly weird experience. But it did make that day more interesting. Oh Red Lobster, I will certainly never forget my time with you.