Dear Applebee’s

Dear Applebee’s Grill & Bar,

I went against my better judgement, but because my car is somewhat suicidal at the moment (it had a rough youth, and those things manifest as acting out later), and you had a location in walking distance of my hotel, I figured I would fly against the winds of wisdom and give your menu a whirl.

I ordered some shrimp and chicken combination. First, to your chef I say this. Finding the mean is a useful math skill. I think I absorbed it in the 4th grade. You can’t cook to a mean temperature though. For instance, serving me raw shrimp is not offset by serving me chicken that has been baked like a Moab river bed.

The chicken was dry. If I had dropped my phone in a puddle, I could have left it in that chicken overnight and I’m sure it would have been fine. You should call it Sauvignon Blanc chicken. Steven Wright has an Applebee’s chicken sense of humor.

But most importantly, you served the shrimp raw. This isn’t hyperbole. This wasn’t in a “ceviche is good kind” of way. Think more “Eddie Murphy on WWE.”

They were pale, grey, uncooked things. I think maybe half the skewer just wasn’t over the fire, because the first one was okay, but then they became increasingly greyer as I moved down the line. Like a tooth chart, or possible shades that we might paint a modern kitchen.

You could still catch a speckled trout with these shrimp.

So when I got to that part of the kabob, I realized something was wrong. I finally glanced down at what I’d been eating. In my defense, I eat like a woodchipper, or one of those machines that digs tunnels. It’s ugly, but it’s also why I didn’t notice it sooner.

I spread their possibly-still-alive bodies across a napkin and waited for the bartender to notice, and eventually she did. In defense of your restaurant, she did ask me if I wanted more shrimp. I didn’t, as I’d already passed my daily limit for eating bait. For the record, my limit is zero and you passed it by at least two shrimp.

And if I’m being honest, I don’t know what I expected. I didn’t expect my meal comped.

If my check had shown up with a discount that accounted for just the part of the meal that was pulled from an angry seagull’s mouth, I would have smiled. Had a manager even walked over just to personally apologize for filling my plate with the sweepings from the deck of a whaling boat, I would have been thrilled.

But I got nothing, not even a simple, “Wow, I’m sorry” from the bartender. She just kept right on trucking, like your dishes are always and expectedly made up of thawed out chum balls.

Anyway, this is why Applebee’s is such a perennial punchline.

Just thought you should know.

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