Denny’s from Heaven

The Denny’s corporation has recently gone to a great deal of trouble to get across the idea that they do not discriminate against anyone. Now, while I’m sure the corporate office thinks they don’t, I’m here to tell you that in actuality, they do. They discriminate against teenagers. Read on and hear my harrowing tale. Be warned that some portions may not be suitable for children. (Portions of Denny’s food, I mean. Everything in this column should be OK.)

Last Saturday, several of my friends and I went to Denny’s in Temecula. There was no particular reason for this, except that one person in the group, Craig, inexplicably does not like In & Out. But he does like Denny’s. Scientists should research this, it seems to me, because In & Out’s food is infinitely better and less expensive than Denny’s. Of course, In & Out doesn’t give you the opportunity to torment waiters and waitresses, which is a major side benefit of going to Denny’s.

Anyway, we were at Denny’s, and an older lady seated us. She is there every time I go there, and she is obviously a manager or owner or something. Perhaps she’s Mrs. Denny. I don’t know. Anyway, you’d think that someone who is at the Temecula Denny’s twenty-four hours a day would be used to large groups of teenagers coming in on Saturday nights, since Denny’s is the only place open after 10 that has tormentable waiters and waitresses, but she apparently is NOT used to it, because she seemed extremely appalled at how jolly we were behaving. When she showed us to our table, she said, “There are other people eating here, so please keep it down.” I can only assume that “keep it down” referred to the noise level, and not Denny’s food, but either one could have applied.

Anyway, she told us to keep it down simply because we were a group of teenagers, and she assumed that we were going to get rowdy, and heaven forbid we should have fun and enjoy ourselves in a classy restaurant such as Denny’s. I personally feel that any establishment whose breakfast items all contain the word “Slam” is automatically exempt from the normal rules of restaurant etiquette, but I am just an opinionated columnist.

Anyway (I seem to be saying that a lot, don’t I?), she told us this, and she seated us with obvious disdain. Then, a few minutes later, a large group of the most redneck-looking, rootin’-tootin’, cowboy-type, rodeo refugee hick adults that I have ever seen in my life came in and proceeded to hoot and holler and practice their hog calls and throw lassos around the waitresses and just generally cause a ruckus, while my group was being comparatively quiet. I ask you, ladies and gentlemen, is this fair? We were warned to be quiet just because we were teenagers, but a group of adults, who should have been warned, weren’t, because they were adults.

We were discriminated against. I would refuse to go back to Denny’s ever again, but they give you free stuff on your birthday. I have no principles where free stuff is involved.

(Eric D. Snider is a college student living at home in Lake Elsinore for the summer, and he goes to Denny’s more often than he cares to admit.)

The result of this column is that the next time my friends and I went into Denny's, the waiter -- one we had had several time before -- made it relatively clear that we were not particularly welcome in that particular Denny's anymore. You can imagine our disappointment.

(Some of you may have already observed the irony in my being kicked out of Denny's, when I later worked at another Denny's for 10 months and quite unabashedly love the place.)

If you've never had a hamburger at In & Out, a popular chain of California fast food places, then buddy, you haven't lived. They're soooo good. They're like manna from heaven, if I may be so bold.