This blog is for sale, and I ain't asking much.
By Hannah Wallace
CCB shows his paternal maturity with a refreshing jar of
Smokin' Tampa Tea. Which he totally did pay for, by the way.
So, you work in an editorial office, you get some free stuff. And I’m sure it wouldn’t surprise you to hear me rave about the free stuff I get. I mean, it’s free. That alone ups the quality, right?
Press “samples” can certainly lead you astray. I once went on a blog-topic safari to work the Tennessee tourism board into a blog entry, and all they gave me was dry rub and Moon Pies. The (beautiful, high-quality) canvas bag I received around Christmastime inspired me to write this very blog, in order to give the company credit for the wonderful, if mysterious, gift. (Horribly, I’ve now forgotten where that bag came from. Dammit. See, I’m no good at this.)
Honestly, a neurotic like me has a crisis with these things, a horrific battle between polite obligation and professional ethics that can sour a free box of chocolates like nobody’s business. (Let’s not even talk about the woman who came to the office to drop off a bunch of samples of her product—which I dutifully distributed—and then, when no story had been written, demanded I return them or pay her more than $1,000 for their “value.”)
Honestly, people, my influence on editorial isn’t much beyond, “Hey, guys, look at this! No? OK.” And I don’t think a mention in this blog is quite the media windfall they’re looking for, either.
But when Judi Gallagher the Great invited me to a media event last week with Lee Roy Selmon and the co-owners of his restaurant chain, I was ecstatic. Sports? Food? Sports? This fits into my repertoire. Honestly, I’ve adored Mr. Selmon and his restaurants for a long time, ever since I went to…the last…free…event…where they gave me food. Shut up.
But seriously, I’ve been to the local Lee Roy Selmon’s several times and had great experiences—and even paid for my food! (Er, well, had my boyfriend and/or my parents pay for my food. Same thing.) We took my dad there for Father’s Day, which is a pretty high compliment—especially for the service. Dad doesn’t do well with poor wait staff. And in fact, that very night we experienced another small but wonderful example of the quality management:
When we were done eating, the manager came around to hand out a nice Lee Roy Selmon’s glass in honor of Father’s Day. He gave one to Dad and then, without hesitating, gave another to CCB (who is not a father, no matter how many insinuating air quotes his family uses when talking about his “nieces” and “nephews.” Yeah, they’re hilarious.) The manager didn’t ask who at the table was a father; he didn’t even say that the glasses were only for fathers, or pause for clarification. They were a gift “in honor of Father’s Day,” and I watched as, at each table, he gave one to every man. Maybe my standards are too low, but it seemed like such a wonderful gesture, to show that the restaurant wasn’t worried about getting duped, wasn’t trying to preserve its resources but instead was committed to creating a comfortable environment, in which there was no question or conflict about qualifications. Real gifts don’t come with qualifications.
So it’s not because of the sampling menu I was treated to last week. I sincerely praise Lee Roy Selmon’s, and I don’t feel the least bit ethically dubious when I tell you that they’ve lowered their prices, are adding more televisions showing more sports, and their food is just as tasty as Mr. Selmon and his partners are friendly. And handsome.
Now please excuse me while I go heat up my leftover brisket.