Woman who pockets free breadsticks advocates for Olive Garden

Dating can be difficult.

It’s a science that requires you to test the hypothesis, “If I put myself out there, then I will attract a mate.” Unless you can find someone who is blind or who has little-to-no standards, the results are brutal. Especially if you’re a fat guy with an entry-level job, a massive head and a comfy bedroom in your grandmother’s house.

But eventually you will find someone. You’ll get an enthusiastic “fine” text response to your first date request and before you know it, you’re lying about your hobbies (hiking, running, reading).

The first date is almost always dinner. Some people choose to go to nice restaurants and others choose to say, “to hell with it,” and go to Olive Garden, the Italian-style Denny’s.

When I meet women on dating apps, I always want to know if I can take them to the Olive Garden, my treat. It’s a solid opener; a way to know if we’re compatible. If they’re the right kind of woman for me, they’ll respond with an enthusiastic yes.

Who is enthusiastic about going to Olive Garden other than high schoolers with the lamest pre-homecoming plans? I’d rather eat Chef Boyardee in a Quik Trip bathroom then eat at Olive Garden because I know for a fact the bathrooms at Quik Trip are cleaner to eat off of.

The right kind of woman for me is someone who won’t give me a hard time about the things I like. The kind of woman who will let me pocket all the leftover breadsticks and doesn’t care if we only discuss our favorite sexual positions and what kind of appetizers look best off the limited-time-only menu.

What better way to seduce your first-date than by cramming breadsticks into your pocket and discussing sex positions in an public restaurant while looking to save $2 on OG’s famous wet noodles and ketchup?

We’re at Olive Garden because it’s kitschy and cute.

You’re at Olive Garden because you’re cheap. You literally just admitted to pocketing bread sticks.

Many people don’t know that Olive Garden began in 1982 as an independent restaurant in the Greater Orlando area. 

Okay, now she’s just listing stuff from Olive Garden’s Wiki page now.

As a local who’s obsessed with talking and writing about Florida, I guess it makes sense that it’s a restaurant I’d frequent. The one I go to isn’t actually the original, but they’re all very much the same kinda place: same menu, same ’90s-style carpets, same matching uniforms on the waitstaff.

They’re all the same because that’s what a chain restaurant is.

…Would you like some wine, I ask. I always want wine. What kind of wine do you like, she’ll ask, and I’ll smile and tell her I can’t tell the difference. All wines taste the same to me.

This I can agree with. Wine is like soda. Apples to apples, it’s all the same. I took a wine class a few weeks ago and tried about six different wines. I kept repeating the Michael Scott line, “This is a white.” I was the only one laughing as I was drunk off my red wine.

But if we don’t tell our server that, we’ll get unlimited free samples. And I am all about unlimited free samples. Oh look, here come the breadsticks! Also free.

Two people eating means you get three sticks total. I like to think Olive Garden did that on purpose, so that you’re forced to break bread with your date. You must share with each other, touch hands. It’s all very romantic, if romance is deciding who gets to take the bigger share of the carbs. Also, if I eat my first breadstick quick enough, I can pick up the second one before my date even notices it’s missing.

Based on how much bread this woman is eating I would estimate she hasn’t pooped in months. Why bother going on a date? Just steal a basket of bread on your way home from work.

I pay the check. It’s the least I can do.

They filled up on free bread and wine samples. The check can’t be more than $12.

Author’s note: The Olive Garden advocate is, Kristen Barnett. She’s an award-winning writer and author. You can find her website and a list of her work here.

Other stories: I used to work in TV news, Part II

“This boy has no idea what he’s doing!”

There are few things I will take sitting down. Having a seasoned anchorwoman get pissed off and slightly berate me just so happens to be one of those things.

I was running out of time and was no closer to a solution than I was to winning a daytime Emmy.

It was middle of the Sunday morning newscast and I sat in the teleprompter chair. I slowly turned the nob on the controller, scrolling up, hoping that would fix the issue.

Come on, please work, I thought to myself. For the love of God, please work!!

Surprisingly, slowly turning the nob down wasn’t doing the trick, either. The anchorwoman’s eyes were fixed on Camera A, sternly explaining to the producer I wasn’t scrolling correctly.

A few feet away, the meteorologist was wrapping up her two-minute segment. For a minute and 50 seconds, I was caught in a Who’s on First back-and-forth with the anchorwoman about where I should be in the script. She asked me to scroll up, so I scrolled up. No, up! So, I scrolled up some more, then down, then up again, looking for any positive sign that I was at the correct spot.

We were 10 seconds away from returning to the news and I still had no idea what the hell she wanted me to do.

*****

As a “broadcast trainee” for a TV news station in St. Louis, one of my responsibilities was to work the teleprompter, a task that scared me to death in my first days on the job. For weeks, I sat hunched over for three hours with my eyes less than three inches from the teleprompter’s screen. From 4 a.m. until 7 a.m., I slowly turned the nob and tried like hell not to make a single mistake.

One small mistake could derail the whole newscast, I thought. But I was an idiot who thought too highly of himself and the job he possessed. It’s like that time I thought a high ACT score was paramount for my future.

Then 10 years and two low ACT scores later, I realized the ACT is actually worthless. Classmates who scored higher on the ACT are either in the same boat as me or sharing Anti-Vaxx memes and selling plant supplements through Facebook.

But the truth was if I dropped dead in the teleprompter chair, the newscast wouldn’t skip a beat. The anchors would read from the scripts and the janitors would lift my fat ass out of the chair with a cattle harness before we hit the commercial break.

I know all of this now because of hindsight. But when I was in that chair, I felt like I was a part of the actual news team, like they would also introduce me in the TV promos as, Tim the teleprompter boy. Or include me on a billboard — the four-person news team standing back-to-back with one another in suits or dresses, and have me waving like a buffoon in the background wearing dad jeans and a Big Dog T-shirt.

*****

I initially worked weekdays at the news station, but then I did a “solid” for a coworker by covering their weekend shift and I was stuck working weekends for the rest of my tenure. The lesson, of course, is don’t ever do anything for your coworkers.

I never got my revenge because I don’t think I ever worked on the same shift with them again. But to make sure someone paid for that coworker’s transgression, I microwaved steamed broccoli and tuna every day.

The weekends aren’t terrible because there’s not a whole lot going on. The only people in the newsroom would be me and the assignment editor. Aside from robbing my social life and ruining my sleep cycle, the weekend shift wasn’t all that bad.

My first weekend shift was the first and last time I worked with the anchor who scolded me, who we will refer to as Deb. Ol’ Deb was pleasant to me for most of our 3-hour relationship. We could have been great friends had it not been for one mix-up.

By this time, I was two months on the job and I handled the teleprompter like a pro. No issues. No mistakes. Nothing. And while I was taught everything about the teleprompter, no one taught me about teleprompter speak.

Scripts on a teleprompter roll like the end credits of a movie — from the bottom to the top. When someone says, “scoll up,” they mean scroll the script upward, which means you have to turn the nob down. When someone says, “scroll down,” you turn the nob up.

It’s pretty simple to understand when someone calmly explains it to you beforehand; not shout-whispers “go up” through gritted teeth during the weather forecast block of the newscast.

*****

With her arm extended and her wrist at a 90-degree angle, Deb kept motioning upward and repeating “up,” which was just as helpful as her making balloon animals at the news desk. In hindsight, it’s obvious what she wanted. But when you’re cold-sweating in a panic, nothing makes sense.

“This boy has no idea what he’s doing,” she said to the producer through her mic.

In the last second, I figured it out. I scrolled up and got her on the right script block. Like a pro, she snapped herself into a camera-ready face and calmly read the next story. Viewers at home had no idea she was about to spit fire down my neck.

“I’m sorry I was harsh with you, Tim,” she said during the commercial break. “I just needed the the teleprompter on the right spot and you weren’t there.”

Yes, but thank God you mimed! Of course, that’s not what I said. I was two months on the job and as bold as a glass of water. What I really said was:

“It’s okay! I understand! I wasn’t there! Sorry, Deb!”

Deb and I parted ways after that God-awful newscast, perhaps for the better. I can’t really blame myself because it’s never my fault. No other news anchors scolded me since then despite many — and sometimes far worse — mistakes.

The moral of the story is it wasn’t my fault and Deb is a terrible mime.

Other stories: I used to work in TV news

Before I wrote stories as a sports reporter, I worked at a TV news station in St. Louis. I was hired a “broadcast trainee”, which basically meant I was a paid intern. I learned that shortly after I was given my log-in information to access newscast scripts.

The password was “intern.”

My expectations built up by All the President’s Men and How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days were dashed. But this was an entry-level job and in the journalism industry — you take what you can get.

*****

And I was happy to take that job because it was a real job in the industry with a respectable and trusted news station. It also meant I didn’t have to work at a car dealership anymore, so there was added incentive.

Of course, since I am a big, stupid moron, I almost screwed the job interview up because I submitted the wrong resume.

I didn’t realize it until the very end of the interview. Before then, I thought I was nailing it.  Then my interviewer — who would become my boss — asked me to explain why I was a “social media expert,” as it was listed right at the top of my skills section.

AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH, I calmy screamed into my big, dumb, empty head.

I realized then the resume I submitted was one of my rough drafts from my professional development class in college. The one my professor told me to change.

“Okay, you might want to rethink the whole, ‘social media expert’ line here in your Skills section,” she said during class. “It kind of oversells your experience with social media. I wouldn’t exactly call you an expert.”

“Will do,” said Tim, who definitely did not do.

Now, I couldn’t admit that I submitted the wrong resume because that would be foolish. Instead, I did the smart thing and doubled-down. I told him I was experienced in several platforms, such as Facebook, Twitter and…..

“Oh, damn. It was on the tip of my tongue. The one that….um…it’s the live streaming one.”  

“Periscope.”

“Right. Ah, I was just about to say Periscope.”

No, I wasn’t. He could have said, “Jell-O,” and I wouldn’t have questioned it. As I write this story, I literally had to Google “live stream apps” because, three years later, I still couldn’t remember the name Periscope because the only people who use Periscope are wack packers from the Howard Stern show.

I was hired nearly a week later because I was very lucky and my boss, apparently, was very desperate.

*****

On paper, my job sucked. I came in at 3 a.m. on weekdays and weekends, ran scripts to producers and anchors four-to-five times a day, ran teleprompter for three-to-four hours a day and loaded all the printers with paper. Then, when all that was done I got to write about all the fascinating things about St. Louis which was almost always crime.

If it wasn’t a car accident or some new animal at the zoo, then it was crime.

Answering the phones was always fun because it was like a game — would the person on the other line be normal or insane? It was a 50-50 split. If it wasn’t a media rep for the fire or police department, it was someone getting WAY too pissed off that we cut out of the Price of Right to air breaking news.

“What the hell? Where is the Price is Right?”

“We have breaking news going on in downto—

“I don’t care. Get it back on. Why would you change the programming?”

“I don’t know if you knew this or not but we’re a local news station so when there’s news going on we usually broadcast it.”

“Let me talk to the president.”

“Of what, the station?”

“Of CBS! Get me through to someone at CBS!”

“Sure, one second.”

CLICK —

The only task I hated was loading the printer paper.

Not loading the actual printers (which I also did!), but the carrying and unloading of dozens and dozens of reams of paper. Every month or so, the paper reams would be delivered in boxes that I had to load on a dolly and unload to the newsroom. Each box was about 40 pounds.

The news station had two or three other broadcast trainees, but I always had to do it because I had the nerve to work out and build a beautiful, muscular body. I hated that job so much. Not because of the work itself, but because it meant I had to pretend I wasn’t profusely sweating for 20 minutes.

I’m not sweating, I just have to itch both sides of my head with my arms every 15 seconds.

That’s not sweat on my shirt, that’s just coffee I spilled in a circle around my neck.

My face isn’t red, it’s just from the sunburn I got walking in here, you know how that January sunlight can be.

When I finished unloading the paper, I would take the boxes outside to the dumpster in the alley behind the news station and just cool off outside. Sometimes, it would be 25 degrees and I’d be outside sweating in a T-shirt, checking my phone for 10 minutes.

More often than not, someone would ask where I went for so long after loading the paper and I would always tell them I was in the bathroom.

“Oh,” a coworker says, putting their head down and getting right back to work. No one questions a 10-minute bathroom break because that means ya boy just took a dump.

Bonus preview:

Reading is bad enough, but reading 1,000-plus words is awful. So, I decided to save my most memorable story from my TV news days for later (a few days or so). Here’s a preview:

There are few things I will take sitting down. Having a seasoned anchorwoman get pissed off and slightly berate me just so happens to be one of those things.

Wednesday Wisdom

It’s Wednesday, which means everyone is going to share a nugget of wisdom and reenact the Geico commercial where the camel asks everyone what day it is.

That’s making a comeback for some reason. My guess is human stupidity’s attraction to things that are dumb. That’s why Imagine Dragons is popular. I have Imagine Dragons on two Spotify playlists, so don’t think my ID slam was me putting myself above all of you idiots. I’m just as dumb as you.

THUNDER! FEEL THE THUNDER! *BANGS DESK THREE TIMES* LIGHT-NING AND DA THUNDER!

I love me some me

Photoshoot people are my new favorite thing.


Happiness is a choice, alright. That’s what this guy chose when he posed for these pictures. Despite all odds!

Whenever I see these posts, I always think of this:

Material things are better

People mistake common decency for some sort of superpower that needs to be praised at every turn. Which allows “entrepreneurs” (unemployed) and “influencers” (YouTuber/Model/fictional festival promoters) the opportunity to appear intelligent.

Take a look at these lists. What the hell is unselfish generosity? If that exists, that means selfish generosity also exists. I have no idea why he pushed two synonyms together to list a new trait, other than the fact that he’s a dunderhead.

No one is more impressed with someone’s ability to dream than someone’s ability to make money. It also takes zero courage to dream. Having the courage to dare is not a thing because that’s not even a complete thought. The courage to dare what? I dare you to get hooked on phonics, Vala!

Cars 2 sucked

The best wisdom is no wisdom at all.

A luxury car is to an “entrepreneur” what an Instagram post is to someone who works out — a flex veiled as inspiration. I call them like I see them because I am one of them ( Watch me quarter squat on a Bosu ball, IG: @timgodfrey__).

Thanks to the magic of car rentals and leases, everyone can get a luxury car and claim they got it as a result of their business savvy, hard work and wise stock investments. Ignore the fact my Lambo is in a dirty garage and all of my stock is in Blockbuster. I am an entrepreneur who can curl 40 pounds (once again, IG: @timgodfrey__).

Dianne Feinstein wins my vote after dunking on kids

I’m not one for politics but Sen. Dianne Feinstein has my vote for the rest of my life.

My newfound allegiance is based solely on the fact that she dunked on a group of kids.

“We’re asking her to vote yes on the Green New Deal,” said a bunch of annoying kids who had the audacity to call out an elected official.

The first few seconds of this video made me ill. There’s nothing worse than kids who have hope and ambition. Look at their little sign. Look at that massive letter. Are you serious, children? You claim to care about the environment but then slaughtered 10 trees for nothing.

Feinstein should have ripped up the glitter-covered letter while she told these punks how life really works.

So, not only did they annoy the hell out of Feinstein, but every employee at Kinko’s.

“We’re asking you to vote yes on the Green New Deal,” said young boy in Feinstein’s office.

“Well, I’ll tell you what,” Feinstein replied.

Buckle your seatbelts, dummies, because Feinstein is about to tell you to go to hell.

The original video doesn’t do Feinstein justice. Watch my edit below

Feinstein is a tough ol’ bird. She defied decades of sexism, D.C. politics and grey hair despite being 85 years old. Do you think she would hesitate to put a group of nonvoters in their place?

Instead of just patronizing the children and pretending to care, Feinstein spells it out for these high-pitched dopes.

“I’ve been doing this for 30 years. I know what I’m doing.”

HELL YEAH! GO OFF, QUEEN!

“You come in here and you say it has to be my way or the highway. I don’t respond to that.”

Feinstein should have ripped up the glitter-covered letter while she told these punks how life really works.

“I’ve gotten elected. I just ran. I was elected by almost a million vote plurality.”

A plurality vote means she got the most votes but not the majority, something those pint-sized hippies didn’t understand, I bet.

Then some 16-year-old know-it-all made the egregious claim that Feinstein had to listen to the public because that’s part of her job. Feinstein didn’t flinch.

“How old are you?”

“I’m 16. I can’t vo—

“Well, you didn’t vote for me.”

BOOM! Take a seat on the bench little girl because you just got dunked on.

Of course, the video made it to Twitter where a bunch of people freaked out because Feinstein got real with kids and let them know their opinions are stupid.

What really won me over is that Feinstein didn’t apologize.

“I want the children from Sunrise Movement to know they were heard loud and clear,” she wrote on Twitter.

That means she ignored ya, kiddos.

Feinstein 2020, baby.

Other stories: I used to be a terrible salesman, Part II

As previously stated in my previous story, I was a terrible car salesman.

I had no clue what I was doing. In hindsight, I probably should have listened to all the advice countless co-workers gave me. Now that I think about it, those sales workshops might have been helpful, too.

But I wasn’t passionate about selling cars, so I didn’t really care to learn how to do the job. Those bits of advice and classes would have made me better at my job, but that job was selling a minivan to a woman who calls me Jim for two hours or a brand-new, luxury truck to a guy whose price range is in the “$13,000 ballpark.”

There are two days that are burned into my memory from my salesman days. Last week, I talked about my first day.

This week, we talk about my salesmanship and my worst sale. First, let me explain my selling method.

******

It sucked!

As a salesman, I was basically a scarecrow in a shirt and tie. Two kids standing on top of one another in a trench coat could have done a better job at selling cars.

I didn’t know anything about the cars I was supposed to be selling. I didn’t know what the rebates were. If we didn’t paint the prices on the windshield, I would have been screwed.

My days as a salesman were very stressful.

“Do you know anything,” a customer jokingly asked on a test drive one time. His wife bumped his arm with her elbow and they both chuckled. I nervously laughed with them in a cold sweat, as I had nearly given him a serious answer of “no.”

But I did make sales and for that to happen, two things needed to occur.

First, my cousin/manager Mike needed to give me step-by-step directions on what to do from start-to-finish. Nearly all of his directions were given with his eyes closed and his index finger and thumb pressed against the bridge of his nose.

Second, I needed my customers to be 99 percent sold on the vehicle by the time they came in.

Most of my customers sold themselves. I was just along for the ride. I would throw in a basic fact now and again, like, “Yes, seatbelts come standard,” or “Today is Monday.” But most of the time I sat in silence, which was my best sales tactic.

Here is a basic idea of what me selling a car was like:

It’s me and a couple — usually in their late-40’s-to-early-50’s — standing outside in the parking lot. They’re interested in a new truck. We just finished the test drive. They know everything about the truck and they know how they’re going to finance the vehicle. All they need to decide is what color they want.

“I’m torn between black and navy blue,” the husband says to his wife, and maybe me but I was never really sure.

“Well, both are going to show dirt,” the wife says in reply. “If you’re okay with that, either is fine with me.”

In a wide stance, the husband stands in silence for a moment and ponders his options.

“What do you think, Tim?”

I, being startled that someone is asking me a question, give my opinion as an 18-year-old who is in way over his head.

“Black is dope.”

They both laugh, as I probably remind them of their son and we walk inside. They buy the truck and I walk around with an undeserving sense of accomplishment for the rest of the day.

“I bet you’re trying to make money off of me.”

That’s how a business works, dumbass.

Selling a car can be a real battle because there are times when the customer doesn’t like you. The salesman is a necessary evil for them and instead of coming into the sale with an open mind, they come right out of the gate and make it known that they’re onto you.

“I bet you’re trying to make money off of me,” says a customer.

I never knew how to respond to comments like that because my knee-jerk reaction was always, That’s how a business works, dumbass. But apparently, that’s not “polite.”

There were plenty of times when I nearly ground my teeth down to the gums when I dealt with difficult customers. But no customer was worse than Barb.

*****

Barb and her husband Bob came to see me during my third month on the job.

Bob was a World War II veteran and the nicest guy in the world. He was a short, frail man with cargo shorts pulled up to his heart of gold. His smile was infectious.

Barb was Bob’s wife. That’s about the nicest thing I can say about her that’s not a lie. She was several years younger than Bob and she was the human equivalent of ramming a fork into your eyeball. Her rude comments were draped in a serendipitous tone.

“You know, this car isn’t worth the price you’re selling for,” she said. Those were her first words to me after “Hello.”

The car she was referring to was a 2-door, Pontiac G5. It was the summer of 2009 and Pontiac had just gone under. So, there was a fire sale of the last remaining models on the lot. If you needed a new car cheap, you needed a Pontiac that summer.

With factory rebates and the dealership discounts at the time, you could buy that car for about $7,000 less than the sticker price. Add in their $3,000 trade-in and it’s $10,000 off a brand-new car.

To read more about trade-in’s, click here.

So, it’s a great deal. Unless you’re Barb.

Barb was the type of customer that wanted $10,000 off a car, followed by an additional $5,000 and the blood of my first-born son. She was the epitome of the phrase, “The customer is always right,” a phrase that is incorrect (As explained in the above link about trade-in’s).

After two hours, we came to the make-or-break point — the handshake. Bob and Barb could either agree to purchase the car or they could walk away. The final deal a brand-new car for under $10,000, five free oil changes and free car washes.

“Do we have a deal,” I asked them. Bob was ready to shake my hand. Barb was not.

“Hmmm,” Barb said. “I just feel you could meet us more in the middle.”

I nearly bit my tongue off. I went over what she was getting three times, slapping the back of my left hand into the palm of my right hand with every single thing she was getting.

A brand-new car for $10,000 less than the sticker price (SMACK), $3,000 for your trade-in (SMACK), five free oil changes (SMACK), free car washes (SMACK).

By this time, I was completely unaware of my temperament. I was so focused on seeing this lady to buy this car or get hit by a bus that I was unaware of how I looked and sounded.

During my third round of hand smacks, I saw a coworker about 10 yards behind my customers. His eyes were the size of dinner plates and he was doing the cut-it-out hand motion at this neck.

Barb finally agreed, adding that she liked me and didn’t mind paying a little more. With blood nearly coming out of my eyeballs, I thanked them both for the business and sent them on their way.

The art of the trade-in

If a customer wants to purchase a car, they can lower the price of their new car by trading in their old car.

It’s a simple exchange that’s made difficult because everyone believes themselves to be an expert, especially in areas in which they have absolutely zero knowledge or experience. Coincidentally, every customer I had was an expert in valuing the price of used cars.

“This car is worth $15,000 at the least,” says a customer about his 1997 Buick LeSabre with 120,000 miles on it and stained, cloth seats that look like the aftermath of a murder.

“Listen, you’re not being fair. This car has low mileage. It’s worth at least $12,000,” says another customer whose 2012 Toyota Camry is in mint condition if you look past the massive crater in the right-front side of the car.

“I know I could resell this for more than what you’re offering,” says a guy who’s about to see his entire world get crapped on by reality.

FOR SALE: 2007 CHEVY SILVERADO. *$13K*

i used this truck for 10 years and it’s never let me down!!! its in mine condition and has its original air bgs, breaks and seatbelts. only 98-thousand miles on it. needs new air filter. also needs an oil change and transmission fluid.

SERIOUS INQUIRIES ONLY!!!!!

My favorite line always began with “Well, Kelly Blue Book says…”

Kelly Blue Book is a vehicle valuation company that gives you an idea of what a car is worth based on a variety of factors like make, model, mileage and damage. It’s a basic estimation but people quoted it like the law and ALWAYS quoted the “Great Condition” price.

“Kelly Blue Book says $15,000! My car is spotless and runs like a dream.”

“Your car screeches like a banshee when it shifts gears and it’s covered in scratches.”

“There are no scratches on my car.”

“Sir, I’m looking right at them. I can point them out to you.”

“No, that’s probably hair.”

“I’m rubbing the spots. It’s not hair. Those are scratches. It looks like you drove over a bunch of cats and they tried to climb up the bumper as you drug them for miles.”

“Fine………..$14,500. But I’m serious! That’s the lowest I’m going!”

Trading in a car is not difficult if you come into the deal with a sense of reality and a basic understanding of how a business works. A dealership is not a charity. It’s better than charity because the dealership actually gives you money for your trade-in, which usually goes towards lowering the price of the new car.

People wanted $18,000 for their trash bag on wheels but didn’t think a brand-new luxury SUV is worth more than $14,000.

That’s the kind of bartering I dealt with as a salesman.