Judging by the Crowds, “Factory” is an Apt Moniker

I suppose that gift cards have their place.  I personally don’t like them: they’re impersonal, have limited use, and (before the CARD Act) had ridiculous terms of use.  90% of the time I’ve gotten a gift card, it’s to a retailer I don’t use.

Case in point: the Cheesecake Factory.  My mother won a $25 Cheesecake Factory gift card as a door prize 2 Christmases ago, didn’t want it, and subsequently passed it on to me. Where it has sat.  Unused.  For nearly two years.

I have never in my life been to a Cheesecake Factory.  The only reason why I tried to go last Saturday was because both The Boy and I had been bestowed gift cards.  What the hell, we thought, a free meal is a free meal.

What a disaster!  There are only two CFs in Cleveland, both of which are in similar outdoor-style, lifestyle malls.  It doesn’t matter what day of the week or what time of day you go to these malls, they are always a crowded nightmare.  We ended up parking a quarter-mile away.  I don’t know why he and I thought that somehow, because it was 9 pm on a Saturday when we finally got there, that the wait would be 30 minutes, maximum.

I was wrong.

My hand to my Gram’s china, there were no less than 35 groups of people waiting for a table.  It was like throngs of wounded soldiers waiting for a medic. People waited in small congregations outside the restaurant, in between the two sets of doors of the restaurant, in the foyer of the restaurant, pressing there wet noses against the cheesecake refrigerator glass in the restaurant….

The Boy is much more charitable than I: he saw the initial waiting patrons, and said, “We don’t know how bad it will be, let’s try.”  But it just kept getting worse. We stood inside the foyer, in the hostess desk like (behind 16 people) for all of ten seconds before he looked at me and said, “Texas Roadhouse?”

And Texas Roudhouse it was.  And so worth it, even after a 15-minute drive to get from Lyndhurst to Lake County.

We probably wouldn’t have gotten out of CF for less than $50 as it was, and I’m not inclined to enjoy a meal when I feel like I’m eating on top of three other tables.

I’m not even mean enough to give these gift cards away for free to our family.  I’ve already sold mine on Plastic Jungle.  Judging by the crowd, I’m sure someone will be foaming at the mouth to get my gift card at a discount.