Denny's Proves It Knows How to Market Itself. San Franciscans Prove They Can't Do Math

Categories: Business
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Perhaps time = money ... but not when free crap food is involved.
A few years ago at a San Francisco Giants game, I caught a Ryan Kleso home run ball in the left field bleachers at Pac Bell Park. And, a full three seconds after I established possession of the ball, a short, wiry man leapt onto my back and began hacking at my arm like Ronnie Lott trying to separate a football from a wide receiver. His weight pushed my head into the metal bleachers and opened up a small cut along my left eye; when I shouted he seemed to realize how ridiculously he was behaving and he took off into the crowd.

The retail value of that baseball: $5, tops. But never underestimate how little millions of years of evolution have separated humans from a dog holding out for a bone. We do so love having things given to us.

Which brings me to Denny's masterful Grand Slam Breakfast giveaway today.The line above snaked out of the Mission Street eatery and grew so long that area merchants complained it was blocking access to their stores.The estimated wait time for the "free" Grand Slam Breakfast was at least an hour.

I'm using the quotation marks around "free" because, as we all know, Einstein definitively proved that time is money. So while your delicious eggs, bacon, pancakes, and assorted bodily fluids of Denny's chefs may not have cost you any tangible cash, you intangibly spent money by languishing in a mid-day line for an hour and change of your life in a city with a minimum wage of $9.79 as of the first of the year.

So, if you feel that your time is worth $5.99 an hour or less, great deal! If not -- if you could have worked a bit or simply taken a walk throughout the city on a drop-dead gorgeous day and, perhaps, patronized a reasonably priced, locally owned eatery that doesn't serve mediocre-at-best fare -- then you lost out.

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