Mcdonough, GA – It is Thursday, June 24, 2010 and my wife, Sharon, and I decided to eat out. Strangely enough, we do not normally eat out during the week, but we decided that since our boys were sleeping over at their friend’s house, we would use the opportunity to have a night out. We still had Eliana to think about, but since she was at the daycare all day, we decided to bring her along and not leave her with someone. We were set to go, but where?
As is our custom, Sharon went through several coupon flyers which we receive weekly to find the best deal available at one of our local restaurants. She found one that offered 1 free meal with the purchase of 1 meal and 2 drinks from the “Combination Menu.” The restaurant was La Parilla – Mexican. Sharon loves Mexican food (I like it) and we had not eaten Mexican for some time so it was an easy decision. However, before leaving, Sharon looked at a few other coupons and picked up one for WOW Cafe & Wingery – a restaurant only 2 miles from home. She said she would prefer wings to Mexican, and the coupon was an offer of $5 off a $20 purchase.
So off we went. We left the house with 2 coupons, drove to the strip mall for WOW Cafe & Wingery and discovered that it had gone out of business and some other restaurant – Ultimate Pizza now occupied the space. Wow! What happened to WOW?
Luckily, we still had the coupon for La Parilla and so off we went – about 5 miles away.
Ten minutes later we pulled into the parking lot and remarked how many cars were there. We also noticed several people milling around outside as if waiting to be seated. Sharon and I thought that was strange. It was Thursday – not quite the end of the month or week – and therefore not necessarily a payday. Furthermore, we are still experiencing tough economic times, so why so many people would be eating out during the week?
We went inside and sure enough, there were people everywhere, plus some waiting to be seated. We were told that our wait would be about 15 minutes. Sharon and I remarked that La Parilla appeared to be doing good business. Could it mean that the economy is rebounding? Our visit to La Parilla on a Thursday showed evidence that there are people who are weathering the economic storm, or there are people who have decided that despite tough times they would stick to certain routines like eating out when they felt like it.
It could also be that people enjoy Mexican food and particularly like what La Parilla offers. Who knows?
Is the economy recovering? It is hard to make a definitive statement – I think. I have two friends who have been out of work for more than a year and currently there is no sign of hiring – no calls and no interviews. In addition to that, while La Parilla may be doing okay, there are other restaurants that are faring badly.
As I mentioned before, WOW was gone and so was Fuddruckers right next door. Also, we passed other restaurants that did not have as many cars in the parking lot. After all, it was Thursday.
One bright spot I noticed in all of this is that no matter how tough times are, people are still trying their best to build something and secure their families’ futures. WOW is gone, but now there is Ultimate Pizza where it once stood. I wish them every bit of success! (It pains me when a business closes its doors.)
I believe that more people are realizing that we must be creative and find ways to ensure that when the employer lets us go (I have a friend whose last day at work will be Friday, July 2nd. His job is being shipped to India.), we have something solid to fall on.
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Inspite of what the signs are, dig deep within you. With God’s help, coupled with what He has invested in you, you will survive all challenges and surmount all mountains.