I had my very last stack of IHOP chocolate chip pancakes with a whipped cream smiley face on Monday.
(The smiley face has already been consumed.)
Never again will arguably the world's two greatest foods, chocolate and pancakes, sit blended together in a stack of goodness in front of me. Never again will they enjoy the mastication process by which they bond with my spit to form a pasty, chocolatey goo fit for digestion.
My discontinued patronage was not a rash decision based on silly nutritional facts or the noticeably absent class of the establishment. It was based solely on the stank of the bathroom and my incurring heebie-jeebies.
I know you probably would like details.
I've always been a fan of IHOP, but never paid much attention to the condition of the restaurants (if you can call them that...) until recently when a certain someone who frequently employed the above mentioned pancakes as a make up tactic started pointing out its deficiencies:
"Wow, you're right. This table IS filthy!"
"Ohmigosh, I never noticed the layer of syrup covering each and every inch of the menus..."
"Hmmm....it DOES smell like turd back here."
Although my eyes were opened, I still treasured my chocolatey treat. And I occasionally looked forward to fights with you-know-who because I was sure to get my make-up-pancakes. Because that's what couples do...right? Make-up....pancakes?
Anyway, Sunday was an occasion that most definitely called for some pancake lovin'. And off we went on Monday to the nearest of the 20 IHOP's in the West Palm Beach area. We chose the one next to the vacant, overgrown lot on Dixie Highway. You've probably seen this strip on COPS, several times.
We sat right down, made nice with the waitress to avoid "spitcakes," and placed our order. After a few short minutes of chit-chat we were presented with two heaping stacks of pancakes. His covered in blueberries, mine in chocolate chips, and both topped with miles of whipped cream. We rested assured with this level of care there couldn't possibly be a big slimy loogie hiding between layers...unless Melissa was trying to throw us off, which did not occur to me until just now. Gross.
After eating half of my stack I realized the sudden urge to use the ladies facilities but the door was locked. I waited. Melissa (was that even her name??) exited. I entered.
Had I been on a blind folded tour of bathrooms across America I would have said I just entered a bathroom at a Highway 87 truck stop. "Not the nice kind," I would have said, "the kind where you have to ask the attendant for a key and walk around to the back of the building because they prefer to keep stink flies away from the customers."
In other words, it was stinky gross. McDonald's bathrooms are cleaner. Hess gas station bathrooms are cleaner. My sister Katie's bathroom is cleaner. What's the deal, IHOP? You getting all cocky because your pancakes are all that? Yes, they are good. Probably the best. But does that mean you get to neglect your other duties to focus on perfect 'cakes?
I saw our waitress come out of that stinky, grody mess of a ladies room and all I could picture was her touching the door handle on her way out.
It's probably safe to assume by the smell of the place many IHOP patrons aren't too concerned with cleanliness. **shudder And based on that assumption I will go further and say they probably don't **shudder wash their hands.
Putting it all together: if they don't wash their hands they're putting their germs (read: fecal matter, but I disgust) all over everything they touch. And if they're touching the same things my waitress is touching (door handle), and my waitress is touching things that go in my mouth, they might as well come and "make a deposit" (read: poo) right on my beloved chocolate chip pancakes.
I think you can see now why I had to end my 27 (minus time spent in infancy) year relationship with IHOP. No matter the condition of the establishment I will forever associate my pancakes with icky germs.
Corey will just have to come up with some other make-up strategy. I am leaning towards jewelry...