This morning I came across this opinion piece by LZ Granderson at CNN.
Granderson recounts coming up poor and black in Detroit, and how a family outing to Red Lobster was a bit of a special occassion. He mourns the fact that the corporate entity now running the chain may cut it loose or even shut it down altogether.
That set me on a google chase for the possible causes for the demise of Red Lobster. Instead, I found this; Red Lobster and the Continuing Demise of the Black Middle Class by Dr. Jason Johnson. He too has all sorts of happy memories, and he too is a black writer.
Well, time to set the record straight; there's at least one white dude right here who loves Red Lobster!
Now, I'm a bit too old for Red Lobster to have been part of my childhood, but it was definitely part of my children's childhood. And it was a special occassion. You knew you weren't at McDonalds. At the same time it wasn't fancy to the point where you felt uncomfortable. It was the kind of place where a working class family could afford to go once in awhile to mark a birthday or an anniversary. You could order a drink and have something that was a bit exotic where we lived, lobster, without breaking the bank.
I have to agree though with the above writers as to why Red Lobster has fallen on hard times. There simply aren't enough decent jobs around for young working class families of any color. Some of them up and left to Mexico or China, some of them have been eliminated by advances in automation, and most of the rest have been re-cast as low wage subsistance jobs by greedy corporations.
The fate of Red Loster is just one example of the collateral damage that ensues when companies like Caterpillar decree that $25/hr jobs will henceforth be $12/hr jobs.