Saturday, November 11, 2023

Happy Hour at the Holiday Inn

Wait until they start opening electronics banks for people who can't afford TVs and computers.

Back in 1980, I spent most of the summer in Myrtle Beach, S.C. The group I was with started going to the Holiday Inn at Surfside Beach every day. We would hang out on the pool deck, listen to the live band play Southern hits, swim in the pool, and buy drinks from the gazebo bar.

[The gazebo bar at the Holiday Inn, Surfside Beach, S.C.]

At around 5 pm. we would walk back to the campground for supper, then return to the Holiday Inn to spend the evening in their disco bar.

Most of us had no jobs to return to, so we tried to stretch our dollars out for as long as they would last. Eventually, this meant scrounging around in the showers for leftover soap bars, regaling our campground neighbours with sob stories in exchange for free dinners, and switching from mixed drinks to beer at the gazebo bar by the HI pool. We didn't tip and, at first, that didn't go over too well with the wait staff, but once they became acquainted with our circumstances, they accepted it and we became friends with them. They understood that the few dollars we had left were reserved for essentials like beer and tobacco.

When we learned about the Happy Hour in the disco we started going there for dinner. We ate as much as we could. The menu was limited to a big round of cheddar cheese, crackers, peanuts, and pickles. Instead of buying drinks at that hour, we would just ask for glasses of ice water.

The bar staff in the disco were not as friendly as the gazebo staff. We got dirty looks as we gobbled up half of the Happy Hour freebies, and ordered our ice waters without tipping. But they tolerated us, for some reason.

Then one evening, as John from Detroit helped himself to an extra large triangle of cheddar, one of the waiters couldn't resist. "Hey! Why don't you leave some for the paying customers?"

Finally, when the band started playing we would start buying drinks.

One by one, our colleagues exhausted their coin and went home. John and I managed to hang on until well into September.

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A food bank in Ontario is turning away international students looking for free food

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