By Stephen A Duncan

Thanksgiving is over and it’s back to a regular schedule. This being the Friday, after Thanksgiving, I woke up about 10:00 having experienced a beautiful day in front of a very plump turkey, don’t forget the ham and all the other stuff on the table at my son’s home yesterday.
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I lay in bed thinking about what was on the agenda. It being Friday, I thought to myself, I’ll bet Dad thinks he should have his regular Friday fish meal today. I pulled myself out of bed and into the shower. Dad was ready and waiting as I pulled into the driveway.


On the way to Bob Evans we talked a little about the people around the dinner table yesterday and all the good food. Dad was still trying to tie kids to adults. They grow up so fast. (I thought I would never say that!)


Dad and I also talked a little about it being “Black Friday” and how the word “Black Friday” came to be. Is it because people line up in front of stores early in the morning ready to buy in the “Dark of Night”, Black Friday? Dad believes that the term “Black Friday” comes from the concept that merchants (Department stores and the like) see black ink, instead of “red ink” on the company ledger for the first time during the year. So the term “Black Friday” means sales turn from red ink to profits or black ink, thus the term “Black Friday.”


As we settled into our booth at Bob Evans I noticed that Bob (As in Bob Evans) is no longer is putting paper place mats on the table. I tried to remember when was the last time I had a paper place mat at Bob Evans? Dad and I talked about it and we decided on a couple of possible reasons.

1. Expenses, they must be trying to hold down costs.

2. Going Green. Paper is not environmentally friendly.

3. They have them in the back room and don’t want to mess with them.

4. The guy that drives the truck forgot to put them on the truck?

5. Environmentalists are hugging tress again.


The manager was walking around and came by our table. I decided to ask him about the paper place mats. We gave our thoughts from 1- 5 and he smiled and said… “Well, it’s kind of #1 and #2 together.

The young man said that corporate is always looking for ways to cut expenses in the store and looked at the cost of the paper place mats. He continued to say that his store was using 7,000 place mats a week. They analyzed the cost of the paper place mat and then the cost to dispose of 7,000 paper place mats each week. And that is why we stopped using paper place mats. He continued to say that Bob Evans has 569 stores. They also own Mimi’s with another 169 stores. (Mimi stores are way out west.) So by the time you add up all that paper, it seemed like a no-brainer to stop using paper place mats.

The manager was called away and I started thinking. 7000 place mats a week… means 7,000 customers a week! With an average meal ticket of say $8.00 per person this can add up to some serious money. 7000 times $8.00 equals $56,000 in gross sales a week. But, take it one step further… multiply by 52 weeks that comes out to a 3 million dollar year.

It was time to go and I decided I needed to hit the men’s room before we left. As I’m standing “against the wall”, I’m looking at small sign taped to the wall that reads. “Don’t forget to get your pie.”

A very large man in a big black cowboy hat and heavy leather jacket happens to enter the men’s room and is now standing next to me. I was thinking about photographing the sign on the wall. After all how often do you see a “Don’t forget your pie” sign right above a urinal? But with this guy in the room, I don’t think I feel comfortable whipping out my Canon.

So I say out loud… “I’m not sure a “Don’t forget to get your pie” sign above a men’s urinal is the most appealing place to advertise pies.”

There is silence… then the guy in the cowboy hat, speaking to the wall in a very large voice says… “I was in a bar one-time, and the sign above the urinal read, In case of a nuclear attack hide under the urinal. No one has hit it yet!”



About the author

Stephen A and Scott Duncan publish "" Scott photographs (Duncan Photography) and is the guy who keeps this site running. Steve (left) is a photographer (Duncan Photography) and writes to ""