There seems to be a new work ethic at Cracker Barrel and it's called "Let's Irritate the Hell Out of Them Until They Buy Something." My mother and I went to the Franklin KY restaurant last Monday as an early Birthday celebration for her and it was Chicken and Dressing day. Before we got in line for a table, we were going to do some browsing in the store but we never made it further than the candle table to the right of the door as you go in. There was a nice lady standing there who began to talk about the candles and before we knew it, she had opened each and every scent the candles came in so we could smell them. We didn't think much about it at the time because we were hungry and went to get into line before the special of the day ran out.
Our trouble began when we left the restaurant and back into the store. We couldn't just look and browse. Everywhere we went, there were multiple employees to tell us about the stuff. We'd walk away from one area to get away from one, only to be "found" by another employee. As I looked at the Halloween items, which took no more than two or three minutes, no less than three different employees came by to tell me about the clearance sale. One lady had to tell us all about the DVD's in stock while we were merely standing next to the rack, looking at something else. Still another lady had to tell me all about the cat and dog items. Both my mom and I had most of the candy pointed out to us, brand by brand, and how good it was. We did manage to find a few items (some of the few of which were not pointed out to us but we found anyway) and we gratefully escaped the store after we paid our bill.
Thursday, my mom and I decided to try again, this time going to the Gallatin TN store. We again ordered the special of the day and attempted to browse afterward. If anything, the employees in this store were more enthusiastic. Again, everywhere we went, the employees had to tell us about the items. One lady, who I swear must have been a retired school teacher - right down to the slightly disapproving tone she used when I didn't buy something - cornered me in the toy section when she saw me looking at a toy opossum and some Dreampets. She pointed out the price of the opossum and remarked that it wasn't badly priced then she went through all the containers of Dreampets so she could show me all the varieties they came in and read the clearance sign to me (as if I couldn't read the three inch high letters myself.) I made the comment that I would think about buying one and she said, "Surely you could buy one since they are on sale!" This same woman later noticed me looking at some baskets that were stacked underneath the candy table and had to tell me all about that, including getting one of her own so she could point out the price. At this point, both my mother and I were ready to leave. We didn't buy anything this day except our lunch, although I saw a few things that piqued my interest. I tell you, it was even more of a relief to get away from this store than it had been on Monday.
So what's next for Cracker Barrel? Automatic locks on the doors requiring proof of purchase, other than a meal, to get out of the damn place?