All the chicken at the mall

One thing I had a fine time doing while at college in Boston - besides taking part in the impressive social scene, besides visiting the graves of some of the most historically important individuals since the dawn of this great country and besides attaining an education at a prestigious university - was eating teriyaki chicken samples at the mall. Most malls that have a food court have a Japanese place and one poor employee is always sentenced to roaming the area right outside their cash register with chicken samples so that they can lure you into their waiting arms by causing you to crave that kind of chicken. Not one piece, but a whole plate. We used to cruise by this poor sucker a bunch of times in college. Because we were mischievous. We got more than one piece and sometimes didn't even buy food there.

(I'd like to interject here that by saying "we were mischievous" I by no means meant that this was the most mischievous thing I did in college, or even one of the most mischievous. I was being a little sarcastic and taking advantage of the good old idea that college kids do crazy stuff, you know? Had this been the most mischievous thing I'd done in college, or one of them anyway, I wouldn't admit it. If I did admit it, I bet you I also would have been pretty damn into Star Trek or Warcraft or some similar hobby that would have kept me in my dorm room and out of harm's way, except to cheat the poor Japanese employees out of their free chicken, over and over again. The point is, I didn't feel like a badass when I got the samples, ok? I just wanted them.)

When J and I were at Southpoint mall the other day, I noticed that the number of employees holding up chicken samples and beckoning to potential customers with all their might had grown. There was the standard Japanese teriyaki chicken, the bourbon chicken from a New Orleans-style restaurant (which, funny enough, had a lot of Asian-inspired side dishes, it looked like) and then this new place, Le Bon Bistro, where an especially pumped chicken sample-giver presented me with not one, not two but THREE chicken samples, all different kinds. This was out of control. After the incident, I, of course, had to get my food there. It was beyond my level of cheating to accept so many pieces of food and not patronize the bon bistro.

When we sat down we gazed over at the row of eatery choices, the employees, now having to compete with each other in order to clear their plate of samples, toothpicks. J wondered aloud, "If you were going to open a place in the food court, why would you open another one that serves chicken, almost exactly like all the other places?" I didn't know, but will remain a willing participant. After all that money-spending that typically occurs during a trip to a shopping mecca, especially one with Nordstrom, it's nice to get a little something special for free.