For it is by grace you have been saved...

Thursday, February 7, 2008

There Really Is A Free Lunch

In 1975, economist Milton Friedman wrote a book called There's No Such Thing as a Free Lunch. Far be it from me to argue with a Nobel Laureate Economist. After all, in my one college consumer economics class, when I finally dared to open my mouth and answer a question, the professor’s response was “Please tell me you’re not a business major!” (No joke, that actually happened!)

Anyway, qualifications aside I must go on record as saying that there really is a free lunch. Thanks to the Springfield News-Leader, that old adage will have to be revised.

A few weeks back my wife pointed out a little blurb in the paper about a program called “Dine on Our Dime.” Apparently, the paper was looking for suggestions of restaurants to be written up in their Weekend section. So I fired off an email recommending my favorite BBQ joint called Bandanas. (By the way, my wife says to let everyone know that one of the best parts of Bandanas is their very inexpensive kids meals.)

Within a few short days, I heard back from the paper and had made arrangements with their restaurant reviewer to meet at Bandanas for lunch . . . all on their tab!

Sandy Clark, a transplant from California, was a most gracious host. Because he wanted to get a good sampling, we ordered way more food than I usually would have. We had a pleasant meal and an even more pleasant visit. He even offered some tips and offers of further help to my daughter who wants to be a writer. If you’re interested, you can read the final review here.

My only complaint with the whole experience was the photography skills of my host. Now, I’m neither vain nor unrealistic. After working in radio for several years I told folks my choice of that medium was because I had a “radio face.” But the picture printed in the paper (of me, not the food seen here) wasn’t too great (although it looked better in the paper than online!). I know he didn’t have much to work with, but I thought a good photographer was supposed to make you look better or something. Of course, after lunch he took three pictures with his digital camera and after the last one he said, “Whoa! That didn’t come out well.” So I guess I’m glad he didn’t print that one!

At any rate, it was a good experience overall. I got to have lunch at my absolute favorite restaurant. I got to visit with an interesting writer. I got a little more free press. And it didn’t cost me a thing! So if you happen to live in the Springfield area, not only would I recommend the Bandanas, but you might want to drop a line over the News-Leader and see about getting a free lunch of your own. Thanks guys!

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