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January 14, 2010

How many Bloomin' Onions do you sell in a day?

[just looking at this picture makes me want to drive to the nearest Outback... via prnewswire]

Backtrack to Thursday.

Mr. A and I were craving red meat, so we went to Outback.

As the waitress handed us our menus, she asked if we wanted to order drinks and/or a Bloomin' Onion, which is a crispy, crunchy, tongue tickling ball o' allium cepa.

Even if you don't eat meat, I recommend going to this steakhouse just for the onion. Share with friends, or tackle it alone. (No, I don't own Outback stock.)

We said yes.

We ordered.

We ate.

We talked.

We laughed.

All was calm, all was bright.

And then I remembered that I hadn't asked.

On cue, the waitress approached with our check and before I knew what I was doing, the question escaped.

"How many Bloomin' Onions do you sell in a night?"

"A lot. I couldn't tell you exactly."

"But, ballpark? Does everyone order them?"

"I'd say every other person."

"Ok. Thanks."

I turned to Mr. A. "So what do you think that comes out to?"

I did a rough headcount and guessed there were about 40 people in the restaurant. If dinner lasts from 5 to 10, and each dinner seating lasts about an hour, and usually there are more than 40 people since we were eating late, then he figured that at most 120 people must order them.

"120? I would have guessed something like 500," I replied. "Minimum 300."

"Way too many. Maybe if some tables order two, it's more than 120, but that's what it works out to."

"Let's find out," I said.

We got up and went to the kitchen.

Our waitress happened to be walking out, and her smile faded for a moment. Were we about to complain? Did we forget something?

"We were about to ask someone in the kitchen how many of those onions you sell. We're total nerds," I explained. "He's been sitting there calculating a total number of onions sold in a night based on what you said -- 'every other person' -- and now we want to know if we got it right. Would you mind finding out? If you have a moment?"

(Oh, and I have this blog... but you're not supposed to know that...)

"I guessed it was around 120," Mr. A added.

She relaxed.

"Of course! I'll be right back with an answer for you."

Writing this up Sunday night, I realize it's about time for dinner. Hmm...


I think I know what I need to do...

See you later!

Wait!? What? You want the answer?

She reported that they sold 80, but it was a slow night. So Mr. A was on the right track, and I clearly lost my objectivity (and math skills) when faced with such greasy goodness.
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