Feeling Slightly Less Welcome at Moe's

One of the great joys of my otherwise joyless life is to stride through the front door of a certain local franchise of an Atlanta-based Mexican fast food restaurant chain and be showered with warm greetings: "Welcome to Moe's!" they ring out in near-unison.

And it's not because I'm special. The employees of Moe's Southwest Grill, it is clear, are trained to belt out this refrain to all who walk through that door.

For a long time, however, I have been curious as to what, if any, are the limits to this policy. Specifically, when a Moe's employee is taking a restroom break, is he or she granted an exemption from the requirement to bestow a cheerful greeting? Or is there some kind of alert system within the Moe's restroom that informs the employee when to shout out a welcome, so that he or she can do so even behind a closed door, thereby proving how fiercely they wish to welcome me?

Fortunately, today's lunch break finally brought an answer to this riddle. (Oh hell yes, you're making the jump for this!)

This afternoon I paid a visit to the Moe's in the Harbor Shops complex off SE 17th Street in Fort Lauderdale. I received my usual chorus of Welcomes to Moes! In the very next moment, I looked toward the restroom. The door to the women's room opened and -- sure enough! -- a Moe's employee emerged. I gave her an expectant glance that communicated, in unsubtle fashion, "Where's my welcome?"

She did not greet me.

So there you have it! No restroom alert system... yet. And it seems that employees really are granted an exemption from the welcome rule while in the restroom. Either that or the Moe's worker in question will be hunted down by a corporate hitman and summarily fired, an example to her colleagues of how very seriously Moe's takes their welcomes.

Next on my agenda: The Moe's employees' reaction to my arriving just before day's end. Will they yell out, "Moe's is closed!" in the very same dulcet tones? I very much hope so.

(A link to this blog post will be e-mailed to the corporate media affairs staffers at Moe's. I look forward to their response.)

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