Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Emergency Off son called my attention to the Emergency Off button located on the wall of the Wendy's restaurant in Huntington, Indiana.

"What do you think it stops?" he asked me.
"I don't know," I said.  We continued to discuss it for several more moments.  What did it stop?  And who pushed it?  Did it stop an order that was about to be mis-made?  Did it stop the cash register drawer from opening?  Did it turn off the lights, the grill, the sign?

We asked the girl who took our order.  "What does that button do?"
"I have no idea," she said.
"But don't you think you SHOULD know?" I asked?  "I mean, what if the manager is off, say, 'getting change for a hundred dollar bill' [which in fact, she was because that's what I had handed the girl, but that's what some doofus at the indoor garage sale decided to use to pay for John's double-cassette deck which was priced at $25....what kind of idiot goes to a garage sale with a hundred dollar bill???] and there's some kind of emergency that might have been prevented by pushing that button, and you don't know what it does?"
"That's a good point," she said.  "I'm going to ask my manager right now."

We sat down with our food and saw the girl asking someone who appeared to be on the cooking staff.  He shrugged his shoulders and turned to ask someone else, who apparently ALSO didn't know.  Soon there were five people standing around discussing the shiny, and attractive button.

Our waitress came out to clean off the tables and I gestured her over to us.   I asked her, "Did you ask your manager?"
"Not yet," she said.
"And now that you've noticed that button, don't you...want to push it?  I mean, there it is, all red and shiny...."
"No," she said, quite adamantly, "but I AM thinking about it...and wondering."

Charlie and I continued to discuss it.  "If only the manager knows what that button does, that could be a problem.  Maybe," he suggested, "it shuts off the ice machine.  Which could be a problem if the manager falls into the ice machine.  Someone would need to push that button immediately to shut off the machine before it starts serving cube-sized pieces of the manager."

We speculated some more and then I thought of something.  "Do you think it shuts down all the garbage mashers in the detention level?"
Charlie added, "Yes.  It shuts them ALL down."
The girl reappeared at our table.  "I asked her," she said.  "It turns off EVERYTHING in case there's a fire or something."  She seemed very proud of herself.
"That's great," I said, "and it's good that you know because now you can push it and be the hero."  She smiled.

But--here's my NEW question.  If it shuts off everything, does it also shut off the sprinklers?  The phones?  The alarm system?  It seems that there may be holes in this plan somewhere....

We also decided that an 'Emergency Off' button would be a perfect topic for the play we had just seen "Everthing I Need to Know About Life, I Learned in Kindergarten".  LIFE should have an 'emergency off' button, we decided.  And someone should wax poetic about it for another skit for that play....

In the meantime, I'll be checking the Wendy's in this area to see if they, too, have 'Emergency Off' buttons.  Emergency Off.  What a concept.


  1. Honestly, I thought it was used to turn emergencies off. But I guess that would be an Emergency Over button, wouldn't it.

  2. If my life had an emergency OFF, I'd be afraid I wouldn't turn back on again...