Oh, God – that stupid birthday song. Do they still even do that any more? For the sake of anyone working there today I sincerely hope not.
Nothing was more degrading than having to round up your fellow depressed waiters and beg them to help you sing a lame song to some lame customers that 90% of the time just want the free cake and don’t even really have a birthday. They knew it. We knew it. But, we did it anyway, God help us.
The first place I really remember them singing you a birthday song was the Farrel’s Ice Cream when I was a kid. They’d bring out some ginormous ice cream confection with a bunch of sparklers all over it and sing you a silly song for your birthday. Frankly, it used to scare the hell out of me when I was small. I was terrified of sparklers for the longest time and having one in my face for 5 minutes wasn’t exactly my cup of tea. This probably has something to do with why I don’t like ice cream.
Then in the 80s when I was in college, they started doing the group birthday song at Bennigan’s. This was way back when Bennigan’s was hip and cool, so other chains began to follow suit. I guess the geniuses at Olive Garden Corporate Headquarters must have thought that no chain restaurant would be complete without the requisite birthday song. So, they put their Marketing Genius Hats on and came up with this ditty:
THE OLIVE GARDEN BIRTHDAY SONG
(Sing while clapping loudly with group of degraded waiters and acting excited or else.)
From the pasta we make
To lasagna we bake
Ba ba ba ba
We’re wising you a happy birthday!
We hope you will remember
This fond event forever
We’re wishing you a happy birthday!
It’s like family and friends
At the Olive Garden
In the true Italiano way
So if youre looking for some fun
Have a happy happy day
Yeah – it really doesn’t make much sense, does it? Unfortunately, it’s seared into my brain like my address or phone number. I must have sang this 200 times while I worked there. Now, I am sure that the song they sing today at the Olive Garden is probably different from this one. Someone at Corporate must have noticed how lame this song is by now, right?