Being in the Navy and moving to a new duty station every couple of years makes it difficult to achieve "regular" status. By the time you've been going to the same business often enough that the staff remembers you, it's time to move again.
Now, I'm not talking about Yelp's definition of "regular" where you go to the same restaurant twice in a week and ipso-facto-POOF! Suddenly Yelp gives you a congratulatory message that you're now a REGULAR at that business. No, there's no set formula for how many visits or how far spaced apart they have to be to achieve said status.
It's all about recognition.
Sort of like the old Cheers theme song, "Sometime you wanna go where everybody knows your name." The employees don't necessarily need to know your name, but if they clearly recognize you and ask if you want "the usual," THAT's when you know you've arrived. Yelp should make it so that "regular" status is only conferred by an employee of the business who enters some secret password into your smartphone to show that the employees of the establishment recognize you as a regular.
It happened a few weeks ago at the place we most frequently go to lunch after church. Our waitress recognized us and asked if the boys wanted "the usual" to drink. It just makes you feel... home... like a sense of belonging.
I can also confidently say I'm a regular at the Khaki Lounge on the submarine base. The bartender, Margaret, recognizes me and asks how my boys are. We have done a lot of wardroom lunches and "leaders lunches" for all our officers and chiefs there. Then I took my boys in there for lunch one day while my wife was attending some sort of Family Readiness Group (FRG). I don't imagine a lot of people take their kids to the Khaki Lounge, so it's easy to understand why that stuck in her memory.
Last weekend I was overjoyed and devastated all at once.
At first, I was overjoyed to have achieved "regular" status at the base barber shop. Deja vu. Last time I wrote about this, it had taken under a year, but I was in the shipyard and went to the same barber every week. I didn't write about it on shore duty, but I know it happened a lot quicker on shore duty in the DC area going to the same places for lunch and the same barber shop every week. Being on sea duty now, I go away for months at a time and the barbers forget all about you. So here it is, a year and a half into my tour of duty in the Pacific Northwest, and I finally became a regular at the base barber shop. My favorite barber recognized me and asked if I wanted it same as usual. Yes, please! :-)
Then I sat down in the chair and as she started combing my hair before she started cutting, she said sternly, "Somebody else cut your hair." Ding ding ding! :-) That's another clear sign of being a regular - when they can tell someone else has messed with your hair or cut it differently, and another case of deja vu. I confessed that I had to get my haircut, but she (the barber) was out of town.
This is where my excitement of being a regular ended.
After my comment about her being out of town, she sighed and confessed. Yep, she had to go househunting. Her husband got out of the Navy and they're moving to Texas, so she was down in Texas shopping for a new house. She just submitted her 2 weeks notice.
Back to ground zero. It's just not fair!
Oh well, maybe at our next duty station...