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Death of the Lunch Hour

A week or so ago I read an article lamenting the passing of the traditional lunch hour as we have known throughout the years.

The headline read “The Death of Lunch,” pointing out that America has become a country that has turned lunch time into errand and work time — and a hurried one at that.

The article cited a recent study by a national staffing agency that found 48 percent of employees saying that their typical lunch is 30 minutes or less and another survey by office supply giant Staples that found 19 percent of employees did not break for lunch at all.

Restaurant industry observers point out that sit down eateries are especially feeling the pinch with the lack of lunch time and a still sluggish economy being the main culprits for empty tables.

But one’s loss is another’s gain. While the lunch time squeeze is hurting the higher-end eateries, those that can offer a quick bite for the lunch-on-the-run crowd, now known in the industry as “fast casual” restaurants, are doing quite well. And, of course, fast food places are thriving, albeit some more and some less.

And then in New York’s financial district a prominent steakhouse (obviously in a bit of trouble) is offering a “$40 @ 40” lunch deal – a three course mid-day meal for $40 that is guaranteed to be served within a 40 minute time frame.

I shrug my shoulders at all this, because, you see I’m leading the good life in this lunch time brouhaha. Let me put it all in perspective. I am retired (three cheers for retirement here), But I also work part-time (a pat on the back from all the experts that tell us seniors it’s good to keep busy.) I work out of a very nice home office, pretty much on my own schedule with unlimited and unregulated lunch breaks (a big, big plus here.) And now for the best part – Marge, the good wife that she is, every night packs me an outstanding sandwich for tomorrow’s lunch that is up to par with the best deli creations. And if I decide to go out for lunch, there’s a ready-made sandwich waiting for the next day.

That folks, is the good life…