Thursday, July 26, 2007

Take note, Bob Evans Farms

Relations between a diner and its accountant may not be sweetened by the old timer who parks himself on a counter stool all day, nursing a bottomless cup of coffee. But the experience is doing wonders for the customer's social wellbeing, according to a report from the clipboard-and-white-coat set. The scientific study found that seniors who lose a loved one or otherwise suffer a social disconnection often get the tea and sympathy they need from a local diner's staff and clientele.

In effect, concluded researchers from Northern Illinois and Arizona State Universities, the corner joint becomes the elderly person's social network. The researchers calculated that a regularly frequented diner provides 30 percent of the companionship needed by someone who retires or sees his or her children move away. If the person should be lose a spouse, the percentage jumps to 58 percent. "Clearly, your body doesn't care whether it obtains companionship from co-workers or from diner cronies," said Mark Rosenbaum, who wrote the study.

The information was gathered during observations of the regulators who frequented an unidentified diner in Chicago.

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