Orlando, FL - Representatives of the Pink Lobster restaurant chain announced today that this year's Lobsterfest promotion has resulted in the lowest death toll in nearly two decades, with reported casualties hovering around a paltry 1,650.
The promotion, typified by new and exclusive seafood dishes, discounted prices, and frenzied hordes of ravenous diners bludgeoning each other into bloody heaps of mangled flesh and bones with makeshift clubs, has been the focus of controversy in recent years.
Critics have claimed negligence on the part of the mid-level seafood chain, citing their food's high fat content, the ownership's failure to provide consumers with proper nutritional education, and its sluggish response to waves of customers crashing their bloodied and broken bodies against the façades of the nationwide chain of restaurants.
Executives at Pink Lobster's parent company, Douchebag Restaurants, Inc. remain defiantly upbeat, however. "This has been a great fiscal year for the Pink Lobster brand," C.E.O. Clarence Beeks, Jr. said, "with only 1,633 deaths reported thus for our ever-popular Lobsterfest campaign, we're looking at historic lows in eye-gougings, skull-stompings, and the breaking of one's mother-in-law's fingers with a crab shell cracker".
The visibly giddy Beeks continued, "this marks the second consecutive year coming in under the two-thousand mark, and the sixth all-time!" "Obviously, it's too soon to tell," Beeks burbled, "but we may be seeing a downward trend here".
The news of a relatively tepid consumer bloodlust issued a collective sigh of relief from the restaurant community, as the atrocities of the 2003 Lobsterfest still cast a long, dark shadow. That ill-fated campaign coincided with an Olive Garden "Never Ending Pasta Bowl" promotion, resulting in nationwide riots and widespread reports of unsated diners resorting to mass cannibalism, necessitating the intervention of the National Guard. The ensuing carnage, readers will recall, resulted in what has been wildly acknowledged as the single bloodiest conflict on American soil, with estimated death tolls peaking at over 2.4 million. The defining image of that catastrophe remains President Bush's shell-shocked and ashen visage as he solemnly ordered the 42d Attack Squadron to completely level the city of Cleveland.
On a local level, Pink Lobster employees still struggle with the rabid mobs of crustacean-crazy diners, but training and hardened experience has helped to smooth the process. At the suburban Orlando location in Altamonte Springs, manager Ted Clarkson noted a distinctly more taciturn reaction from the public.
"It hasn't been that bad this year, to be honest!" Clarkson bellowed over the din of screaming throngs of diners thrashing wildly at one another.
"Obviously, we've had our altercations and setbacks!" he continued as he placed an order of the signature Bay Harbor Lobster Bake in front of a couple tearing the flesh from each others' faces, "last week, a few patrons got loose in the kitchen! We were able to put them down with some frying pans, but I lost one of my best line cooks!"
"Poor Ricky," Clarkson said, his voice trembling as he wove his way through a gauntlet of clawing hands, "it was his first week on the job. Little guy never saw it coming".
Analysts have cited a number of potential factors at play in the lower number of deaths, mostly relating to the struggling economy, but Clarkson has his own theory.
"I think it might have something to do with them(Pink Lobster Corporation) getting rid of the "Endless Popcorn Shrimp!" he shouted as an errant, severed human ear flew by his face, "people were pretty crazy about that!"