Choosing Sides

Unless you order the “Gut Buster Special” which comes with a premeditated calorie delivery system, there are usually choices for additional sides in any dining out experience. In most cases, even the “Gut Buster” has allowable customization: “Would you like tots or fries with that?” What I’d like to explore briefly is how the server promotes these sides when taking your order.

NCI_Visuals_Food_HamburgerDoes your server explain the ideology behind each choice, flinging punditry and and leaning more in favor of baked tots over fries? Perhaps your wait staff is passionate about the health benefits of the baked tots over the more artery clogging fries. Liberty fries, of course … but still. Do you study the menu before the notepad carrying fount of opinion arrives to query you, pondering the nutrient content and trans fat risks? That way you are an educated side picker. Of course, it’s always important to educate yourself before you vote. But wait – how much should you trust that menu?

No worries. Your apron clad expert will arrive any minute to bring you up to speed on his or her version of the truth. Just keep in mind, your server may have lost a loved one to a heart attack, or diabetes. El Garçon may have a hidden agenda for coercing you to leave those fries alone. Don’t be mad. He’s just trying to spare you from an early death or unfavorable afterlife. Heaven forbid he owns baked tot futures.

You could research this choice a little, don’t you think? Give your conscience a little more certainty to rest its weary head upon. Careful – the restaurant next door is pushing the fries … after all, tots are “so five years ago.” Then there’s that nice looking dog walker you stop on the sidewalk (in your effort to get a random, unbiased opinion) who looks at you like you’ve just invaded the planet. “Are you nuts? Think about sticking to salad, Pudgeball.” How rude?!

Let’s speak to the manager/owner, shall we? Eh hem. “Excuse me Ma’am, but I’d like more information about the pros and cons of each of these sides so I can make an informed decision. Can you help?”

This woman is of average height and build, looks healthy enough and, we’re thinking, must be of decent intelligence. She owns and runs her own restaurant for crying out loud. Let’s check out her response.

“If it weren’t for the government telling me how to run my establishment, I wouldn’t even serve fries. You don’t have to ask for me to tell you that eating fries is a sin and those that do are going to burn forever. Especially those that dip their fries in the ketchup. There’s only one right choice here and if you don’t see it my way, I’m going to have to ask you to take your “Gut Buster” and leave.”

Game over. If you still wish to play the “Choose Sides” game, please deposit another pocket of quarters into the slot labelled, “I am a person.” Otherwise, please place your nickel in the slot marked “Corporate Individual.”

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