It's about the money!
To the editor:
What’s with this Age of Consumption, where the customer is always right, where we, the people, deduct monetary amounts from internet accounts with little plastic cards, where the IPAs ubiquitously flow from man-made springs built into walls, where oysters, sushi, fois gras, naan bread, samosas, pho, cheese steaks, and poke bowls have become common place. Fat in the bogs of surplus the world and our necessities in it have become unclear.
We assume that when we buy something we deserve perfection, that perfection has a price tag on it and if we can afford it then it is ours to have. A pernicious little nugget when people become those objects. We’ve propagated, diffused the master-servant dichotomy because we like to be in the driver seat. And when we enter a restaurant, unlike those other moments of toil, tribulation, and adherence, we are in charge.
Or so we think.
Man walks into bar, sits down, wants to be greeted right away, when he doesn’t he gets annoyed, signals the barman, signals the waiter, will someone, for the love of God, lend their hand to this poor, suffering soul. He needs water and maybe a beer, maybe an iced tea…oh man…if you don’t have iced tea the mortars blow and the restaurant room fills with smoke.
The barman coddles this man, holds his tongue, says yes when he means no. Smiles when he doesn’t want to smile. Why? Because this is what he is expected to do. He does as the man says as long as that man stays within the prescribed lines of our consumer culture. The man knows that the establishment offers timely, friendly service, and that even in the midst of a rush, he will be taken care of and if he is not, then swift compensation will be awarded to him, regardless of how disrespectful and rude he acts.
The barman expects him to be difficult, expects him to be unhappy, expects him to act like a little king. But, you see, the barman is an active player who is responsible for sustaining this capricious, entitled culture, for carrying this man gently to the end of his dining experience. He says yeah, yeah, yeah. I’ll be on that. No problem. Right away. Yessir. Then he stands straight, walks to the back of the room and bitches, insults and curses.
Then after the barman has emptied himself of ill will, he fixes anything that wasn’t right, making sure to point out what was fixed, emphasizing what was “comped.” Because if he doesn’t it goes unnoticed. He needs the credit because he wants his money. Because that is why he is there. MONEY!