Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Confucius Say You Pay First

It was lunchtime in Omaha, about 1:30 PM on this Wednesday afternoon. Ravenous with PMS, and having completed my 2 ¾ hour drive up from Kansas City, I was ready for some eats. Cruising Dodge Street, a main drag in this bustling 'burb, none of the usual suspects inspired me. McApplebee, McFriday, McChilli, McBoring. Raging hormones in my gut and a full parking lot combined to convince me to try a Chinese buffet place. It was the ideal location to provide me instant gratification, and also allow me the opportunity to visually inspect the food before eating it.

The place was about average, clean and well-maintained, but the best part was the great entertainment provided with the meal. As I headed back to the table with my (second) plate of pepper chicken and vegetable mei fun I was caught in the middle of an altercation between two Black teens and the teen Chinese cashier. Evidently, the cashier asked them to pay for their take-out order before they went to the buffet. The young teen argued that they saw another woman walk in and sit down, without paying first. In her broken English the cashier had a hard time explaining their policy, handwritten on a sign behind the register 'TAKE OUT PAY FIRST' while the dine-in customers checked out after eating. The teen insisted that the other lady didn't have to pay first because she was WHITE and they were BLACK. They were CHINESE RACISTS and they could keep their RACIST food to themselves. They created quite a scene before storming out and driving away, wheels squealing and raising smoke.

Full from my exploits I approached the cashier to check out, only to be caught in round two of the Great Chinese Racist movement. A Black family of seven had apparently witnessed the same scene I did. Ruling on the side of the plaintiff, they decided to leave mid-meal, and determined that they need not pay because they left their plates of food and cups of Coke on the table, barely touched. "You pay half, you take the food," the argument began. This one was going to get ugly. I threw my ten on the register and bolted.


MJ said...

Wow. At least you weren't bored during your meal. We've witnessed scenes like this one in a local restaurant and we thought it was also a pretty unfortunate misunderstanding.

BJNR said...

Did your dinner price include the show?

kz said...

My many years living in and around NYC have afforded me several opportunities to witness to such racially-charged confrontations. Always upsetting - especially when it's so clearly a misunderstanding. I hope you have had more peaceful eating environs since! I am really enjoying reading your blog and glad we've reconnected again.