Wednesday, January 2, 2008

Disgusting Case of Discrimination

Courtesy of

HOUMA, La. (AP) - A 6-foot-3, 265-pound man says a restaurant overcharged him for his trips to the buffet line, then banned him and a relative because they're hearty eaters. A spokesman for the restaurant denies the claim.

Ricky Labit, a disabled offshore worker, said he had been a regular for eight months at the Manchuria Restaurant in Houma, eating there as often as three times a week.

On his most recent visit, he said, a waitress gave him and his wife's cousin, 44-year-old Michael Borrelli, a bill for $46.40, roughly double the buffet price for two adults.

"She says, 'Y'all fat, and y'all eat too much,'" Labit said.

Labit and Borrelli said they felt discriminated against because of their size. "I was stunned, that somebody would say something like that. I ain't that fat, I only weigh 277," Borrelli said, adding that a waitress told him he looked like he a had a "baby in the belly."

Ok, it's hard to use the words "only", "weigh", and "277" in that order. However, to charge people double because they eat "all they can eat" at an "all you can eat" buffet is a bit ridiculous. It gets better.

Houma accountant Thomas Campo said the men were charged an extra $10 each on Dec. 21 because they made a habit of dining exclusively on the more expensive seafood dishes, including crab legs and frog legs.

"We have a lot of big people there," said Campo, who spoke for owner Li Shang, whose English is limited. "We don't discriminate."

Labit denied ever being told he would be asked to pay more than the standard adult price.

The argument grew heated, and police were called.

The police report states, "The incident was settled when the management advised that the bill was a mistake and, to appease Ricky, the meal was complimentary."

Labit said he insisted on paying but was told not to come back. He complained that when seafood on the buffet line runs out, the restaurant only grudgingly cooks more.

Campo said the proprietress tries to reduce waste of quality food, he said.

"Food is for eating, not toys for your child," reads a sign posted on a wall in typewritten text. A handwritten addition reads "Or 20% added."

Well, I don't see these men giving food as "toys for their children". Looks like they're simply eating what they want to eat. Even though the meal was complimentary, the guy insisted on paying (which is the honorable thing to do), and was rewarded for doing the honorable thing by being banned from the restaurant.

I don't think it is right for people to stuff and engorge themselves on food for the sake of doing so. However, it is also wrong to charge extra and discriminate against people for eating more than a normal person, especially when the extra charges were targeted at some "big guys".

I've seen rail thin men and women that can pack away 4-5 plates of greasy, fatty foods at a buffet...while I'm lucky to get past 1 salad and 1 plate of food, and I'm not a small person by any stretch of the imagination.

What got me were the comments at Breitbart regarding this article, tons of fat jokes and totally out-of-line commentary on "gross" and "disgusting fat slobs". I commented on my own, pointing out that this is, in fact, discrimination. I feel that it is more disgusting to hold such nasty views of the overweight than to be overeater who is overweight.

1 comment:

Jonathan Mark said...

It isn't discrimination, it's commercial fraud. If the 277 pound man had been a light eater, or had eaten the less expensive buffet items, then he would still be a valued customer.

The problem is that the restaurant advertised "all you can eat" but then reneged on the deal and retroactively raised the price.

The Country Pantry buffet restaurant near Sharon, Massachusetts has the biggest collection of entire families of gargantuan people over-eating that I have ever seen. My brother, who is a little overweight, said that he liked to go there because it made him feel thin.