Service of the Counterintuitive Part I

August 28th, 2014

Categories: Counterintuitive, Economy, Hunger, Restaurant, Sports

Photo: lifehack.org

Photo: lifehack.org

I’ve collected examples of situations that caused me to wonder. I found so many that I broke the list into two posts.

Starving the Victims

basket of rollsA friend told me about a 20-course dinner that cost $350 pp. The only reason that she and the other participants didn’t leave hungry was because they asked for baskets of additional rolls that had accompanied one of the microscopic, uber-trendy dishes. She described the portions as the size of bottle caps. This was in the US. Another friend who eats like a sparrow left a similar restaurant in London feeling hungry after finishing a pricey appetizer and entree.

Where’s the Sport?

Ask Google to “define game” and the first you see is: “a form of play or sport, especially a competitive one played according to rules and decided by skill, strength, or luck.”

So what’s with this horrendous knockout game that Wikipedia notes is “one of many names given by American news media to assaults in which, purportedly, one or more assailants attempt to knock out an unsuspecting victim, often with a single sucker punch, all for the amusement of the attacker(s) and their accomplice(s).”

Police think that a recent victim of this game was a pregnant woman–in her seventh month–who was knocked unconscious and to the ground after her assailant hit her in the head, according to coverage in The Daily News. Doctors say both she and the baby are OK.

Conflicting Reports

empty storefrontI read everywhere how the economy has improved, the stock market is flourishing, salaries and employment are up and yet I continue to see newly empty storefronts and increasing numbers of beggars in a city that we’re told is doing better than other places. In addition, I read reports by companies that cater to the middle class, such as Macy’s, that are lowering their outlook for the year’s sales. For what reason? Because of the “sluggish demand plaguing the broader retail industry,” according to Suzanne Kapner and Shelly Banjo in The Wall Street Journal.

I don’t like feeling stuffed when I leave a restaurant, but what about the trend to pay a fortune to leave hungry? What horrible mind came up with the knockout game where the sport is picking on a defenseless person and what about the people who play? So what’s true about the economy—is it as great as some say or not?

up and down indicator

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10 Responses to “Service of the Counterintuitive Part I”

  1. Donna Boyle Schwartz Said:

    Donna wrote on Facebook: “If I go out to eat, I expect to feel comfortably sated at the end of my meal. If not, we won’t return. As for the other two points–that’s not a “game,” that’s an assault and people should be arrested and charged. And while some retailers are doing well…most I talk to are lowering forecasts and expectations (as are manufacturers.)”

  2. Jeanne Byington Said:

    I’m with you, Donna! Those who pay $hundreds for a meal and leave hungry may think, “Because I can.” Pollyanna in me says “Give the $ to charity for goodness sakes.” I wonder if the retailers who are doing well carry luxury goods. As for the animals who think hurting people is a game–I wonder if even jail will discourage them.

  3. Frank Paine Said:

    Hi, Jeanne.

    Paying a “fortune” to leave hungry? That’s just plain stupid. Possibly trendy, though, but I won’t go.

    The “knockout” game–that’s simply appalling. As someone else said, it’s an attack, and should be treated as a crime.

    As to the economy, quem sabe? I, for one, think that official statistics have made things sound better than they actually are. I know many people who haven’t felt good about the economy for several years, despite favorable statistics. I rather suspect that the statistics have been manipulated for political purposes. But what do I know?

  4. Jeanne Byington Said:

    Frank,

    I wouldn’t pay $350 for one person’s meal as I think it’s sad to do so with so many hungry and I trust that the customers also give generously to charity. What I find amazing is that people line up to go to these places–no doubt one must juggle to get a table. And my friend didn’t even mention if the bottle cap-sized portions were tasty. I imagine that the owners and chefs have a good laugh at the end of each meal.

    The knockout game is cruel and senseless. I can’t think of a single benefit nor can I imagine why anybody thought it up.

    Last I looked the cost of living figures no longer reflected what people buy daily such as bread and milk and instead focused on things like refrigerators. I get the feeling that the public isn’t told the truth–period.

  5. Lucrezia Said:

    Those aren’t pricey restaurants, those are clip joints in which the foolish and/or tourists are fleeced. Doesn’t anyone read the menu before sitting down in an unfamiliar establishment? If that’s considered rude, tough.

    The price one can pay for smacking people around is jail. This is no game, and a proliferation of arrests, hefty fines and costly law suits may bring this idiotic pursuit to a screeching halt.

    The economy stinks.

  6. Martha Takayama Said:

    I am in complete agreement with Donna and Jeanne. Furthermore many of the situations described in this post smack of self-delusion and cruelty.
    The success of the restaurants described should be substantialy and rapidly reduced according to the power attributed to dissatisfied customers and their word of mouth or electronic messages!

    As for the “games” the terminology is both twisted and incorrect. What about referring to them as various levels of assault and battery or assault and battery with a dangerous weapon and so forth.

    The marketing reports blithely ignore the demographics of affluence or lack thereof. The marginalization of the unsteady middle and lower classes are often responsible for the pessimism that illusory and overpriced luxury goods seem to obfuscate. Fewer people seem more able to spend inordinately resulting in a retrograde “Third World” economics and mind set. And then there is always Marie Antoinette to remember……

  7. Jeanne Byington Said:

    Martha–

    Brilliant–let them eat CAKE! Wonder if cake is even on one of the 20-course menus!

    Also great suggestion about calling the assaults what they are and not games. I wonder who named the attacks a game.

  8. Jeanne Byington Said:

    Lucrezia,

    My friend was the guest of a very wealthy person who knew very well what the price of dinner was. My guess is that you’d never find Warren Buffet at such a place, that it’s filled with people on large expense accounts or even some of the politicians we wrote about in an earlier post who foist their expenses on others. The prices are also a joke on the insecure.

    One of my aunts did just what you suggested: She made a reservation at a restaurant one of her dearest friends recommended, arrived, sat down, looked at the menu and told her husband she couldn’t digest food at such prices. She closed the menu and they left. This aunt and uncle could easily have covered the check many, many times over. She simply wasn’t going to do so.

    Your suggestion for stopping the sadistic “game” may work but hasn’t so far. As Martha suggested, deleting the word “game” from the action is also a good first step.

  9. Epicurius Said:

    I have had the good fortune to have enjoyed several fine multi-course meals over the years. Well prepared amd well served, they can make for good theatre and memorable eating. What you describe sounds more like an unfortunate, foolish exaggeration.

    Brutal games have been with all human races since they came to be. What you describe reminds me of the pornagraphic “snuff” videos, apparantly made in the Balkans, quite popular a few years back with certain degenerate segments of our population. These depicted actual young women being raped and murdered.

    All governments enjoy power, and, therefore, are prepared to fight mightily to stay in power. Lying about statistics and their meaning is “small potatoes” compaired to the extremes determined politicians will go to to stay on top. Since we live in a democracy, it must be that the majority of us like the way we are being governed. Otherwise, we would have long ago voted our rulers out of office.

    Your three examples of counterintuitiveness lead to one inevitable conclusion. We live in a dying civilization soon to be gone and replaced. With what who knows?

  10. Jeanne Byington Said:

    Epicurius,

    I, too, love the theater of a wonderful serious meal well presented. I wonder how wait staff can maintain a straight face while presenting 20 silly, tiny dishes. Keeping the smirks off their faces, no doubt, is the minimum $210 tip [15 percent of $1,400 for four meals].

    I’m not familiar with the videos. They sound horrible.

    I agree with your assessment of how governments keep their power.

    And while I agree with all you said, I hope you are wrong in your conclusion even though I can’t rebut it.

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