|Veggies – an unadorned dialog
W: Welcome to Rich’s, May I take your order?
C: I am a vegetarian and I watch what I eat. Are your chickens free-range?
W: Free range, ma'am? Do you mean do they run around unfenced?
C: No, it means they are not caged, they run around in a fenced enclosure, I am sure.
W: You mean before they are killed and plucked?
C: Of course, I know they are killed! Are you being impertinent?
W: No, ma'am, I just never heard of the term. But I can ask.
C: Well if you don’t know, then they probably aren’t.
W: Well then, We do serve venison which is harvested by local hunters.
C: Oh No! That would not do at all; I don’t eat animals!
W: What do you call chickens, ma'am?
C: That’s not what I mean! I don’t eat mammals. What kind of fish do you have?
W: The second page of the menu shows our fish selection, ma'am.
C: Red Snapper?!
W: Why yes, ma’am, one of our most requested, it is baked in a…
C: I don’t want it!
W: garlic and herb sauce and…
C: This fish is endangered!
W: (Chuckles) Ma’am, I think our red snapper is past any more danger, it’s in the cooler.
C: No, you idiot, this fish is in danger of being over-fished!
W: You don’t have to get upset, ma’am, as far as I know it was only fished once, but it may have gotten off the hook and…
C: You, sir, are clueless! How is the wild salmon prepared?
W: Well, someone catches them too, ma'am, is that OK?
C: Are you being serious? Or are you trying to insult me?
W: No, ma’am, I’m just trying to take your order.
C: Well then, how is the salmon prepared?
W: In a nice dill cream sauce and…
C: Oh no, no, no. No dairy.
W: Would it be OK if it was free-range cream?
C: That does it, get me the manager!
W: Yes, ma’am.
M: Is there a problem, ma’am?
C: Yes, there is, your waiter is very rude and I am about to leave without ordering!!
M: I am very sorry ma’am, I will talk to him. May I take your order? The meal is on the house.
C: Well, that’s more like it. Yes, you may take my order. I would like the wild salmon without the cream sauce.
M: Do you want the dill?
C: Is it organic?
M: No, ma’am, it is grown locally though.
C: Then that won’t do. Just the salmon, please. Oh, and are any animal products used in your kitchen? I am a vegetarian.
M: Animal products, ma’am?
C: You know, leather, natural hair brushes, bone handled knives, that sort of thing.
M: I would have to look ma’am. Is it OK if the cooks or servers wear leather belts or shoes?
C: Alright, that does it I’m leaving!
M: Ma’am, ma’am, please, I am not trying to offend you, I'm just confused and am trying to understand how best to make your meal as pleasant as possible.
C: Ok, then, just tell the cook not to use any animal products to prepare my food. And before you go, are these napkins 100% cotton?
M: Why yes, ma’am, let me unroll one for you. See, the label says 100% cotton.
C: But the label certainly isn’t cotton, it is some kind of synthetic material!
M: I can rip it off if you would like, ma’am.
C: THAT won’t be necessary, I will use the one I carry with me.
M: If you prefer, ma’am. Would you like a nice glass of wine, on the house of course, we have a very fine wine list.
C: Let me see, hmmm, don’t you have any locally vinted wines?
M: Not at the moment, ma’am, but we are talking with a couple of....
C: Do you not understand the amount of energy that is required to ship these wines to your establishment!? The carbon released; just so your customers can fortify themselves with this stuff!!??
M: Um, I guess I never thought about it, ma’am. We do have a couple of beers brewed by local microbreweries.
C: Made with organic ingredients?
M: Never mind. How about a glass of water?
C: I only drink spring water from local springs, BUT, I don’t drink anything from plastic.
M: Coffee? Um, no that won’t work; milk?
C: NO DAIRY!!
M: Oh, sorry, sorry, ma’am! Do you have any spring water with you?
C: (Sigh!) Yes, yes, I guess I will have to provide that too.
M: Oh, ma’am, when I bring out the salmon, it will be on a very hot plate, the cook removes the salmon from the cedar plank and….
C: Cedar plank? Of the sustainable cedar variety, I hope!
M: OK, forget the cedar, we’ll bake it in a pan, a cast iron pan, is that OK?
C: I suppose so.
M: Well, ma’am, I hope you enjoyed your salmon.
C: I have to say, it was somewhat bland.
M: Well we usually serve it with….
C: Never mind. I have a suggestion; if you want more customers like me you will attempt to keep in mind our wishes as they relate to sustainability and diet preferences. Do you understand!
M: OH, you can be sure we will be keeping that in mind, ma’am!
M to W: Change the sign outside to say no vegetarian, no non-dairy, no organic, no sustainable anything, no local wines, no spring water…can you think of anything else?
W: At the end we should add ‘but good food anyway’.