Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Scenic City Scandal

The Scenic City is all astir. Recently an e-mail chain between an unhappy restaurant patron and the restaurant owner has been circulated extensively, which has prompted all sorts of backlash in the community towards both the restaurant and the patron.

Long story short, the patron and his extended family went out for dinner on Father's Day. They picked up McDonald's on the way to the restaurant (which does not really have a great menu for kids) for their 3 year old, hoping to keep the kid happy while the rest of the party dined. After a wait to be seated, the patron was approached by a restaurant employee and told that the McDonald's meal that they brought in could not be consumed because it was a health code violation, and that they would have to leave the restaurant if they insisted on their child eating it. The family packed up and left. Upon further investigation by the patron, he was informed by the state health department that it was not actually a violation of the health code, but that it was up to individual restaurants to enforce the policy of not allowing outside food in their own establishments.

The patron then forwarded this information, along with an e-mail summary of his complaints, to the restaurant's e-mail address. The patron received a response from the owner of the restaurant which in fairness did not address any of his compliants and instead made some insinuations about his parenting style and choices. The patron and owner went back and forth one more time exchanging e-mails, with the owner again asserting the same sentiments that he had made in the first e-mail. In the interest of full disclosure, the owner has since sent an e-mail apology to the original patron, and he is apparently forwarding it to anyone who has since taken the time to contact his restaurant concerning the incident.

You can read more about the incident here. The incident has prompted a "boycott" page on Facebook and was the primary topic for a 3 hour local talk radio show yesterday, not to mention the fact that the e-mail has been forwarded over and over and many responses I've read have sworn off the restaurant forever. Additionally, another restaurant in town is cleverly cashing in on the publicity by sending out an e-mail to thier distribution list offering families a free child's meal with the purchase of an adult meal, as well as indicating that they welcome all patrons, even if they decide to bring in outside food that would cater to a child's palate.

Clearly, opinions are heated on this issue. I have heard attacks on the patron and his wife for allowing the child to have McDonald's, or for their gall in bringing food from another establishment into a restaurant. On this particular point, I tend to agree with the criticism I've heard - if the parents knew their child would not eat the food on the menu at the restaurant of their choosing, I would probably think about trying another restaurant, or I might pack some snacks from home that I knew my picky eater would accept.

However, I think the main issue for me is the restaurant owner's response to the patron's complaint. If you read the e-mails, the owner chooses not to take the high road not once, but twice, and instead of explaining his restaurant's policy or even acknowledging the patron's complaints, the owner fired off some insulting one-liners, which made it seem as though he had zero interest or respect for the opinion of his potential customers. I do think the owner regrets what he did now, and is trying to reach out in the best way he can to apologize, but it almost smacks of too little, too late.

Either way, this little incident has certainly made waves in Chattanooga and has prompted a lot of interesting discussions. Your thoughts?

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

25 Things About Me

I never got around to doing this thing when it went around Facebook. I started working on it when I had some free time and then never finished it. Figured it might be a good way to put some random factoids out there about myself! I will try to find John's and post his too.

1. I am a twin and I love having that special relationship with my sister, but when people ask me if I like being a twin, I'm always puzzled. It's not something that you can experience the "opposite" of...so yes, I like being a twin!

2. I've been to England, Italy, Switzerland, Australia, New Zealand, Mozambique, South Africa, Mexico, Canada & Spain and several places in the Caribbean. But I've never been to New York City or the Grand Canyon (or at a lot of other places in the US, for that matter).

3. I love to cook and wish I had more time to experiment with really elaborate recipes. Having said that, I would never want to do it for a living.

4. I love to read and wish I had more time to read some of the books on my very long "to read" list.

5. I am a terrible backseat driver. I have to bite my tongue all the time when I'm riding with someone else to keep from giving my opinion on the route they should take, what lane they should be in, where they should park, etc.

6. I am not a very neat person around the house. The clutter has to get to a critical mass before it will really start to bother me.

7. I love giving gifts. I am totally fine not receiving any, and probably spend way more than I should on them most of the time.

8. I am a very shy person if I don't know you. Painfully so...as in, I'd rather not have to introduce myself to you because I feel like I might be imposing. Once I get to know people I am much more outgoing.

9. I love my family very much and sometimes I miss them so much that it makes me ache.

10. I love Chattanooga and do consider it my home now. It took a while, but I'm finally there.

11. I absolutely hate talking on the phone, especially for more than 10 minutes. I don't even talk to some of my closest friends very often because I just cannot bring myself to make the phone call. It's one of my biggest faults, I think. I don't even call my family enough.

12. My refrigerator is filled to the gills with weird condiments and ingredients (clam juice, anchovy paste, myriad sauces, etc.), but 9 times out of 10 when I open the fridge, I think, "I have nothing to cook for dinner."

13. I have a weakness for any gummy or chewy candies. My favorites are gummy bears or sour jelly bellies. You can keep your fancy, expensive chocolates, thank you very much.

14. I haven't eaten a hot dog since 2nd grade. I'm not sure what I'm going to do once my child gets older and starts wanting them...it makes me cringe to think about even having them in the refrigerator.

15. I am a terrible eavesdropper. I find myself getting absorbed in other people's conversations in public, sometime to the detriment of the one I'm actually trying to carry on. John calls me out on it all the time but I just cannot help myself sometimes!

16. I love beets.

17. I do not see the point of scary movies and I really hate them.

18. I still love to play solitaire on the computer and can waste hours doing it.

19. I love paper products and stationery, but please don't give me any because I have more than I know what to do with it! Thank goodness for needing to write those thank-you notes for Mitchell's baby showers....it is helping to thin out my supply a little bit!

20. I do not really care for too much trashy/reality TV. Give me a trashy magazine any day.

21. If I could have graduated from high school a year early I would have. I really didn't come into my own until college.

22. I love our dog Dixie but probably would never have another one like her. Some days she is just entirely too high strung for me. Most of the time though, she's so cute that I don't really mind her quirky little personality.

23. I have been a part-time swim coach for 5 years, but I'm not going back next year. I am really going to miss getting to know the kids and watching them improve over the course of the year. It has been incredibly fulfilling and I would probably do it again once my kids get a little older.

24. I have tremendous respect for how hard my father has always worked to provide for my family. When I met John, I recognized many of the same traits in him and it is definitely one of the big reasons that I fell in love with him.

25. One of the best things I ever did for myself was to move to a new city on my own for grad school. I knew one person in Chattanooga when I moved here, and some times it was scary and hard, but I met some of my very best friends in the world, as well as my wonderful husband, as a result of that choice. I also gained a sense of independence that I might not otherwise have ever had and for that I am so thankful!

Monday, June 22, 2009

Virgin Voyage

I'm going to try out the blogging thing. I've been contemplating it for a while, but have never felt like what little I might want to say would be of any interest to anyone out there on the internet! However, since we'll have a new baby in a matter of weeks (eek), I figure this might be a nice way to share news and little details of our everyday life with our family, all of whom live out of town, and the smattering of friends who might care to peek into our lives as well. So I'm going to go ahead and start now so maybe I can get some practice!

I contemplated names for this blog and tried to come up with some witty phrase for the title. I settled on the not-particularly witty "On the Balance" title because I think that's what I might end up blogging about most often. I hope that perhaps this can be a vehicle for me to vent about my frustrations, find humor in those little moments that might otherwise reduce me to tears, theorize about how I might do it better the next time, and certainly share in celebrating the small victories that are sometimes the only way we make it through the day. I will also try to keep a balance of the content, so this blog won't be ALL about my child! I'm sure a lot of it will be, but I plan on trying to keep our family photo site up to date as well.

Hope you'll come along for the ride!