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Turning Over New Leaf

Monday, October 4, 2010

Embellished Tales of An American Consumer




Embellished Tales of An American Consumer
© 2007 by J J Botta. All rights reserved


If the Romans had discovered Key West, they would still be there. It is America’s chill out zone. I frequent the Keys for seafood, restaurants, fishing, seafood, aqua water, seafood, pubs, and seafood. It is no surprise that visitors often return home craving the same food, drink, and atmosphere when they arrive. Fortunately, living in St. Augustine affords me much of the same. It is a laid back town, with an Old City smaller than that of Key West, but enjoying the same charm. Unfortunately, it is a trek from one end of Florida to the other, forcing visitors to stop for food and refreshments along the way.

On one such occasion, my wife and I got an early jump on our return journey home from mile marker #1. We were making the trip in a single day, which is about a nine hour drive with a couple of stops. Since we left early, we opted not to eat lunch, having already passed on breakfast. It was about 4:00 pm when we arrived in Daytona Beach, and we were ravenous. I could not stop thinking of the clam strips I ate the day before at a terrific spot on the beach at the southernmost point in the USA. They were fresh and juicy, the real melt-in-your mouth kind. No one on the planet eats dinner at four, but growling stomachs compelled our decision to give it a go.



The weather was absolutely gorgeous as we pulled into a little place along the water. We knew it would be the perfect location to wean ourselves away from Key West. As we sat at the table, a waitress handed each of us three menus. Somewhat unusual I thought. In any event, I perused my three food lists carefully and discovered to my delight the fresh clam strips were listed on all three menus. One entrée was listed at $10.95, one at $8.95, and the third at $7.95. The descriptions were identical. I made an assumption that the only difference would be in the quantity of the feast, so I waited for the waitress to return, which she did promptly. I asked her why we had three menus, and she responded that one was an early bird special, one was a lunch menu, and one was for the dinner offerings. That made perfect sense to me, but I have lived long enough to know if you don’t ask, you proceed at your own risk. So starving, I inquired as to the size of the portions. The young lady politely explained they were exactly the same on each menu, but due to the time we arrived, we could order either lunch, dinner, or early bird, which I would never do unless I was so hungry I was ready to eat the table itself. I was so hungry, I was ready to eat the table itself. The waitress assured me again the portions, with all the sides, were identical. She gave us a few more minutes to decide, and it did not take long. For me, it was the fresh clam strips.
 

My wife placed her order for the Mahi-Mahi, which sounded great, but I had the clam prey in my sights. I immediately said, “I’ll have the clam strips, please.” The girl replied, “Which menu would you like to order from”? Now, I know it is possible for human beings to err, and I certainly have made my share of mistakes. I repeated my original question. “Is there any difference with respect to the portions”? She smiled and said, “No sir, only the price. They are exactly the same.” So I once again placed my order. “I’ll order the clam strips.” She said, ““Which menu would you like to order from”? I looked around to see if one of my friends was in the joint playing a joke on me, but it was not to be. I sheepishly said to her, “If the orders are exactly the same, what difference does it make what menu I order from”? Her reply: “Depending on which one you order from, the price changes.”

On my planet, this could not happen. Since I was obviously visiting this solar system, I said, “I think I’ll take the $10.95 order from the dinner menu.” She wrote it down. In disbelief I added, “No. I changed my mind. I would like the $7.95 order from the lunch menu.” She crossed out the first order and entered the second. The clams were wonderful, and plenty as well. But I am happy to be back on Earth.


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8 comments:

  1. I think I know the place. Are you sure it is not in Olahoma City? Billy....

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  2. Menus often confuse me, too. I prefer going out to lunch (it's more economical than dinner). Any clams left over? Mmm.

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  3. Only in America...!? how bizarre that she gave you anything but the cheapest menu - I guess they hope for some suckers to turn up!

    Is aqua water tautologous?

    ~Juniper~

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  4. Hahaha! What a bizarre restaurant! What I find especially funny is that she actually wrote down the more expensive item that you ordered - surely it would be safe to assume that if the items were otherwise identical the customer would choose the cheapest option - why even ask?

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  5. Too funny! Sounds like a Jay Leno skit.

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  6. Billy: No, it was definitely in Florida.

    Terresa: They confuse me as well. Even a little more now.

    Juniper. Yes, indeed, rhetorical tautology, in a jocular manner, keeping with the situation. And yes, we have plenty of hungry suckers here.

    Akseli: Exactly! Actually writing it down still sticks with me.

    Ilove: I should send it in to Jay.

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  7. Too sad, this type of thing happens all of the time!

    Unbelievably funny, though. Are you sure you were not in Miami? Oh, wait, it was in English, right? You got to choose from the cheapest menu, too. Never mind. Daytona it is.

    I can't believe you made from KW to Daytona without stopping for a meal! Wow!!!!

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  8. Giggles again - this is funny. I mean really - you get to choose which price menu? She wouldn't just automatically give you the best price?

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