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"A penny for your thoughts"

Thursday, January 3, 2008

'Hearty Eater' Claims Buffet Banned Him

HOUMA Wed Jan 2, 2008 — 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."

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."

Posted: 5/6/2006
Family is banned from buffet for not cleaning their plates

Wendy Dershem may think twice before leaving that egg roll on her plate at her next Chinese buffet. The Des Moines, Iowa, woman, her boyfriend and her two children were kicked out of a restaurant last week after management accused her of leaving too much food on her plate.

"They told us we are not welcome there anymore," said Dershem, a repeat customer at the Dragon House buffet. "We waste too much food. But the buffet is all you can eat. And you know kids. They won't always eat everything and they want something else."

Dershem said she paid her $5.95 fee on Saturday but was abruptly told to leave after eating one plate of food.

Employees said they had been watching her family on previous trips to the restaurant and were fed up with her habits.

"They just take one bite and throw it away," said cashier Lin Huyen. "They take four egg rolls and crab ragoon, take one bite of egg roll and throw the whole plate. That is wasting food."

Dershem said she was shocked by the scolding and complained to management when she paid her check. "It was embarrassing. ... If it's a one-stop buffet, post it," she said.

Dragon House manager Kent Cao said his restaurant offers all you can eat buffet, not all you can waste. Dershem's family took food, didn't finish it and then piled on the same food again, he said.

"Shes done that too many times," Cao said. "We would welcome her back if she has respect and knows what she wants."

Bob Oberbillig, an adjunct professor at the Drake Legal Clinic, says the patron would have no legal case against exclusion from a business unless there are other factors such as racial discrimination or mental health issues.

A Reader by pseudonym Montral Guy posted:

Well, eating the food you pay for seems like a reasonable idea to me. If someone is piling their plate up, and taking one bite of everything - it's just wasted food.

Wasting food to me still gets me angry, I guess my Mom raised me well.

As a college student, I had the opposite experience. Being rather young, and silly, a friend and I went to an "all you could eat" fish and chips day at a local restaurant. We were in our early twenties, and had decided to not eat the day before - in preparation.

We walked in, and promptly managed to polish off about five plates each - before the manager came screaming in. He said we were eating too much, to which we replied " We weren't the ones who posted a sign that said all you can eat."

He threatened to call the police, and we told him to go right ahead.

We were like the Rosa Parks of the buffet set...

We actually ate two more plates, and then slowly worked our way to the door...barely able to now move.

After that day, the "all you can eat" sign there was edited with " max. three plates" under it - which gave the two of us a certain fame in the college. It was long before cable TV, and the internet, and in a small provincial town with little going on.

Isn't it great to be young and stupid ?

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1 Comment:

Anonymous said...

Personally I can't stand such places. If the low quality food isn't nauseating enough, the hugely obese patrons stuffing their gobs are. Don't they have any self-respect??? I've seen people at these restaurants so FAT they could barely fit thru the DOOR. And yes, lots of waste, too. I agree with the manager. Don't like the policy, don't eat there...

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