POSTED ON DECEMBER 3, 2008:
Love Letters/Hate Mail
Brookside by Bad Day
I am a resident of the Maple Ridge neighborhood in Tulsa and my family and I love to frequent the businesses and restaurants of Brookside often, considering its proximity to our home and our desire to financially support the local "Mom and Pop" shops around town. We love the unique and fresh attitudes of the shops, restaurants, and people, which is why we chose to buy a house there just one year ago. Normally our experiences are very positive anywhere we go in midtown, but we had an unfortunate experience occur last Sunday afternoon at one of the local brunch spots.
As everyone well knows, brunch is very popular on Sundays around midtown for church-goers and night-owls alike, and there are very few places to go, given the demand. One of the places we have enjoyed dining at for the past four years has been Brookside by Day, or better known as "BBD's".
Our last experience there, however, was so disappointing and disturbing that we will not go back to support such a disgrace to the community itself. It began with a casual Sunday afternoon, around 1pm. My family and I went to have brunch as we normally do around that time on Sunday. My husband, stepdaughter, stepson, and I were escorted to our seat and shortly after that we were greeted by a waitress whose name will remain confidential. We ordered our drinks (my husband and I ordered coffee) and our food.
My husband ordered the "country benny," which is usually his favorite and I ordered the "eggs benedict." The food was of very poor quality, the eggs were as hard as a rock, the potatoes were cold, and my stepdaughter couldn't even touch her grits, which she usually devours. We were not pleased, of course, but decided to let it go, push the food aside, and just drink our coffee. Well, that couldn't happen wither because our cups were not refilled. After waiting about 10 minutes without food to eat or coffee to drink, my husband stood up in an attempt to find our waitress who was still out sight, he went to the coffee station with other waiters watching, and he poured our coffee and then put it back. Nothing was ever said and no apologies were mentioned. After waiting for the bill for quite a while my stepson became antsy so my husband took him outside while my stepdaughter and I awaited the bill. When we had finally received the bill it surprised me some, considering it cost over $40 for four simple breakfasts and two coffees, all of which was a huge disappointment. I was unpleased by my overall experience there but I decided that I would keep my comments to myself because, being a former waitress during college, I can understand that it is a difficult job. However, I decided to tip 5 percent instead of my usual 15-20 percent due to the poor service and cold food. This was when the most disturbing part of all occurred. The cashier purposely handed my signed check to the aging male manager who then proceeded to announce to the entire restaurant several times how much our bill was, how much I tipped the waitress, what percentage that was, and how rude I was to do such at thing. My stepdaughter was mortified, as was I. Instead of approaching us personally about the matter, as a decent manager would do, to find out what the problem was and how he could correct it to ensure better service next time, he chose to be outright unprofessional and crude by embarrassing my 14-year-old stepdaughter and me in front of all of the customers and staff.
I decided, once again, to try to ignore it until he chose to humiliate us over and over at an elevated level as we tried to walk out of the restaurant. Finally, seeing the redness in my stepdaughter's face I turned around and said, "That's what happens when you have to get your coffee yourself" and we exited the restaurant. That was all I could bear to say to defend myself while I was placed in such an awkward position. This restaurant has a monopoly in Brookside for being one of the only places to eat brunch on the weekends and we feel extremely disappointed that they feel they can treat families in such a manner. I thought about it for a couple of days before making the decision that other Tulsans need to know about how their neighbors are being treated.
Kristy, A Disappointed Patron
Just Woke Up
(In response to "Save People, Not Bankers," in the Oct. 2-8, 2008, issue of Urban Tulsa Weekly)
Nobody's all wrong, except probably Josef Stalin. That said, I think Ted Rall's presentation is full of holes.
Let's start with "seat belts embolden drivers to drive faster, causing a net loss of life." Well, fatality rates drop every year. And who wants to be in even a little accident? And no one, even in the pre-seatbelt days, ever thought an accident would happen to him. So while the Peltzman effect is, in general, real, there are too many variables in this automotive example to evaluate the magnitude of its effect.
Moving right along: I'd like to see the number of people who are buying homes at depressed prices compared to the number of people who are actually losing their homes - the silver lining, however thin, to this cloud. A cloud created, to large extent, by the government's insistence on many banks making bad loans in order to increase the number of low-income homeowners (a laudable goal but a horrible implementation). And those derivatives, and derivatives of derivatives, contained so little financial info that I can't understand why anyone (or any financial institution) would deal with such opaque instruments at any time, let alone one of subprime loans in the first place.
"Bushist dead enders and Congressional layabouts?" Pretty much gotta agree there, but since Reagan our only choices have been between bad and worse; even back then, when he picked Bush 1 as veep, we true conservatives knew that some kind of fix was in.
Glass-Steagall act aside, the fundamental problem is that the banking industry is at the mercy of - brace yourself - the Federal Reserve and government-"established" money. My father's econ professor, in the distant faraway days of the Czar, told his class that America was gonna go down the tubes (I doubt the idiom existed in Russian) because they'd just established a banking system like the ones in Europe: controlled by an unelected elite for the benefit of the elite: the so-called Federal Reserve.
Not something deliberately antagonistic to the common man, mind you, just an elite that, in extremis, would act to protect itself while it always subtly acted to enrich itself. In sum: an anti-hard money philosophy. Nixon closed the gold window; check out inflation rates before and after '71 - there are of course several other important influences on the value of our money but that was a big 'un.
But if you want capital to flow into America in staggering amounts, ditch the IRS and go to the retail-oriented "Fair Tax." All taxes are ultimately paid by the retail customer (how I detest the subtle pejorative of "consumer") and business taxes are just plain illogical: they're passed on to the eventual end-user in any and every event.
And the reference to Katrina: sounds like a plain "too much
Government" problem to me: Who was responsible for turning away trucks full of aid materiel on the far outskirts of New Orleans? Who told the soldiers/National Guard to do this? Mayor Nagin was worse than useless; it looks like it'd've been lots better if all the plain citizens and charitable organizations had been allowed in to do their thing. And going through neighborhoods taking people's guns away from people still in their homes! Jeepers what idiocy. Next, whatever you do, don't "nationalize" any bank or industry.
Believe it or not the market will work if the government will remove so many impediments it's put in the way through the years, like the mark-to-market monstrosity. It won't be immediate, like the government injecting huge amounts of money here or there, but it'll happen, and at less eventual cost to the country as a whole.
If an automaker failed, would the manufacturing plant disappear into the ether? Someone would buy it at a low price and start making their things there. This financial mess is almost twenty times as bad as Enron: let's have some hearings and drag Barney Frank, et al, before Congress. Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae shouldn't have existed in the first place. I'll wrap up my ramblerant here.
Summing up, if you want more of something, lower its cost. So if you want more business, lower its cost: lower its taxes.
It's been fun.
P.S.: Why are the cartoons in all weeklies such as UTW so poorly drawn, generally leftist, and infantile in humor? I guess the answer is in the question....
[Editor's Note: Hey, Rip, it's called art and commentary. And here's a tip: With your literary and intellectual abilities, you too, might find nirvana in syndication.]
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