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The Beauty of the Market: A Dining Tragedy

After a less-than-mediocre dining experience at an Indian-Pakistani restaurant today, and minutes after learning that we had returned an order of spice-less biryani, the manager approached to ask about our experience. I quickly informed him, “Not good.” 

Instead of asking how to improve his restaurant, he embarked upon a quest to prove to me and my accompanying master chef that we were simply unenlightened about the methods of his region and that his restaurant avoids spices to allow customers to return home without the aroma of the food. 

Oddly enough, we dine to enjoy the cuisine, not to taste the region or the story of excuses behind the tasteless menu of inadequately-characterized courses. 

I thank my sweetheart, the aforementioned master chef, for exposing me to the best cuisine on the planet, her own, which has effectively transformed me into the American Gordon Ramsey of Asian cuisine and the greater band of ethnic fare. 

It is humorous how close a restaurant manager can be to answers to his looming deficiencies, with intelligent consumers and even a restaurateur volunteering their criticisms, yet it appears that the lazy businessman can nonetheless find his way back to the default judgment: the customer is always wrong. 

Here’s a page out of the next edition of The Idiot’s Guide to Restaurant Management, due to publish this fall: “When you label your food as spicy, apply spice. And when your customers dislike the food, arguing with them won’t change their minds or their palates. In fact, it’s far more likely to cross your name off their list for future date nights.” 

Ultimately, food that is undercooked, overcooked or spice-less has little business in any restaurant, let alone one which famously prides itself in flavor. 

Fortunately the market will conduct its own due diligence to distinguish the viable and adaptive enterprises from the stubborn ones, a phenomenon which ensues without any formal administration or profligate governmental institution, but rather through the acting pocketbooks of paying and abstaining customers. 

Within the tragedy of all of this is the beauty of the market: it deals in reality and requires no debate.

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