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A White Sox Parable

by Sox Fan Doogiec

In a small town in Illinois, there were two breakfast restaurants. One of the restaurants, called the North Side Bistro, was always packed every morning. That restaurant didn’t usually have the best food and it cost a little more money. But it was located in a trendy part of town, in a historic old (but kind of strangely smelling) building, so people went there anyway. All of the local papers said it was the best place to eat in town, since the reporters always got free meals there. Some of the reporters actually owned a small part of the business, but never mentioned that when they did their food reviews.

The other restaurant was called the South Side Grill. It was a clean restaurant, with good food and lots of parking. It had large, clean bathrooms and you could always walk right in and get a table. The South Side Grill had, in its best times recently, only about two thirds of the customers of the North Side Bistro, even though they regularly had half price specials and let kids eat for a dollar.

There were twenty men who ate breakfast together each morning at the South Side Grill. They showed up every day, and ordered one of the most expensive things on the menu, the Eggs Benedict at $7. All of the men had eaten there every day for at least ten years, some twenty or even thirty. They all loved breakfast, and some never ate out for lunch or dinner so they could afford their daily Eggs Benedict. Some were wealthy, some were working class and few were retired and on a fixed income.

One day in December the waitress came and handed them all menus. They all laughed and said, “You know what we want!” The waitress suggested they need to look at the menus anyway.

After reading through the menus, the men all noticed that everything they order went up in price by twenty percent. In looking at the other options, they noticed that everything else had at most a modest increase; some things actually went down in price. Furious, they demanded to see a manager.

The manager came out to see the men. He explained, “We needed to increase prices to you so we can lower the prices on other items. See all those empty blue seats? I’m remodeling that part of the restaurant this year. I have to get people to come there somehow. You guys didn’t stop coming here after my staff walked out on me and we had to close the restaurant for a while in 1994. You didn’t stop coming here after I fired your favorite waitresses to save money a few years later. You didn’t stop coming when I wouldn’t fire that rude waitress Bev, even though she kept forgetting to warm up the pitchers before serving your coffee. Hey, you even came back every day this year even though Jerry the cook changed the recipe on Eggs Benedict 90 times in 100 days. You guys even pay for your meals before we serve them. A lot of days you’re the only people who eat here, especially when the weather’s bad or we get another bad review in the paper. Remember the time you all came down after I promised you the old seats out of the section I’m remodeling, only to discover I’d actually thrown out all but a few of them? That was funny. Hey, someone has to pay for all of this. Anyway you're really gonna like our new cook Oswald, although I'm not sure if he's ever run a kitchen before. He's a real funny guy.”

Out of the twenty men, ten were so angry they vowed never to return. Five decided to eat there only three times a week. Four decided to continue eating there every day anyway. And one died of a heart attack caused by Hollandaise clogged arteries. The restaurant went out of business a few months later.

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