Be Kind When You Dine

Be Kind When You Dine

There is a lesson to be learned from observing other customers in a restaurant.

A little while ago, my dad and I would go out to lunch every week or so at a place called GK’s Red Dog Tavern in Morristown, New Jersey. The tavern, connected to Rod’s Steak & Seafood Grille, is a great place to go for either lunch or dinner. The food tastes good, the service is great, and the atmosphere is fantastic.

My dad and I were at one of our weekly lunches when we heard some customers behind us rudely telling their waiter that his lunch had been brought out “too early.” The waiter, who just so happened to be our waiter as well, told the customer that he would take it back to the kitchen. The customer, who was visibly irritated at this point, claimed that the waiter would just bring it out cold later and wanted the kitchen to make a completely new one. My dad and I didn’t pay enough attention to them to see what happened later on, but we did make sure to thank our waiter and tell him how good of a job he was doing for us.

The point of my telling this story is that customers need to take more care to be respectful and kind to waiters and waitresses. It isn’t that difficult to do. Sometimes a waiter’s pay is mainly from tips, so with that in mind, he or she could already be having a bad day. Making their day worse by telling them they brought your food out “too early” (a very rare complaint, I would think) and berating them for it is completely unnecessary. Even if you feel the need to complain, and you know that you are completely justified in doing so, you should do so politely. However, that doesn’t mean you should be passive and afraid to speak up. Don’t be afraid to be assertive, but also remember not to be a flat out jerk.

It never hurts to be friendly with waiters and waitresses at the restaurant in which you’re dining. My dad does it all the time, no matter where we go to eat. As a result, he ends up making friends with those people working at the restaurants. It’s always good to have more friends, or even just connections in general. So please, the next time you feel the need to be rude towards your waiter, remember to be kind when you dine.

Cover Image Credit: The Chicago Tribune

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Grape Prices Are Making Me W(h)ine, And You Should Too

The problem runs deeper than you think.


I stared at the Safeway cashier with my bloodshot eyes, and then back at the one pound bag of conventional red seedless grapes on the conveyor belt. My eyes darted to the screen, where to my surprise, the item was correctly scanned. Dreary from a long night of studying, I shoved my card into the chip reader, and left in a state of confusion with an exorbitant bag of Chilean grapes in my hand.

My impulsive, after-midnight snack choice soon became the opener for every conversation I had. My friends and family were also in disbelief, thinking that grapes should only cost about four to six dollars per pound. My curiosity got the best of me, and between study breaks, I searched for reasons on why my grapes were so expensive.

Chile is one of America’s top suppliers for agricultural products, and the highest import category includes grapes. Part of the Patagonia region, southern Chile’s coast is surrounded by the largest number of glaciers in South America. Chile relies on freshwater reserves from glaciers for agriculture since they have a dry climate that receives low precipitation.

However, climate change has caused glaciers to melt at astonishing rates, and Chile is suffering the effects. The issue’s severity was apparent after a 1,148 foot-by-1,247-foot chunk of Grey Glacier in Torres del Paine National Park broke off in November 2017.

Chilean farmers are struggling to supply enough water for their crops, especially grapes. The crop can survive with minimal watering but consequently won’t produce much fruit, which could explain the 8% decrease in Chilean companies exporting grapes in 2017. With fewer grapes, the law of supply and demand will result in an increase in price so long as demand remains constant.

Grape scarcity added to shipping and distribution costs inevitably makes Chilean grapes more expensive. Add that to the markup supermarkets place on their products, and you get an obnoxiously priced pound of table grapes.

I’ve always been aware of climate change, but if this hypothesis is true, then the effects extend beyond the environment. The economic and societal impacts have already taken place, and it’s only a matter of time before these changes are too obvious to ignore.

We as consumers should be concerned for the reasons behind this spike, and critically think about the factors that influence how our produce is made, shipped, and priced. Expensive conventional fruit should elicit more than an evanescent surprise, which is why this is a topic worth discussing.

Cover Image Credit: Photo by Kym Ellis on Unsplash

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