BY CHARLES MEMMINGER – A 290-pound New York man is suing the White Castle fast food chain for not having seats big enough to accommodate his bulk. Now, you would think that when you are too fat to actually fit into a seat at burger joint maybe it’s time to step away from the burgers for a while.
On the other beefy hand, where does a place that sells millions of little burgers by the sackfull get off on not providing their target customers (i.e. people who eat burgers by the sack-full) a comfy place to sit down?
Martin Kessman’s lawsuit is actually a refreshing change from typical fat people/restaurant litigation which generally involves an overweight plaintiff accusing a restaurant of making him (or her) obese. Kessman doesn’t care that White Castle has turned him into Jabba the Hut, he just wants to be able to sit in the restaurant.
(Note to Hawaii readers: White Castle is a cool restaurant chain on the Mainland that serves delicious little burgers about the size of a hockey puck. You literally buy ten or twenty at a time. There are no White Castles in Hawaii because … because I don’t know why and plan to talk to a lawyer to get to the bottom of the issue. Can you sue a fast food chain to force it to open a restaurant in your neighborhood? You can buy White Castle burgers in the frozen foods section at Safeway and they taste pretty much the same as the restaurant variety when zapped in the microwave.)
Most lawsuits filed by obese people against restaurants for making them fat are tossed out of court because the fat people can’t show that the restaurant actually forced burgers and fries down their gullets with a stick.
McDonald’s is always getting sued by customers for stupid reasons like selling fat-laden, heart-stopping Big Macs with malice aforethought and for selling coffee that is so hot that when you spill it in your crotch like a freakin’ idiot it really hurts. Some states like Alabama have tried to ban lawsuits by fat people against restaurants.
I think when you have so many fat people in a state that you have to pass a law to keep them from suing businesses it’s time for the whole state to go on a diet.
I don’t know how the White Castle lawsuit is going to turn out but it occurs to me that the lawsuit might give First Lady Michelle Obama – who wants us all to eat beets and turnips – an idea on how to get everyone in the country eating better. What if the federal government forced restaurants to have certain size seats depending on what kind of food they sell? So places like White Castle and McDonald’s would have tiny seats to deter fat people from eating there and vegetarian restaurants would have enormous seats to attract the overweight crowd.
As people lost weight, they would be able to sit down at restaurants with smaller seats. Or if they packed on pounds, they could only get seats at places like Michelle’s Beat ‘n Turnip Shoppe. Or, better yet, just make the doors to various restaurants different sizes.
If White Castle had doors that were just two-feet wide, Mr. Kessman wouldn’t even be able to get inside to complain about the tiny seats. So restaurants that service fatty, unhealthy food would have narrow doorways so that only skinny people could enter and restaurants that service healthy, turnip-related dishes would have doors like an airplane hangar to attract the over nourished.
I know that as someone with a libertarian-ish bent, I’m supposed to be against government forcing private businesses to do things like put in fat and skinny doors. But in this case, I think it would be fun to watch. The look on the face of a guy trying to squish his way into Burger King after having one-too-many Double Whoppers that week would be priceless. (“I fit YESTERDAY, damnit!”)
I’m just kidding. As someone who has been on the large side at various times of my life, I actually have a soft spot in my heart (and other places) for hefty folks. Some of them are genetically inclined to be overweight, although most aren’t.
I think most fast food chains have gone a long way to provide lighter fare along with the burgers and fries. I’ve never had a salad at McDonald’s but I hear they serve them.
When you are walking by a McDonald’s you don’t usually inhale deeply and say, “Man, do you smell that? That smells like a leafy green salad! Let’s eat!”
With a fast food restaurant on just about every street corner pumping out the aroma of tacos, burgers, pizzas and fried chicken, it is hard for a large portion of the population not to succumb to less healthy food choices.
But in the end, it IS a choice. And you shouldn’t go around suing everyone for bad choices you make or because you are too overweight to sit in standard public seating.