Random thought from a Cafe

At the Courtyard Cafe today, I noticed a small plaque which reads, “We have the right to refuse service to anyone”. What a strange thought! It’s as if they were trying to create a new “write” for themselves out of thin air– I can’t put up a plaque saying, “I have the right to smack people around” and expect to get away with it. Just saying something doesn’t make it factual or true.

Even though they somehow manufactured that statement and went with it, it’s still blatantly false. If they used their “right” to refuse service to, say, all black people who came in to the cafe… Well, I don’t think that policy would fly for very long. Guess they aren’t right about their right. I recall some similar thoughts on signs in the Illuminatus trilogy, I may have to pull it out tonight and re-read.

3 Responses to “Random thought from a Cafe”

Does the plaque imply that they will refuse service to all people? Should they go to the trouble of specifying on a plaque the terms and conditions in which they wrill refuse the right to serve, which can be reasonable inferred to mean kicking someone out? It seems to me that there are far too many variables and unknowns involved in misbehavior to lock it down to a few simple statements on a plaque. Furthermore, as long as they are not refusing service to a protected class as established by the US or US constitution, they do indeed have a right to refuse anyne service for any reason. Remember that gay Seinfeld episode with the soup nazi? Furthermore, rights are constructions of the population at large and once a behavioral viewpoint gains popularity, it can become a right.

Guess they’re right about their right.

Heckmann - March 12th, 2007 at 10:05 am

Touche, monsieur Heckmann. 🙂

Seriously, though, you’re right. I just found the whole plaque a little surreal.

I remember how useful such policies can be, though. When I was an assistant manager for a bagel shop, we had one customer who came in every morning at 7:30 am sharp for a bagel with lox. One day, we ran out of lox (the shipment hadn’t arrived the day before). The guy couldn’t get his snack, and decided the reasonable, adult, sophisticated course of action was to verbally beat a sixteen year old girl on her third or fourth day of the job.

Man, it was so satisfying to give him free coffee, apologize for not having lox available, and then asking him never to return to our store. Happy days.

Paradoxdruid - March 13th, 2007 at 9:24 pm

The whole “Customer is Always Right” BS that permeates the average American consumer leads to absolutely rancid human behavior (see waiterrant.net for examples). That sign exists as a statement that no, the customer is not always right. Such signs should be prominently displayed everywhere.
As to whether a blanket ban on serving blacks/whites/men/women/gays/straights/whichever other demographic is of course banned by the Civil Rights law of 1960-something. On the other hand, the Constitution itself places limits on the government’s treatment of classes of people, but not on the populace’s behavior towards demographic groups. And the same right to privacy that permits, say, abortion, birth control, and gay sex, could be construed to permit equal control over access to one’s private property, even if that means keeping gay black Jewish men out. From a purely legal perspective, it’s an interesting question (and I’m now very tempted to go dig through caselaw). ‘course, it’d also be fun joining the gay black Jewish sit-ins.

Owen - March 29th, 2007 at 11:48 am

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