A comment posted on The New Republic's weblog:
Well, as a lifelong bachelor for 37 years, I'd say I stopped going into restaurants where you tip a waiter or waitress about 10 years ago. I've always averred that it's woefully wasteful. Why the hell should I pay extra just for someone to bring my food to the table? I'm perfectly capable of doing that myself. And the way I see it, food is just something I need to survive. That's why I either get 99-cent items at Burger King, Jack in the Box, or McDonalds or buy 99-cent microwavable items from the grocery store -- I don't need overpriced baby-back ribs from Chili's and the like. It's just frigging food any way you slice it. What really cracks me up are elderly people who go to overpriced cafeterias for food they're perfectly capable of fixing at home, because they're the ones who gripe that Social Security isn't enough income yet blow crucial dollars of their income for eating out. Nowhere in the Constitution is it written that they're entitled the money to eat out, nor is it written that a family of 4 is equally entitled to eat at Appleby's and T.G.I. Fridays and the like every weekend like so many families robotically do as if they're all pod people. So bravo to fast-food places that are getting improved business nowadays. They offer nondescript food at good prices that may not be as tasty as meat at Outback Steakhouse but are perfectly fine nevertheless.
I'd tune in if this guy was the next Bachelor.
During hard times a while back, the wifey and I applied for food stamps/medicaid/etc., and part of signing up was to go over our expenses and budget. The social worker made a point out of asking us what we spend for entertainment, eating out, going to movies, renting videos, etc., as though it were a regular part of our budget...they seemed flustered that we said 'zero' (I think they figured in $200/mo just as a 'the average' for our family size) -- in my family's mind, eating out, going to a movie, premium cable, etc., are luxuries, and when money is tight that all stops. That and clothing: it seems poor people actually have a monthly clothing budget; I can't think of a time where we've bought clothing in consecutive months. What we thought was a good lifestyle that we were striving to climb up to, where we can eat out once in a while and go to a movie every weekend, is what poor people think is the bare minimum for a tolerable lifestyle; I guess my farm-living-childhood-Depression-era-grandparents upbringing has something to do with it. I like that we've got a high standard of living in the U.S.A., but our expectations are so out of whack now. It goes hand-in-hand with that recent study that showed healthy food is more expensive than cheap, un-nutritious, fatty crap. You can lead a nice lifestyle if you keep your expectations rational, and spend your money where it's important. Desire is controlling too much of our lives these days, and it's desire for stuff that's worthless.
Oh good Lord! If all that this Kevin fellow were saying was that he prefers cafes to restaurants, I would be okay with his comments. But then he had to start talking about fast food and cafeterias. Now, despite the fact that an economic value CAN be attributed to having someone serve you food in an atmospheric setting and clean up after you, I still agree that for the most part food IS just food. HOWEVER-- should we remind Kevin that fast food is NOT food? Should we remind him that he does NOT need fast food "to live," and in fact it is helping him die faster? That, and his microwavable dinners. His criticisms are tragic. One of the main reasons for the strong correlation between poverty and obesity in America is the low price of fast food! For some reason, people haven't learned that potatoes and vegetables are just as cheap as McDonald's and will fill you up much better and be a heck of a lot healthier for you. Kevin complains that poor people are unreasonable to want food that tastes good, and suggests fast food as a recourse. But it is the desire for good-tasting food that makes them eat McDonald's and T.V. dinners in the first place, instead of cooking something! That, and pure laziness (I'm looking at you, Kevin!). Well Kevin, I'm glad that you seem proud of your bachelor status, because it looks like it's going to stay that way for the rest of your increasingly short life...
Wow .. I wanted to reply to Kevin's comment about eating fast food to "survive", but it looks like Neil beat me to the punch. Took the words right out of my .. "finger tips".
Thats an interesting viewpoint of a bachelor. I know the feeling you have when you don't have to spend on anyone else but yourself and you can be practical, frugal or lavish, as you want to be. But spending in restaurants is also good and you have a good time when you are enjoying a slow tasteful meal with your partner or family, I think this is one of the experiences that you like and will help you connect with each other better.