I am still trying to process a turndown I received this week.
I left home without my handbag on Tuesday. Weighed down by probably five other tote bags, I didn’t sense its absence. I didn’t notice my error till I was far from home and at the radio station where I tape. I had to scrounge paper, pencil, kleenex. Luckily, I stash a pair of reading glasses in the car, which saved me on that front. No ID, of course, so I had to be careful to not encounter any circumstance where I’d need to be identified. But to have no cash at all, and no credit card either, was the worst of it. At one point, I popped into a P.O. to mail a letter before realizing I was unable to transact even so basic a task. I passed a grocery where I wanted to pick up some items, but was caught up short again, knowing I was impotent.
As will eventually happen, I got hungry for lunch. Now, I am a regular at a particular ethnic restaurant in town. I figured that the owner of this small mom-and-pop would take care of me, would front me the money. Well before the lunch crush hit, I entered, was warmly greeted by the owner, and immediately copped to my predicament. “I have no money, but with your permission, I will call you later with my Visa # or however you might want to handle it.” He at first thought I was there to pick up carryout, and said OK. Then, when he realized I wanted a table, he paused for what must have been three l-o-n-g minutes of excruciatingly evident mental debate. Finally, he said, “no, I just can’t.”
I emitted a thin, face-saving smile and said something about not having a very trustworthy face.
I thought about it later. He was perfectly justified in turning down a customer lacking the seven bucks to cover a lunch. But then I put on my PR hat. One, I was a proven regular. Two, I had admitted to my problem up front, rather than ordering and eating and only THEN feigning surprise that I was money-less. Three, the irony was that I had, just a week before, taped a radio show about the glories of ethnic dining in Indy, prominently featuring this particular restaurant as one of the best around. I did not mention this upcoming burst of free advertising to him, not wanting to play that card, not wanting to plead. The decision was his to make, but I’m beginning to think that he made a poor business decision when viewed thru a PR lens.
What do you think? What would you have done if you were the restaurant owner? What would you have done if you were me? By the way, I will return to this restaurant next week, with a friend who’s never been there, a date previously on my schedule. Should I mention the incident again when I see the owner, or mention the upcoming radio boost he’s due to receive? Or simply stash a twenty in the car so this never happens again?
Attended THE place to be Weds. nite: Muncie, IN, where NYT columnist Thos. Friedman held forth for a jam-packed hour.
Indy Star editor Dennis Ryerson was there, natch. He must’ve felt like he was was fiddling while Rome burned (he was having a major printing meltdown back at the shop; my Star arrived way, way late the next morning.)
“Mayor” Peterson was there, working the crowd like a pol running for Lugar’s seat — which was what the audience seemed to be semi-buzzing about. Like another former Indy Mayor, Goldsmith — and many others before him — Peterson has sought some measure of refuge in academia.
Also present, a whole coterie there from Lilly Endowment, achieving new heights of Lilly Endowmentitis.
Lots of students present, required to be there for some class or other (didn’t know the Fry Daddy from a load of coal), combined with acres of earnest middle-aged liberals looking for affirmation.
Friedman waded into climate change; overpopulation; market forces/the economy; and green everything. Hot, flat, crowded.
Here’s one highlight, from a slide he showed: it was a billboard advertisement for a car, in South Africa, an ad that read like this: German engineering; Swiss innovation; American nothing.
I’m hip-deep in learning how to ride a kart. Not a go-kart, which is kiddie stuff, but a real-deal kart. Like every sub-culture I dip into for the articles I write for Indy Monthly, this one has its own mores. I drive like a grandma at this point, but that’s going to have to change! Pride goeth before the crash, however….
Anybody with any experience in the wide world of Karting?