The economic theory known as the Tragedy of the Commons explains why people tend to abuse a good thing. After all, if a farmer doesn’t feed as many of his sheep on the free grass of the town commons, some other farmer will, and regular sheep food costs money. It doesn’t matter to the farmer that the commons will be overgrazed and worthless; he’s going to get what he can while the getting is good. You can also see this trend in open sea fishing. People decry how our seas are being overfished and the stock of remaining fish is steadily shrinking, but if Tom Fisherman doesn’t catch as much as he can, he knows that Dick and Harry Fishermen will come behind him and harvest as much as they can. There is no incentive for him to leave fish for future generations. In any situation where a public good is free or has no regulation, there is little to no influence to hold people back from seizing all they can.
We are truly blessed with great abundance in this fair country of ours, but unfortunately it is here that we show our greedy nature. My Swedish-born grandfather-in-law once laid out a scrumptious smorgasbord as a way of raising money. He soon noticed that the heaping platters of meatballs and veal roast were gone when only half the people had passed by the buffet tables. Some greedy-guts grabbed multiple plates of the tasty meats and loaded them down well. They had paid good money for their meal, and they wanted to graze ’til they puked. The fact that the people in line behind them had paid just as much as they had didn’t seem to matter. In this world the rule is, “root, hog, or die!”
Fast-forward through the years to 2004 and Chuck-A-Rama, a buffet establishment in Utah. Sui Amaama and Isabelle Leota enjoyed going to Chuck-A-Rama because of their meat-heavy Atkins diet. As they explained, it was cheaper than eating at home. On April 20th, the couple was at a local Chuck-A-Rama, feasting on the plenties provided there, when tragedy struck. The store manager, who was carving at the meat table, told Sui that he had had enough roast beef. After all, this was Sui’s thirteenth foray to the roast beef table, and there were others at the establishment who were interested in some meat of their own. Sui later told Good Morning America that he felt so embarrassed at being told that he was done with the beef.
Now a normal person like you or me would realize that twelve servings of beef were more than enough, and if we were still hungry it would be time to try the chicken, turkey, ham or other yummy meats cooked at Chuck-A-Rama. Not so with Sui and Isabelle. They finished their meals, went to the check-out counter, and demanded their money back. I can only guess that after having gulped down twelve servings of roast beef and who knows how much else that day, Sui didn’t feel he had gotten the full $8.99 value from his meal. Yeah. That’s what I thought when I heard it, too. Not only does the man’s name sound like a hog call, his appetite is hoggish as well. Would he have received his money’s worth if he had carted the entire roast off to his trough? We will never know now, since the manager saw fit to tell this little piggy that he had had way too much roast beef, and it was time for Sui to go “wee, wee, wee” all the way home.
What started out as a common-sense request for Sui to allow other people access to the beef quickly got ugly. Sui and Isabelle refused to leave, and finally the police were called to escort the couple out. Did they feel shame for their gluttony? Hell, no! It was time to alert the media! Look at the mean corporation telling these poor slighted folk that they couldn’t eat Chuck-A-Rama out of beef and home. They are so mean! Quick, call the reporters. Get some face time. Decry this cold-hearted company and trumpet your victimhood to all nations of the earth. This is your chance for the coveted 15 minutes of fame! Don’t let it slip by.
A few days later, in came the lawyers. You knew that lawyers would enter into this sooner or later, didn’t you? Suddenly these two were no longer gluttons, but the modern embodiments of Martin Luther King, Jr., Rosa Parks, and Thurgood Marshall rolled together. It seems that Sui wasn’t told to stop because he is a menace to cows everywhere, but because he is Polynesian. Yep, it’s time to play the race card. This must have been whispered in their ear by the
shyst lawyers since it took a few days for race even to become an issue. Since we have heard so much of Sui, let me give Isabelle her time in the sun. She decided that the issue is not only about being denied her due right to beef, but also about abolishing racism. “We want to end the stereotypes that Pacific Islanders eat more than your average customer,” she said. I’ll give you a few minutes to compose yourself after reading that.
Done laughing? Good. On we go!
When I first heard this sonorous statement, I yelled at the radio, “Lady, if you want to break the stereotype, put down the damn fork!” And I must admit that each time I read her statement, I break out in laughter all over again. Isabelle, fire the lawyer who told you that this is a matter of race. This incident has nothing to do with your skin color and everything to do with the way you shovel in the grub. It’s time that you and Sui went back to Chuck-A-Rama and apologized for making such a spectacle of yourselves.
Shortly before I started writing this article, the chief executive for Chuck-A-Rama, Duane Moss, offered up an apology to these two oinks. Since this is my article, and because I can, I shall now parse said apology in my own way. “Sui and Isabelle, allow me to apologize on behalf of Chuck-A-Rama, the restaurant manager, and to all people with weak stomachs around the world who are turning green from your gorging. Here is $8.99 for each of you, plus tax. Please never darken our doorstep again. From now on we are limiting our service to humans, not swine.”
Now I am going to do what I haven’t done for more years than I can count: I’m going to Chuck-A-Rama, and I’m taking my family with me.
Addendum: Yum. You know I had to visit the carving station for some roast beef. After cutting me a slice, the carver asked if I wanted a second. I politely declined.