Thursday, September 2, 2010

Tea Party Fast Food

Yesterday I had the most bizarre fast-food dining experience I've ever experienced.

I live in Norwich and do not get down to Groton very often. When I am there it is very rare that I will stop to eat there; if I do stop anywhere in Groton it's more likely than not that it would be Starbucks. But, I happened to have a coupon in my pocket for a free Whopper, so I stopped in to the Burger King there. When I first went in it didn't hit me at first. All I noticed initially was that it was clean and quiet - not too busy even though it was just a little before one in the afternoon. I place my order, get my food and go sit down. I notice that there was a large flat screen TV at the other end of the dining area with the sound all the way down and the captions on. The station was taking a commercial break and I thought to myself how nice it was that they had a TV for people eating there.

...and then the commercials ended.

After the advertisements Fox News came on, blasting the cover story for the current Newsweek about how President Obama can fight back against the smears and lies and the negative image that right wing "news" outlets such as themselves had forced upon him. Most of their arguments centered around Newsweek being bankrupt and how that therefore makes them irrelevant and incorrect about everything. (I've searched for an image of the cover to include here but could not find it. I guess it's still too new...) After that they went to an advertisement featuring G. Gordon Liddy trying to scare people into buying overpriced gold coins.

And that's when it hit me.

I looked around me. Everyone in the restaurant was white. Everyone behind the counter and working in the back... white. I finished my food, threw away my trash and walked outside. As I headed to my car there was a customer coming in for whom I held the door open... white. I drove around the building and passed three people waiting in the drive through lane... all white. It was Tea Party dining at its finest.

I eat in fast food restaurants probably more often than I should and I have never had a comparable experience. Maybe if I went to eat in a Burger King in Montana or Utah I might have a similar experience, but Groton is one of the larger cities in South Eastern Connecticut and is racially diverse. To me, the odds of an all-white staff serving an all-white clientele in a city like Groton seems statistically impossible. I was honestly shocked and dismayed.

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