Friday, October 05, 2007

There ain't no such thing as a free lunch - but breakfast...

It is an economic truism that "there ain't no such thing as a free lunch". Breakfast, however, may be a different matter...

A few weeks ago, a friend of mine stopped off at a small local restaurant in Mongkok for breakfast on his way to work. After he ordered, four mainland men sat down at the next table and immediately lit up cigarettes, in contravention of Hong Kong's 2005 law banning smoking in restaurants. Not wishing to have his enjoyment of his meal spoiled by their illegal action, my friend asked the waitress to tell them to stop smoking. Perhaps fearing a confrontation, she ignored his request and did nothing.

A little while later, he asked another waitress to tell the men to stop. She also did nothing. My friend hastily finished his food, then walked over to the cash desk (it was one of those little cafes where you pay on the way out), tore up the bill in front of the cashier, informed her he was refusing to pay, and asked her to call the police.

The cashier called the manager over. After an exchange of words in which my friend continued to press his point, the manager got fed up with the whole situation and told my friend to get lost, or words to that effect - which he did.

Obviously he won't be welcome in that restaurant again, which doesn't bother him in the least. He does have one regret, however; in his words:
"If I'd known I was going to get a free meal, I would have ordered something more expensive!"

Making It Better:
Hong Kong Council on Smoking and Health

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