It’s a well known rule: when you sit down for an all you can eat meal, you have to clean your plate before ordering more food. When you sit down for a dinner of all you can eat sushi, this means you eat every last bit of your California roll, rice included. It keeps things fair for both the client and the kitchen, especially when people try to cheat and eat an endless round of sashimi. According to David Martin in Los Angeles, these rules are discriminating for those who have diabetes and can’t eat carb-heavy meals…like sushi.
He ordered the all you can eat sushi option at A Ca-Shi restaurant in Studio City, CA but chef Jay Oh called him out when Martin only ate the fish, leaving the rice behind. Oh offered to order him two full orders of sashimi, which was cheaper than the AYCE option, but Martin refused and left after paying a la carte prices for the sushi he ate. Later,
Martin filed suit in Los Angeles County Superior Court. It seeks at least $4,000 in damages for the “humiliation, embarrassment and mental anguish” Martin says he suffered after being discriminated against “on the basis of his disability.”
I can’t stop gnashing my teeth at the ridiculousness of this situation. It’s times like these that I wish petty lawsuits would include a YouTube testimonial of the “humiliation, embarrassment and mental anguish” suffered by the plaintiff so we could actually see how badly they truly felt from the event. I’m having serious doubts that David Martin felt any of these enough to warrant a day in court with Chef Oh. Also, doesn’t humiliation and embarrassment mean the same thing? And what’s the mental anguish about? He knew he was diabetic, which means he knew the limits of his diet, and he also sat down for dinner at A Ca-Shi on his own free will. The chef only pointed out that he was breaking the rules. Was that experience so hard to swallow? The only action Martin should take now is admitting he was wrong.
Is this AYCE policy discriminating? I don’t think so. I’m siding with Jay Oh in this case because nowhere does his rule specifically target those with diabetes, nor does Oh refuse to serve diabetic or disabled customers. I’m sympathetic towards those who have to live with this lifelong illness but I don’t believe that all restaurants should shoulder the responsibility of making sure you stick to a specific diet. Sure, we can work harder to raise awareness about diabetes in all communities but taking care of your own body starts with yourself. As LA Times columnist David Lazarus writes, “Rice will harm a diabetic only if the diabetic chooses to be harmed.”
So what’s next? Is some guy going to sue a restaurant for not telling him how to eat an artichoke? Oh, wait. That already happened. Humanity, I can’t wait to see where you’re taking us next.
[Photo courtesy of Lawrence K. Ho, Los Angeles Times / February 16, 2011]