The other day, as I was walking down the street, looking for a shop capable of satiating my 2pm appetite, I noticed that a new burger joint had opened up.
Being the curious little pygmy that I am, I couldn’t help but stick my nose through the door, and then my beard, and then my feet, and then my whole body. As I tore through the invisible layer of air not blocking my way, I was immediately greeted with a cute blonde girl with a strange accent, welcoming me. Here, I noticed the attention of a beady-eyed man sitting at the back of the store hone in on me. He stood up, and walked over, “hello sir. Welcome to the best burger shop in the world. Our burgers taste the best in the world.” He then went on to explain the menu to me, encouraging me to make a decision on the spot, “yes, it’s a kangaroo burger, would you like it with chips or rice?”
Hold on big fella, I’m a vegetarian. And this isn’t Gucci. Settle with the salesmanship.
I told him that I was just, looking around, scouting out my options, hoping to find the perfect suit for my meal. He continued to harass me with a barrage various ingredients. Though, I paid less than zero attention to him, instead, focusing my eyes on the interior’s design.
It was impressive.
The counter was clad in rustic planks of wood. A lined, cluster of light bulbs above looked exactly like what you’d imagine when you think of an “a-huh” moment, it almost felt like you were being inundated with epiphanies. The tables plastered onto the sidewall ran from the entrance, all the way to the kitchen; the chairs were like camping, fold out sort of chairs, and the bench tops were made from some form of oak wood. The menu was nice and simple, thick red whiting on a white canvass … very well done I thought.
As I sat there admiring the shop’s fit out while the man was still jabbing me with the words of a pushy salesman, he finally said something that scooped up my attention, “we also have lentil balls, like meatballs but made of lentils, feta cheese and spinach.”
Boom! Lunch decision made.
I said that sounded quite amazing, and I took a seat.
Sitting down on the camping chairs, I was quickly made uncomfortable. The table was too high. It meant that eating was going to be a hassle for my elbows. I then had a look at the menu on the wall, to keep mental tabs on the food, for next time, you know? It struck me that, though the menu was pretty, it was unorganised and confusing. I had no idea what I was reading. Then, the waitress came over, asked me if I wanted anything to drink, placing a bottle of ketchup next to my cutlery. I told her that the ketchup was just fine. She looked at me funny. Obviously my humour rolled over her head. Whatever. She then asked me if I was ready to order. I told her that I already had. She walked away. Not so friendly.
After a long wait, all of about five minutes, another girl brought over my delicious meatballs. Turns out, they weren’t so delicious.
First off, the balls looked like the shrivelled, sweaty testicles of a war veteran; they appeared burnt and dry, everything you don’t want in a vegie-ball. But, whatever. I shoved in my fork, tore one of them opened, and took a bite. It was actually okay. Good, but no way near great. I scooped up some rice, and shoved a heaped fork into my mouth.
The rice wasn’t cooked.
Well, it obviously had been cooked, but no way near enough. I could feel the course grain buried within each little white cloud. But I was fucking starving. So, meh.
About ¾ of the way through the meal, the man – I’m going to assume the owner – came over to me and asked me how the meal was.
… I really hoped that he wouldn’t. Because, though most people that ask you don’t really care, I was sure that he did.
And, you see; I’m not a big fan of lying.
I didn’t want to sit there, nod enthusiastically and say, “yeah, it was great, I love this place. I love you. Marry me?” When, truth be told, I didn’t feel that strongly. I thought I did, that is, before I’d actually eaten anything. But as it turns out, the food was more like an old family recipe, but without the love. Commercialised home cooking … risky, risky business, folks.
Hesitating, I answered, “it was okay.”
He then asked, “why just okay?”
Make it stop!
I said that the rice wasn’t cooked enough. It’s not like I wanted to rip this guy’s entire heart out, I merely wanted to make it known that it wasn’t the best meal I’ve ever had.
He said, thanks, and went back to the kitchen.
At this stage, I just hoped I wasn’t going to get anyone fired. I crossed my fingers. Not really.
Straight after the “incident,” I got up from my tent chair, packed my bag and went to pay. The man then came over, tapped me on the shoulder and said, “it’s on the house. You were a right, it wasn’t cooked. But you must come again.”
I told him that I didn’t at all mind paying, and he reassured me that the rice wasn’t cooked properly, and so it was on the house.
Before he said this, I decided that I probably wouldn’t go back. So, as it turns out, honesty was, in this case, the best policy all around: I got a free meal, he didn’t lose a potential regular. Everybody wins. Yipee!
*Looks over shoulder* … “Okay, WordPress. Okay, okay. I’ll ask them. I just don’t like assuming people read these posts.”
What would YOU guys have done? Spill the tomatoey truth, or keep your dry chops shut?
Humans-are-white-liars. But sometimes white lies hinder us.