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Thursday, November 10, 2011

Cutting off one's nose to spite one's face: An example

I always wondered what that comment meant - "you're just cutting off your nose to spite your face..." What the heck? I suppose that this is a warning against some massive over-reation that could turn out to be more self-destructive than helpful... Or just a warning against slicing off your nose. Kind of grotesque, but apt, I guess. Maybe I would have said "Throwing out the fridge to spite the house", or "Tearing out the gas tank to spite the car", but it matters not. At least it wasn't "Feeding the kids to wild badgers to spite the family" and that's something.

Anywhow, I found a sterling example of a restauranteur cutting off his nose to spite his face - more literally, cutting off a high-falutin', free-spending client base to spite his business. Here's the skinny...

This fancy-pants restaurant owner in New York - let's call him "Mario", because that's his name - compared the banking industry to Adolph Hitler and Joseph Stalin over how the industry leaders "have kind of toppled the way money is distributed and taken most of it into their hands"... Apparently, the bankers, regardless of how much toppling and redistribution of wealth they have accomplished, have taken severe umbrage to being compared to a couple of vicious, wartime criminals responsible for the death of millions of innocents.

The bankers' response has been swift and bloody - a virtual Blitzkrieg on Mario's livelihood. One of the wealthiest industries in the world, most of whom are headquartered in New York City, have issued a boycott on Mario's establishments - the results of which could cost the restauranteur millions of dollars. With a menu featuring $15 appetizers, $20 first-courses, $30 main courses and $15 desserts, this boycott is costing Mario an average of $80 per boycotting individual, not including wine, taxes and gratuity. With wine ranging from $30 to $200 per bottle and more, this is a vicious, expensive kick to the checkered trousers.

The banks have declared to their staffs that they will no longer fund business lunches or dinners at Mario's restaurants and have strongly suggested that their employees no longer frequent these eateries - one claiming that he would rather "eat off a hot-dog wagon" than set foot in one of Mario's establishments.

So, here's the thing - the hell with the bankers. Who needs their filthy lucre anyhow - the way I see it, if the bankers stop indulging their banking hunger at Babbo and Del Posto, that will open up more tables for the common folk to come in and have dinner at a restaurant where they might have had difficulty finding a table previously. I have paid more for dinner in Phoenix than what Mario is charging - I would eat there - it sounds good. I like a good grilled ribeye - yum...

However tacky and politically-incorrect Mario might have been for comparing the banking industries to a couple of the most evil war-time criminals in history, I'm sure he was only voicing the frustrated opinion of millions of business and home owners in the country who have had zero luck when trying to work with these bankers over the last few years. Judging from the figures that I have mostly skimmed, there has been little success and the frustration is justified. Perhaps he could have compared the bankers to tomb-plunderers, or pirates... I doubt many of them eat at his restaurants.

All that said, Mario did indeed cut off his nose to spite his face - the lucky part is that I think the face has another nose that will spring up right behind it. And it will be a more handsome nose, I think.

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