UPDATED: Miami Shooting Reopens Debate Over Condiment Control

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According to Miami police, early Tuesday morning the driver of a car in a Wendy’s drive-through lane requested a number of chili-sauce packets with his meal.  Ominously, that number was greater than three, the maximum packets per customer allowed by restaurant policy.  When informed of this policy by the drive-through worker, Susan Byrob-Fimon, the customer became angry and demanded more.  Byrob-Fimon refused.  "I told him, I just take the orders and give out the food," she said.  "It wasn’t up to me to give him more chili."

But Susan’s firm stand was immediately undermined by her superior, Renel Frage, who stepped in at this point to micromanage the negotiations.  And Frage caved almost immediately, grabbing a handful of eight additional packets, for a total of 11.  Still, even with almost four times the authorized maximum number of packets in his bag, the customer was not happy.

This shows the folly of trying to appease a tyrant.  Hitler wasn’t satisfied with the Sudetenland, and surrendering on the three-packet policy did not satisfy this guy, either.  (See?  Those who do not learn from history are doomed to repeat it, or something.)  Instead of showing strength by breaking off negotiations, concessions were made.  And, predictably, violence followed.

Frage unwisely stepped outside to talk to the man, believing that he simply did not understand that he already had his extra condiments, and explained to him that he would not be getting more.  Thus he learned an additional lesson: before you decide to stick to your guns, make sure the other guy doesn’t actually have guns.  This one did, and he shot Frage in the arm.  "There was blood everywhere," Frage recalled.  And, ironically, "he hadn’t even checked the bag."  The only thing worse than condiment violence is senseless condiment violence.

The debate is already raging over how to prevent further incidents like this one.  Some believe that stricter laws are needed to keep guns out of our nation’s drive-through lanes altogether.  Others say that if guns are outlawed, only outlaws will have condiments, and argue that a better solution is to arm all Wendy’s workers.  Some instead blame society for its arbitrary rules and restrictive condiment policies, saying that they leave those whose chili-sauce needs are unfulfilled with little choice but violence.  The Bush administration, of course, continues to oppose the distribution of condiments altogether, arguing that abstinence is the best policy.

Meanwhile, the shooter is still on the loose.  He fled after the incident and has not yet been located.  Frage’s injuries were not life-threatening.  Presumably, he will receive a medal or bonus of some kind from Wendy’s, for risking his life and his $16,000 salary to defend the restaurant’s condiment-limitation policies.

Link: AP via SFGate.com
Link: Houston Chronicle