Social Question

wundayatta's avatar

Why did someone write "fat girls" on the restaurant check?

Asked by wundayatta (58321 points ) December 10th, 2012

What are people thinking? Yeah, that’s rhetorical, but I’m also serious. How do people think when they do things like that. Here’s a story about it.

Did you ever use a slur about a person? Can you reconstruct your thinking that made you say that? Is this a matter of lack of awareness, or is it simple meanness, or cultural acceptance, lack of thought or what?

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80 Answers

Blackberry's avatar

I’ve never worked in the service industry, but I’ve heard enough stories to tip the hell out of those guys because they have to deal the douchbags of society on a daily basis.

Coloma's avatar

Very rude. If I were management the person responsible would get a good talking to.
I have heard that being overweight is the last acceptable form of discrimination.
Once I was out with a very attractive female friend years ago at a night club and she referred to a couple of other girls in the bar as “Heifers.” Really lowered my opinion of her.

Blackberry's avatar

Oh, I just read the article….disregard lol…

Simone_De_Beauvoir's avatar

Fat-shaming, plain and simple. Our society is full of it. It is a matter of awareness and it’s a matter of holding myths about obesity, weight, size and health. This person who’s a hero of mine (I met her once here at the graduate center and was squealing! like a groupie) writes often on fat-shaming at xojane – just go read the link and read all the other things she writes and read her book ‘Two Whole Cakes’ and even if then you’ll get into the tip of the iceberg of this problem.

deni's avatar

Well, working as a server, I know that some systems that restaurants use offer the option to, instead of starting a tables check AS the table number that it is, you can put a nickname for it, like if you know the person or if they’re a regular, etc. I’m sure the server for some reason used this type of function, having three large ladies and for whatever reason forgot to change the name before he brought the check. I’m not making excuses for this server but literally this probably is the answer to “why”....if I was the manager, this douchebag would have been fired immediately. If I was the customer, I would have caused an uproar. I don’t know what people like that waiter was thinking when he did that in the first place even. I don’t ROOT for obese people, though I understand there is a tiny tiny tiny fraction of them that really do have an issue and can’t help it. No, I am not attracted to them, and from a semi scientific mindset I do have an issue with people who have no regard for their beautiful perfect human body and treat them like trash cans. But it’s also not my business. And if I’m serving them, I’m not going to treat them any differently. They are probably perfectly pleasant people, and they are paying you to wait on them. So, this guy can fuck off. This is kind of a ridiculous thing to even happen in the first place.

sinscriven's avatar

And on the other side of the coin, some customer wrote as “tip” for an applebee’s waitress to “Stop eating bitch!”

People are just assholes sometimes.

ucme's avatar

Message on Chilly D’s website, “There’s a problem with our servers…...they’re nasty bastards!!”

deni's avatar

On Saturday someone wrote on one of my copies of a credit card receipt “This place is run by hot chicks!”....he was young, pleasant, and happy with his food, so I and the other few girls who were working took it as a compliment (This day had been going pretty rocky for the most part, so this was like a funny little ray of sunshine)....another coworker thought it was an insult though. I could see how it would be in certain situations, but I’m pretty sure it was meant as a good thing. It’s not all terrible. I think it helps to be an optimist when you’re working as a server lol

LuckyGuy's avatar

Many years ago, I worked at McD. Many many years ago – back when they only needed 5 digits to say how many burgers they sold. ;-)
We used to write orders on customer order tickets. I worked the counter and might have 5 orders going at the same time. To remember which order belonged to whom, I would write a code on the slip, for example: “WM25” for white male 25 or “BF30” for black female 30. “AM18” Asian male 18 . If there were multiples I might say WF208 if she was an “8” or WF206 if she was a “6”. This was a purely personal judgement call and not authorized or endorsed by McD. I did it so i could serve customers better and faster. No offense was ever intended and no one ever asked what my scribble meant.

The server just slipped up. I’m sure he delivered exactly what the table ordered. He was also very careless.

deni's avatar

@LuckyGuy Exactly what I meant but I think you said it better. It’s one of those things that 9 out of 10 servers would think in their head automatically or to help themselves out remembering or whatever, it just wasn’t meant to be put down on paper, and it shouldn’t have been in the first place.

LuckyGuy's avatar

@deni Exactly. He had (I’m guessing) at least half a dozen tables and likely needed a way to ID the table. I saw some pictures of the complainants. Even I could have figured out which table he was referring to.
I’m sure he and the other servers helping him had no trouble remembering what food to bring to that table.

Coloma's avatar

Well, I guess it could have been even worse, he could have written, I.S. (ignorant slut). lol

deni's avatar

I have a question to add on top of the original question….why is it wrong to call someone “fat” who is fat? Just curious.

LuckyGuy's avatar

I figure the appropriate response was to stiff the guy out of his tip. Maybe a complaint to the manager to get the order free. Blowing it up and putting it on national news just shows how thin our skin has become. Agreed, the guy was a careless idiot. But making a big deal over this is purely a grab for attention – and potential cash.
Does anyone want to bet how long it takes for them to be invited on TV and have a Jenny Craig-like weight loss company help them lose the pounds. I figure 2 months.

This will be quite a Catch 22 for them. Should they complain if Jenny Craig offers them help? If they show how many pounds they knocked off “Oh look! I lost 20 inches in 6 months!” they are admitting they were fat girls.
There will be one winner for sure. The bottom-feeding, ambulance chaser attorney who jumps on the case.
Let’s see how it plays out. (Does anyone want to bet against me?)

@deni From now on they will have to write CO for Clinically Obese.

Coloma's avatar

@deni The same thing that is wrong about calling someone stupid if they are stupid. Common decency, good manners, compassion, class and finesse.
Personally I’d rather be fat that mean and arrogant any day of the week.

janbb's avatar

There was a similar incident in a restaurant in my area where the server had labeled the table – and the bill – “pushy Jews.” Needless to say, it didn’t go down well.

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janbb's avatar

Oh where is pd?

Coloma's avatar

@emilianate And I personally think self righteous arrogant people are garbage.
Check yourself out, seriously!
You condemn and actually classify an obese person as garbage? Un-bee- lieveable!

janbb's avatar

@Coloma thanks; I didn’t have the energy to muster tonight.

Coloma's avatar

Don’t worry little stealth penguin, I shall ninja kick the ignorant and cruel for you. ;-)

ragingloli's avatar

Well, it is just the truth, is it not?
If they were fat, they were fat.
also

Simone_De_Beauvoir's avatar

@ragingloli Oh I wish I can walk around saying ‘the truth’ about people. There are many truths about people, @ragingloli and if the only thing you can get out is that they’re ‘fat girls’, that’s sad.

ragingloli's avatar

@Simone_De_Beauvoir
Oh, I am just having a go at the fact that in a recent question, the OP was called a whore and the justification given for that was that is is “just the truth”.

Simone_De_Beauvoir's avatar

@ragingloli I am hoping not to come across that q, then. :) Oh wait, was that my q?

bookish1's avatar

@Simone_De_Beauvoir : I was hoping to see you on that thread but you never showed up. It was this one

wundayatta's avatar

What does the truth have to do with it? I thought we wanted to have a polite and kind society. Telling the truth shames some people. That’s not polite or kind. It also doesn’t help people change, if change is advisable. Yet people justify speaking the “truth” as if it had its own moral value. People like that are being deliberately blind and unkind. Not my friends. Also not trustworthy people.

Simone_De_Beauvoir's avatar

@bookish1 Well, sometimes, I live this other life besides fluther, :)...other people generally send me qs they think I should be on. You should too.

deni's avatar

@Coloma Sure I get that I like living in a nice place where people are happy and kind to each other. But they were fat…....if it had been a table of tall guys, “Tall Guys” would have been totally acceptable. They know they are tall. They are tall guys. These women know they are fat. Fat girls. Everyone is just so touchy these days. If you don’t want to be referred to as fat, do something about it. I know that’s harsh, but come on. Where’s the line. “Brown haired girl”, WELL FUCK YOU I DIDN’T CHOOSE TO HAVE BROWN HAIR I DON’T LIKE MY BROWN HAIR AND I’M THINKING ABOUT DYING IT SO SHUT THE FUCK UP AND SEND YOUR MANAGER OVER I WANT MY MEAL COMPED. What’s the difference?

I am half playing devils advocate here, but I am interested to hear what the difference is. This isn’t solely directed at you @Coloma

bkcunningham's avatar

I saw the story on the television news this morning. I thought it was horrible that the bartender got fired over this. Is it entitlement thinking that would make someone argue to get their food and drinks free because of the waiter’s word to describe them? He used the word so he’d know where they were sitting.

I understand that it may have been insensitive, but to argue the point in public and on television, to shine spotlights on the word that embarrassed you in the first place? I don’t understand that. Why draw more attention to yourself if the point is that his word embarrassed you?

I understand there are feelings that are hurt in the situation. I do understand that. But to have someone get fired from their job? I think it is screwed up on the part of the women.

Coloma's avatar

@deni Hey, I’m the first to say that “if it walks like a duck” but…we’re talking RESPECT here, not hair color. They could have just, as EASILY said…” GIGS” (Girls in green & red) instead of “Fat girls.”
Obviously it was meant as a way of identifying the customers but still….kinda like saying SITC ( spic in the corner ) or NAT3 ( nigger at table 3 ).Just poor choice that came back to BTITA ( bite them in the ass.)

Anyone that works in the public eye should know better and be a little more clever than a fucking mushroom.

wundayatta's avatar

@Coloma On behalf of celibate mushrooms everywhere, I demand a free meal!!!

bkcunningham's avatar

@Coloma, think about it and tell me if you think calling someone fat is honestly the same as making a derogatory remark about someone’s race? I don’t. I agree 100 percent it was poor judgement and downright mean to call someone names of any sort, but fatty, fat, lard ass, tubbie, fatso and the like is way different than words meant to demean and degrade an entire race of people.

wundayatta's avatar

@bkcunningham So you are ok with demeaning fat people?

bkcunningham's avatar

@wundayatta, of course not. I didn’t imply, nor did I say that. I think we should only demean the poor and skinny people.

Coloma's avatar

@bkcunningham Haha, funny…but I think it’s a
same rope, different ends” thing.
Fat people need love too ya know.
EVERYONE has SOMETHING that is less than perfect about them, and I think that anytime we “reduce” another to an objectifying label we reduce their basic humanity.
Fat people are people, just like everyone else.

Coloma's avatar

@wundayatta come on over, it;s a fish fry tonight. :-)

bkcunningham's avatar

I hadn’t heard that saying, same rope; different end, in a long time, @Coloma. I get you. I think attaching racism to every instance that someone is slighted or offended devalues the true meaning of the offense. I just don’t think Martin Luther King Jr., had those women’s weight in mind when he marched. Let’s agree to disagree on this one.

Coloma's avatar

@bkcunningham Of course pun on another q. :-)

Ponderer983's avatar

@deni The difference here is is the connotation of the word. “Fat” to obese/overweight/heavy people is like “nigger” to blacks, “chink” to Asians, “fag” to gays, etc. etc. Fat is derogatory, and I think that’s what is creating a lot of the issue. I thought about all this, and while I am offended that it happened, I can understand why it did. You have a valid point that “tall guys” is another identifier, but usually, calling someone tall is not derogatory. And as @Coloma mentioned, obesity is one of the last few acceptable forms of discrimination. Psychology has classified eating disorders for the extreme thin, but has yet to recognize eating disorders dealing with overweight people. And because of this, I really believe many people just think those overweight are lazy and should just stop eating. It’s not that simple. Do we think that about anorexic people? No, because we have classified a disorder so we can’t tell them to “just eat, damnit.” A group of respected scientist has told society that their actions are justified. Overweight people have yet to have this, and believe me, there are psychological and physical reasons for obesity. And @bkcunningham you could do well to read my response here as well. Overweight people are a race classified by weight. So it is just as bad to throw a derogatory term at this group as it is any other. But it’s because we don’t have laws or disorders backing their issues, people think it’s ok to throw stones.

bookish1's avatar

@Ponderer983: I’m not convinced of your logic. Once a disorder gets written into the DSM, that does not mean that society stops discriminating against those people. There’s still discrimination against anorexia. And remember when they wrote in Gender Identity Dysphoria and now no one uses the word “tranny” or murders trans women anymore…?

Why is the word “fat” of equivalent weight to fag and chink, but obese/overweight/heavy are not slurs, in your mind?

bkcunningham's avatar

Do you think, @Ponderer983, if the women had been extremely thin and the guy had put “anorexic girls” that would have been okay?

jonsblond's avatar

@Coloma Don’t bimbos need love too? ;)

Coloma's avatar

@jonsblond Of course, but one persons “mean” is anothers honesty. Perception is a funny thing, easily misconstrued at times. :-)

wundayatta's avatar

@Coloma I think that society comes to these consensus ideas over time. So, for example, it might form a consensus that “fat” is derogatory, whereas “obese” is merely descriptive. It is then up to us to understand what has happened. We can say “fat” is being honest, but that is disingenuous. It is up to each individual to keep a tabs on what is socially acceptable. Calling it “honest” is a copout. It just says you don’t care enough to keep up on what is polite.

Coloma's avatar

@wundayatta Agreed. There are always multiple choice words to describe something, some more gentle than others, more PC than others. No argument there.

deni's avatar

@Ponderer983 But blacks, asians, gays, did not choose to be black, asian, or gay. It’s just who they are. Fat people, in the majority of instances, have chosen to treat their body as a disposal to the point where it is visible to all around them that they just don’t care. And then someone uses an accurate adjective word to describe them, and they freak out. And like @bkcunningham said, now they are bringing NATIONAL attention to it! That seems so backwards.

My boyfriend came over last night, and I was making dinner and he was perusing a news website or something, immediately he goes “Woah. Have you heard about this “Fat girls” thing?” I’m like SAY NO MORE AND DON’T EVEN GET ME STARTED. I can’t believe how big of a story it is

Coloma's avatar

@deni What about all the gazillions of people that have hidden flaws, like lousy character, are verbally and otherwise abusive, gossips, backstabbers, shopaholics in debt up to their eyeballs, drug addicts, boozers, and various other hidden and extreme shortcomings?
Fat people just wear their fatal fat flaws for all the world to see so it makes it easy to judge them as somehow “less than.”
Would you be okay if I called you a smug little bitch because of your attitude?
Maybe it’s true…but I somehow doubt you’d be able to practice what you’re preaching.
Rude is rude, no matter how you slice it.

Ponderer983's avatar

@bookish1 I’m not saying that they will stop discriminating against them. People will always discriminate against race, religion, weight, sexual identity etc. no matter what laws and disorders are put on the books. Unfortunately, that’s just human nature. But in a way, the laws and disorders make society think twice about throwing stones in those group’s direction. People know that if something racist comes out, there will be an uproar because there are rules against that type of discrimination. And to answer the second part, it’s the connotation that has come to be associated with the word fat. To use the example of fag, it’s acceptable to use gay or queer, but fag got the negative connotation. There is really no other explanation I have for it. Fat got the bad rap.
@bkcunningham No, not at all. I think the same argument would be had in that situation. To rectify this specific situation, just number your tables and refer to them that way. No anorexic girls, fat chicks, hipsters, hood rats, WASPS – just numbers :)
@deni I used to respect you and we had a lot of similar views on many things here on Fluther, but your responses here make you seem so ignorant, at least on this issue. Give me a study where the majority of fat people have no other underlying reason for being fat other than they just eat. Not a physical problem, not a psychological problem, not a medication they are taking that made them gain weight, not a genetically slow metabolism, etc. They brought national attention to it (I hope) in hopes of gaining some attention to how this group of people is treated and not protected or understood. At least that would be my reason for doing what they did by going to the media. How do you think the Americans with Disabilities Act came to be? You think it was all able people fighting for it? No, it was mostly the people directly affected by the act (disabled people) standing up and saying, “Hey, look at us. We deserve the same treatment as everyone else.” Do you think it is easy to draw attention to a physical inability? No, it’s not. So I’m sure those women had reservations about publicizing this, but look at what it has created, even on here. It has started a discussion that will hopefully affect some change. Remember, ⅓ of the US adults are obese – that does not include overweight people, which is a different classification. That’s a large portion of society that we are talking about here, and to say that all those people are lazy eaters, is ignorant. And while there, check out the correlations to all sorts of things that go into being obese. They discuss socioeconomic class, education level, racial groups, etc. You said you can’t control race, and if race is something that can lead to the tendency to be obese, well then how can one control that? Check out the Causes section as well. Does it just say these people are lazy? They give 3 broad categories that can be contributory reasons for obesity. I really hope you can ease up on the staunch stance that this group of people is just lazy and eat. Just because you can keep a non-obese figure (I assume, considering your stance and comments on the issue, but tell me if I am wrong) doesn’t mean everyone can or has the ability to.

bob_'s avatar

Probably because they were indeed fat.

augustlan's avatar

Everyone should read this article about obesity studies. It’s incredibly interesting, and refutes several of the assumptions we make about heavy people. It seems that weight cycling (dieting/regaining/dieting) is likely to be MORE harmful to your health than being obese in the first place. It also points out that most obese people do NOT eat more than thin people do. I’ve seen evidence of that last point in my own life.

deni's avatar

@Ponderer983 You can think whatever you want. It boils down to no one wanting to admit that they’re fat and like to eat. There is nothing wrong with liking to eat. Just admit it. I fucking love food, it is one of the best parts of life! But no, everyone’s got a reason for it. Well, hey, if you’re on fifteen different pills and are obese for that reason, then listen to the big man upstairs, you shouldn’t need fifteen pills to survive, and they’re killing you anyhow, and natural selection is TRYING to tell you something, but the 21st century we live in is fighting against that. Sorry, you can’t be realistic and honest these days without being “ignorant” I s’pose. And that is fine.

@Coloma Yes you can call me a smug bitch if that’s how you feel. You can label it that way on the receipt. You are entitled to an opinion. I don’t mind. Voila.

jca's avatar

I am late to this party, as I’m just reading this thread now, but I want to go back to @emilianate‘s comment about obese people being human garbage. WTF? If, let’s just say, 30% of Jellies on Fluther are obese, they’re human garbage? If your neighbor is obese, then he’s human garbage? You would not have an obese friend because he or she would be human garbage? If you have an obese family member, they are automatically qualified as human garbage? Yours must be a very tough world to live in.

bookish1's avatar

@deni : So you are a fan of natural selection? I hope that means you’ve never gotten vaccinated or had your life saved by modern medicine, and that you will refuse it at all points in the future…

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Coloma's avatar

Well…I don’t know about the rest of you, but I, for one, am tired of chewing the fat on this Q. lol

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emilianate's avatar

Well someone claimed the obese are mentally ill which is why they’re obese, so then that is what insane asylums are for (helping the ill).

Coloma's avatar

@emilianate The world is full of dysfunctional people, many much more ill than someone with an extra 50 lbs. on their body. The most mentally unwell people I have ever known are the wolves in sheeps clothing, going about their daily biz.well dressed , in great physical shape and narcissistic sociopaths to the core.

emilianate's avatar

Right, so you agree that you don’t have to tolerate dysfunctional people. Insult them at will, freedom of speech. If you own a business, ban them, property rights. If it’s an overwhelming task, then ridicule them in secret and teach normal people what not to be. Etc.

bookish1's avatar

@emilianate, what the hell are you doing in the teaching profession?

emilianate's avatar

I’m not.

wundayatta's avatar

@augustlan Very interesting article. It supports the contention of my psychiatrist, and my gut feeling (no pun intended) that diets don’t work and indeed, weight loss doesn’t work over the long term. You can keep weight off for a year or two. Almost everyone is back to baseline in 3–5 years. The type of diet doesn’t matter. As my psychiatrist said, calories are calories, whether from fat, carbohydrates or protein.

Our bodies automatically adjust our metabolisms so that we get back to the weight we had been at. This is not something that 90% or the people can control, and those who can, do it by becoming anorexic, which means they are not eating a healthy diet. Dieting doesn’t work. Not nohow.

It’s also not clear whether losing weight makes you any healthier. If being smaller isn’t healthier and if dieting doesn’t work, anyway, why try? Because of culture. We hate fat people. But why? Is that built into us, too? Or is that purely cultural?

Coloma's avatar

@wundayatta Agreed 100%. I have never been, even remotely, close to morbid obesity, but my body has fluctuated by 40 lbs. twice in my life,and I have to work my ass off to keep a decent figure. For me to maintain my perfect, hard body weight I have to live on a strict 1,500 calorie a day regime, walk/jog 3 miles per day,5–6 days a week, do another 30 minutes of weights. Fuck…at 53 now, quite frankly I don’t give a damn about killing myself to look “hot” anymore. Guess I better be shipped off to 6th floor basket weaving since I am a mentally ill piece of garbage. lol

wundayatta's avatar

@Coloma Just shows you the power of culture in determining our sense of self, and in particular, what we must look like. It isn’t mental illness to be unable to lose weight. In fact, I suspect it is the other way around. Mental health means learning to be happy with your natural body weight.

1500 calories a day and an hour of exercise a day is the definition of anorexia, according to the article. Or close to it. You would need to be mentally ill to maintain your ideal weight. You would not be eating healthily. But social pressure makes us mentally ill. It makes us do things we do not naturally feel comfortable doing. And it isn’t just weight. There are many social norms that drive people crazy when they try to conform.

Coloma's avatar

@wundayatta Agreed, I spent years being hungry all the time, and while I wasn’t anorexic, I was very well muscled and strong, it just isn’t worth it. I agree, I am very comfortable in my own skin these days.

wundayatta's avatar

@Coloma Anorexic is not just your weight. It’s your diet and behavior patterns. So depending on what you were eating when trying to keep your weight down, that could have been compulsive anorexic behavior, even if your weight was above the so-called ideal. And it would all have been driven by social norms.

Coloma's avatar

@wundayatta Certainly possible.

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