Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Your choices are unacceptable

A couple of places today I read the NY Times story about how people ordered more calories at fast-food restaurants after the nannies mandated the calorie information for menu items be displayed prominently.

...this just means the anhedoniacs who demand everyone live as joylessly as they do are going to push government to restrict menus.* Restaurants will be the next industry to be legislated into bankruptcy and/or government (GM isn't an exact analogy, as McDonald's has avoided being targeted by SEIU...but CAFE standards and cafe standards....), after the medical industry is destroyed.

And so, an anecdote. In a major fail I do not wish to talk about, I spent a day in August trapped at JFK airport, in Queens**. After standing in line for five hours, I was able to drag my carcass into a chain restaurant for a burger and a beer.

It took me 15 minutes to figure out what all those three-digit integers on the beer list meant.

The put the freaking calorie counts on the BEER LIST.

Obviously, this had no impact on my order. I would drink store brand beer from a can before I would order MGD64 (nasty AND weak), and diet soda is not beer. As it was, I had to settle for a Sam Adams, as the airport franchise did not have the bountiful taps of the standalone franchise I visit most frequently.

Beer is full of B-vitamins, and there have been numerous studies showing that one serving daily has some health benefits. And trapped in an airport, I was in no danger of driving. But the empty totalitarians were trying to scare me away from it. Don't believe for a minute it's about health--it's only about control.

* I'm thinking of donut speakeasies. You know the password, they'll sell you a donut, regardless of your BMI.

** Side note: They apparently "went green" by completely removing the HVAC; particularly repugnant in August at an international airport with frequent flights from cultures that do not value soap or deodorant.


Amy said...

I totally agree. Didn't some stupid politician in Mississippi or something want restaurants to weigh you before serving you from menus suited to your weight? Because about 95% of people would have to eat grass and water, given how faulty a measure of health the BMI is.

They'll get my Grasshopper Fudge frozen custard when they pry it from my cold, dead hands.

heather said...

I usnderstand that weighing people is extreme, but what is the big deal about having a calorie count on a menu? It helps people make informed decisions about what they put in their body. I don't know about you guys, but I don't want to be overweight. I count calories and protein and I'm not able to pack my own meals everyday. I need that calorie count to help me decide what I'm going to eat.

Gen. Sir Charles Napier said...

Heather Radish: You wrote, "
It took me 15 minutes to figure out what all those three-digit integers on the beer list meant." Heh. Written like programmer. Where my long ints at?

Heather Non-Radish: Let me venture a guess as to why Ms. Radish takes issue with the requirement as I suspect we have similar views on the matter. While the requirement to post calories is a minor infringement on our various liberties, the motivation behind it was not the desire to better inform the public. Rather, it was a desire to keep people from from becoming obese (as measured by BMI, which, as Amy mentioned above, is a poor gauge) and suffering the attendant poor health outcomes. They assumed, incorrectly it turns out, that the reason fast food customers made such unhealthy food choices was due to lack of information. Their solution was to require restaurants to prominently display the nutritional information for their offerings.

In other words, the requirement was a means to an end and not an end unto itself.

Now that the proponents of the requirement realize that it has not had its intended outcome, it is likely that they will continue to pursue some other, more onerous scheme to ensure their preferred outcome.

The infuriating part is that this is all done, if the proponents are to be believed, for own good.

P.S. Radish, I'm still waiting to marry you!