Tonawanda News


May 15, 2013

DUVALL: Passing on 'pass the salt'


Tonawanda News — In hindsight the job was a nightmare and I lasted less than a year. 

Despite the memory of working in sweltering heat and walking home reeking of vinegar-based chicken marinade and industrial strength degreaser, I did like the food. The place was clean and well run — much better than the competing teen-staffed fast food restaurants. I still find that to be the case today.

So it was on my most recent visit last week I noticed this salt shaker business. I’ll confess, at first blush I was perturbed. Michael Bloomberg would be proud.

Though I agree obesity is a serious problem in America, I share most Americans’ indignation when a politician thinks its his job to tell me what to eat and drink. I buy a Super Big Gulp every once in a while (they’re a great hangover cure) and though I usually convince myself to go with the Diet Coke, sometimes I’m in the mood for Dr. Pepper. And you know what, Mike? Screw you, I’m getting the pop I want. I’m an adult. Once in a while if I want to ingest enough sugar to kill someone with a lesser pancreas that’s my decision, not yours.

And so I reacted to the Boston Market hidden salt trick with similar annoyance. If I want salt on my mashed potatoes what does Boston Market care?

Then the more I thought about it, I drew not just the distinction but the link between Bloomberg’s public health crusade and the missing salt shakers.

In Bloomberg’s case, he doesn’t care about public perception nearly as much as the result — fewer people ingesting mass amounts of things like sugary drinks, transfats and sodium. In Boston Market’s case, they’ll benefit far more from the perception they’re a health-conscious restaurant than from customers annoyed they have to get up and go find the salt.

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