Tuesday, March 21, 2006

Whole Foods Market; River Street, Cambridge, MA

I just visited your Blue Ribbon BBQ counter a moment ago, and I came away a bit annoyed for the experience. I ordered a half-slab of ribs, by which I meant the "half-slab platter," which has "platter" status by virtue of the inclusion of a piece of cornbread and two side dishes. The gentleman at the counter assembled a pile of ribs, wrapped them in a cardboard box, and handed them to me. He asked if I wanted anything else.

I said, "Yes, I'd like my two side dishes." He looked at me, confused. "For the platter." This was my mistake: I had thought that by ordering a half-slab of ribs, I was by implication ordering the platter. Fine. As I say, my mistake.

Imagine my surprise, however, when the guy at the counter opened the cardboard box and REMOVED two of the ribs from the pile, then got on with the business of supplying my side dishes and cornbread.

"Wait a minute," I said. "Does the half-slab platter REALLY have two FEWER ribs than the half-slab of ribs?" It seemed logical to me that the "slab" unit — of which a half-slab is half — would be a constant, whether it was served a la carte or with side dishes in the "platter" format.

I was disabused of this wayward notion when the guy at the counter said, "Yes," without further explanation. He then served up concededly abundant helpings of rice, collard greens, and cornbread.

My first complaint, as you no doubt have gathered from the above, is the degree to which the folks at your Blue Ribbon counter play fast and loose with the term "half-slab."

My second complaint is a bit more nuanced. When the guy at the counter first presented me with the boxed ribs, the cardboard bore a sticker that charged me a little over $9 for the meat alone. After he "plattered" these ribs (by adding the sides and cornbread and subtracting two significantly-sized ribs), he priced the meal at the $12.99 amount set forth on the menu.

Is it really possible that I gained over $3 worth of value with the side dishes, after taking the two-rib penalty for correcting my order? I'm not convinced, and I spent the whole walk home brooding about it.

I demand satisfaction.



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