"I think I've changed my mind about the onion soup. Bring me the vichyssoise instead."
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The Case of the Contested Soup
(In the annals of the Washington Times (8/10/99), Professor Sanford Pinsker reports on "Our Litigious Society," with tongue firmly in cheek, as follows)
"...I had strolled into a restaurant to do some research on the endangered species of my choice--namely, the three martini luncheon. Across the room, well within olive-flicking range, were four businessmen who looked for all the world like the types certain government sourpusses are out to sober up. I eyeballed the French menu for any words I might recognize from undergraduate bouts with Camus and kept my ears cocked.
"'Oh, Miss,' one of the three-piece suits rang out. 'I think I've changed my mind about the onion soup. Bring me the vichyssoise instead.' 'I'm sorry, sir,' the waitress replied, in a tone that made it clear she wasn't, 'but you entered into an oral contract for French onion soup and as anyone who has read Municipal Code 3579, section b, understands, the original order is binding. Therefore, pursuant to my responsibilities, and those of the restaurant--as outlined in Ordinances for Innkeepers and restaurateurs, paragraph 3--I have given same to chef. And by the way, buddy, my name is Ms. Singleton.'
"'That may be so,' chimed in a second businessman, 'but I'm afraid you've overlooked the provisions of the Fair Practices and Reasonable Requests Act of 1994. Besides, the issue here is not that my friend changed his mind, but, rather, that you are derelict in your duties as catalogued in Government Pamphlet SB68100-10 (Job Description: Wait Person). Item 10 clearly states that such a manner that their reasonable requests (e.g., for refills of water or a clean fork can be satisfied with dispatch.'
"'That may be so,' Ms. Wait Person replied, as she took out a paperback volume from her apron pocket and began thumbing through it. 'But the issue hangs on how one defines "reasonable request." Even President Clinton couldn't have said it better, doesn't it.'
"'See ya in court!' the soupless man shouted. Once again, the small claims of small claims court chalked up another victory. I made a mental note to see what I could do about preserving the old-fashioned, very civil three-martini lunch. You see, I've abandoned all hope that America will return to a quieter time when people clubbed at each other with brickbats instead of legal precedents. Until then, however, I can hardly wait until 'The Case of the Contested Soup' gets on the TV docket and I wait anxiously as Judge Judy takes a short recess, watches the commercial in her chambers, and then comes back with her verdict."