of Dr. Steven L. Berg

Customer Service: Mystery Diners

In the last episode of Mystery Dinners, they uncovered a waitress who was drinking on the job.  She also took some of the food off a customer’s plate when she went to box it up to go.  After she was fired, she thought she had been treated unfairly.  After all, she argued, she had not drunk that much and she had only taken a couple of pieces of pasta off the plate because she was hungry.  Last week, the bar tender had even worse behavior and was even more indignant.

The bartender was not just drinking while on the job and giving free drinks to patrons, but when the bar closed she held her own after bar party with some of her friends.  During the party, she disappeared with a male friend for about 15 minutes so they could both go into the rest room together.  It seemed clear that they were not using the facility for its intended purpose.  When she was fired she was very upset because she had done so much to help the owner.

Neither woman was able to acknowledge—or even see—the inappropriate behavior they practiced.  It was amazing how they rationale behavior that was clearly inappropriate and even illegal behavior.

I have been thinking of doing an essay in Etena Sacca-vajjena dealing with students who rationalize behavior that leads to destruction: not coming to class, not completing work, and so forth.  The problem is coming up with a specific example to begin the essay because I don’t want to risk picking something that could be used—even incorrectly—to identify a student.  I would not want any reader to conclude that they knew about whom I was writing.  Maybe beginning with an incident from Mystery Dinners would work.  I would have the specific to get the essay started and then could move into more general types of behavior I have observed as a professor.


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