No more appetite for this eatery

I recently stopped to have a quick dinner at a restaurant on Merrimon Avenue and was appalled when I witnessed the restaurant owner scolding a customer for giving money to a young couple who were outside of the store.

I walked past this couple on my way in, and they didn’t ask me for anything, they were simply sitting there resting with their dog. The young lady who gave them money did so obviously because she felt a desire to help them.

I understand that this proprietor doesn’t want people panhandling on his property, but it’s not necessary to shame people—be they people who need help or people who want to offer help. This business owner has posted signs at the edge of the property forbidding anyone from “Panhandling, asking for or begging for money.” Heaven forbid that anyone in need be so bold as to ask a fellow human to help them financially. This owner has the right to ask panhandlers to leave his property; he does not have the right to bully his paying customer for daring to show some compassion.

Granted, I am only one person, but I now choose to boycott this restaurant. Just as this business owner has made a decision that it is not OK to help someone in need, I have decided that it is not OK to shame people for having a heart.

— J. Scott

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14 thoughts on “No more appetite for this eatery

  1. Dionysis

    It would be helpful to know exactly which establishment you are referring to. Merrimon Ave. is full of such places.

  2. Yes, I am in agreement with Dionysis. You insult ALL the eating establishments on Merrimon by not being specific. Either have the guts to mention the restaurant by name or keep it to yourself.

  3. Kriss

    I don’t know for sure, but it could be that Mountain Xpress edited the letter so the specific name of the restaurant was not revealed. That’s what they did to me in a letter I wrote a while back – removing not the name, which I had not included, but removing the word “restaurant, and substituting the word “business.” And in the same letter, in reference to a different business, they changed the wording so that it was not possible to guess which business I was talking about.

  4. Namaste

    The Mountain Xpress edits letters to protect local businesses. If you are really interested in knowing what restaurant the writer was talking about look for the signs that this business owner has posted on his property. You cannot miss them, they are at every corner of his property.

  5. Namaste

    you assume that this letter writer didn’t have the guts to name the restaurant, perhaps the letter was edited to protect the business. The author left clues to the identity of the restaurant, reread the letter and then take a look around the next time you drive down Merrimon.

  6. Kriss

    So, in other words, Namaste, the writer of the letter would not have been allowed to reveal the name of the restaurant, either in his or her letter or even in a follow-up comment?

  7. Dionysis

    Well, it appears that in order to identify the establishment in question, one would have to drive up and down Merrimon to sleuth it out. Perhaps the Mountain Express did delete the name “to protect” a local business. I guess that’s understandable from their perspective, but it renders the letter writer’s effort nearly meaningless.
    While most would agree (I think) that it is well within a business owner’s prerogative to forbid certain activities on his or her property, I would be inclined to go along with the letter writer and simply not patronize such a place. We all have choices.

  8. Kriss

    Of course we’re only speculating as to whether the writer originally included the name or not and/or whether Mountain Xpress removed it. But hypothetically, if that’s the policy, how does one determine what is a “local” business and what isn’t? Location? Size? Residence of owner or owners?

    On the latter question, that information is certainly not always easily available. And does that mean that something like a Wal-Mart would not qualify as a “local” business and therefore could be named in a complaint letter? What about a McDonald’s that may be a “locally owned” franchise?

    I’m not implying any judgments here – just asking questions.

  9. Dionysis

    Kriss, those are reasonable questions. My guess on the definition of ‘local’ would be those businesses that are in fact owned (and maybe operated) by local residents. I would doubt if the word applies to McDonalds, Wal-Mart, etc., even franchise operations. And, it is unlikely any corporate owned eatery would allow any deviance from their corporate cookie-cutter mold, regarding signage or anything else. I’d be willing to bet a few alms that the letter writer was referring to some independent, truly locally-owned establishment.

  10. Orbit DVD

    I’m sure that if everyone who had a grievance with the way I ran my business complained publicly it would fill a few issues of the Xpress. I’ve got issues with places as well, but I don’t shout it from the rooftops. Unless the public health is involved, I don’t think the Xpress is the best place to air these disagreements out.


  11. Rob Close

    I agree with Ralph – and let’s never skirt around the truth.

    Who has the courage to burst this bubble of tension and state, without a doubt, which restaurant?

  12. Shannon

    One of the great things about Asheville is that we have plenty of resources for people in need of assistance, and tons of $ are put into our community resources to help them. With all of the free food pantries, soup kitchens, and homeless outreach centers, it does not seem to me that begging on the street is the only option. In fact, its probably hurting people more than helping them to give them change for cigarettes. This is an age-old argument, but I will repeat it once more. Why not buy them a sandwhich? If they are stranded in Asheville and need gas money to get home, take them to get their tank filled. Otherwise you could be contributing to drug use, alcoholism, or whatever else it is that people do when they are “needing money”

  13. Nelda Holder

    EDITOR’S NOTE: The Letters section of the Xpress is dedicated to “local matters”—our paper’s motto. On any given week, we print as many letters as possible from local writers about local issues. (National issues always take a back seat to locally focused letters.) The section is also dedicated to facilitating and enhancing public dialogue, so we expect letters to be civil in tone and factual in nature. Hence, we normally do not print “complaint” letters directed at non-public people, establishments or organizations. Our reasons include being unable to verify most circumstances that engender them, but we also feel that wandering down such a path would take us away from our goal of civility.

    Now and then, however, a letter that combines a public issue with a private experience might be considered for use, in which case—as with this letter—we remove the business name but allow the issues to be discussed. We felt this letter reflected the topic of homelessness in a particularly local way, highlighting the personal effects on the writer. Hence, its publication minus the business name.
    — Nelda Holder, associate editor

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