Olive Garden fears displaying American flag might ‘disrupt’ customers’ dinners
posted at 12:02 pm on October 13, 2011 by Howard Portnoy
Olive Garden is concerned for its customers’ well being. That is why its parent company, Darden Restaurants, recently joined forces with self-professed French fry lover Michelle Obama to “healthify” its kids’ menu. The overhaul included substituting fruit or vegetables for fries and proclaiming milk the “default beverage.” Full disclosure: Soda and fries will be served to children but only upon request by parents (in writing, triplicate and notarized, please).
Darden’s determination that its patrons leave happy is not limited to the youngest among them. If you are a grownup and plan a visit to Olive Garden, you can rest assured that your enjoyment of your meal will not be infringed upon by the sight (obscenity alert!) of the Stars and Stripes.
It was touch-and-go for a while, however, at the OG in Oxford, Alabama. Some thoughtless idiots from the local Kiwanis club brought along a copy of Old Glory, which they planned to display during their annual banquet. The nerve!
Luckily, the management sprang into action and informed 80-year-old Marti Warren, who had organized the event, that the American flag would not be permitted to be displayed in the restaurant—the Kiwanis banner either. Warren told local television station WBRC-TV, “I was so angry. I felt like I had been slapped in the face.”
But Darden defended its policy in a statement reading “like all Americans we have nothing but the utmost respect and admiration for the American flag and everything it symbolizes.” At the same time, the statement noted:
To be fair to everyone and avoid disrupting the dining experience for all other guests, [the Oxford Olive Garden] is unable to accommodate flags or banners of any type in the dining room.
The problem is that this particular OG lacks a private dining area where the sight of the flag could be safely shielded from the eyes of America haters trying to enjoy their pasta dinner.
When all was said and done, club members were forced to close their eyes and picture the flag waving in the wind as they said the pledge of allegiance. God bless America, no?
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