McCormick and Shits

vet·er·an

n.

1. A person who is long experienced or practiced in an activity or capacity: a veteran of political campaigns.
2. A person who has served in the armed forces: “Privilege, a token income . . . were allowed for veterans of both world wars” (Mavis Gallant).
3. An old soldier who has seen long service.

adj.

1. Having had long experience or practice: a veteran actor.
2. Of or relating to former members of the armed forces: veteran benefits.
(freedictionary.com)

First, it’s Veterans Day. Thank one. If you don’t know one, let me know and I’ll thank one on your behalf. I know plenty.

While one day of recognition is not nearly enough thanks for all the things veterans have allowed us to have, it is something. And many establishments have offered free meals and discounts as a thank you to those who have served. And that’s awesome.

Most of the time.

We found out that McCormick & Schmicks had a Veterans Day menu and it had been awhile since we went anywhere…nice. So we made a reservation, asked specifically for the Veterans Day menu, ordered some wine and enjoyed a great lunch. My husband, active duty with 700+ days of overseas deployment and nearly a decade of service under his belt, had pointed to his meal choice ON the Veterans Day menu. On the check it was listed as a Veterans meal.

Don't eat here unless you hate freedom.

Don’t eat here unless you hate freedom.

Silly us, we thought it would be complimentary. That’s what it had said on the menu and website, after all. WE WERE SO NAIVE.

Apparently, in McCormick & Schmick’s World, the word “veteran” means “retired”. The waitress told us so. She even flat out corrected my husband when he corrected her on the definition of veteran. She also had the balls to tell my husband that he was not a veteran because he wasn’t retired. Seriously. When my husband continued to question the policy, the waitress continued to stand by it and then threw her manager under the bus, saying that’s what she had been told. While the special menu had been labeled VETERANS MENU, they really only meant that retirees were deserving of a free meal. If you bitched enough, they would extend the policy to those who have served overseas.

NO ONE TELLS MY HUSBAND HE ISN’T A VETERAN.

Still serving your country as active duty? HAHAHA, fuck you, you have to pay.

As the waitress walked away in a huff to discuss our anger with management, a woman at the table next to us turned in shock at what happened. She WAS a retiree and could not believe the interaction she just listened to. She seemed to be as appalled and offended as we were.

You guys, the restaurant was packed with people, most of which were clearly military members of all kinds. We weren’t going to be the only ones disappointed and outraged by this “policy”. That’s what hurts the most. This wasn’t about us. This was about all of them, in Baltimore and around the world.

We ended up getting Big A’s meal for free, but the waitress and her lack of apology, rude attitude and lack of understanding of the word veteran talked herself into a hole and out of a tip. Big A asked to see the manager as we left and she made the situation worse. WORSE. We received a haughty apology, with the explanation that the fine print on the mailer specified retired personnel or those who’ve deployed to a war (which clearly wasn’t understood by the waitress who flat out told us deployments don’t make a veteran) only. BUT GUESS WHAT, LADY. We didn’t get a mailer. And the fine print did not exist on the menu or on the website. She explained that the “campaign” had been very successful, acting like she had done us a favor for comping the meal. And not giving a damn that Big A was trying to stand up for his people. She talked in circles, told us the same thing and couldn’t answer questions with anything but “well we comped your meal, so…”. I’m still unsure if it was this particular establishment’s policy or corporate policy, but either way we will never return to any of them.

Other companies are doing much better with their Veterans Day specials. More often than not, active duty members are specifically listed as part of the offer. Starbucks even goes one further and extends the free coffee to active duty spouses. AND stated a commitment to hiring vets and active duty spouses. THAT is how you honor those who fight and have fought for freedom, McCormick & Shits. NOT by exclusion.

Veterans aren’t just elderly VFW gentlemen anymore. We’ve been in major wars for over a decade now. Those young guys in active duty joined WHILE we were in conflict, knowing what they were joining for and they’re going to be told that they don’t deserve a free $16 meal because they haven’t retired yet?

Thanks for your gourmet generosity, assface.

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