Stupid outback steakhouse coaster - VeggieBoards
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#1 Old 01-09-2008, 08:17 AM
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My friends have been adopting me this week because my Husband has been out of town. So each night I've been cooking for friends or going to eat. Last night my friend wanted to go to outback steakhouse. I'm not fussy and can find a decent meal anywhere so I go with her. I'm just happy to have the company.



As soon as I sit down there is this coaster that reads, "I had to end it. He was a vegetarian."



I wanted to chuck the darn thing accross the room like a frisbee. I found it incredibly insulting. My friend and I had agreat time regardless. I had the asian chopped salad with oil and vinegar and it was actually really good. Not a typical salad. We had a couple beers, laughed, it was nice.



Just before we left however, I asked to speak to the manager. He came out and was very kind as I politely explained that not only do I have a difficult time eating here but I find this coaster rather offensive. And I showed him the coaster. He was apologetic and offered me a $20 gift card, which I gave to my friend and told her she had to get a vegetarian meal with it -lol. She was cool about it, she's been eating more and more veg.



It just kind of irritated me and I wrote the company an e-mail. Do you think things like this are done without thought? I guess I've been in my little vegetarian bubble but I thought there was enough awareness out there, especially in large chains like this, to not display something so offensive.
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#2 Old 01-09-2008, 08:24 AM
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It is offensive (I always feel this way about humor at the expense of a whole group of people) - you would think a large chain like that would take a little more care.



That said, of course, you were dining behind enemy lines, so to speak. There will be plenty of steakhouse customers, I assure you, who think that coaster is a real hoot. I'm just glad you managed to have a nice meal there and a good time with your friend, I'd file that under "pleasant surprises".
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#3 Old 01-09-2008, 09:11 AM
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Oh I didn't let it ruin my time with my friend. That would be silly and the nice salad was a surprise as was the excellent service. I tipped well, always do, and was graceous. I was polite to the manager but really felt... unwelcome with the lack of anything resembling a healthy option and then this blaring sign that declared vegetarians undatable. It was just irritating.



"dining behind enemy lines." lol that's so true! I have to do this a lot though as we have little to no veg-friendly places. I actually had never been in whole foods until I traveled somewhere this week that had one.
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#4 Old 01-09-2008, 09:16 AM
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Unfortunately, like Seusomon said, a lot of people thing that kind of crap is funny. I'm sure it would be a totally different story were an omni to go dine in an all-veg place and see a coaster that said "I had to end it. He ate meat."

There'd probably be a Supreme Court case made out of it.



I think it sounds like you handled it well, Beachbnny.
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#5 Old 01-09-2008, 09:35 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Beachbnny View Post

Do you think things like this are done without thought?

Not at all, I think they know very well that slogans like this appeal to a significant percentage of their target group.



Similarly, the Proviande/Schweizerfleisch (the Swiss organisation for “meat marketing”, I’m definitely not providing a direct link) campaign combines photos of animal carcasses with what they call “funny, ironic captions” such as

“natural tofu substitute”

“not suitable for vegetarians”

“iron supplement”

“biodegradable”

“guaranteed free of vegetable fats”

(at least the first two are obviously at the expense of veg*ns too – and of course it’s first of all at the expense of the animals)

to (translated quote) “demonstrate with a twinkling eye that Swiss meat is the real deal, everything else is a side”. Sure it is disgusting and degrading, and not funny at all, but what would one expect “behind the enemy lines” – they sell the stuff. Possibly offending a few veg*ns is unlikely one of their concerns (as it will hardly affect their sales negatively)...



I think the manager’s reaction and the compensation which you got for your complaint is remarkable.

Where I live, if you complained to a steakhouse manager about not feeling comfortable as a veg*n eating there and feeling offended by their anti-veg*n advertising material, I suppose a confused look would be the best possible reaction (and certainly don’t expect a voucher). I actually think it is more likely that one would be laughed at.

ETA: I think you were right to complain, and write to them though.
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#6 Old 01-09-2008, 12:16 PM
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Did you see the Honey Baked Ham billboards this holiday season? Something like:



"9 honey baked ham lovers

1 vegetarian



Honey Baked Ham sides to the rescue."



Made me wish I had a spare hand grenade lying around.
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#7 Old 01-09-2008, 12:35 PM
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Beachbnny, I just wanted to thank you for saying something to the manager and for writing to the company.
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#8 Old 01-09-2008, 12:47 PM
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I think you handled the situation exceptionally well. I do not know how I would have reacted as I sometimes ... ummm lose it when I am offended.

"Women & cats will do as they please, & men & dogs should relax & get used to the idea." Robert Heinlein
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#9 Old 01-09-2008, 01:08 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by chryssiie718 View Post

I think you handled the situation exceptionally well. I do not know how I would have reacted as I sometimes ... ummm lose it when I am offended.



I agree, I think she handled the situation very well.



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Originally Posted by Amy SF View Post

37. Learn to develop a thick skin. You may run up against ignorance and hostility towards your veg*an diet at any time, anywhere, even in the least likely places. There's no point in blowing your stack over every single display of anti-veg*anism you encounter when there's nothing you can do about it or when you can direct your anger towards more positive pursuits, like writing letters, handing out leaflets, or playing miniature golf.



Tip #37 from the Tips On Becoming Vegetarian thread

*this space not for sale*
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#10 Old 01-09-2008, 02:00 PM
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I have not encountered any problems whatsoever so far, so I can't really predict my reaction. I admit I probably wouldn't really "lose it"... I was being dramatic.

"Women & cats will do as they please, & men & dogs should relax & get used to the idea." Robert Heinlein
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#11 Old 01-09-2008, 02:26 PM
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Yeah that's lame. What an easy target Outback...let's try and be more original next time.

Funny fact here...my Vegan friend was on the board of designers that revamped all the menus and displays in the restaurant about a year ago. He'd be bummed to know about that coaster.



Here's a story to go with the Outback one...

So I received one of my fashion mags that I use for research and design at work and this is a caption on the cover..."Vegans, and 23 other dudes we wouldn't shag". I was like...hold the phone! I flipped to the section that the cover piece correlated to and it was some small little feature at the bottom of the page listing out 24 characteristics the magazine writers find 'un-a$$ worthy'. It was stuff like: 'Because you wear linen pants', 'Because you have a tribal arm band tattoo', etc....but then lo and behold it says 'Because you're VEGAN!' WTF!? It offends me but this magazine is pretty blunt and cheeky in terms of their content and delivery. It's called Missbehave, btw.

I just thought it was lame enough to call out Vegan men as undesirable and even worse to pull that one for the COVER! I will not renew my subscription and I feel like maybe I should write a letter but I think it will go in one ear and out the other. They seem like holier-than-thou sasspots at that magazine.

Whatevs. I'm a sasspot but I highly respect Vegans and I can tell you that there are a lot of people in the art and fashion world who are Veg*n. Save the Vegan men for the Veg*n ladies then Missbehave, you don't deserve em'!

Uhh....
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#12 Old 01-09-2008, 05:09 PM
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I see stuff like this in the same crass vein as bumperstickers that say things like, "Thank you for not breathing while I smoke!"



Some folks feel they have to justify their bad habits by putting down others. Unfortunately, there's a market for it.

slops, gloops, and gruels.
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#13 Old 01-09-2008, 05:24 PM
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we had a billboard in town for a local steak house with a photo of a nauseatingly huge chunk of dead animal flesh, and next to it said, "converting vegetarians one steak at a time." gross.
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#14 Old 01-09-2008, 05:26 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bramble View Post

we had a billboard in town for a local steak house with a photo of a nauseatingly huge chunk of dead animal flesh, and next to it said, "converting vegetarians one steak at a time." gross.



And they expected that advertising gambit to actually work?

*this space not for sale*
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#15 Old 01-09-2008, 05:30 PM
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I saw that also. My family went to OUtback for New Years eve....the waiter was not very good about catering my meal to my veggie ness either. There was a dish, Chicken and shrimp fetticine. I asked if I could get it without the chicken and shrimp, and he laughed at me!! Ugh. Oh well. I guess not everyone in this world is considerate.
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#16 Old 01-09-2008, 05:33 PM
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And they expected that advertising gambit to actually work?



LOL yeah what veg*an could resist a huge close-up photo of bloody cow flesh? the billboard was gone the next time i drove past there, i was so relieved not to have to see it.
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#17 Old 01-09-2008, 06:10 PM
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I don't think it was done without thought... Advertising and marketing require much thinking - I'm pretty sure that this idea/copy had to undergo approval before getting printed on the coaster. It's just that while it's offensive to us veg*ns, it appeals to a lot of meat lovers at the same time. Unfortunately.



I think you handled the situation pretty well. Good job!

"May all that have life be delivered from suffering."
~ Buddha
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#18 Old 01-09-2008, 06:13 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bramble View Post

we had a billboard in town for a local steak house with a photo of a nauseatingly huge chunk of dead animal flesh, and next to it said, "converting vegetarians one steak at a time." gross.



Ha. They're underestimating our veg*n powers!

"May all that have life be delivered from suffering."
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#19 Old 01-09-2008, 07:07 PM
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Although I would be equally offended by the coaster. I would also expect ignorant remarks like that one in a steakhouse.
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#20 Old 01-09-2008, 07:25 PM
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They needed one more sentence on the coaster...



I had to end it.

He was a vegetarian.

He was far too intelligent for me.

‎"One meal, soon forgotten, in exchange for a whole life." Author Unknown
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#21 Old 01-09-2008, 07:32 PM
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Originally Posted by whisper View Post

They needed one more sentence on the coaster...



I had to end it.

He was a vegetarian.

He was far too intelligent for me.



There's the solution, bring a sharpie.
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#22 Old 01-09-2008, 07:35 PM
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Give me the e-mail address. Please.
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#23 Old 01-09-2008, 10:59 PM
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There's the solution, bring a sharpie.



i love it!!! LOL
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#24 Old 01-10-2008, 08:22 AM
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Thanks for all the kind words and stories you all shared I find it weird when vegetarianism is picked on because I never did this as a non-vegetarian and didn't think others did. After 6 years, you'd think I'd be used to all the negativity but I'm not. Like so many of you have said, I guess the advertising is thought out and considered to be funny or something. Which just totally stikes me as odd. I guess is more of the midset that it's beter to laugh at the vegetarians and re-enforce the disconnection than deal with the truth.



I love the idea of finishing the comment on the coaster. Next time I'm there, which I hope is never, I'll bring a sharpie. It's probably a little bratty but if it's still there I won't feel bad.



For SkySoStarry the email address is on their website at www.outback.com in the contect us section. I'd love it of you contacted them. I'd love it if anyone contacted them. Let me know if you do and if they write you back.... cause I still haven't heard anything.
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#25 Old 01-10-2008, 08:44 AM
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Being offended by this is very valid.



For me, though, this is the type of thing I'd expect in a steak restaurant, and I assume no ill intent on the part of the company. They're just catering to and joking with their clientelle.



The funny thing is that it's generally a true statement. There are a lot of vegetarians that won't even consider dating a meat-eater. So, I suppose, for the health of the relationship, dating a vegetarian is not a good option for many meat-eaters. Also, I wouldn't be surprised to see a coaster in a veg*n restaurant stating, "I had to end it. He ate meat." I'm sure there are many veg*ns that would enjoy and laugh heartily at that one.
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