Actual rant, overheard at convention center food court:

“Hey, HEY! I want my money back. YOU!!! Yes, do you understand English God damn it? Take back your damn hot dog! You have watery mustard and that won’t cut it. … No, you can’t fix it, give me my money back. There, now go back to God damn Mumbai you bastards!”

It was a car show, not a food show, and Grumpy McGrumpy went off because his $8 hot dog didn’t have perfectly dispensed mustard from the pump.


We felt the workers’ pain, no one, after all, is really happy about the food at a trade show. It is over priced and crappy, the opposite of fine dining. It’s there because you forgot to eat before you walked the miles of the convention center aisles, not because you set out to get a boiled hot dog in a stale roll. They were more astounded than anything, and quickly gave the crazy man back his money and watched him storm off.

I’ve thought about the guy ever since. That flight or fight response is a bitch, isn’t it? Once it is triggered, it is very difficult to put back in the bottle. The trick, I’ve found, is to recognize it coming on before you go full Hulk. Retail clerks are especially vulnerable targets, there is virtually no chance that they will step around the counter and give the bully the thrashing he deserves. Mr. McGrump, who knew this, utilized his free pass to go off, I hope he was satisfied because he was sure still hungry. I don’t know why he brought all that rage to a car show, maybe he brings it everywhere he goes. 

We ordered our hot dogs with extra politeness while the clerks made sure that our mustard was properly dispensed. Can anyone say, “awkward?”

The car show, by the way, was fine. I’ve been lusting after a few cars (like a Camaro convertible) and I’d rather pay to park and then buy tickets to a car show than to start a conversation with a car salesman at a dealership. (“Hi folks!” Did you ever notice that no one calls you folks unless they think they can sell you something?) The show was a nice opportunity to see how the American manufacturers have recovered from the financial crisis, watch pretty models talk about the new models, and a good way to satiate my convertible curiosity. I’m not buying a car right now, but someday I expect to be cruising along the beach with the top down.

In the meantime, the hot dog incident reminded me that anger is a poison that destroys the vessel which holds it. I hope Mr. McGrumpy finally got something to eat and I pity the poor car salesman who might have had to deal with him if he didn’t.



One Response to Car Show Hot Dogs

  • Mike Coleman says:

    Great wordsmithing, Rick. I suspect it was Mr. McGrumpy I passed in Costco this morning… but it was a pretzel… he deserved to be gumpy, who eats pretzels at 9:30 am?

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>