The Customer

“Submarine meatball sandwich,
caramel bun, French fries
and extra large soda…”
“I know,” she said, “It’s awful.
A terrible breakfast.
Especially for someone my size,
right?”
The horrible questions of a customer,
putting the service industry
up against it
I understood the beleaguered barista
in that moment
terrified of the truth,
having to answer, “No, not really,”
how we lie, we lie
to those most in need
of a reality smack
like a wet mackerel over the head
you are fat
you do eat like shit
and you will die young
of diabetic complications
learn some self control,
but you can’t say those things
in a job like hers
where managers have ears
and the first reaction is to placate, negate,
reassure – bolster the consumer’s ego
it’s ingrained
a reinforced habit of culture,
nurtured into us to nurture the worst of us
to accept
to value free will
because that’s who we are
as a people
we despise discipline
we shout the dangers of government regulation
so much
we refuse recourse to honesty
we become duplicitous
raising social niceties
and personal liberty
over integrity and decency
a sad disease of politics
reducing us
as we choose sides
on a two-sided coin
we fail to understand no matter what we pick
the face value remains the same

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