Bullitt's Bros

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

The Morality of Ordering

Sorry for the lack of posting. I have an explanation, though: I was sick, and I also didn't want to post because I was lazy. Anyway ...

"The Morality of Ordering"? That's a pretty pretentious title.

Well, "ordering" here isn't about categorization. I'm not talking about whether race is a real category or whether we should refer to people based on their gender rather based on their sex. I'm talking about ordering food.

So, I was at this place in the West Village the other day. A Chinese place, which specializes in a food that is, I think, of the owner's own invention: the bing.

The bing is like a very large, delicious pot sticker, but instead of having a wonton skin as its delicious exterior, it has a sesame-seed-studded, Charleston chew-like wrapping, concealing not just pork and scallions (like your typical pot sticker), but a wide variety of things: pork; pork and chives; pork and chinese cabbage; spicy pork; chicken; spicy chicken; red bean; taro; banana; you get the idea.

Here's a picture of the bing.

In addition to being delicious, the bing is quite store-able. You can order twenty, put them in the freezer, take one out a week later, and microwave it for two minutes. Indeed, the menu encourages you to.

So, because I've gotten to that point in my love where even moving seems like an ordeal (and don't get me started about doing stuff I don't like), I decided to order, like, twenty-two bings of all manner of flavor.

Here's the weird thing: the lady behind the counter asked me: "why you order so many bing?", and I felt guilty that I was getting them all for myself. Moreover, I think she would have said something critical to me if I had said I was ordering them all for myself. So I lied: "I'm ordering them for a party". "Oh, okay."

Problem avoided.

But why was there a problem? I mean, what's there to feel guilty about? After all, I was paying for the bings; the menu told me to order lots of them for storage; and the lady behind the counter worked for the bing shop. So why was this transaction any more charged than ordering a big mac at McDonald's?

Well, I have some explanations.

First, it would be incredibly gluttonous for me to eat twenty-two bings. Never mind it wasn't just me, but me and my lady. I mean, even at McDonald's, if someone came in there and ordered fifteen big macs, the person behind the counter would probably be judgmental. She would think, "I'll get you the big macs, fat ass", even if I wasn't fat. (But if I ordered fifteen big macs, how could I not be a fat ass? If I were The Big Show, that's how.)

Now of course, there is nothing gluttonous about eating twenty-two bings over fourteen days. You can easily eat more than two if you're hungry, and the things are only like $1 each. It's cheaper than eating frozen foods, and the cashier at the D'Agostinos never gives me lip for buying sixty frozen ravioli dinners.

But even if I say that I'm freezing them to eat over several days, the lady behind the counter doesn't know that. She doesn't know what I'm going to do with them. I could easily say that I'm buying twenty-two bings to eat over the next few weeks but really take them home and competitive eat them.* But if I say that I'm taking them home to party with, well that's festive and unselfish, so good on me.

Second, the lady behind the counter wasn't the proprieter. It doesn't matter to her whether her store makes money that night.

Third, and as for me, I felt the need to lie. Why? Because I knew she wouldn't ask me what I was doing with the bings unless she thought there was a right and a wrong answer. The wrong answer was, "personal consumption". So I made sure the good of the many outweighed the good of the few -- or the one!**

Now, lest you doubt my perception of this story, let me tell you where I get my fear of shopkeepers.

Once, I was getting food for my D&D group back in Dayton, Ohio. People asked me to get them things from the supermarket: Mountain Dew, Cheetos, iced cream, whatever. One particular badass, Keith, asked me to get him some pepperoni. "How much?" "Oh, about sixteen ounces." "You got it, Keith."

So I went to the store, and I got everybody his food without any difficulty. But when I went to the deli counter to get some pepperoni, trouble ensued.

Me: Hi, I would like some pepperoni.
Shopkeeper: How much?
Me: Oh, about sixteen ounces should do.
Shopkeeper (suddenly starting up short): Why?
Me: I have a friend who wants it, so I'm buying it for him.***
Shopkeeper (briefly thinking): ... No.
Me: What?
Shopkeeper: No. I'm not going to give you a pound of pepperoni. That's too much. I'll give you, like, six ounces.
Me: You're not going to sell me a pound of pepperoni?
Shopkeeper: No, sorry. It's too much.****

So I left the butcher, went to the cheap meats section and bought Keith two 8-ounce bags of pepperoni. In retrospect, I should have told him I was having a pepperoni party. "Pepperoni party? Oh, sure, go to town, have six pounds! Enjoy, you crazy kids!"

Anyway, the bing lady totally wouldn't have sold me the bings without my bing party idea.

*--Once I ate six hot dogs over two days. I kid you not.
**--Star Trek II.
***--In retrospect, to the shopkeeper, this "friend" might as well have been in Canada.
****--At this point I should have teed off and smacked the guy.


  • I enjoyed the very C. Montgomery Burns usage of the appropriate "iced cream" rather than the common "ice cream".

    I love you.

    By Blogger BIG, at 6:38 PM  

  • Twenty-two Bings in fourteen days? Hmmm..... Well, let's see. You wrote this post at 10 am? And you ordered the Bings 'the other day', so it's safe to assume that at the time of your posting you had already been alone with the Bings for a minimum of fifteen hours. And as I write this, the clock has just struck 11:30 pm. Which means that, at an absolute minimum, you have had unimpeded access to pork treats for AT LEAST twenty-seven hours.

    My prediction is this: You have already eaten forty-three Bings (which includes the twenty-two 'backup Bings' you were two ashamed to write about on your blog), and are currently sitting at the computer playing Solitaire as the the last, half-frozen Bing thaws in your hideous, slavering maw.

    Go ahead, tell me I'm wrong.

    By Blogger Professor Mouth, at 11:50 PM  

  • Bobbo... you setting me up on this thing or what?

    By Blogger Joe, at 5:09 AM  

  • I hope you used the right tones. "Bing" can also mean ice, at least in Mandarin, at least so I was told. But I was told this by someone speaking Chinese, so maybe it also means "foreign devil."

    By Blogger kmosser, at 9:57 AM  

  • it's very important that you please tell me where to find these bings. also, good luck in washington! i will be with you in spirit.

    By Blogger jessica, at 1:00 PM  

  • SWEET!!! I made the blog. I do remember that night well. I had just started the Adkins and wanted a low carb snack for the 5-6 hour game session.

    Interesting that you should bring this up. I was just thinking about The Dorothy Lane Market last week after seeing it in the news. Evidently there was a robbery. Perhaps the guy was simply trying to buy 16 ounces of pepperoni and had to pull a gun to get his way.

    By Blogger Keith, at 12:09 AM  

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