I came thiiiiis close to making this an Ethics Hero post, then I realized that the story was a gag.
But fictional tales pose real ethics dilemmas: let’s see if you can resolve the one raised by this spoof.
According to the satirical Daily Currant, Mayor Bloomberg, better known in NYC as the Nanny Mayor who has, among other measures, decreed how much sweet soda pop one is allowed to sell or purchase to consume, was having a business lunch at Collegno’s Pizzeria. When he asked for second slice of pizza, however, he was refused.
“I’m sorry sir,” the Currant quoted owner “Antonio Benito” as replying, “we can’t do that. You’ve reached your personal slice limit.” And he wasn’t kidding.
“OK, that’s funny,” the alternate universe New York Mayor remarked, “because of the soda thing … No come on. I’m not kidding. I haven’t eaten all morning, just send over another pepperoni.”
“I’m sorry sir. We’re serious,” Benito said. “We’ve decided that eating more than one piece isn’t healthy for you, and so we’re forbidding you from doing it.”
Bloomberg, in the Currant’s account, then snapped., saying: “Look jackass. I fucking skipped breakfast this morning just so I could eat four slices of your pizza. Don’t be a schmuck, just get back to the kitchen and bring out some fucking pizza, okay.”
Benito stood fast! “I’m sorry sir, there’s nothing I can do. Maybe you could go to several restaurants and get one slice at each. At least that way you’re walking. You know, burning calories.”
If only it were true…
But should owners of eateries withhold service according to a diner’s political views? Isn’t this petty, unprofessional, discriminatory and mean? We don’t allow restaurants to discriminate on the basis of race or religion, or sexual orientation. Is it ethical for then to discriminate because of politics? Isn’t the proper place for showing disapproval of elected officials the voting booth, and not the pizza kitchen?
Your Ethics Alarms Ethics Quiz of the Day, therefore, is this:
Would it be ethical for a real life Collegno’s to enforce a pizza slice limit on Mayor Bloomberg?
I’m afraid I’d love seeing the Mayor hoisted on his very own pizza petard too much to vote against the Collegno’s scenario. I have, in the past, disapproved of establishments that penalize patrons for their political affiliations, because I think it’s a dangerous and polarizing slippery slope. This, however, would amount to a specific political statement—indeed, a protest— made to a specific governmental authority in a vivid, creative, and, yes, funny way. It’s not discrimination; it’s a well-aimed and articulate shot across an elected official’s bow. I don’t think it would be unfair to Bloomberg; I think the Mayor would do well to pay attention to what Benito would be illustrating for him. “How do you like it when someone else tells you what you are allowed to eat?” It is a Golden Rule lesson: if it makes you so angry, Mayor, why do you think it’s okay to do the same thing to everyone else?
Too bad you only get one piece, Mr. Mayor!
“Facts”: Daily Current