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Food for thought from Brazil


“Oh My God!” exclaimed Beverly as she stepped back in amazement and splashed what should have been my first cup of coffee squarely on my lap.

Oi, tudo bem?” replied John as he sat down, took off his Copa do Mundo cap, and rested his yellow and green colored sunglasses on the table.  “That’s Portuguese for ‘How’s it goin,’ he articulated.

“What the …?” Beverly’s hand covered my mouth instead of my soiled pants.  A welcome alternative given the circumstances.

“Just got back from Brazil, meus amigos,” John accented, “and brought with me some souvenirs.”

“So we can tell,” challenged Beverly with hand now firmly on her hip and holding the still half-full coffee carafe menacingly close to another potential body target.

“I gather you…uh…liked it?” I ventured still leery of the cauldron Beverly swirled slowly with ominous indecision.

“Com certeza,” John grinned.  “And I’ve got some ideas that could really do wonders for this place, Beverly.”

“Oh, oh,”  I scooted my chair away from Beverly and the now increasingly agitated pot.

“Such as?” she approached.

“How about serving food by the pound?”

“Hm,…” Beverly paused with hand to chin, “well, I’d guess that you’d tip the scale around…”

“No, not the customer!  The food…by how much the food weighs!”

“In other words,…” I inserted, “you’d pay according to…”

“Bingo.   The more you fill your plate, the heavier it is, the more you pay,”  John leaned back triumphantly.  “You could make a fortune here.”

“From what I see you obviously contributed to a few Brazilian restaurateur retirement plans,”  Beverly snipped.

John frowned then suggested hopefully, “About your coffee special today…”

“But you know you’re onto something,” Beverly added as she placed the coffee for a customer at an adjoining table.

“Uh…how about some decaf java?”  John asked expectantly.

“Yes, yes, customers could order and pay according to several criteria,” Beverly whipped out her bill pad and began to scribble.

“Uh…I liked that Brazilian roast you…” John urged.

“We could have one rate for people who ordered only gluten-free items,…”

“Well…that wasn’t exactly what I had in mind,” John despaired as I smiled and sipped noisily.

“There would be a low-calorie section there,” Beverly pointed to her left, “and the non-fat selections we could squeeze in there…”

“No, no…by weight I meant…”

“I get it, John.  But you’re on to something.  There could be scale inside the front door and we’d give customers discounts based on how…” Beverly measured playfully.

 “And color,” I intoned

 “Hey, that’s discriminatory!” John protested.

“Yes, just the ticket,” Beverly brightened, “separate measures for people who eat only yellow vegetables or greens.  We’d need a spectrometer though…”

 “Fruits?” I savored.

 “Oh just forget it,” John pouted crossing his arms tattooed with the Brazilian flag and the words Ordem e Progresso.

“John, these are great ideas from your trip.  And today’s coffee is on the house,” Beverly stood up, whistled, and swayed Samba-style back to her station.

“But I haven’t had any yet,” John pressed.

“I think she’s weighing it,”  I calculated.

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