I was flying back up to NYC over the weekend and was starving from being stuck on the runway for 3 hours and not being able to accept one of their crappy snacks because of all the packaging. By the time I got to Laguardia, the Wendy's in the American Airlines terminal was the only restaurant open, so I gave it a shot and went into my pre-order spiel. And they wouldn't serve me! The manager came out and said that if my plate was dirty, it might get on the hamburger, and I may sue him! I could not believe it. He was so cold - like they even have a guideline for using someone else's plate. Put the motherf**kin hamburger in the motherf**kin plate! Even my piercing thoughts didn't sway him.
By contrast, I love going to small New York mom-and-pop bodega's and deli's often run by Hispanic and foreign workers. The reaction to my project is always so spirited. My new pal Tony at the LA cafe at Madison Park has the whole staff trained to serve my breakfast with no trash or else I will "fine" them. Everyone behind the counter (10 or so) now knows who I am, and all have some fun reaction to my project. It is either laughter, questions, a look of complete weirdness, but it is always warmth and a smile.
This project has reinforced my opinion of the overly processed world of corporations, which are rife with guidelines corporate processes and governed by the economics of being sued. Getting back to the point of this project, even if all those guidelines and rules cut off the human element, they could be used for waste efficiency to be part of the "process".