On my usual between class teaching break the other day, I was enjoying my downtime in the food court at Place Victoria under the stock exchange building in downtown Montreal. I noticed a brand new shop had just opened across from the smoothie shop. It was a place I had never seen before called Chop Crazy. From time to time, I write for the Montreal Metblog about things going on in the city, so I snapped a picture from outside and went in to check the place out, thinking it might be a topic I could do for the metblog. The place was so inviting to me, because it seemed to be some kind of salad place. One of the things I most sorely miss about living in California is the dearth of good salads up here. My heart fluttered as I went in and saw all the chopped ingredients and lettuces, could it be? A real live salad shop? Finally! I approached the counter and the young man engaged me immediately. "Are you familiar with our concept?" he asked. I told him I wasn't and he launched his spiel, everything fresh every day, you can build your own salad or choose some with pre-selected ingredients. They had a Cobb Salad on the menu, and I don't think I've seen that here before. I told the young man that this is something I really missed about living in California and he asked me what brought me here. I said, "Marriage." Then the other guy chopping lettuce piped up, "I'm from Australia and I'm here for the same reason." I asked for a menu to take with me and decided to take a picture of the counter with all the chopped ingredients displayed. This is when everything went wrong.
Suddenly, next to me, a man barked, "You can't take pictures in here." Startled, I looked up, figured the guy was the manager, and said, "Oh c'mon, it's only food." He repeated his interdiction to picture-taking. I don't take well to direct orders from strangers and so I became combative. "I'm in a public place, I'm pretty sure I'm allowed to take pictures." The man then informed me that no, I'm not allowed to take pictures, at any mall, security will stop you from taking pictures. I told him that I thought that was bullshit and why doesn't he tell me the real reason he doesn't want me taking pictures. He maintained that it was not allowed. I said, "No, you just don't want me stealing your concept." He answered, "If you know that, why are you trying to do it." I made some reference to his charming paranoia and that "maybe I'd be back." I said it in a way that meant "I will never be back."
This is the food picture to which the guy objected me taking. Pretty ridiculous eh? Hello, it's a compliment. I was pretty furious when I left. How could such a pleasant introduction to this restaurant finish so badly? And furthermore, now I won't be able to eat there even though I'm exactly the kind of customer who would want to eat there. Pissed. me. off. So I went upstairs to security and asked if there were any restrictions on picture taking in the public areas. They told me no, of course not. So I went back downstairs to find the guy with whom I'd had the altercation who was sitting down shoveling a wrap down his throat. Perfect, I'd be able to speak. "Hi, I just wanted to let you know that I checked with security and there are no restrictions on taking pictures in the public areas." He swallowed and said, "Well, those are MY restrictions." Wow, get over yourself, guy. I then told him he should probably focus more on attracting customers instead of hassling them. He said, "Don't you have some work to do somewhere." I told him that as a matter of fact I worked in the building and he could have had a twice-three time a week customer, but now - not, and that he should be careful as he never knows who he's talking to. He barked his final response, "Yeah, whatever," and went back to shoveling the wrap into his mouth.
Turns out, this guy is one of the owners of the company. (Gotta love Google.) I'm not going to mention his name because then I wouldn't be able to say, "What an asshole!" I am also not recommending that you do not patronize this place. Had it not been for the asshole, I would definitely sample their goods. Sadly, I will not be able to do that.