Instigator / Pro
10
1417
rating
158
debates
32.59%
won
Topic

should restaurants be able to reject customers based on being overweight?

Status
Finished

All stages have been completed. The voting points distribution and the result are presented below.

Arguments points
0
9
Sources points
4
6
Spelling and grammar points
3
3
Conduct points
3
3

With 3 votes and 11 points ahead, the winner is ...

MisterChris
Parameters
More details
Publication date
Last update date
Category
Health
Time for argument
Two days
Voting system
Open voting
Voting period
One month
Point system
Four points
Rating mode
Rated
Characters per argument
10,000
Contender / Con
21
1765
rating
44
debates
89.77%
won
Description
~ 272 / 5,000

I had this dream yesterday where I argued the con side but couldn’t find any major flaws in the pro logic. So here I am to see if it stands up to scrutiny. I argue in favor of the restaurant setting an arbitrary standard for overweight to encourage people to be healthier.

Round 1
Pro
So here's how the conversation went (paraphrased for logical reasons)

Me: Wait, why is this fat person excluded from your restaurant?

Manager: we're an exclusive restaurant with reasonable rules, such as no shirt no shoes no service.

Me: Uh... but like, is it bad that the fat person is allowed to eat here?

Manager: our restaurant has to keep an image. We want to promote that being healthy is better.

Me: It's not like being fat is inherently bad, right?

Manager: Well, there's all the studies that obesity leads to health related diseases and other issues. We wouldn't want people to relate us to being similar to fast food restaurants that cause fatness and let fat people indulge themselves.

Me: Hmm... I can't find the error in the logic... well, time to eat food!

Now it's your turn, Mister chris.
Con
Thx, Seldiora.

"RESOLVED: restaurants should be able to reject customers based on being overweight"

CONTENTION 1: ULTIMATELY NON-UNIQUE 

The thesis of the PRO argument is that restaurants would take advantage of the provision outlined in the resolution to promote public health. Ultimately, though, if restaurants do not use the provision, then any positive impacts of increased health PRO could cite are irrelevant, and all we are left with is the injustice inherent in such a statute. 

On that note, “unhealthy” restaurants & “healthy” restaurants alike would not use such a policy as it is diametrically opposed to good business sense.
In 2013 the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) found that 57.6% of all American citizens were overweight or obese.”

Already then, both categories of restaurants are cutting their potential customers by more than half if they used the policy. But even ignoring this, both types of restaurants STILL wouldn’t exercise the statute.

For unhealthy restaurants, their main demographic is unhealthy people whose desire to eat unhealthy foods outweighs their desire to lose weight… It is within their best interest that more people become unhealthy. 

For healthy restaurants, it’s more complicated. Aside from the fact that in the short term, if they decided they were only an exclusive club for “skinny” or “already healthy” people, they would be automatically losing up to 60% of their potential customers in the US, their main demographic is people who want to be healthy… and that means that overall, their biggest demographic is ALSO people who are overweight. 

The CDC states:
“In 2013–2016, 49.1% of U.S. adults tried to lose weight in the last 12 months...The percentage of adults who tried to lose weight increased with family income and with weight status category.”

This confirms that as people become more overweight, their incentive to reduce that weight increases… and how do they do that? By eating healthier. It follows, then, that if healthy restaurants refused to serve overweight customers, in the long-term, that would lead to less & less people becoming healthy due to those increased barriers… and with that, comes a dramatic shrinking of the demographic reach of those healthy restaurants. 

It is within the best interest of the restaurant, therefore, to serve overweight people healthy foods, as it increases their demographic reach both in the short and long term. 

CONTENTION 2: COUNTER-PRODUCTIVE

Even if none of what CON said last contention holds water, you can still negate because PRO’s proposal actually backfires. In the long-term, if restaurants actually exercised such a proposal, PRO will increase the amount of overweight people instead of decrease it. 

PRO claims healthy restaurants will use the statute to appear more health-oriented. In a PRO world then, overweight people would be locked into eating unhealthy foods whenever they want to eat out… working against PRO’s goal of decreasing obesity. 

RECALL: 
“This confirms that as people become more overweight, their incentive to reduce that weight increases… and how do they do that? By eating healthier. It follows, then, that if healthy restaurants refused to serve overweight customers, in the long-term, that would lead to less & less people becoming healthy due to those increased barriers… and with that, comes a dramatic shrinking of the demographic reach of those healthy restaurants.”

Instead of urging healthy restaurants to deny customers who are overweight, then, a better idea would be to target the unhealthy food industry itself. Passing laws requiring healthier foods to be served in fast food restaurants, for example, would be much more effective. 

CONTENTION 3: NEBULOUS & DISCRIMINATORY

Even if none of the last two contentions apply, you can still negate because the laws PRO proposes are unnecessarily nebulous & discriminatory. 

PRO proposes no metric of evaluating who is overweight… If it’s done by eyeballing the customer, then that opens up a large margin of error & leaves opportunity for employees to discriminate against people they don’t like. 

Additionally, restaurants are considered a public place.  According to LegalMatch, a legal help site, 

Any establishment that involves a large amount of public money is considered a public place. This would include places like public parks or recreational centers. However, privately-owned restaurants and bars are an exception to the rule. They are also considered public places by most legal definitions because the public is invited into the establishment.
A ‘Public Place’ is an enclosed area where the public is invited or which the public is permitted including, but not limited to, banks and other financial institutions, schools, college buildings, public conveyances, recreational facilities, lounges, taverns, and bars, The best way to analyze whether somewhere is a public or private place is to ask if you can enter without an invitation if you can it’s a public place on the other hand if you cannot then it is probably private.
While restaurants are considered places of public gathering the primary purpose of a restaurant is to sell food to the general public, which requires susceptibility to equal protection laws. A restaurant’s existence as private property does not excuse an unjustified refusal of service. A restaurant is much different than a country club or a nightclub, which usually caters itself to a specific group of clientele based on and social status.”

Here are some instances in which denying service in a public place would be acceptable according to LegalMatch:
  • Patrons that act in a certain way that is rude or disrupting other guests
  • Patrons that overfill the capacity of the restaurant can lead to safety hazards
  • Patrons that enter the restaurant after the restaurant is closed and no longer serving food to customers
  • Patrons accompanied by large groups of non-customers looking to create rowdy behavior after hours
  • For patrons lacking adequate hygiene or cleanliness, discrimination for this purpose is acceptable because it puts the health and safety of others in the restaurant or establishment at risk
  • Patrons who bring their dog to your restaurant, which is a violation of local health ordinances. When this happens it is okay to tell the patron to leave because of their dog. One exception would be if the dog is a service dog and protected by the American Disabilities Act.
  • Patrons looking to enter a private establishment that requires a certain dress code for etiquette purposes
Note that in all of these instances, there must be a disruption caused. Even in the dress code scenario, the person will have violated social etiquette. On the other hand, simply being overweight does not cause any disruption or disturbance to the operation of the restaurant, nor does it risk anyone else’s safety or violate a social code of conduct. 

Additionally, while “overweight” isn’t explicitly outlined in many state’s equal protection laws, telling a person who is overweight that they can not eat in a restaurant because of their appearance is legally akin to denying them from entering a bank, school, library, or another public place for that reason… It is an unnecessarily severe form of discrimination given that the restaurant invites the general public to come into it, & CON would argue it is similarly severe to denying service on religious, political, or racial basis. 

Even if you buy none of that, refusing to serve someone based on how they choose to appear, if it’s not disturbing anyone else & doesn’t violate social etiquette, violates their basic right of bodily autonomy. 

If a person WANTS to be obese, who are we to deny them that right? They do not cause any societal harms due to their condition that is worth overriding it. 

CONCLUSION:

This proposed policy will never be exercised in the real world, negating any potential positive effects PRO could have & only leaving the injustice of allowing such a horrid policy to exist in the first place. Even if it WAS practiced, it would overall be counter-productive to the cause of increasing health, and is not a smart policy decision compared to the alternatives. Regardless of anything practical, though, on the sole basis of injustice, we can negate.

Back to you, Seldiora.


Round 2
Pro
well here's my theory right. I tasted the food and it was kind of salty, oily ish... not sure. Anyways, I theorize that the restaurant is just putting up a front and that the restaurant is actually just fast food in disguise. There's even been in the news where fast food restaurants actually encourage the person to lose weight because only healthy people would be able to eat food with a lot of fat without consequences (https://www.goodnewsnetwork.org/when-fast-food-restaurants-encourage-obese-man-to-lose-weight-he-loses-140-pounds-in-15-weeks/). 

Also we don't know where this was in the dream -- overall only 39% of the world is overweight and 13% obese (https://www.who.int/news-room/fact-sheets/detail/obesity-and-overweight#:~:text=Worldwide%20obesity%20has%20nearly%20tripled,%2C%20and%2013%25%20were%20obese.), so you wouldn't be losing too many customers picking a random place on the map.

I guess I don't have anything against point 3. I suppose the restaurant manager was less justified than I thought.
Con
Thx, Seldiora.

well here's my theory right. I tasted the food and it was kind of salty, oily ish... not sure. Anyways, I theorize that the restaurant is just putting up a front and that the restaurant is actually just fast food in disguise. There's even been in the news where fast food restaurants actually encourage the person to lose weight because only healthy people would be able to eat food with a lot of fat without consequences (https://www.goodnewsnetwork.org/when-fast-food-restaurants-encourage-obese-man-to-lose-weight-he-loses-140-pounds-in-15-weeks/). 

PRO contradicts themselves and alters their position... arguing that unhealthy restaurants would be exercising the statute instead of healthy ones... OK.

CON has already stated why the restaurant industry will not exercise such a statute as a whole, including unhealthy restaurants.

RECALL & EXTEND: "On that note, “unhealthy” restaurants & “healthy” restaurants alike would not use such a policy as it is diametrically opposed to good business sense.
Wikipedia cites: “In 2013 the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) found that 57.6% of all American citizens were overweight or obese.”
Already then, both categories of restaurants are cutting their potential customers by more than half if they used the policy. But even ignoring this, both types of restaurants STILL wouldn’t exercise the statute. For unhealthy restaurants, their main demographic is unhealthy people whose desire to eat unhealthy foods outweighs their desire to lose weight… It is within their best interest that more people become unhealthy. "

While PRO gives an example of a man in England losing weight due to fast food restaurants "refusing service," note:

  • This is an isolated example that overlooks the broader, inevitable trend 
  • The only reason those restaurants refused service was due to the campaigning of the man's personal trainer, not of their own volition. It certainly wasn't under the rationale that they could feed him more if he didn't die
Also we don't know where this was in the dream -- overall only 39% of the world is overweight and 13% obese (https://www.who.int/news-room/fact-sheets/detail/obesity-and-overweight#:~:text=Worldwide%20obesity%20has%20nearly%20tripled,%2C%20and%2013%25%20were%20obese.), so you wouldn't be losing too many customers picking a random place on the map.

  • "only 39%"... PRO thinks 40% of the entire world is chump change? Note that this percentage is weighed down by the numerous third world nations. CON's point stands even stronger. 
  • Within PRO's source it's noted: "Worldwide obesity has nearly tripled since 1975."                                                                                                                                                                             
I guess I don't have anything against point 3. I suppose the restaurant manager was less justified than I thought.

  • PRO ultimately concedes the debate, as CON's 3rd contention renders the proposed statute irreparably immoral. 
NOTE:

  • PRO has still not engaged with CON's point that other courses of action are more effective. RECALL & EXTEND: "Instead of urging healthy restaurants to deny customers who are overweight, then, a better idea would be to target the unhealthy food industry itself. Passing laws requiring healthier foods to be served in fast food restaurants, for example, would be much more effective."
Back to you, Seldiora. 



Round 3
Pro
I concede.
Con
Thx Seldiora,

  • PRO has conceded the debate.
  • Vote CON.
  • That is all. 
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