Cracker Barrel


Am in the deepest of deep south. Ate at a Cracker Barrel tonight. Had the catfish, with a side of carrots. My waitress was named Jennifer. She’s 27—told me her husband nearly died in a car accident a while back, and that she’s working extra shifts to make up for lost income. As soon as she said that, I decided I’d give a huge tip.

Then she started talking.

Jennifer visited Los Angeles a few years ago, but as soon as she heard someone speaking Spanish—”I told my husband I wanted to go home. In America, we have one language. Use it!”

Jennifer likes the black people. “If they work hard and take care of their families, I have no problem with them. Look, my manager is black, and I love him to death.”

Jennifer doesn’t love interracial dating. “It ain’t right. I’m not one to yell at other people. But I’d never do it. There’s a waitress who works here who had sex with a black guy, and now she has a mixed baby. Everybody looks at her.”

Jennifer thinks Sarah Palin is peaches. “The way she carries a gun—I love it! But Obama is just stupid. That man clearly is not smart. He’s terrible.”

Is 7% too much?

16 thoughts on “Cracker Barrel”

  1. Was at a Cracker Barrel on Sunday, driving back from Florida. What creeped me out was the black-and-white portraits of men and women from decades past. Every single one looked like it should have been captioned, “Shortly after this picture was taken, she took an axe to her family…”

  2. So I guess that the waitresses at your beloved New York eateries are all Rhodes Scholars, with no bias or prejudice of any kind, huh?

    Your own anti-rural bias seeps into your writing frequently, as you assume that anyone who lives outside an urban setting is a minority/gay-hating, machine gun-toting, bible-banging rube until he/she proves to you otherwise.

    You rip these people to shreds, yet you guilty of the same thing, just in reverse.

  3. Must be nice to sit on your high horse and be so judgemental. Ever walk in someone else’s shoes who did not grow up with a silver spoon?

  4. OK, not to start some political/racial/anything feud here, but don’t rip white women for loving Sarah Palin for carrying a gun when black women love Obama because he’s partially black.

    That really is the sole basis a lot of people used in voting for him, you know.

    Not hating on anything, just saying….

  5. Looks like you’ve definitely hit a slippery slope on this one, Jeff, and I’m pretty sure that you knew you’d take some flak, because Palin has to have fans SOMEWHERE, right?

    It isn’t so much an anti-rural bias as it is a shock to come in contact with somebody who has views that so virulently contract your own, and it’s often difficult to respect the somebody’s opinions if their reasoning is that the President of the United States is ‘stupid’ and ‘terrible.’ Her views sound like holdovers of an age bygone and past, and that we’ve tried very hard to get away from.

    So I think you aren’t trying to say ‘this lady is stupid! look at the stupid country bumpkin!’ No, you’re trying to say ‘these views that we often think we’ve escaped are still cut deep in our country, and we have to moderate around them’

    At least, in a perfect world, that’s what you’re trying to say. But clouds of politics and prejudice obscure everything. So at least try to politely flame, instead of out-and-out calling Jeff a prejudiced ass.

  6. You are an ass, Mr. Pearlman.

    You know good and well you didn’t have to drive to “The Deep South” and locate yourself in a Cracker Barrel Restaurant to find racism.

    All you had to do was go over to Queens or take the Staten Island ferry and you would hear the same stuff. You hear it over and over in Manhattan, too.

    But then you couldn’t write a tired hackneyed column based on stereotypes and feel the safety of looking down your nose at people you know your provincial friends in NYC are glad to judge right along with you.

    Be honest with yourself Mr. Pearlman. You jerk.

  7. I’ve lived in Kentucky all my life, so it’s not quite the Deep South, but close enough. I can’t say it’s very often that I meet anyone as stereotypical as the waitress you describe. Consider yourself lucky to have met one of the very few people still around who think that way, so you could write a condescending blog post about it. I think you’re a great writer Jeff, but damn, please get off your high horse every once in awhile!

  8. Mr. Pearlman, thanks. I mean it. I live in Tennessee. This crap happens all the time. Folks, there is no high horse involved here. He was making an observation and I would have made the same observation.

  9. So you were going to tip her well because you could tell she needed the money. Then when you realized she was a typical “red state” conservative, you decided to stiff her. This says a lot about you. While it’s your right to tip as you see fit, not sure why you would volunteer this information in a blog. It makes you look petty.

  10. The commenters who complain that you didn’t extravagantly tip an overtly racist, backwards-thinking, ignorant, xenophobic woman confuse me. I don’t see rural bias or Southern bias. I see a man who refused to embrace intolerance and simply wanted to relay the gross prejudice he observed.

  11. Spent most of my life in Texas. Have heard a thousand times worse than this a thousand times.

    The people here who are for some reason mad at you for pointing out how sad and offensive this way of thinking is are revealing far more about themselves than they are about you.

    Anyone who is not constantly surprised and saddened each and every time they hear such utterances should ask themselves why not.

  12. Oh, and on the whole is black people only voted for Obama because he’s black thing…

    It’s pretty safe to say that black people (or any other minorities) have shown a hell of a lot more willingness to vote beyond their color than whites.

  13. No, 7% is not too much, it’s too little. 15% is standard, and more for exceptional service. She could have had any views she wanted, she still served you. And in years of visiting Cracker Barrels, I’ve never had a single waitress just start telling me their opinions like this…my guess is you were prompting her for her comments. I don’t agree necessarily with her beliefs, but you’re pretty much a cretin for setting such a trap. Oh yeah, and again…..15% is standard. You’ve obviously never worked for the public.

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