Written by Ilona Ronay
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Saturday, 19 June 2004

Several New York City and Chicago restaurants have decided to offer new dining options to enhance customers' enjoyment of their meals.

For breakfast, diners may now choose to eat at a regular table or to eat lying down. Beds, pillows, linens, and medical equipment are provided; pyjamas are optional. The customer is required to feign sleep and mutter incoherently when shaken awake. Waiters and waitresses will bring soft-boiled eggs, toast, two aspirin, and weak tea to the bed after taking the diner's temperature and blood pressure. The diner must leave the restaurant by wheelchair after eating. This option is for those diners who enjoy being hospital patients.

For lunch and dinner, diners may eat at a regular table or may choose a soft chair with a foot rest and a TV tray. Clothing is required, and the TV will be turned on to a program of the management's choosing. There will be absolutely no channel surfing. This option is for those diners who enjoy shovelling in their food while watching TV.

Diners who want to duplicate their Monday through Friday eating experiences may choose to sit in a car for breakfast, lunch, or dinner. The waiter or waitress will bring them fast food sandwiches and boiling hot or icy cold drinks with ill-fitting tops and a great deal of drippy condensation. They will not receive condiments or the correct change. This option is for diners who no longer know how to eat outside of a car.

The final option includes having a woman in a flowered, ruffled apron stand next to the table and say one or more of the following sentences: "mangia, mangia," "Eat, tottela, eat," "You're not getting any dessert until you finish your vegetables," "What do you mean you're not hungry?", "If you don't like what we're having, do the shopping and the cooking yourself!" or "Could you stop guzzling your food and talk to me for just one minute?" This option is for those diners who had mothers who cooked for them.

Prices will be comparable to an ordinary dining experience except for the car option, where diners will have to pay tolls and parking tickets in addition to their meals, and the hospital option, where diners will have to pay hospital fees and the cost of the aspirin, which is $27 per tablet.

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The story above is a satire or parody. It is entirely fictitious.

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