A 290 lb stockbroker is suing the White Castle fast food chain because it’s booths are too small to accommodate his burger filled belly.
He claims that White Castle has a responsibility under The Americans with Disabilities Act to provide him with seating that can handle his ponderous paunch.
And ever since talk radio got a hold of the story, the response has been overwhelmingly negative towards Mr. Kessman. Callers and hosts have been in agreement that this is a frivolous lawsuit and that instead of blaming White Castle, Mr. Kessman should accept responsibility for his own lifestyle choices.
And while I agree that this lawsuit is ridiculous and should be tossed asap, it does raise some interesting questions.
- Fast food restaurants make their money by selling mass quantities of standardized food to the average citizen.
And I’m sure that when White Castle designed their current restaurant seating, the average person could comfortably sit in their booths. Unfortunately, the average citizen is starting to look more and more like Mr. Kessman.
So….I’m wondering if we should look at Mr. Kessman as a sort of canary in the obesity coalmine?
- Is his lawsuit the beginning of a trend?
- Will food producers face lawsuits based on disability or that they knowingly sold products that led to obesity, diabetes and metabolic syndrome?
- Will obesity become the new smoking?
- Will major food producers face multi-billion dollar class-action lawsuits?
Instead of trying to placate Mr. Kessman, should the executives at White Castle (and KFC, McDs, etc) see the writing on the wall and begin super-sizing all of their restaurants?
It may be ridiculous to think that a restaurant is responsible for how much food their customers over-eat, but if the average citizen is getting fatter, then companies who cater to the average citizen had better start making changes….before they find themselves in court….or losing market share to their competitors with bigger booths.