Small Business

Korean Tourists and Gay Weddings: Adventures in Service Entitlement Mentalities

What do you mean your business model doesn't revolve around me?


They even have their own buses? OUTRAGE.
Credit: Nataraj Metz / / CC BY-NC-SA

One of the side-battles in the squabble over gay marriage recognition has been about public accommodations. Can the government force businesses to acknowledge and provide services tied to these relationships? Should a bakery, photographer or florist be forced by law to provide services for a gay wedding? In New Mexico and Washington State, the government is saying "yes." These private businesses are providing "public accommodations" and cannot engage in such discrimination, freedom of association (and market competition) be damned.

The outrage is annoying – who needs the government to deal with this when we've got Yelp and social pressures? I gave the subject matter some analysis last summer, but new cases keep cropping up. Last night, a completely different story highlighted how many folks have their own blinders when it comes to public accommodations. That is to say, people seem to care a lot more about public accommodations when they're the ones being shut out.

Let's head back to my old hometown of Barstow, Calif., population 22,000, in the middle of the desert between Los Angeles and Las Vegas. One might guess that such a community gets a lot of revenue from tourists passing through town on the way to Vegas and back. One would be absolutely correct. Barstow pretty much depends on it, along with civilian military jobs at the nearby Army post and Marine depot.

There are a handful of small businesses in Barstow that exist only to serve Asian – particularly Korean – tour buses that pass through town. Some of them don't have conventional hours. They open up for the tour buses, feed them or let them shop there, and then close when the buses leave.

These Korean-targeting businesses have been there for years without any issue. But then one recently took over the location of a beloved community pizza parlor that shut down last year (that's a doozy of a story as well about how the county government throwing money around artificially inflated commercial rents to the detriment of the community it claims to be helping, but I digress). When residents stopped by hoping to be served like a typical restaurant and found it to be closed or less than accommodating, well, some folks got upset.

The Desert Dispatch reports:

Dae Ho Korean Restaurant located where the popular Straw Hat Pizza once operated has no posted business hours and local Mary Ann Legore said she felt excluded after only seeing tour groups entering.

"There are only so many restaurants in Barstow," she said. "If you find a good one you'd like to go to it instead of going 40-50 miles down the road. And I like Asian food."

Manager Kay Hong said the business is in fact open to the public although she admitted that they coordinate with tour bus groups and only open when they are expecting them to arrive. The groups are made up of about 50 people each time.

"The public is welcome, of course," Hong said.

She said the food is buffet-style, serving mostly salad, and your choice of curry over rice or spaghetti. However they don't have servers, menus or set business hours according to Hong.

A couple of story commenters defended Dae Ho's right to conduct business as they please, but there are also accusations of racism, allegations that something illegal must be going on there, and suggestions that they be shut down. Some seem amazed at the idea that there's a place that serves food but isn't actually designed to serve them.

I would love to see a Venn diagram of people who think florists and bakers should be able to refuse to serve gay weddings but believe the Korean restaurant should be forced to keep regular hours and serve all comers. I would also like to see the reverse – the Korean restaurant can serve who they want, but wedding service businesses are illegally discriminating if they won't sell to same-sex couples.

There are other Asian restaurants in Barstow, so Legore isn't actually missing anything. Based on the description of what they're serving, arguably she wouldn't be missing anything even if there weren't other Asian restaurants in Barstow, but there's no accounting for taste.


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  1. By all means, social pressure. It’ll be fun to see which way that works out.

  2. The club of government is like the one ring. It’s enticing. The power of it is hard to resist. Go ahead, put on the ring. Do it. Everyone will have to bend to your will. Yes, your precious…

  3. where would issues be without the griefer committee insisting that everyone agree with it.

  4. Reminds me of the story of a popular (relatively speaking) Chinese restaurant that’s the go to place for after hour quick snack and meal in Alhambra. Local ordinance stipulate that they MUST close after certain amount of hours of continuous operation. This kind of mess up the restaurant’s clientele that like to go there at 2AM in the morning.

    The restaurant’s solution is to have an adjacent location, in which they’ll open when their primary one shuts down for the night.

    After a while, even the ninies at the city hall realize that the ordinance is stupid and rescinded it.

    1. After a while, even the ninies at the city hall realize that the ordinance is stupid and rescinded it.

      I guess there is hope for the world after all.

  5. Demonstrating, once again, why I hate people.

    Fuck you, griefer idiots!

  6. “These private businesses are providing ‘public accommodations’ and cannot engage in such discrimination…”

    NM and WA may want to break out a dictionary. Shops and services are not accommodations; correctly understood, accommodations are living quarters and any provisions therein provided for travellers or passengers.

    1. same in Oregon the leftist in government hijack property right by redefining ‘public accommodations

  7. Barstow pretty much depends on it, along with civilian military jobs at the nearby Army post and Marine depot.

    Heh, my branch manager this week offered me a choice of next assignment at Ft. Irwin (the said Army post), Ft. Polk (in the Louisiana swamp), or Ft. Leonard Wood (literally lost in the woods of Missouri). I told him to go fuck himself. Developing.

  8. Shackford, you grew up in Barstow? Damn. I hope you’ve experienced other parts of the Golden State.

    1. No, I lived there for the past 10 years though.

      I grew up in the Orlando-area. Sanford, to be exact.

      1. Hey there Home Town Boy.

        From Heathrow (Palucciville)

    2. (Then) Camp Irwin was my father’s last duty station, 1958-1960. I was Boy Scout age, and really enjoyed the desert. Dad was scoutmaster. We camped out in Mule Canyon, where the “Twenty-Mule-Teams” were kept back when the local industry was Borax. Good old Troop 68.

      I published a short story set there. It began, “There are two seasons in Barstow; the dry season and the day it rains.”

  9. Freedom of association for me, but not for thee.

  10. Does that say, “Asian Buffet Tours”?? TEN TICKETS, PLEASE

    1. I don’t think it’s all you can handle K-Pop stars.

      1. I think I can settle for the dancers.

    2. No, it says “Asian Buffet Trns.” Although trannies would have fit just fine if they’d spaced it out.

  11. I’m still waiting to hear the overwhelming and persuasive argument as to why anyone would want to give their money to people who hate them or at the very least, dislike them.

    1. Dude, I love paying my taxes. Don’t you?

      1. +1 to the original comment, +10 to the follow-up.

  12. I’ve actually eaten in an asian restaurant like that. Just wandered in, and five seconds later realized I was in a different universe. I got served, and ate my curry over spaghetti (a traditional asian comfort food), and left, but I’m not coming back.

    Frankly I don’t see anything wrong with it. It’s only when WHITE people do it that it’s wrong.

  13. So, who comes up with all that crazy stuff. Wow.

  14. A wedding is a ceremony that (in a substantial minority, if not a major) contains religious aspects. Forcing anyone to participate in a wedding (whether the specific wedding is secular or not) is a violation of religious beliefs. If it would be a violation of the first amendment to force a priest to do it, it’s a violation of the first amendment to force a believer to do it.

  15. You don’t have to leave the wedding industry to look for non-homosexual examples of discrimination. If a church doesn’t think a straight couple is up to their religious standards, they won’t marry them. If a wedding consultant thinks a straight bride doesn’t have the right personality or income, tough shit. Hell, you could argue that ANYONE who is getting married is being discriminated against by vendors. I know a girl who was getting married and tried to hide the fact that her cake was supposed to be a wedding cake to the baker. They found out AFTER they made the cake (just a sheet cake) and said “oh, now your cake is (price 2-3 times the initial amount)”. The same fucking cake. Discrimination is unavoidable for anyone that is a non-hermit.

    1. When we got married in the mid-90s we had a very small family-only ceremony on the other side of the country from where we lived. A few weeks later we had an informal wedding reception/party, just for our friends (the invitation said “no parents”) that was designed to be more of a fun blowout. We rented out a private hall that was the only building for quite a ways in any direction, and brought in kegs, spirits and mixers, and some snacks. We hired a local band for $500, telling them it was just a party. They were great, and everyone was dancing, having a great time. Then somehow the band found out halfway through that this was associated with a wedding, and they immediately came up and demanded another $500, saying they never would have played for so cheap if they’d known. I said, “what’s the difference — this is the same party you thought it was without knowing what it was for.” They were pissed. They finished up their set and said they were done.

      So yeah, discrimination just because it was a “wedding”, just like your cake.

  16. I wonder how ‘public accommodations’ sits if I complain if a store that is Kosher or Halal cannot or will not to sell me a ham.

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