Philosophy Test

One question on this philosophy test:

When you go out to a restaurant, what is it you’re really paying for?


Let’s say there’s no such thing as a doggie bag. You get halfway through your meal and you’re kind of full. What do you do?


I don’t know where you’re trying to go with this, but there are literally hundreds if not thousands of motives behind going to a restaurant. Just a couple: I’m willing to pay to have someone else cook and do the dishes. I really just want to get half drunk, so I’ll sit at the bar and have three drinks waiting for a table, then a bottle of wine with whatever the hell is dinner.

I know of exactly one motive, underlying the variety of possible circumstantial motives.

I’m not sure if it matters, but I’d like to nitpick your question. A restaurant is a statement very different from X restaurant, where X would be a specific location. Certain places have certain key factors that determine what I am paying for.

Or I am wildly missing your point.

Yeah, No-body, I’m looking for the universal underlying the particulars. What are you buying, when you buy anything?

I will have a point to share. I think. :-"

I’ll ponder on it. Right now my brain is just triggering a sequence that I need to move beyond. The word restuarant makes me think of Plaza Ventana, which serves an awesome burrito that I am willing to eat at any point in time. And they’ve got good chips n salsa and margaritas as well. But the burrito is just gangbusters and I want to eat one right now. Right. Now.

The money you pay is compensation for the food, the preparation of it, the service, and the venue. More or less. You may have any variety of motivations or other reasons to go to a restaurant and pay for it (it’s in a convenient location, your friend works there, it’s inexpensive, etc), but those reasons are not what determine the price of the bill.

btw, Wallace Stevens is an interesting writer. I chose to recite his poem Thirteen Ways of Looking at a Blackbird for a class a few years ago.

Satisfaction. Or the potential thereof, at least. And I agree this doesn’t determine the price of the bill, but it does determine your willingness to accept and pay it.


Sometimes, I’m buying time. They have food ready, my fridge is empty.

Sometimes, I’m buying effort/skill. They can cook pizza better than me.

Sometimes, I’m buying status. I can afford to impress this person by buying them a nice meal.

Depends if you’re asking Adam Smith, Karl Marx or Richard Dawkins, I suppose :wink:

Piece of Mind.


Frantically stuff in in my pocket.

Not that other answers are wrong, but this was exactly the answer I was looking for.

My point is that if you go to a restaurant and pay for food and ambience and service and whatever else you think you’re paying for… what you’re really paying for is satisfaction. So if something about the experience is unsatisfying, a little bit of positive attitude and forgiveness goes a long way. In fact, it’s in your own control whether you got your money’s worth or not.

There’s kind of a catch-22 in there of course - it’s not hard to spot - but it’s the positive version. Maybe there’s a catchy name for that. Win-win situation? I don’t know.

Great poem!

I blame my parents. I came up with a lot of theories to account for their approach to life. Yelling at me in a restaurant that I should finish my food because they paid good money for it. It made no sense to me. I said, “it’s not the food you’re paying for, it’s a good experience”.

I know. I’m sure I was a brat.

This can be applied to so many aspects of life too. Well said.

Positive in the sense that you find the satisfaction worth the cost[s]?

And I was the same way as a kid. I still remember one particular conversation I had with my mom and I must have been a toddler at the time. She was giving me a speech about littering and why it is “wrong”. I said it makes things look messy and people get upset. Of course, she corrected me and said the real reason is that it is bad for the environment. In response I asked how a piece of litter on the ground was any different from, say, a house or a car – nature didn’t put it there. No answer. So I thought again and asked what the difference was between a loose wrapper on the ground and pile of wrappers in a dump. I believe that is when she put the kibosh on my line of questioning.

What I mean is objective situations aren’t inherently positive or negative. So it’s in your own control whether a given situation is seen in a positive light or not. The “positive catch-22” is that the more ability you have to be satisfied in a larger and larger variety of situations, the less need you have to go out and buy a nice meal at a nice restaurant in order to create satisfaction in the first place. Does this increase in the ability to be satisfied, through self-empowerment, mean you’ll stop going out to nice restaurants as you have no need to? It’s an interesting question, but it’s not a problematic one. It’s a win-win situation in that sense. You might feel run down and desire to go out for a nice meal to make you feel better, but when conditions seem less than ideal - the food kind of sucks, the dining room is too loud, etc., you can still remind yourself that you are paying to enjoy your evening. You are not paying for good food and a pleasant quiet dining room. That was only a means to an end. When that means doesn’t work, there are plenty of other means available. The most trustworthy of such means are goodwill and a positive attitude that does not fixate on instant gratification or the satisfaction of superficial desires.

Damn, Statik, this is right up my alley. This very subject has been tickling the back of my mind for a while now. I’ve sometimes thought of writing an essay or something here about the subject. What qualifies as trash? If something finds a place (a use, or just aesthetically) in my home, it’s not trash. But if not, that same object becomes trash. One thing that interests me is how increased organization means you have more stuff, practically speaking. Maybe I’ll get to that essay someday.

The price of being human.