Obama Cuts in Line at Barbecue Restaurant, Chinese Reactions

President Barack Obama cuts in line at Franklin Barbecue in Austin, Texas, pays for meal of another customer using credit card.

President Barack Obama cuts in line at Franklin Barbecue in Austin, Texas, pays for meal of another customer using credit card.

From NetEase:

Obama Cuts in Line to Get Take-Out, Pays for Other Customer, and Suffers Complaints From Residents

United States President Barack Obama went to a famous barbecue restaurant in Austin, Texas to order take-out, and hoped to save time waiting in the long line by cutting. He persuaded a customer in line in front of him and agreed to “pay the bill” for this customer. Only thing is, this customer’s bill made Obama feel “short of cash”, forcing him to use his credit card to settle the bill. At the same time as this line-cutting incident, Obama also suffered complaints from local residents because his motorcade caused major traffic jams.


Paid for meal, asking for understanding

Obama was in Austin that day to attend a fundraising event for the Democratic Party, and after giving a 40 minute speech at a downtown theater, he was ready to take a plane back to the nation’s capital, Washington D.C.

But right before leaving, Obama’s motorcade drove a few blocks to “Franklin’s Barbecue”, to order take-out for himself and his entourage.

According to the UK’s Daily Mail, this barbecue restaurant is very famous in the United States, and many faithful “foodies” often have to line up for 2-3 hours before they can order.


After entering the restaurant, Obama clearly did not want to wait several hours with a grumbling stomach, politely shook hands with several customers, and directly went to the front of the line.

“I know this is a long line. I feel real bad,” Obama said, “but – I’m gonna cut.”

Obama simultaneously ordered and apologized to the customers beside him, as well as proposed “paying for” the customer at the front, Bruce Finsted and his daughter Faith.


Ordered too much, not enough cash

Finsted subsequently ordered: three pounds of beef, two pounds of ribs, a half-pound of sausage, etc. with the total order coming out to 102.5 USD. Upon hearing this, Obama was a bit taken aback and awkwardly asked: “Hold on now. How many folks are you guys feeding? Just kidding.” In reality, Finsted’s two other family members were already seated inside and were waiting for him to order.

A smiling Obama pulled out from his pocket a handful of cash to pay the bill. However, when combined with the barbecue he was buying to-go for his entourage, Obama needed about 300 USD, and didn’t have enough cash. He then asked his entourage if he could used his own credit card, and after getting the approval, swiped his card to pay the bill and left.


Customers and residents complain loudly

The barbecue restaurant’s owner Aaron Frankly said has never had an incident of line-cutting since it was opened, “No one cuts in line…except Obama”. However, he still thinks Obama is a “nice guy”.

However, some customers and netizens were unhappy with Obama cutting in line. One netizen comment on her microblog: “No, no, no, President Obama. You wait in line for 3 hours at Franklin’s BBQ like everyone else!”

Because of this, the barbecue restaurant launched an opinion poll on the internet, asking if Obama should’ve cut in line. As of that afternoon, among 200 netizens, 145 people believed Obama’s line cutting was “correct”, while 55 people believed he should’ve waited in line.


Other than cutting in line to buy take-out, what made local residents even more unhappy was that major roads during Obama’s visit to Austin were closed off, causing severe traffic jams locally. Some residents grumbled on Twitter about the president’s visit with the hashtag #ThanksObama.

One netizen commented: My daughter asked ‘Why did Obama come here’, and mom replies, ‘to cause traffic problems.'”

Another netizen commented: “Obama is in Austin today… I’ve already been on the road two hours and only moved 10 miles, late for meeting, thanks Obama!”

Another netizen commented: “Obama’s healthcare plan has helped me successfully get my first appointment with a doctor, but I nearly missed my appointment time because Obama’s visit caused traffic jams!”


Comments from NetEase:

interknight360 [网易山东省青岛市手机网友]:

Unbelievable, cutting in line, I severely despise the American leader’s misuse of special privileges.

wj8710cjy [网易福建省手机网友]:

Imperialism truly is an abyss of suffering.

网易德国手机网友 ip:46.114.*.*

These Americans [the critics] are too disrespectful to the president!

龙伍timwu [懂球大师]:

Five pounds of beef and half a pound of sausage is only 102 bucks and it is in a barbecue restaurant, these prices are so cheap.

网易吉林省长春市手机网友 ip:113.213.*.*

Look what this capitalist country has done to its president.

半步沧桑 [网易湖南省手机网友]:

Not lining up is not a good habit 😂

网易福建省手机网友 ip:58.22.*.*

This shouldn’t be considered cutting in line, the article is a little extreme. When I’m at the train/bus station buying a ticket for a train/bus that is about to depart, other people will let me go ahead too.

德意志的另一行泪 [德国球迷]:

A country in an abyss of suffering!

ggggfeng0522 [网易北京市手机网友]:

The United States doesn’t have special lanes, how embarrassing.

网易安徽省合肥市手机网友 ip:218.104.*.*

Evil capitalism!.

网易河南省平顶山市手机网友 ip:115.59.*.*

Such poor character, come look at our country’s citizens. When the leader comes, everyone proactively yields and lets him go first!

网易湖南省益阳市手机网友 ip:218.77.*.*

Isn’t this restaurant going to be famous?
Is it going to become a tourist attraction?
Is the counter where the president ordered going to be fenced off?
Is the meal the president ordered going to become the main set meal?

[Note: The above alludes to what happened after Chinese President Xi Jinping dined at a local Beijing restaurant last year.]


Written by Fauna

Fauna is a mysterious young Shanghainese girl who lives in the only place a Shanghainese person would ever want to live: Shanghai. In mid-2008, she started chinaSMACK to combine her hobby of browsing Chinese internet forums with her goal of improving her English. Through her tireless translation of popular Chinese internet news and phenomenon, her English has apparently gotten dramatically better. At least, reading and writing-wise. Unfortunately, she's still not confident enough to have written this bio, about herself, by herself.


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