When a Washington woman walked into a casual steak restaurant in September 2017, she was told that she wouldn’t be served. And the incident angered her so much that she posted a picture of her offending attire and shared her steakhouse story on social media in a quest for justice.
The woman in question is Charisha Raylee Gobin, who lives in the small city of Marysville, near Seattle in Washington. And on Sunday, September 3, 2017, Gobin had spent the day with her mother and sister, who wanted to go out for a meal. So, the three of them decided on a restaurant; at that time, however, the relatives probably had no idea that the day would turn out to be as eventful as it did.
The irony is that Gobin didn’t even want to eat out; the mother-to-be said that she would have much preferred to have ordered takeout instead. Nevertheless, her mom and sister persuaded her to join them at the Buzz Inn Steakhouse to the north of Marysville. And while the threesome hadn’t dressed up for the occasion, they thought it would be fine – the joint wasn’t exactly a fine-dining establishment, after all.
So, the small party went along to the Buzz Inn, part of a small chain of steakhouse restaurants in Washington. As they walked in, the three then scanned the room for a table before a waitress quickly came to their aid. But while the trio may have been pleased at the prompt service, what the server had to say may not have gone down quite so well.
That’s because, instead of showing the three women to a table, the Buzz Inn waitress explained that she wouldn’t be able to seat Gobin, her mom or her sister. And while the employee’s refusal to serve the group may have seemed a random one at first, the reason for the decision was soon revealed.
In short, the waitress told the women that one of them was violating the restaurant’s dress code, and so she had to turn them away. Apparently, a member of the party was flouting the eatery’s “No shoes, no shirt – no service” policy. This confused the trio, though, as no-one in their party was contravening this rule – all of the women were fully clothed and wearing shoes.
It turned out, however, that the waitress had taken exception to Gobin’s black T-shirt – a crop top that exposed a portion of her stomach. However, bearing in mind that Gobin was seven and a half months pregnant with twins, it was perhaps fair to say that she had a lot more belly than most to expose.
And while Gobin had teamed the T-shirt with a loose-fitting white maxi skirt, that didn’t seem to make any difference to the waitress. She had seemingly already made up her mind on the matter and was determined to enforce her interpretation of the restaurant rule.
So, the three women duly left the steakhouse. They didn’t head home without taking a memento of the occasion, however, and the result was a photograph of Gobin standing defiantly outside the restaurant’s entrance.
Then Gobin posted the picture on her Facebook page alongside the caption, “I was just denied service at the Buzz Inn on State Avenue in Marysville for my outfit. I’m violating the health code.” To top it off, she added three sarcastic thumbs-up emojis under her message.
People on the social media site quickly began to pick up on Gobin’s picture protest. Indeed, the post itself would gather hundreds of likes from people who were sympathetic towards the mom-to-be.
And less than 48 hours after the dinner denial at Marysville’s Buzz Inn Steakhouse, the photograph had already been shared hundreds of times. Perhaps, then, the restaurant owners believed that the social media storm wasn’t going to blow over any time soon.
So, a Buzz Inn spokesperson acted quickly and issued an official statement on the restaurant’s Facebook page. The message directly addressed the unfortunate incident that had caused Gobin upset. And there was no mistaking the apologetic tone of the post, either.
That statement began, “We sincerely apologize for the misunderstanding,” before going on to explain what the restaurant’s policy actually was. And while it admitted that the Buzz Inn had an appropriate attire rule, it nevertheless suggested that the staff member involved had taken things too far.
The restaurant also vowed to bind staff to “not overly enforce a rule… intended to make all guests feel comfortable.” This would mean that there was no chance of a similar incident happening again. Then, though, the statement defended the waitress who had asked Gobin to leave the Buzz Inn.
Indeed, the server in question was described in the Facebook post as “a great employee” and one that had been working for the restaurant for almost 20 years. And although her behavior wasn’t appreciated by Gobin, the Buzz Inn had apparently given the waitress the benefit of the doubt, since the post went on to say that the employee was only trying to “use her best judgement.”
The restaurant added that the waitress was “by no means trying to be demeaning to the guest.” Then, the post concluded by saying sorry once more. “Again, our sincere apology for the misunderstanding,” it read. Nevertheless, the Buzz Inn statement did not go down too well with some Facebook users.
Some were outraged that the restaurant felt the need to say sorry, for example. One furious Facebook user commented, “You have nothing to apologize for. This wasn’t ‘body shaming.’ It’s not okay to go to a restaurant and not have a shirt covering your chest and stomach. Doesn’t matter if one is pregnant or not.”
However, another commenter actually praised the actions of the waitress, saying, “I like the ethical decision that your staff member made! The world has gone too far.” Certainly, a fair few people seemed to think that Gobin was the one in the wrong. One wrote, for instance, “Just because pregnancy and nursing is natural, does not mean everyone wants to see it on display!”
So, whether you believe it was Gobin or the waitress who was wrong, the incident has sparked an interesting discussion on appropriate attire for eating out. What’s more, after the Buzz Inn said sorry, Gobin deleted her original post shaming the restaurant. It seems, then, that the apology the steakhouse served up was to her taste.