Last week, the Bangor (ME) Police Department wrote a lengthy Facebook post about violent language, and how sometimes a willingness to use threats and aggressive phrases might lead to real aggression.
“Not too long ago, I requested that all Americans reconsider the use of the term ‘throat punching’ as the go-to method of threatening other people on Facebook,” Sergeant Tim Cotton typed. “I am fully aware that the threatened use of throat-punching as a way to mitigate a minor issue with another individual is pure hyperbole. But, the more you say you are going to throat punch someone, the chances certainly grow greater that you are going to cross the line and actually, well...throat punch someone.”
Cotton was prompted to write the post because of...French fries, and the threats that have been directed at a restaurant that recently stopped serving crinkle cuts. According to the Kennebec Journal, in June, the owners of Bolley’s Famous Franks made the decision to switch from its traditional crinkle-cuts to straight-cut fries.
Jim and Leslie Parsons said that crinkle-cutting their potatoes requires a special kind of blade that is both more expensive and less durable than other potato-slicing blades. Bolley’s goes through 1,000 pounds of potatoes every week, and the couple said that half the money they made from selling those fries went into buying new blades to slice them. “As businesses, we have to make tough changes,” Lesley told the Journal. “We have not changed the quality or the taste, just the cut.” (They also haven’t changed the potatoes themselves, which are still sourced from the same farm).
That didn’t matter. Some of the restaurant’s regulars were pissed—and they even threatened violence over the new, uncrinkled fries. “So recently, within the last week, we have encountered some pretty disturbing and hostile customers apparently very unhappy with our straight cut French Fry,” Leslie wrote on the Bolley’s Facebook page. “I just want to say I will absolutely not tolerate being sworn at, threatened physical harm to myself, my husband and children. It is unacceptable here at Bolleys and should NEVER be tolerated anywhere.”
The Parsons bought and reopened Bolley’s last year. The restaurant, its hot dogs and, yeah, its fries had been a fixture in Waterville, Maine, since the early 1960s. Three generations of Guy Genest’s family ran Bolley’s until it closed in 2014. “People think we’re changing tradition,” Leslie said. “We’ve given so much respect to the previous owners.” (A second Bolley’s location, 25 miles away in Hallowell, has always served straight-cut fries).
We hope that the threats against the Parsons family will stop; Sergeant Cotton, who is familiar with both Bolley’s restaurants, said that the fries have always tasted the same, regardless of the shape. “I am not going to judge the folks who are steeped in the tradition of crinkle-cut, but I will say we all need to get a grip on being angry with changes which displease us,” he wrote. "[W]e really cannot be fighting or throat-punching people over our differences, or the differences between straight and crinkle-cut. We just can't.”
Yeah, it’s not like they started putting ketchup on their hot dogs or anything. That would be worth a throat-punch.