“All the old ones closing down,” Grandpa says, reading paper, talking about Branches Restaurant down Mōiʻiliʻili.
“Ah,”I tell um, “I had friends used to play music there. They would bring in the crowds, I tell you, Friday nights. Was huge. Had folks all over the place, sitting on the floor, out in the yard. Hardly could walk through. Lucky the Fire Marshall never fine them.
“Then one Friday, after they pau play, the Manager asked them for come up to the office, like talk to them.
“The Manager sat them down told them, ‘Look, we know you guys got the most fans of anybody that plays here, but you know your guys’ crowd? They buy one $10 buffet meal, then bring food out and share with their friends. Got so many people, the staff cannot monitor them. That sharing of food, that cannot happen anymore.’
“ ‘But,’ one of my friends said, look at how much alcohol they buy. That must be good money for you.’ “
“The Manager said that was true, ‘but think about all the money we would make if each one bought buffet who was going eat. We’re not able to watch for that.’
” ‘So bottomline, we switching you guys from Friday night to Tuesday. That way so we can cut down on the riffraff you bring in and keep an eye on them.’
” ‘The what?’ one of my friends said.
” ‘The riffraff,’ the manager said again.
“The guys never say nothing, but all of them looking at each other.
” ‘Guess what?’ my friend said. ‘You call our fans riffraff, you think of them that way, hey, our friends are not riffraff. You too cheap to hire more staff to monitor the buffet, then that’s your problem.’
” ‘Please don’t you ever talk like that about the people who come here to listen to our music and spend all their money. That’s right, we bring in more people than any other group. You may not make as much off of them as you like, but I’m afraid that’s on you.’
“He looked at the others. Without one word more, they stood up together.
” ‘You can keep your Tuesday. We’re outta here.’
“So then they walked out.”
I stopped talking.
“For real?” my Grandpa asked. “They talked about the customers like that?”
“Yup, Gramps. Unreal. You feel that way about your customers, I say forget you. Good thing, I think, they’re closing down. No more aloha, no more feelings, no more conscience, eh, no more them.”
My Grandpa nod his head. “You right,” he tell me. “That’s not the kind of place we need here. That’s not pono. That’s not Hawaiʻi.”