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Kevin Fischer is a veteran broadcaster, the recipient of over 150 major journalism awards from the Milwaukee Press Club, the Wisconsin Associated Press, the Northwest Broadcast News Association, the Wisconsin Bar Association, and others. He has been seen and heard on Milwaukee TV and radio stations for over three decades. A longtime aide to state Senate Republicans in the Wisconsin Legislature, Kevin can be seen offering his views on the news on the public affairs program, "InterCHANGE," on Milwaukee Public Television Channel 10, and heard filling in on Newstalk 1130 WISN. He lives with his wife, Jennifer, and their lovely young daughter, Kyla Audrey, in Franklin.

Culinary no-no #362

Culinary no-no's


Before we get to the main no-no, two stories.

Number 1 involves a Milwaukee icon.

In the very early 1990's while working at WTMJ I phoned Marquette legend Al McGuire seeking an interview.



After 15 dedicated years, McGuire had announced his retirement from involvement in Al's Run, a major successful fundraiser for Children's Hospital. Unlike the flashy, flamboyant coach, there was no splashy news conference, just a subdued announcement. So I tried to secure an interview via phone and got it.

The cassette tape, yes, cassette tape, of the interview is buried somewhere in my archives, i.e. basement. But engrained in my memory are comments made in that interview about retirement, and the ability to go and do whatever Al wanted to.

I’ll never forget Al specifically mentioning that he didn’t want to be one a group of guys that met every single day at McDonald’s for coffee.

“Because the first day you’re not there they’re knocking on your door wondering if you’re dead,” he said.

Story Number Two.

This happened a long time ago, I’d say in the 1980’s. It was a Sunday, and post-Sunday Mass I was at an unnamed restaurant for late breakfast/lunch.

I don’t remember if I was with my father or mother, but when we arrived we were seated next to a round table of about a half dozen who had already ordered and were eating. The group finished while we were waiting for our orders and began to chat. Our meals had not arrived and they were still chatting. The discussion continued long after the bill was presented. Now our food comes and the party of six whips out the Sunday Journal. Sections are divvied up and circulated around the table that suddenly turned into the Christian Science reading Room.

This went on until we were done eating. Now our bill is presented and the library session next to us is still underway.

Finally, a manager came to the adjacent table and announced to the folks with papers stuck to their faces that he was sorry but the restaurant needed the table and they would have to leave.

I restrained myself from jumping up and yelling “Bravo!”

In the restaurant business, table turnover is critical. The more tables they can switch over quickly to a new round of customers means more revenue and more tips for wait staff. Lollygaggers are not taken too kindly.

Also consider the folks out in the lobby or at the bar desiring a spot to eat, being delayed because someone is checking up on the National League box scores.

But what if the loitering is taking place, not at a sit-down restaurant, but a fast food joint?

Pick a McDonald’s, any McDonald’s. Visit on two or three consecutive mornings at around the same time and you’ll probably see the same group of customers in a kaffeeklatsch. They nibble, sip, chew the fat. And they go home. That’s not what’s happening at this McDonald’s in Flushing, NY.

The McDonald's in Flushing is the popular hang-out spot for some of the elderly Korean community in the area

Defiant elderly Koreans purposely take up space, and sit, and sit, and sit, and sit, and sit. According to the NY Times, they arrive “as early as 5 a.m. and often linger until well after dark.”

NY Times photo

The grey hairs don’t spend much and have aggravated workers and customers who have no place to sit.  Police have been called, sometimes via 9-1-1, an obvious over-reaction. When the officers arrive, the loiterers exit, only to walk around the block, return, and camp all over again.

On my occasional trips to Madison, a stop at the Hardee’s in Delafield finds the same small group congregating. However, there are plenty of open tables. No need to dial the cops. In Flushing, it’s a different scenario.

There are several senior centers and gathering spots near the McDonald’s. Even another McDonald’s and a Burger king. Doesn’t matter. The squatters don’t go there. And ask why they prefer marathon sessions at this particular Golden Arches, they admit they have no idea.

I’ve got to side with the restaurant. The loitering may seem harmless but if it’s hurting and driving away business, it has to be stopped.

Here's more from the NY Times and CNBC.

Also, over at, John Foley has some ideas on how to encourage loiterers to get up and leave.


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