“The Right to Refuse Service to Anyone”

Anyone could help me to understand this? I visited a restaurant in San Jose. At the counter, they have a poster at dominate location that says:

“We Reserve the Right to Refuse Service to Anyone”.

Here is the picture:

My question is, although it is the private property of the restaurant owner, does this violate the anti-discrimination law? Is it offensive to anyone? What are the cases that the owner refuse service to some one?

Don’t get me wrong. I am not assuming this is not correct. I just want to have better understanding how freedom works in U.S.

My top two observation during my last few trips in U.S. are:

1. Freedom is all about the right to say NO in one’s place.

2. Property is protected by walls, and in U.S. by laws.

I will talk about these two conclusions later. Anyone help me to understand this disclaimer? Obviously it is legal, and allowed, and this is not the first time I saw the sign. How come?

154 thoughts on ““The Right to Refuse Service to Anyone”

  1. In my opinion I consider that sort of sign very offensive, hostile and ‘smacks’ of discriminatory animus. I don’t see anything like that posted in restaurants and places of public accommodation in and around the US.

  2. That restaurant in San Jose is inviting lawuits having a sign like that displayed. On its face it seems totally ‘arbitrary’ and ‘capricious’.

    I want to be able to walk into any restaurant open to the general public even if I am the color purple with green ears and be able to be served.

  3. Oh! I forgot to explain this when you asked before, Jian Shuo. Sorry!!

    You are right that it is common to see these signs in the US, and it relates to the freedom of the person who owns the business to set the “rules” for who they are willing to serve.

    Do you know the “decision game” called “Rock/Paper/Scissors”? It’s sort of like saying the right of the business owner “beats” the rights of the customer.

    Some examples might be:

    A bar (or an airline) can refuse to serve additional alcoholic drinks to patrons who are “drunk”.

    An “up-scale” (high class) restaurant can refuse to admit customers who are dressed “inapropriately” (for the atmosphere of the restaurant) in shorts and t-shirts.

    Even some “casual” resturants will post signs that say “no shoes, no service” , or “no shirt, no service” which means that you cannot come in if you are barefoot, or wearing only shorts or a bathing suit. This would most likely be for reasons of hygene, or the aesthetic comfort of the other customers who might not enjoy eating next to someone else’s hairy bare back.

    So, those places which state “we reserve the right to refuse service to anyone” mean that they wish to be free to determine if a customer is “appropriate” for their place of business.

    You might even see such a sign in a place like a convenience store, which is generally assumed to be open and welcome to every possible kind of customer. But, if someone comes in drunk and disruptive, the sign advises everyone that the owner or manager of the busines has the right to tell that person to leave without being served.

    It might also apply to a “gang” or rowdy group of teenagers. Most places welcome the money that teenage customers bring to their business, but sometimes stores have trouble with poorly behaved teenagers disrupting their displays or upsetting more mature customers.

    In that case it could easily be considered a form of “age discrimination” (illegal in the US) but for the protection of the business (ie: the comfort of the other customers who might otherwise leave without buying anything) the owners may decide to ask the teenagers to leave.

    I believe that the rights implied by such a sign do not “beat” (or supercede) the rights involved in the basic freedoms of our country. It would be wrong and not legally allowed for a business owner to refuse service to a customer just because they are of a certain race or ethnicity, for example. Even the sign would not permit a business to turn away a woman wearing a head scarf because she “might be a terrorist” or someone of a racial minority because “we don’t serve “those” people”. But, if a person of any ethnicity is causing trouble, (might be intoxicated, or on drugs, or even just arguing loudly and disruptively with a companion) they may be asked to leave based on their behavior (not their appearance) , and the next step would be to call the police to report some sort of public disturbance.

    Other readers may have more to add on this subject, but that has been my experience.

    For the most part, everyone really is free to shop or do business wherever they wish. But it is also fair to give a business owner the right to refuse to serve someone who they feel would be bad for the business.

    Does this make sense?

  4. They must have had that up there for a while. Places of business had to post those signs so they can refuse service to inappropriate people. This would include people not dressed appropriately, homeless people annoying other customers, etc.

    It was required by the City so that business could avoid a lawsuit if they refused service. The general laws of the country are still in effect so I cant be refused service because of my race or religion but if I come in and I am sick or dirty or not wearing shoes I could be refused service.

    San Jose had many homeless who would wander into restaurants looking for food or money. So this is what is behind this.

  5. Nick,

    so I am ‘homeless’ but have money to buy coffee and some scrambled eggs. I am entitled to eat even though I am homeless.

    why should being ‘homeless’ be a basis for refusing me service in a restaurant? I want to eat and not ‘sleep’ in their place. give me a break.

  6. Any private business can refuse to serve anyone they choose. Nothing wrong with that. However, they cannot discriminate people based on sex, race, religion, sex orientation, etc.

    The First Amendment of the US Constitution, which grants many of the freedoms we enjoy in the US, says: Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.

    Freedom is about practicing whichever the religion you choose; speaking your mind without worrying about retribution from the goverment; and the ability to peacefully assemble and protest.

  7. Dave

    the First Amendment ony applies to government action and not to private individual action.

  8. It is usually for the restaurant operators to prevent rascal or ‘unprefered’ customer entering the premise for mischief, e.g. insulting staff, overdrinkings, fail to pay after servings or use the washrooms without patronage etc.

    I saw some restaurants in US even hire security guards to pick out the ‘prefered’ customers.

    JS, freedom does have a perimeter!

  9. This is not against law. It simply stated their right under the law. I don’t think it will hurt their business at all. As long as they provide good quality food and services, most customer will ignore such signs and visit them often. I bet this restuarant’s business is pretty good…

  10. A sign like this doesn’t offer any explicit or implicit implication of intention to discriminate. It only serves to state owner’s right. Yes, under many conditions, the owner is legal to refuse service to anyone who may disrupt the restuarant’s business. Or they can even refuse services to someone who the owner doesn’t like. Nothing like that is against law. We are so accustomed to the concept that “Customer is the King…”. But that concept is only a good business concept, it has nothing to do with legal system. Theoretically speaking, if the business is so good, the customer doesn’t have to be the king. However, in order for a business to be good, the enterprise needs to treat customer well. This is only a good business conduct, but never a God endowed duty in any social system.

  11. Jqian

    the sign is pretty sweeping in its avowed declaraton of intent–we reserve the right to refuse service to ‘anyone’. It is not limited to any specifically defined ‘objectionables’.

  12. Bovemanm,

    Yes, I can see that. As a private business owner, I think they do have the right to refuse service to ‘anyone’. But that doesn’t mean they will actually refuse service to anyone. If indeed an incidence happens, the owner can be summoned to the court resulted from a lawsuit from a customer. The owner may win or lose depending on specific situations. But the owner won’t win or lose because of this sign. The owner may even have a much higher chance of winning the case because of this sign. Nonetheless, this sign is legal.

  13. actaully I think that sign is stupid because it doesn’t serve a meaningful purpose and something like that is not reasonably needed to help protect the owner’s protectable interest in his restaurant establishment. If a customer comes in and is drunk, he or she can be refused service without that sign. Moreover if a customer becomes disruptive and unruly, he can be asked by management to leave. If he refuses to leave, the police can be called. the sign isn’t necessary and is really stupid.

  14. Bovemanm,

    What is your point? Of course the First Amendment applies to the government, and not the individual.

    It says the government shall not interfere with rights of the people in the US (unlike another unmentionable government).

  15. Yes, I agree that sign may not be necessary. You can say it’s stupid. All I have said is that the action by the owner to post this sign is legal. I understand in many cases that a legal action may be not be wise in business, or even stupid to hurt its business.

    My gut feeling is that this sign does serve some purpose that only the owner knows. We from the outside may not know the reasons. The owner may have an enemy or he may have had some bad experience in the past. Obviously, I think this sign is not hurting the restuarant’s business.

    All I like to say is that we should not read too much into this. It’s absolutely legal to do that in most civilized country, just like putting up a no-trespassing sign in your front yard. It’s gonna alienate your neighbors, but nonetheless, very legal to do so…

  16. It is the city’s bylaw that require business to post a sign as caption before they can verbally to decline customer at their discretion. Got it?

  17. Jianshuo,

    Freedom is a nice thing as long as it doesn’t hurt other people. The US may have more restrictions on freedom than China, but we natives take that for granted. We don’t have the freedom (that is, the Right) to hurt other people or take their things, and there are a lot of freedoms we don’t have because of imagined worries that it will interefere with someone else’s freedom. So you can’t smoke wherever you want, you can’t drive wildly on the road, you can’t make a lot of noise in a theater, you can’t block a doorway, sit in the middle of the street, take off your clothes in public, and in many states you can’t marry whomever you want, because people have been convinced that it will hurt their own marriage if your choice is the same sex as you are.

    Carroll explained the sign well.

  18. Title 2 of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 sets out a prohibition on discrimination in public places, such as hotels and restaurants. You cannot discriminate based on race, color, religion, sex, or national origin (sexual orientation is NOT included).

    The sign gives a measure of protection to the owners to throw out someone who, while not necessarily violating a law, is interfering with their business. Someone who smells like they haven’t showered in months and disgusts others, someone who yells and berates the staff, etc. The sign, with the laws, basically says “yes, this is a public place for people to come in and eat, but you do not have unlimited rights to be a jerk on my property.”

  19. Dave

    the point is why cite the First Amendment when we’re dealing with a sign in a restaurant open to the public? it is not a public school or government court house cafeteria sign. Simply put, there is no government action, period.

  20. I still fail to see any good and useful purpose for that sign. I knew a restaurant owner once who hated kids and he put signs up ‘NO KIDS ALLOWED’ why did he do that? because he thought kids were messy and sloppy. he simply didn’t want kids messing up his carpet and restaurant by dropping food and spilling their drinks.

    needless to say, that restaurant owner who obviously didn’t want kids in his restaurant eventually went out of business.

  21. Thanks for everyone’s explaination. How impressive to get 20 really high quality and informative comments in just 10 hours. This is great.

    I think I am much clearer about the propose of the sign and how it works. It seems to me, that by law (American law), people have basic rights no matter where they are, whether it is on the public streets, in anyone else’s private property, they have basic rights. However, in many places, like in this restaurant, the “additional” rights are limited, and the owner can execute their rights of the ownership.

    Can I explain it this way, that anyone cannot be discriminated around the country, no matter where they are. Anyone has the right not to be beaten, not to be killed, and not to be taken away their own private belongs, no matter where they go, even by entering this restaurant. However, by entering this restaurant, v.s another one, you have to agree that if the owner don’t like you, you have to leave. This “Don’t like” cannot be based on gender, race, nationality, since it is your basic rights, not the “extended right”.

    Is it correct?

  22. As far as I am concern, this sign is very offensive and sickening. In China, the last resort to resolve the dispute or argument is using legal means, the first is using persuasion with smile and the second is using the reasoning, then the third (the last) is resort to legality. In other words, legality is the last means to settle any dispute. In USA, the culture foster a lot of people become arrogant and behave asinine, so while any little thing unpleasant occurred which deviate the store clerk or store owner’s expected norm, then, they would immediately take a rough or even brutal approach to solve the dispute such as throw the customer out of the store. This is very unfortunate thing. Majority of American don’t give a damn about friendly persuasion and reasoning. The only thing they know of is lawsuit to settle the dispute. That sign speaks volume about the mindset of American society as a whole. A lot of time, too much so-called freedom just draw the worst out of human beings and those human beings become impatient, and worse, become animal-like and reacting with animal instinct—to kick customer out of his or her little store. This also speaks about America, that is why America is the most violent nation in the planet. They have very short and quick temper. Every little thing deviates from their way of operation, they don’t want to be bothered with and a lot of time, they’ll deal with fists and violence and even lawsuit. Nothing else.

  23. Flchao,

    The comments you expressed here resulted from your misunderstanding of American culture. Silicon Valley happens to be pretty much violent free in everyday life. I lived there for many years and I can attest it with my own life experience. All the impression you got is probably from American movies. They are just movies, make believe. Posting a sign like that only buys some legal insurance to the business owner. It by no means suggests that crime is so out of control that business owner has to do that kind of thing. I hope you can be like JSW, have a chance to visit this peaceful country and understand how different it is different from the “movie culture”.

  24. Flchao,

    The comments you expressed here resulted from your misunderstanding of American culture. Silicon Valley happens to be pretty much violent free in everyday life. I lived there for many years and I can attest it with my own life experience. All the impression you got is probably from American movies. They are just movies, make believe. Posting a sign like that only buys some legal insurance to the business owner. It by no means suggests that crime is so out of control that business owner has to do that kind of thing. I hope you can be like JSW, have a chance to visit this peaceful country and understand how different it is different from the “movie culture”.

  25. I have been living in a few States in the United States. This sign is quite common. It states the restaurant has the right not to serve you, it does not imply any intention to discriminate againist you.

    For most restaurant owners, this is just a warning for people with un-acceptable behaviors. For most ordinary customers, the sign is not relevant at all.

    No restaurant owner is stupid enough to discriminate against others based on sex, race, etc…. Unless if he or she wants to go out of business very quickly.

    Freedom should comes with limit or boundary; no one should exercise his or her own freedom at others’ expenses. If my friends and I dressed up for a speical event in a restaurant, I surely don’t want to see the other guys sitting at the next table wearing nothing but only short pants and talk dirty loudly and in a drunk mode at the same time.

  26. There is a heated dispute going on right now over a sign at Geno’s Italian restaurant in Philadelphia which says: ‘THIS IS AMERICA-WHEN ORDERING SPEAK IN ENGLISH’. I saw a picture of Geno’s front window displaying that sign above another sign which says ‘WE RESERVE THE RIGHT NOT TO SERVE ANYONE’

    Geno’s sign has created an uproar among some and legal action apparently is going to be initiated against Geno’s.

    “The Philadelphia Inquirer quoted Mary Catherine Roper, a spokeswoman for the American Civil Liberties Union, who said Geno’s “has a right to express its opinion, however offensive. … But there are specific limitations on places of public accommodation, because they are supposed to be available to everyone.”

    A city councilman quoted in the paper said the signs were “divisive and mean-spirited.”

    http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/13272368 /

    Philly officials eye eatery’s English-only sign

    City agency expected to file complaint against cheesesteak owner’s effort

    PHILADELPHIA – City officials are expected to file a complaint Monday against an English-only ordering policy at Geno’s Steaks, one of Philadelphia’s best-known cheesesteak joints that has entered the national immigration debate.

    Situated in a South Philadelphia immigrant neighborhood, Geno’s has posted small signs telling customers, “This Is AMERICA: WHEN ORDERING ‘SPEAK ENGLISH.'”

    “We’re alleging that the sign itself is enough of an unwelcoming message that it may violate the Fair Practices Act,” Rachel Lawton, acting executive director of the Philadelphia Commission on Human Relations, told the Philadelphia Inquirer.

    Owner Joseph Vento, 66, whose grandparents struggled to learn English after immigrating from Sicily in the 1920s, said he posted the sign about six months ago amid concerns over immigration reform and the increasing number of customers who could not order in English when they wanted Philly’s gooey, greasy specialty – fried steak, sliced or chopped, in a long roll, with cheese and fried onions.

  27. democracy and freedoms

    words always used by governaments to impose their own tailor made of concept of imposed power.

    now the label clearly state ” ‘WE RESERVE THE RIGHT NOT TO SERVE ANYONE ” fair if used for troublemaker or for who may ruin my business income, but if i advocate the concept of liberty, it even mean, i dont like you because simply i dont like you so i dotn serve you, please leave my premises or i call the police, then u can sue me, but with a good lawyer i will even win money back for the time u make spend engaging a lawyer… at coming to court..

    i find it wrong to expose and allow business to show it, as allow the manager a full arbitrary concept of who shall be served according to their preferences that can be racist, politcal, of prejudice, unfair, undemocratic, based on religion, cult etc….

    the only thing i have to do is facing a court is to say the guest who i refused to serve on that moment was disrupting my business, therefore i refused to serve him/her, that is my motiv, judges/courts can not say i am wrong, even if by reality i did because it was muslim or black or asian o lesbian or gay etc..

    the similar arbitrary concept which US gov so call themselves Freedom defenfer… the same arbitrary concept that make the majority of the world look at USA no more as concept to copy but as an aggressive and oppressing power… and this become more evident credo day after day from asia to africa, east europe to the mediterranean… middle east to south america…

    et caraibbeans


  28. I think any restaurant owner is entitled to deny service to unrepentant commie supporters such as blothug wangjianshuo and taiwanese gook Jerry Yang.

  29. Gerry, you fabricated the foundational facts by opening up with the following statement:

    “words always used by governaments to impose their own tailor made of concept of imposed power.”

    that restaurant sign has absolutely nothing to do with government or government power but is a sign put up by the owner of a private business.

    don’t throw government into the pot because it is not there and shouldn’t be there.

  30. Billy

    you wrote:

    “I have been living in a few States in the United States. This sign is quite common. It states the restaurant has the right not to serve you, it does not imply any intention to discriminate againist you.”

    Unfortunately and from a hostorical perspective, I think the San Jose restaurant sign is somewhat reminiscent of the signs once used many years ago in the Deep Southern States such as Mississippi which read: “WE RESERVE THE RIGHT NOT TO SERVE NEGROES” or ‘WE DON’T SERVE NI_ _ERS.”

    Those signs obviously had a glaring intent to discriminate against people of African ancestry.

    I am not suggesting that the restaurant owner in San Jose has any intention of discriminating against people based on skin color but it should be apparent that his sign message can spark in some negative memories of the past.

    Even the public display of the Confederate Flag in America today is objectionable to many African Americans because it sparks memories of the past of slavery and open racial discrimination.

  31. 我们保留不为你服务的权利~?

    呵呵 怎么感觉像是 “XXX公司保留对XX活动的解释权”

  32. Yes, the “freedom” here doesn’t give you the freedom to do anything you want to do. It is more about giving your the freedom to protect your won rights. That is why most often one actually won’t feel very “free” in a sociaty because everyone has freedom ;) “Freedom is all about the right to say NO in one’s place”. So you are absolutely right:-)

  33. ‘Freedom’ is great but there are limits even here in the US. for example, freedom of speech doesn’t give someone the right to yell *Fire!* in a crowded movie theater when there’s no fire just as a joke. a lot of people can get hurt and even killed in a stampede.

  34. Jian Shuo

    you posted an interesting topic which evoked many different reactions and opinions. Keep them coming,

  35. one final thought on that San Jose restaurant sign. As far as I am concerned, the restaurant owner should modify his sign message to make it reciprocal and it should read as follows with a happy face at the end of it:


    that modified sign would make me feel better about eating there.

  36. Micah

    are you suggesting that I lack culture? if that kind of a restaurant sign is supposed to imbue people with a special culture, then I guess I must lack cutlure.

    obviously no classy or fine restaurant would post a sign like that.

  37. yep, I admit it. I lack the culture to suffer the indignities of a sign like that as a payng icustomer.

  38. Well, a fancy restaurant without such sigh in display still reserve such legal rights, as long as it is legal in that state.

  39. “There is a heated dispute going on right now over a sign at Geno’s Italian restaurant in Philadelphia”

    I’ve been following this myself as a business owner, and it’s just plain stupid what Geno’s is doing here. He’s losing a ridiculous amount of business to competitors, not just Hispanics but also many whites and blacks who really don’t care for such controversy and just want to go somewhere to eat. There may be some Ku Klux Klan blowhards who show up for a while to support the restaurant, but over the long term, Geno’s has permanently lost an enormous amount of business.

    When I hire people for my retail shops, job applicants who can speak Spanish have a big advantage in getting the jobs. In fact, for the 17 recent job positions for which I was hiring, 14 of the new hires were able to speak Spanish– including the most high-paying positions like managers and buyers– while the other 3 are in the process of learning Spanish themselves. I’m doing this for basic business survival, not as any political statement– so much of our customer base is Spanish-speaking that, if we don’t have Spanish-speaking employees and Spanish labels in our stores, then those customers will go somewhere else that does have them, and we’ll go out of business. In fact, about 40% of the retail shops in my area have recently gone out of business, and the vast majority of them were English-only in their employees and signs. They didn’t survive. In contrast, the businesses that provided Spanish services are now thriving. Note also, that I’m in the Midwestern US mostly in Illinois, Indiana and Kentucky, yet Spanish is crucial here. For companies in the Southwestern states, New York, Florida, New England and New Jersey, you absolutely have to have Spanish or you won’t survive. Even lawyers at law firms and doctors at hospitals are needing fluent Spanish to get hired.

  40. Also– Jian Shuo Wang, this is a little off-topic but I had a question myself. I was at a business conference recently where an international consultant was speaking– he’s one of these people that gives advice to American businesses, on where to invest abroad.

    Anyway, he said something that shocked me quite a bit. Many of us have been planning investment in China for a while, but this consultant– who used to be a Chinese investor himself– is now advising all of us to avoid investing in China and to focus instead on Latin America, India and Vietnam. The reason for his advice, he stated, is China’s One Child Policy– he said China should get rid of it immediately, within maybe two years, or the investment consultants in the USA are going to recommend that US companies pull all their money out of China.

    I don’t know whether he’s right or wrong, but he’s a very important and respected retail business consultant, and he said that China now has the world’s worst demographics, possibly the worst in history, due to the One Child Policy. He said the policy has caused China’s birth rate to plummet rapidly to about 1.6, way below replacement level very suddenly, causing a rapidly aging population with too few young workers to support the senior citizens. In fact, he said China is getting old before getting rich, thus getting old faster than any other country in history. He also said the problem’s even worse since some minorities in China (like the Muslim Uighurs if I recall correctly) do not have to worry about the Policy, only the ethnic Chinese, so the Muslim population in China rises rapidly while the Chinese fall in population, leading to further ethnic conflict. Moreover, he said that due to One Child Policy, China now has a massive excess of boys to girls, which can lead to wars in later decades. He said that due to the One Child Policy, China will probably suffer a massive economic collapse by about the year 2025.

    He said that China should instead focus on better education and health care, which would naturally reduce birth rate while improving the Chinese economy, while discontinuing the One Child Policy. He said Chinese population should stabilize gradually to replacement, not fall rapidly like this.

    Now, I’m raising this issue, because frankly, I don’t know whether he’s right or not. I always thought the China One Child Policy was applied only in the big cities like Shanghai, not in the countryside, so people in rural and suburban China, and in the small cities, can still have large families with many kids. Also, I thought people who wanted more than one child could easily overcome the policy, just pay a small fine or hide their kids or something. In other words, I thought China still had a relatively high birth rate.

    But now, this consultant has gotten me concerned. I myself have been planning to invest about $10 million in China, and my fellow businessmen at the conference wanted to invest as well, so this is possibly $1 billion that we’re planning to invest in China, but now we’re unsure whether to do it. Honestly, if that consultant is correct, then we’re not going to invest in China. But, I’m not sure if he is correct.

    This is your chance to prove him wrong. If I don’t hear any refutations of that consultant, then I’m changing my plans, and I won’t be investing in China. But if you can convince me he’s wrong or that the One Child Policy is changing, then I’ll put my money back into the Chinese retail market. I just need better information, and I figured that you might know something.

  41. sticking to the sign message of that San Jose restaurant owner, a friend acquaintance said this about it:

    “this sign would be illegal in France because it would be considered as a sale refusal which is forbidden by the rules about commercial competition , but if a motivation is displayed, for example: we serve only correctly dressed poeple ( suit ant tie ) it would be legal. but a motivation like: we serve only whites or left handed or people who do not wear glasses would be considered discriminatorial.”

  42. Pete

    that is a very eye-opening post you made about the feedback you received from that International Business Consultant. I too would be very interested to see what Jian Shuo Wang can come up with in possible rebuttal of that assessment.

    come on Jian Shuo, show us that Business Consultant’s assessment is pure hog-wash and that China’s future is rock solid, safe and secure. We don’t want Pete and his investor associates to lose over a billion dollars.

  43. Jian Shuo Wang

    Please start a new Post on the topic Pete raised…’Assessment and Projections for China’s Economic Future over the next 20 years’

  44. 一项儿童政策。

    如果它导致足够的女孩,一项儿童政策优良是。 女孩是需要的。 男孩需要女孩。

  45. as for the effects of the One Child Policy.

    as for me personally I wouldn’t want to be part of a group of 50 to 100 guys pursuing one (1) girl. that kind of a lopsided ratio would cause me to go completely *dizzy* and depressed. Operating under those odds would make me see an *ugly* girl as beautiful.

    no, I would badly suffer playing under those percentage odds


  46. Mr. Pete

    I’ve heard that new businesses starting up in China must be prepared to lose a lot of money before they can start making any. As Confucius said: “Money does not come out of the air. One must put money into the ground before it can grow.”


  47. Jian Shuo Wang,

    OK, now I’m *really* worried. A friend sent me a link that further talks about some concerning things regarding China’s One Child Policy, from a business perspective:


    Look, this is very serious, and I’d like to have more solid, knowledgeable, accurate information on this. I don’t know whether this article is right or wrong, but if it’s true, then the One Child Policy– if it continues for several more years– is going to be doing tremendous damage to China’s economy within about 15-20 years, and if true, then I and thousands of my business colleagues are not going to be investing in China. We’ll be putting our money into places like India and Vietnam instead. I actually think the One Child Policy was a smart idea for China for a while, as it slowed population growth and probably helped China’s environment and urban planning to proceed at a more manageable pace back in the 1980’s. But it’s not supposed to be a permanent policy, and if this article is correct, then the Policy is doing more harm than good.

    As Shrek7 was pointing out, it takes years– in fact, often more than a decade– for a business, especially if invested in a foreign country, to become profitable. For us to feel confident about investing in China, we have to feel confident about the economy’s long-term prospects there, and if the One Child Policy continues, we’re not going to have that confidence. Again, I’m still not sure how accurate that article is, but if it is accurate about the effects of the Policy, there are three big concerns that we as foreign investors in China have to worry about:

    1. The elderly-to-worker dependency ratio. China and all other countries do have to stabilize their population, for the sake of the world environment, we understand that. But when stabilizing a large population, the best way to do it is similar to the best way that you stop a car in a snowstorm, if it’s skidding on ice on the road– you do it gradually so that you come to a smooth stop and then keep moving on the road. If you slam the brakes on too fast, then you skid like crazy and flip over, off the road.

    We’re worried that with the One Child Policy, China has slammed the brakes on too fast, with China’s population aging faster than any other in history. The One Child Policy focuses too much on sheer numbers and not enough on the population and age distribution– you need to have a reasonable number of young workers, and not too great an excess of retired elderly. I realize that China can do things like raising the retirement age (to, e.g., 72 or so) and encourage people to work longer while they’re healthy before receiving pensions, also helping elderly people to stay healthy and productive, but you still need a decent ratio of young workers to have a good economy. As the economy and education improve, people prefer small families and the population stabilizes gradually, anyway.

    If the One Child Policy has indeed sent the Chinese birth rate plummeting to 1.6 or 1.7 suddenly and creating a vast excess of elderly, then this is obviously not a formula for a healthy economy– if China is filled with hundreds of millions more retired elderly than young workers, then the country’s savings would be depleted and business would grind to a halt. As businesses especially in the retail sector (dependent on consumer savings and spending), we’re not going to invest our money into such a country.

    2. The male:female ratio. This article and others, are implying that in much of China, the male:female ratio at birth has hit something like *130:100* due to the One-Child Policy. For rural families especially, if they’re forced to have only one child, then they’ll want a boy to help out on the farm– whereas if they can have more children, they don’t worry about this so much since they’ll have roughly equal numbers of boys and girls.

    If true, this is unacceptable and it could be disastrous for China in about a generation, and we won’t invest our money there. Societies in history with large excesses of men or women have almost always been politically and economically unstable– you really need to have a roughly 50:50 ratio of each sex. Otherwise, China in 15 years for example, might be having a massive excess of young men to young women, with the result being that hundreds of millions of young Chinese men wind up not being able to find a woman to marry. Societies like this almost always have massive social problems when they have millions of embittered young men without partners– higher crime, increased warlike tendencies, depression, generalized social dysfunction. I realize that people can partially make up for the imbalance by e.g. importing brides from places like Vietnam, the Philippines or Korea, but this is a very limited solution. A society with this sex imbalance is probably not stable, and it’s not a good place to invest our money.

    3. The differential birth rate problem. The consultant warned us that Xinjiang is a “demographic and political time bomb” since the Han Chinese are subject to the One Child Policy while the Muslim Uyghurs are not. So the Han have only one child per couple, while the Muslims have 5 or 6. I once read an article on this and history has shown how dangerous it is. Serbia lost Kosovo because the Serbs were having only one child while the Albanian Muslims were having 7-8 kids per couple. Shiite Muslims have a much higher birth rate than other groups in Lebanon which has made them close to a majority. The US Southwest is re-acquiring its Mexican and Latino culture and character since Latinos have a much higher birth rate than whites. (Southwestern states like California, Arizona and Texas were actually part of Mexico for many centuries, but the US invaded Mexico in the US-Mexican War and seized half of Mexico’s territory in 1848, which is why those territories are now part of the US.)

    With the selective One-Child Policy, according to this consultant, China is producing its own Kosovo in Xinjiang. It would be a much better idea to have a uniform policy for everyone, also try and integrate more Uyghurs into the larger economy and make them less reliant on agriculture, help them find good jobs both within and outside of Xinjiang, and so on.

    The result? If these articles and the consultant’s warnings are true, then the One Child Policy, if continued for several more years, is forcing China into a massive demographic, economic and political crisis in a few decades, and we’re not going to invest our money there. We’ll put our money into places like India instead.

    Notice that this has absolutely nothing to do with the numbers of English-speakers that India has. English proficiency is by far the single most overrated and useless factor in attracting foreign investment. As retailers especially, we couldn’t care less whether workers in India or China become fluent in English or French or German or whatever– obviously, we’d be hiring mostly among the local people, and we’d be selling our products to them in the local languages and dialects, whether Mandarin in China or Hindi, Bengali, Tamil or the other local languages in India. Training more English-speakers in China would do absolutely nothing to help increase confidence among us foreign investors.

    On the other hand, we do care a lot about demographics in China over the next 20-30 years, and India, for all its flaws, has much better demographics than China, if these articles are true. India’s population growth is also slowing rapidly, but at a more gradual pace overall than China, and it’s due to voluntary measures– like better education and availability of contraceptives– in India, rather than forced measures like the One Child Policy, which don’t necessarily help to increase wealth but force population growth down too fast. Thus, India is starting to look like a better place for us to invest our money in the coming decades, unless China soon changes the One Child Policy.

    It’s funny, because as I’ve been writing this, another old friend of mine has written to suggest that the articles on the One Child Policy *are* flawed. He’s confirming my initial hunches– that the Policy really doesn’t apply much to rural regions, that the Policy is not really enforced much, that wealthy urban couples just pay the fine and have 2-3 kids if they want, that people just hide their kids or migrate if they have e.g. 5 or 6 in the countryside. He also says that China’s true fertility rate is much higher than the official figures since the official numbers underestimate it– rather than 1.6-1.7, it’s more like a little above 2.1, at replacement levels. If he’s right, then maybe things are OK. But I admit, I’m frankly confused right now. And the truth is, most of my business colleagues have been hearing the very scary things about the One Child Policy from the consultants and the articles, and if the One Child Policy goes on for a couple more years, they’re going to lose confidence in China and invest their money elsewhere.

    Please don’t ignore this post, please don’t shuffle it around or disregard this issue as unimportant and talk about trivial things. We’re talking about hundreds of billions of dollars (or Euros) in investment here from US and European companies. We’d like to invest a lot of it in China, but the One Child Policy is making us nervous. Honestly, a lot of us are confused and we hear a lot of contradictory information. How does the policy actually work? Can you chart out myths and truths about it? If the One Child Policy has forced fertility down too rapidly and caused China’s population to age too fast– which would be a very bad thing, as I explained above– are the Chinese authorities in the process of changing and loosening the policy, to encourage voluntary small families (and better economic growth and infrastructure improvement) instead? I’d greatly appreciate clarification here.

  48. Well, I always tell my employees who are complaining about one problem or another, that when they’re done complaining, they should try to be productive and suggest solutions. I guess that applies to me as well, so in the spirit of trying to be mildly productive and offer helpful ideas, I’ll put myself in the shoes of a Chinese policy planner– please feel free to use this for a separate topic if you want.

    I admit that I don’t have all the information here and I’d like to have more accurate data. But if I were consulted to draft a population, immigration, development, environment and nutritional policy for China– which stabilizes population but preserves economic growth and the environment (while encouraging investment from people like us)– the following 5 ideas are what I would suggest:

    1. Instead of the forced One Child Policy, set up voluntary measures to encourage small families instead. Help to improve education throughout the country even in the rural areas, encourage more people to study advanced subjects at university, to become wealthy, to start towns and cities. Better education and economic improvement naturally lead people to have smaller families, down to replacement level stabilization. Furthermore, this would help China to become wealthier with a better-educated population.

    2. Invest in pro-environmental technologies like reforestation, renewable energy sources, enriched crops with nutrients (like the “Golden Rice” that has extra Vitamin A), more energy-efficient technologies that require less electricity to deliver higher output, re-utilization of industrial wastes, vaccines and desalination of seawater. Minimize pollution of water sources and reduce the amount of lead in pipes and homes– which causes intellectual deficits and brain damage in children. The cleaner, less polluted and healthier China is, the more effective the Chinese economy will be. These will help China to have a firm, sustainable industrial economy and help to cushion the effects of rapid economic growth, while increasing health and providing for clean water, air, fruits, vegetables and grains for the population.

    3. Provide more incentives for China’s vast population of emigrants in the US, Europe and Australia– including highly educated people who have graduated from top universities– to return home to China and apply their skills to strengthening China’s economy. Many of the “sea turtles” have been returning, but far too few. China has been losing too many of its best-educated and most capable young people abroad, and this, again, discourages us foreign investors from putting money into China. However, if more of these overseas Chinese are lured back in– with e.g. offers for nice jobs with high pay, their own labs and start-up capital for companies– then they’ll boost China’s economy tremendously, boost up creativity, help initiate Nobel Prize-winning work and innovative projects, and other big benefits. This sort of thing further helps to stabilize China’s population in the best way, while maintaining strong economic growth.

    4. Encourage educated Westerners– as well as 2nd-generation and 3rd-generation Chinese and other Asian immigrants in the USA, Europe and Australia– to work or even settle in China. Help to spread Chinese language education at Western universities and provide overseas scholarships to talented Westerners to study and work in Chinese schools and companies, especially if they’re familiar with Mandarin. Again, this sort of thing can help to bring in further talent to help solve Chinese ecological and demographic problems more effectively.

    5. Finally, and also very important– try to provide incentives and rewards for immigration of skilled workers from elsewhere in Asia to study, train, work, settle and start families in China, and assume Chinese citizenship. In particular, developing countries like Vietnam, the Philippines, Thailand, South Korea, Laos, Cambodia, Indonesia and Burma have an enormous skilled talent pool that likes to go abroad for further education or even immigration, but current Chinese laws bar these skilled people from studying and working in China, where they could be a tremendous resource for the Chinese economy and their own. Vietnamese engineers, Filipino nurses and doctors, Thai businesspeople, Korean scientists, Burmese metalworkers– I’ve met these people and lots would like to work in China, but because of Chinese immigration restrictions, they can’t enter China or gain Chinese citizenship, so they go to Western countries in place of China. This is a tremendous loss of talent and human capital for the Chinese economy, which should instead be attracting such people.

    Instead, China should open up its immigration laws to skilled workers from other Asian countries, who could meet shortages in the Chinese economy while getting extra training in Chinese universities and businesses. Obviously, China would also benefit from further encouraging Chinese language acquisition in these countries. In turn, these migrants from elsewhere in Asia would help their home countries by sending remittances back home, while using their extra training and returning home (in some cases) or staying in China and helping to foster business partnerships between China and their home countries.

    I’ve read some other ideas like this, e.g. a “responsible family initiative” that’s been floating around, but I think this sort of a proposal helps to both stabilize population and maximize economic growth while protecting the environment, health and nutrition for the people. Again, I’m just a guy with my own partial information set here, but I genuinely admire China and would like the country to succeed– both for the country’s own sake and as a potential market for foreign investment. China could really become a model country, an example of how to grow and develop successfully, and hopefully some of my own suggestions might prove helpful for this.

  49. Pete, while I think your questions and a possible discussion about this could be very interesting, I do wonder why someone, who is about to invest billions, of dollars/euros, is asking something like this in a public reaction on a blog… I mean, wouldn’t it be more wise to go to China by yourself and find these things out for yourself? With that kind of money, there should be somewhat available for decent researches and not let everything stand or fall by the answer of just one man.

    Don’t get me wrong, maybe you are getting these researches from others as well but the way you’ve put it here, it is more like you will let everything stand or fall by Jian Shuo’s answer. It is something which would not be very wise in my personal opinion. It should take up to months, even years, of planning and researching if you don’t want to lose a great deal of money.

  50. Pete

    You have raised a very good assortment of points, questions and ideas about investing in China’s booming economy. Unfortunately, I believe that you will not receive a significant amount of reliable data to be able to make a fully informed decision. Without reliable numbers to work with, risk factors become substantially elevated. I personally do not like ‘high risk’ investments and need to know what I am getting into before I leap.

    Confucius also said: “He who leaps without first tieing his gym shoes will trip and fall.”


  51. so sorry for that misspelling in what Confucius said. correct English spelling is ‘tying’, not tieing. Confucius was not only very wise but a very good speller.

  52. Pete wrote:

    “I always tell my employees who are complaining about one problem or another, that when they’re done complaining, they should try to be productive and suggest solutions.”

    the above is absolutely correct. Henry Ford once said: “Don’t find a fault, but find a remedy.”

    if you can’t make things better, then it isn’t a fault. Let’s talk ‘solutions’ and not just ‘problems’, including taking care of my purple skin and green ears.


  53. I agree with the sign as a business owner–only to protect other customers and my staff. I have pointed to the sign only once in 16 years; I had a customer loudly and threatening to become physical towards another customer due to religious beliefs. So I showed him the sign and asked him to leave. He was not happy and will most likely not return–but I am very okay with that. He was harassing a customer in a discriminating way.

    I am not sure this how all business owners use the sign–but to me it allows me to excuse a customer who is discriminating against anther customer or staff or mistreating another customer or staff in an extreme manner and ask them to leave. I agree this should be done with or with out a sign. But it was nice to point to the sign as I quietly asked him to leave.

    If any customer treats other customers or staff in an extremely negative manner, it is a way for our staff to know management supports refusing service. AGAIN ONLY IN EXTREME CIRCUMSTANCES.

    In the same note, we need to realize we are here to provide service and there may be difficult customers. The sign should only be used for those rare times. Even those times, the sign may mean nothing as the customer would be extreme regardless of a sign.

    I do not think it is the sign we should be discussing but rather if it is used appropriately.

  54. SJD

    I guess a restaurant Owner could also post a sign saying ‘ENTER AT YOUR OWN RISK-THE ESTABLISHMENT IS NOT LIABLE IF YOU ARE INJURED ON A SLIPPERY FLOOR OR ANY OTHER DEFECT ON THE PREMISES’. Personally I think it’s very bad PR for a business owner to convey these negative messages.

  55. SJD

    I guess a restaurant Owner could also post a sign saying ‘ENTER AT YOUR OWN RISK-THE ESTABLISHMENT IS NOT LIABLE IF YOU ARE INJURED ON A SLIPPERY FLOOR OR ANY OTHER DEFECT ON THE PREMISES’. Personally I think it’s very bad PR for a business owner to convey these negative messages.

  56. i was refused service and kicked out of a walmart because they didnt like how i looked. they assumed i was there to steal stuff because im a mexican teen. thats wrong. i just wanted to buy some jewelry for my lady but now i wont support walmart in anyway.

  57. Mexican-American Teen:

    Many stores and their security personnel pay particular attention to teens entering their store and almost have a knee-jerk reaction that they are there to try to shoplift.

  58. Amigo-teen: Wal-mart will lose this kind of case, every time. Sue them. They are reponsible for at least 20% of our trade deficit.

    And I can guaranttee you that it won’t happen in most of their stores. The security guy often is an amigo, tambien!

  59. Shrek7 you raise an interesting comment. However, I can see by your comment that you have little experience in a business environment regarding legalities. Anyone can sue regardless of the sign. There is a big difference between the two signs you suggest according to the legal society. Actually if you have a wet floor you are required to post or protect the area. Again what is important as how a business runs the business and treats the customers. I decided to take down the sign.

    This comment is not directed towards Shrek7—but rather this is my two cent opinion–if it is even worth that much. I think people often spend more time acting like a victim and calling racism/ageism without looking at the whole big picture. I know this sounds negative–not my intent. But I guess I still have those rosy colored Polly Anna glasses we loose during childhood… I want it to be a perfect world where we all just get along regardless of skin, religion, and age (all ages seem to have issues). I know this is not realistic–but I have found those people who usually cry fowl, cry fowl not because of a true fowl but because they often find fault in others more then most. I agree there are times when fowl should be cried and action taken ! ! But stop and think. Amazing how we are all so afraid of being sued–that we post signs. Or how quick are we to suggest “sue them”. When did we become such a litigious culture and worse why are we all so quick to cry fowl. I know it is not a perfect world– but maybe if we spend more time looking inward and fixing our own misjudgments of others–maybe less signs and less suing would occur??? But then again, there would not be this discussion either huh..

  60. It is against federal law to discriminate on the basis of race, color, religion or national original. In addition to this, states have their own laws against discrimination. California, for example, has the Unruh Civil Rights Act which provides broad protection from arbitrary discrimination by business owners, such as for unconvential dress or sexual preference.

    So basically this sign is just that, a sign. It has no legal backing whatsoever. If a business says they’re open to the public, then they are open to the public. This is now a private club that can discriminate however it wants.

  61. The first amendment prohibits discrimination in place that provide public accomodation (restaurants, hotels, motels) and there are some exceptions for people who own limited numbers of rental units. Generally, individuals are free to discriminate to their hearts content, whether right or wrong – we can pick our friends, where we live, where we shop, etc. In the long run, all of us need to know that discrimination (or bias) is part of who we are, but should NOT be part of how we do business.

    Business can’t post a “we reserve the right…” sign that lists all possible reasons. First, restaurants and other places of public accomodation *have* to obey the law. It is illegal to discriminate on the basis of gender, race, religion, etc. Second, how could a restaurant owner list all the possible reasons that might cause this situation to occur? Some measure of freedom must be given the business owner in deciding what type of person might be undesirable, negatively affect business, disturb other customers, etc. Finally, there are some types of “classes” that are not protected under the law – “homelessness” isn’t a protected class. Neither is “gang member”.

    Whether a business posts this sign or not, they still have the right to eject “undesirables”. That may not make everyone happy, but it’s a fact and it’s generally the law.

  62. The remarks about Americans…If you look at the picture of the sign, in the back there is Chinese writing, which means this sign is posted in a Chinese restaurant…

    So much for blaming Americans. And, if you don’t like it here in America, find someplace else to live.

    We are not as you write. There are but a handful, just like every country out there, that paint a bad picture for all.



  64. Short & sweet, Carroll hit the nail right on the head. I won’t reiterate those points, as they were well-stated & you can all go up & read everything for yourselves. Thanks for that eloquent explanation.

    As for Nick, the self-professed “homeless” guy, . . . dude, do you LOOK “homeless” . . . because, I mean, COME ON! How the hell would a business owner be able to TELL you are HOMELESS in order to refuse to serve you FOOD!? That was the most idiotic thing I have read. Besides, you can’t be that bad off, considering you said yourself you have money for food & you are also able to access the internet somehow. You are the most well-off “homeless” person I have ever encountered! Good for you, Nick. Now, quit bitching about not being served for being “homeless,” & find a shower or a comb & I bet things would look up for you in that respect.

  65. I too have been troubled by these RESERVE THE RIGHT TO REFUSE signs. I lived in the deep south until the mid-60s and I know what such a sign meant then and there. I was dismayed to see it (and so frequently) when I came to the northwest. I wondered how residents of this area could possibly tolerate these signs with such obviously (to me anyway) odious connotations. I do not know the legal history or standing of these signs. I have concluded that they were not based on anything similar to the motivations of their southern counterparts. Perhaps they are based on local/state laws that give a business owner/manager “legal cover” if they exercise the “right” and to discourage suits against businesses by granting their actions a presumptive legality. I doubt that they enlarge substantially a businessman’s rights that exist under other civil/criminal laws. Their effect may be more psychological for the businessman and customer–the one a “comfort zone” of to act within and to the other a “heads up” notice. These laws/signs certainly do not restrict (much less override) federal/state/local civil rights guarantees of individuals (theoretically). Twenty five years after moving to the northwest my feelings about these signs have changed from repugnancy to sadness. Sadness that the level of decency/discourse/demeanor in this country had not advanced to some new level but, apparently, had disintegrated to such a point that (more and more) businessmen felt it necessary to display such signs to feel comfortable in conducting ordinary daily transactions with the public. Sad also that the “legal cover” the signs project also provides even the smallest justification (though false) for contemporary discriminatory behavior like many of you cited in varous parts of the country. Do we really need signs that were conceived in the most contemptable period of social relations (abuse) in this country to guide us in the conduct of ordinary business life today and perhaps perpetuate/encourage beliefs of a minority that have not made the mental transformation to a more civilized/tolerant/less selfrightous inner life? Todate the practical answer apparently is yes. And that is sad.

  66. The reason that sign is in most stores, etc.. is so when someone comes in and is rude, jumping in line, loud, offensive and disturbing other customers they may not be served and asked to leave… would be a good rule to keep rude and obnoxious chinese out of a nice quiet store.

  67. Very interesting topic. Retiree from Bell System, community servant, prison ministeries, feed the hungry, scholarship fundraiser. I had the following experience

    Called a fast food restaurant that I have frequented since their inception in our City. They had phone off hook a bit over an hour before closing. Got in car and drove there, soon after leaving, the phone was put back on hook and my cell phone was ringng their phone until I arrived on their parking lot, about 5 minutes before closing. I stated, “wow, you all must have been busy tonight”. I told them that I was going to call in an order for the 25 bonus pieces that was promised from an order of 300 pieces the week before. (Good relationship with second owner). However, I said, since you are about to close, I will buy 12 or 15 pieces … whatever you have. The manager there, of which developed a dislike a year ago due to on a couple occassions buying chicken and there were a piece that had bruised blue veings or just a burned look. I asked to have it replaced. However, he said, “there will be no free pieces tonight.

    Also, added, if I had known that the 300 piece order for you last week, you would have never got the order. (Mind you, the second owner friend delivered it to the Church for the feed for me), he said because I don’t like you and that you are ignorant. He said, you can tell (John doe – the second owner if you will), it won’t do any good. Furthermore, I am going to call the police. I immediately asked, “What is your problem”? He said, I don’t like you, you are ignorant. I went on to tell the one helper, I will take just the chicken, and will overlook this ingrate, and irate manner in which I am treated, due to my years of business friendship with the owner family. He told them, you are off my clock, don’t serve her. I proceeded to call 911 to see when the officers would arrive, due to my having to get back to the work project we were on to feed the people.

    This guy is obviously a pathelogical liar, and even down the second owner. The officers could not believe that there was no hostitility on my part. Yet, the one went in the back and talked with this fellow. He came out and got a piece of paper and wrote a ban and bar and let this fellow read it to me. No reason was cited, and they later stated, just don’t give them your business.

    Since, I have located the second owner and have a meeting with him and one of the community leaders. This is unbelieveable to be yelled at and slander without a cause and his accusations of me, he was the epitome of. As a community servant and in the top of my thesis program, volunteering for many worthy causes, a follower of the Holy Word, to have such a defamer, there should be strong Law against such poor role modeling and hostility in front of his nervous employees. They kept looking at him strangely and yet, they were afraid to speak up

    This restaurant does not have this sign and is open to the public of all backgrounds.

    Comments are welcomed.

    Great Outreach Avenue.o

  68. I’ve done a fair amount of research on the rights of a business owner to refuse to serve customers (I’m a law clerk). The general rule is, a business owner has that right unless they are a common carrier or a public utility. Meaning, there are certain services that are deemed so important, the people who run them are less restricted in who they can refuse to serve. However, they can certainly cut off the folks who don’t pay (though that ability itself may be subject to certain restrictions).

    But, as for the rest of the businesses out there, those that hold themselves out to the public for business can refuse to serve anyone, subject to federal, state, and local law. For example, the CRA and ADA are countrywide, so such business owners can’t discriminate on the basis of race, gender, disability, etc. State law can be even more restrictive–California’s law prevents discrimination on the basis of sexual preference and even dress. Cities might have similar ordinances as well.

    Not that it’s relevant here, but a business that doesn’t hold itself out to the public has a lot more freedom refuse whoever it wants (like a private club). But they need to be careful–it doesn’t take much in the way of crossover in the public realm to lose this “private” status and the freedom that comes with it. Having a liquor license could do it.

    By the way, signs don’t really affect business owners’ rights and liabilities. I think they’re more for psychological effect. I’d like to see a business owner in court allege that they’re not responsible for an injured customer who slipped and fell on their floor. “But, your honor! We had a sign!” They’d be laughed out of court…if judges laugh, and I haven’t seen one laugh yet. But they’d lose anyway. All the same, the sign like the one you showed may be effective as a reminder to the customer, but it has zero effect legally. If they didn’t post it, they could still refuse service to anyone, so long as it didn’t amount to discrimination of a legally protected class of people.

  69. “Meaning, there are certain services that are deemed so important, the people who run them are less restricted in who they can refuse to serve”

    Oops…I meant MORE restricted. Good thing I’m not practicing yet ;-)

  70. As another answer mentioned, this kind of sign has a history. Up until the 1964 Civil Rights Act businesses were free to discriminate against blacks, American Indians, and other minorities by refusing to serve them or allow them to sit indoors. Before the Act passed many business owners argued that businesses were private property and the government had no right or authority to set rules for them. Passage of the Civil Rights Act made discrimination in businesses illegal but throughout the South many stores and restaurants put up these “we reserve the right” signs to show their defiance of the law. These signs are particularly associated with Lester Maddox, who was elected governor of Georgia after becoming a celebrity for being “forced” to sell his restaurant when he refused to serve blacks.

    Today I don’t know if these signs have the same intention. Some businesses probably put them up just to be able to turn away rowdy customers. I would be interested to know how African-Americans respond when they see these signs and if they think there is a hidden message implied.

  71. Ok, I’ve always found the sign somewhat offensive but never really thought that much about it. After an incident today at my shop my views regarding the sign might have changed.

    Two young males in baggy clothing came into the store. Their race did not catch my attention but their style of dress. I run a tennis shop and someone wearing baggy jeans and baggy t-shirts is not the normal attire of a tennis player. These same two gentlemen came in yesterday and spiked my attention but I had more staff to keep an eye on them so they left. Now I really hate doing this because it is profiling but I also have to keep track of my inventory and can’t afford to have alot of theft. We had already had 4 pairs of shoes stolen in the last two weeks so I’m a little edgy. Well one of them keeps my distracted today while his buddy proceeds to take 2 pairs of shoes out of the boxes and shoves them in the front of his rather large pants. I know this because of the funny way he walked when he left. I could have tried to stop them before they left but I was by myself and didn’t want to be accused of stopping someone because of their race. Well I checked they shoe section immediatly after they left and there I found the 2 empty shoe boxes. Now I do believe in due process but at this point I’m thinking instant capital punishment isn’t such a bad idea! The police took a report but it was their suggestion that caused me to post here.

    The police suggested I post the “right to refuse service” sign in my shop so if these two gentlemen should decide to try this again ( I have no doubt they will, once they find an easy target they seem to return) I can point to the sign and ask them to leave. It’s either that or hope I can call the police while they’re stealing and pray that a patrol car is in the area.

    In closing I think that while the sign is somewhat offensive, it really is a necessary evil. It’s a shame that a few who don’t know how to behave themselves or have common courtesy around others have made this so.

  72. Ok. maybe some one can help, For 8 yrs I have been going to a local restaurant near were I work for lunch with a group of my co workers. Never a problem, always paid and left in a timly manor{had to get back to work} we went like we sometimes do on fridays and the manager said we could not eat there any more. It seems that somebody, maybe in a different department ordered some pizza’s and never picked them up. Can they discriminate and refuse service because of were I work? It is easy to tell because of my uniform.

  73. I think mostly when people post signs like that, they are just trying to protect there business enviroment by someone who might cause unwanted damage to the property and the business it self. The sign is kind of rude but it only for stupid people who might cause disruptions for the business to regulate properly. As far as the legality go I suppose if its a personal property they can do watever they want and say watever they want because of freedom of speech how ever they cannot discriminate on the bases of race,religion,sex. Since all these things hold a stronger ground within all societies.

  74. The right to refuse service to anyone is not a form of discrimination. Any owner of a private business can perform services and/or provide products to any person(s) they choose. If the owner considers someone rude, smelly, unsightly or otherwise offensive to their main clientele they have the right to refuse service. This does not apply to race, creed, religion or sexual orientation. There are ways around that though.

  75. I haven’t read all the replies, but I can’t believe some of them.

    The right to refuse service is a fundamental part of private property rights, as well as the right of association, both which used to be highly valued in the US. Sadly, that is no longer the case.

    Increasingly, the US is being filled by hypersensitive candy-ass losers, finding offense everywhere they look.

  76. Any busness can refuse service to anyone for any reason, as long as it’s not a discriminatory (against a protected class) reason. Exceptions are “public utilities”, and in cities where the city charter specifies that a business must be open to all, and agreeing to the charter is a requirement to do business within that city.

  77. Its very simple… you as an owner reserve the right to refuse service to anyone WHO: Is offensive/agressive in any way towards you and/or your customers.

  78. I came to this blog by accident and cant help but be intrigued by this topic. So here is my 2 cents. From a legal perspective, the US adheres to Common Law which i presume is the very reaon why such refusal of service is legal and not discriminatory since the provision of service, or sales at common law is a cotract. One of the principles of contract is that there must be an ‘offer’ and ‘acceptance’ of that offer. And secondly, the parties of a contract have free will regard what is it they are contracting, the common law will not interfere so long as the not contradictory to any legislation regarding the agreement (here, the provision of service and legal goods). Now, to cut the long story short, any business who advertises are not regarded as to be the offeror, instead, for policy reasons their actions are regarded as an ‘invitation to treat’. Hence, any person who walks into the store and asks for service is actually offering to purchase the service or goods (which is essentially a contract of sale). Here, the owener can either accept the offer (to which other conditions must be met which i will no discuss here) or reject the offer. Because either party must enter a contract at their own free will, the owener is under no compulsion to accept and can reject for any reason he thinks fit (legally speaking). Should the owner not accept the invitation to treat, he naturally without the right pursuant to their operating ownership of the premises to ask certain individual to leave under the principle of tresspass in torts. Hence, the sign ur speaking of merely reflects that legal principle.

  79. sorry for the poor english, i have a habbit of not editing what i write and it sometimes lead to unintelligible jibberish. Here is the edited version of the above:

    I came to this blog by accident and cant help but be intrigued by this topic. So here is my 2 cents. From a legal perspective, the US adheres to Common Law, which I presume is the very reason why such refusal of service is legal and not discriminatory, since the provision of service, or sales at common law is based on the notion of ‘contracts’. One of the principles of contract is that there must be an ‘offer’ and ‘acceptance’ for a subject matter, in this case being service and food in a resturant. Secondly, the parties of a contract must have free and indepedent will regarding what is it they are contracting (acts of compulsion and duress will null the contract), the common law will not interfere so long as the contractual subject (here, the provision of service and legal goods) is not contradictory to any legislation. To cut the long story short, any business who advertises and invites customers are not regarded as to be the offeror (because once you make an offer, you cannot reject it when a person walks in to accept your offer – in this case, you must serve the person), instead, for policy reasons their actions are regarded as an ‘invitation to treat’. Hence, any person who walks into the store and asks for service is actually offering to purchase the service or goods from the shop-owner. Here, the owener can either accept the offer (to which other conditions must be met which i will no discuss here) or reject the offer. Since the parties must enter a contract at their own free will, the owener is under no compulsion to accept and can reject any offer for any reason he thinks fit (legally speaking). Consequently, shop owners holds the right pursuant to their operating ownership of the premises to eject the person to whom service has been refused to leave under the principle of ‘tresspass’ in ‘torts’. The sign you’re speaking of merely reflects that legal principle.

    I’m a law student in Australia, I hope that clears up your question, even though its abit late.

  80. I find this discussion on the sign and different cultures very interesting. I believe we will never find such a sign in Japan, because in Japanese culture, the customer truly is king. Maybe the saying, “the customer is always right” originated from Japan. Heehee. When I was working in a Japanese company, we would have to pander to the customer’s whim and fancy, and even if the deadline is impossible, we would still have to try and make it somehow. Imagine a Japanese company telling his client, “We have the right not to cater to your every whim and fancy if time does not permit.” *lol*

    By the way, it seems like Pete has given up on his questions for Jian Shuo. Pete, if you’re serious about getting Jian Shuo’s opinion, I think you should also consider how you would want to pay him for it. After all, it’s a billion dollars of investment we’re talking about.

    Hey, Jian Shuo, looks like you can have one more title to your portfolio: Investment Consultant. *;)

  81. The sign just means that they may refuse service to someone that is very rude, it’s a lot simpler than some of you genius’ are stating. There’s no racism, no bigotry, it’s just an old traditional business sign that many businesses have to let the rude customers no they aren’t going to put up with their attitude.

  82. Crook, Thank You! Legal crap aside…I am a restaurant and bar owner myself. As Crook stated, it is plain and simple. Please stop trying to make it out to be more than it is. The “LAW” allows restaurants and bars the right to refuse service to whom they see fit! Period. Don’t like it, try to change it. Go into a place and argue it, refuse to leave, get your ass locked up! In our business, we deal with a lot of crap. Our job is extremely demanding both physically and mentally. If you haven’t worked in this business, you will NEVER understand. We do our best daily to please our customers. Although you would like to think “the customer is always right”, on to many occassions do people feel that because we are “in the service industry”, they can treat us like shit. I get yelled at, disrespected, degraded, threatened, etc. (over very minor details and I am extremely critical of my operation to begin with) by people who think they’re someone and that it’s their right to act this way. It makes me very happy to know that I have MY rights as well. I can understand that people will have issues and it is my responsibility to resolve them. The difference is, I do not have to take abuse when people want to voice there complaints in a disrespectful manner! Believe me, I run a VERY successful high end place. The people that think that because they are spending money I need to be their bitch, you’ve got another thing coming. Plain and simple, you don’t like it, there’s the door! This sign is a pre-warning. It basically says “JUST TRY IT!”. Although I do not post this sign personally, I do agree with it’s intent. This appears to be a Chinese restaurant that is hanging this sign. For those who have argued the posting of this sign in their establishment (or the one at Geno’s in Philly). Try spending ONE day along side of the operators of these places. I guarantee you that you will change your mind about this sign by day’s end. I have spent many years within this business as have my Chinese in laws. I assure you that these places have seen more levels of disrespect, discrimination, and abuse than you could ever imagine. I applaud this establishment and I feel for them for having to come to the point of having to hang this sign. They MUST have had their fill and found it important to try to be proactive about the situation.

    In addition to this, I happen to live in Philly and I have frequented Geno’s for years. The sign is still there and they now sell t-shirts and stickers stating “I’m in America and I speak English!”. Once again, it is their right. If you do not like this, do not go there. Try to boycott and you will see that you still will not win. The MAJORITY of people in this country actually understand that as Americans, it is our requirement to learn English. This is our language. Why should there be issue with us making a pre-statement saying “you need to order in English”. Why should it be required that a counter employee, making just over minimum wage, learn to speak another language in order to understand your order. I will guarantee you that the majority of the times that this person behind the counter just simply could not understand the (non English speaking) customer, they were bombarded with attitude by this customer. Now I’m not disagreeing that there is racism everywhere we go, but how stupid do you think that a business owner of over 60 years (Geno’s) is? You think they woke up one day and said, “I think today I want to put up a sign to say I don’t like people who can’t speak English!”. Get over it people! Go to France and don’t attempt to speak the language. Time how long it takes for vendors to either act like they don’t understand you or just simply laugh in your face!

    In closing, allow me to come into your business (those of you who argue these points) and speak Chinese (or another language that you do not understand), act like I own the place and your my bitch. Sit back as I yell and scream when you make a minor mistake (or you don’t understand me). Argue that I should get the entire product or service for free (do to your mistake or lack of understanding my language). And complete our transaction by laughing at how STUPID you are because of your mistake (or inability to understand me). Tell me you won’t think about using your right to refuse service to who you see fit! I tell you first hand, THIS IS EXACTLY WHY THESE SIGNS ARE THERE!

  83. actually any owner has the right to deny to serve a customer , this is because comming into the restraunt is an invitation to treat and when you agree to eat thir food , this means that you are offering to accept their invitation . at this point, the restraunt owner does not need to be bound by his invitaion, and can refuse your offer.

    it is just a mtter of him not having to do something out of force.

    so, basically in the end its not about your freedon its about his.

  84. The right to refuse service and post a sign is also a first ammendment rights Under freedom of speech you can say anything you want as long as it does not hurt anyone in a physical or financial manner So yelling fire in a crowded theater as a joke and people get hurt is a criminal offense. Frankly people are abusing the discrimination law to try and undermine America and the American way of life .

  85. If a person comes in drunk, obnoxious and unruly, any business should be able to refuse to serve them.

  86. I think that people are making a big deal about nothing. This sign does not say, “We have a right to refuse service to….(naming a specific race, sex, gender, etc.)” It simply protects the business owner from any one who may be disturbing the business.

    Again, that’s why America is such a sue-happy culture now. Always feeling attacked from someone. To Jian Shuo and Bovemanm specifically, you two are especially bringing unnecessary attention to a sign that benefits everyone. For instance, if I were a patron and another customer came in making a whole lot of noise and being obnoxious, I would feel better knowing that the business owner refused to service this person. Therefore, in this case, I strongly feel that the business owner should have the right to refuse service to this customer.

  87. Nick has it about right…in the US there is SO MUCH FREEDOM that unless an owner posts such a sign anybody can walk in their establishment and disrupt the business, the other customers, etc and then if the owner tries to do anything it is the owner who will be sued by this bad actor…maybe in China the owner can yell and scream at the guy or call the police and have him hauled away, but in the US the police would come and say “he’s not breaking any laws, there is nothing we can do” Freedom is a difficult challenge!

  88. “Freedom” is a SHAM.

    Its FAKE. Its bullshit. A Method of control.

    The truth about “freedom” is “selfishness”.

    America, Its all about selfishness. Its the “me me me” country.

    This country is not about loving your neighbors. Its not about helping your brother. It’s not about being a good person.

    Nope, this country is all about “me me me”. It is about getting as much as you can with no concern about your fellow man.

    It’s Fake, and I hate it.

  89. As a small business owner, I see nothing ultimately wrong with this sign. I can see how some folk might be sensitive to it but I don’t believe that it is wrong to post it.

    There is definitely a double-standard between service and customer; what is often neglected is the fact that both on the business end and customer end is a human being, with what (should) be equal rights.

    What is occurring in any business activity is a trade harbored by a contract. Consider two peers performing a barter of services: Both are customers and both are businesses. Ultimately the only difference between this and a cash-based transaction is just that: the cash. The two sides still have every right to turn down initiating any transaction. For some reason or another this equality is forgotten, and as a result there is a vaccum of respect for the average business.

    But I reiterate: A business is still people, and people have rights. Rights do not bring power to the consumer, they bring power to everyone (or remove it from everyone-depeting on your perspective); and regardless of whether you are a business owner or a consumer, you are obliged to respect others’ rights.

    This sign is probably a result of responding to a problem with a lot of customers ignorant of the rights of the business owner, somehow failing to realize that the business has as much a right to refuse business as the customer, as both are human beings (or groups of them) covered under the same law.

    Is this a response to arrogance? Yeah, probably. When you set anything up in the public that looks welcoming you can expect some riffraff to come in and cause trouble. But that doesn’t mean you are obliged to tolerate it.

  90. Sorry to comment again; I think I should clarify some stuff from the last comment:

    Last paragraph: “in the public” as in advertising, having a sign up, general raising of awareness. Most businesses are NOT public entities. A restaurant is not a public library-and even libraries can kick you out.

    I think it comes down to: If you don’t own it, you don’t control it and everything you do with it is by permission of whoever owns it or represents someone who owns it.

    I agree partially regarding the “me me me” additude-if we could have as much “you you you” as “me me me” what a fantastic world we would have.

  91. You have every right to refuse service to anyone. Especially if that someone has a habit of carrying explosives under his robe. Eh, muslims?

  92. I don’t know if anyone’s listening to this discussion anymore, but as to the One-Child Policy, I’ve been writing to organizations, newspapers, politicians in China and the Chinese embassies – as many as I possibly can. The One-Child policy in China is itself a reason not to invest in China, not to support the Olympics, and to do as little business with China as possible (that is, other than the business of ending the Chinese government’s violation of human rights). This decision should have nothing to do with money, and it’s not so much about the effect that this policy, akin to Nazism, has on the size of the population (although that is another good argument against the Policy). This should have everything to do with the women who are being strapped to “hospital” tables against their will, having abortions forced on them late into their pregnancies, and being sterilized (and sometimes left unable to walk). Anyone who knows the details of what goes on when provincial Chinese governments enforce this barbaric “law” should protest this policy with every fibre of their being. That’s what I intend to do. The world is taking a closer look at China now that the genocide/sterilization/babykilling Olympics are about to take place. All I ask is that you look deep into your heart, as I have. Think about what investment decisions are ethical, not just profitable. I believe very adamantly in giving generously to the poor. But poverty will always be a problem. The One-Child policy will not solve it. The One-Child policy will only perpetuate the poverty of the human soul, both for those who it affects directly, and those who support it.

  93. @Erika – I am not agreeing or disagreeing with the ‘one child’ policy with the following post, however you need to research and investigate a little more before making generalized blanket statements about how the policy is enforced. The actions you have described are not the norm.

    In short, any abuse of human rights is abhorrent, but unfortunately it occurs in most countries to some degree around the world – I’m not sure of your heritage, but “let those without sin cast the first stone” – how’s your backyard?

    As per the Steven Spielberg’s (ridiculous and mis-informed) reasons for ‘boycotting’ the games, to try and link the great Olympic Games to a political agenda should not and is not tolerated by the majority of governments and world-leaders – you should find another soap-box rather than waste your time flogging a dead horse…

    Take care – I truly mean no offense – to reiterate, I just think your generalizations are a little too tough (and as generalizations, incorrect) on mainstream China and it’s predominately loving and caring people. Also, even if your statements were legitimate, it is very wrong to try and use the Games as your political platform.

  94. My problem with a sign like this, or other signs which add ‘for any reason’, is that they set a tone which appears hostile to certain people who do not fall under the categories offered by posters, e.g., smelly, dirty, drunk, etc. I’ll defer to those who know better than I that this type of sign might be legal. The ‘for any reason’ addition does, it seems to me, cross the line.

    Here in Philly, the recent uproar over the “This is America; when ordering speak English” sign at Geno’s steaks in South Philly was resolved by Philadelphia’s Commission on Human Relations in the owner’s favor. Vento’s defenders said that no one had ever been refused service, but I have to wonder why he put that sign up. Just beneath that sign is another “Management reserves the right to refuse service”. That sign was obviously acceptable since the Commission on Human Relations didn’t bring it up. Vento was found to be within his constitutional rights to have the “speak English” sign, and since the controversy erupted, Vento’s business has gone up.

    Across the street, Pat’s Steaks, which claims to be the inventor Philly steak sandwich, posts no such sign and remains as popular as it’s ever been.

    So Vento’s ‘English only” sign is legal because it expresses a political viewpoint. Despite the increased revenues since the controversy, I’m not so sure Philadelphia’s foreign tourists would appreciate the sign, even if they can speak English.

    But I still have reservations about the open ended right of management to refuse service without a reasonable explanation. I wouldn’t make a big deal of it if I were refused service without explanation, but I’d sure let friends and family know about it. Word of mouth can have an impact on a business that is unreasonable about whom it serves.

  95. Wow so you guys are deffenetly freaking out about this way to much. These signs are every where and it is because these places have the right to do this, to say it is “very offensive” is stupid. Obviously some very small minded people have commented on this.


  96. I recently got into a conversation about this subject. I am of the mind that yes a private business does have the right to refuse service in certain instances. I got really extreme with myillustration: hypothetically I own a business, I have a daughter, she is raped, rapist gets off, do I have to serve him if he shows up? Do I have to serve his family that supports his claim of innocense? Granted, I know you cannot and should not discriminate based on race, sex, sexual orientation, and anything that violates civil liberties. But, if you offend me or treat my family like crap, do I have to serve you? I think not.

  97. Missy, thats fine. I am all for refusing to serve anyone you don’t want too in a private company.

    However, if you get tax breaks, or ANY type of government help, it ties you to the government.

    In that case, you have NO right to refuse service to anyone, because their tax dollars went to YOU via THEIR government.

    I think at that point you should have to follow the bill of rights.

  98. I have a question. How about customers in a handicapped wheelchairs whom want to go into a space with a 6 inches entry barrier that the store owner is willing to help lift the wheelchair up a temporary steep ramp (more than the ADA required 1:12 ratio) and yet the customer doesn’t want to be helped, so ended up not going into a store at all. I know this sounding like “you cannot help someone who doesn’t want to be helped”, so that we have to help them without them even knowing that they have been helped by putting, crazy ramp systems. Can we refuse service to people who doesn’t want to be helped?

  99. Some customers are just extremely rude or belligerent. Some enter the restaurant drunk or inappropriately dressed. Some obviously don’t have the money to pay for the items they are ordering, and are trying to steal from the restaurant or solicit for funds from other customers. The business owners are just protecting their property and business, and good, regular, paying customers.

  100. I understand the intent of posting a ‘we have right to refuse service to anyone sign.” However, as they say, the road to hell is paved with good intentions.

    I agree that a business should not be allowed to refuse service to someone based on discrimination i.e. race, color, religion or place of origin.

    I agree that a bartender or any server should be able to refuse serving a customer alcohol if that customer appears to be intoxicated or is behaving inappropriately.

    I understand why a business owner would not want to serve someone lacking adequate hygiene, not fully dressed or with a history of disruptive behavior.

    The problem I see with this sign is it leaves allot open to interpretation. Opinions and facts are not easily separated sometimes.

    If a business owner refuses to serve someone because they and or a handful of employees consider this person unruly and has accused the customer of past bad behavior there should be something required to substantiate that claim.

    Was a police report made or a complaint filed against this customer? Was this a one time incident? Did the customer stop whatever inappropriate behavior when asked? Did the customer place anyone in danger or threaten someone?

    Four years ago my then 4 year old grandson was molested by a 15 year old. The perpetrator worked at a local restaurant in my very small town. One of the owners and general manager of this restaurant happened to be the perpetrators uncle who also employeed the perpetrators niece.

    The former owner has passed on, the perpetrator and his mother have since moved. This establishment now has a new owner and mostly new management. Only 2 or 3 of the perpetrators friends still work there.

    I spoke with the new owner and explained the circumstances surrounding my family and I being told we were not welcome there. I told him my family felt it was time to move forward and no one remained employed at his establishment that was involved in the past events. I told him my grandson did not understand why we could not eat there. We simply told him the food was not very good.

    The owner asked for some time to look into things. Three weeks later I spoke with the owner again who said my family and I would be welcome in his establishment. A few days after this conversation I attempted to enter his establishment and was told by the shift manager I was not allowed in!!!

    The shift manager informed me of this in front of several customers. Needless to say I was beyond embarrassed. No reason was offered. My family nor I have ever discussed the pesonal aspects of our situation in that establishment. We have maintained or path on the high road and will continue to do so.

    The right to refuse service sign can be used to justify the unjustifiable.

  101. Elaine,

    If in the context of California, your exclusion would be a clear violation of the Unruh Civil Rights Act. In Florida, state law (and case law) seems to support the ability of business owners to “exclude” for any reason (which does not violate Federal Civil rights acts). The Federal Acts clearly ban exclusion based on any of the class criteria listed in posts above.

    The origin of the “right to refuse service” signs are indeed poor: they emerged after the elimination of “Jim Crow” laws, to justify the exclusion of blacks. Just as someone can post “not responsible for injury” or “swim at your own risk” over a pool, businesses can post warning signs, but they do not indicate legal reality. There is no overarching “right to refuse service” across states: a business generally operates as a “public accomodation” and cannot refuse to offer its service for an “arbitrary” or non-business related reason.

    State-to-state, how this plays out legally is simply very complex. The situation you outline seems arbitrary and unfair. Who wants to spend hours and years in the legal system? However, if your children have questions, if you can’t meet friends at an establishment (or conduct business), the exclusion may have real consequences. You could certainly state your case more strongly to the owners; if the establishment has an alcohol license, you could request that it be revoked. But any of this is going to lead to conflict.

    In general, the idea of a “right to refuse service” is so tied to racism and its history in the US, and opposed to the principles of democracy, that I’m dismayed at the general misconception that it exists and is reasonable.

    My apologies for your situation, and good luck.

  102. I have been running a business that is very customer friendly for many yrs and I have posted a sign that says ‘we reserve the right to refuse service’. it is not intended to discriminate, but to let customers know that they do not have free run of the establishment, which infringes on the rights of the other customers. example, the laundry mat is filled with customers (adults and children) washing their laundry, one customer comes in to wash his clothes and decides to include the clothes he is wearing, so he strips down to his underwear and proceeds to wash everything he owns. This is where I have the right to tell the customer to cloth himself. if he refuses or gives resistance to doing so, i have the right to make him leave the premisis. if he still refuses, I also have the right to call the authorities to assist me with the situation. I think that a few of the comments have taken the ‘sign’ too out of context.

  103. Proves to show that some people have no experience in our business world where “customers” can be abusive or threatening. From plain wasting time to constant years of pickyness. We as shop owners need to protect our staff and stop unnecessary problems coming in constantly.

    To think the sign is intended as a racial, sexual intent proves some people are as moranic as they act. How would you feel being intimidated by a loud mouth drunk who just come in to bicker. Or a teenager group hell bent on racially abusing staff.

    Get real Im putting this sign up now!

  104. i don’t know anything about the state of california, but where i come from (colorado) the colorado civil rights division has a specific rule (it’s number 20.4) that says “No person shall post or permit to be posted in any place of public accommodation any sign which states or implies the following:


  105. I didnt read all the comments, but Im sure you’ve got your answer already. However, I work at a vidoe store mostly with have regular new/old release movies. We do though have a “back-room” with adult movies. Most or our customers are men & a few of them are very very rude. So, we do have this sign by our front desk. I have use this in my 5 years of working here maybe 3 times. So, let me give alittle detail of the 1st time and I will stop. Again in the back room there are adult movies. This guy walks in to the store, you can see me as soon as you walk in. This guy walked to the 1st shelf or the store and the walked back to the door and again to the 1st shelf and back to the door. I asked him if I could help him with anything thinking he might want an xxx movie back didnt want to go get it. He ask if we had a title, I told him yes, he said he wanted to buy it, next I go get the movie come back and he ask if I wanted to stick something up his butt for him. That is when I told him he needed to leave I couldnt sell him anything and I didnt think he should ever come back. Sooo… for me this sign works but I dont have to deal with people that try to push you over your edge.

  106. It depends on the situation in which the store is using it. It is against the law to discriminate sex, race, etc. However, they put these signs up to show that they won’t tolerate unruly behavior. Of course customers can’t be discriminated against, but if a customer is cursing, using racial slurs, and being destructive they can’t refuse to serve you. The customer might sue you but the restaurant or business can say that the customer was refused service for this reason. And if its justified then it will be ok.

  107. There was no sign posted, but here’s what happened. We ordered and paid for food at a major chain fast food restaurant. Not my idea of haute cuisine, but it was my friend’s birthday and he wanted to get something there. After we were handed the food, we were told we could not consume it on the premises. Other patrons were allowed to eat on the premises. Since we had intended to eat on the premises, we requested our money back. The acting manager told us she was not authorized to return our money and we had to leave the premises immediately. As one of the postings said, “I was beyond embarrassment”. The food, purchased at their establishment, my friend consumed outside, on the hood of his car. I telephoned the national headquarters the next business day because I was so upset. I never heard back from the company. This incident transpired in Virginia.I am still upset about this because I have to drive past the establishment several times a week. I filed a complaint with the Better Business Bureau to which the restaurant said, in effect, “the employee who kicked her out of the restaurant no longer works here, case closed.” I came across this website as I was researching the possibility of filing a lawsuit against the company. Any suggestions? If I didn’t have to file a lawsuit, I would have been satisfied with an apology in front of the whole restaurant, and some gift certificates for my friend to eat there in the future. I wouldn’t.

  108. I have my own business and the reason why i have this sign has nothing to do with someones life financial stability, race, color, religion, or any other discriminating action. Why do i have it? because sometimes you may get individuals who are not good to the enviroment that the stablishment is about. For example at a daycare if a child who is uncontroling, rude and violent towards others, the manager may call the parent and express his concerns towards the child and the safety of the others, If the problem persists he or she will not want to continue child care services for this child, not because of any discrimination towards him but for the safety of the children in general. The point i’m trying to make is that this sign is there for one purpose and one purpose only, to keep the safety of the business. If a person who is drunk and is saying nonsence to the rest of your customers you may respectfully ask him to leave the premises. If a person is not fully clothed (no top) Showing nudity is not welcome in a public place. The sign is not there to judge or discriminate.

  109. A business should not be able to use the sign as a way of having their way. The sign should be use in good faith towards the business and customers. There would be not be a business without customers.

  110. Thanks Angelica for the explanation as a business owner. It is just like the capitain of an airplane, or a boat has the top authority to refuse to serve anyone, or make decisions to stop the journey if there is security concerns, isn’t it?

  111. Americans can be very rude and very self expressive. “The right to refuse service,” sign just shows that the boss of the store can be just as rude and offensive as the person walking in the door. This sign is very unwelcoming and offensive. I have never seen it in any other country.

  112. While, in most cases, these kinds of signs should protect the business owners, they can and often do abuse these rights. For instance, yesterday my friend, her boyfriend, and I were in a beauty supply store looking at hair products in preparation for prom. (My friend and I are are Asian; her boyfriend is Jewish and according to him, this is visually apparent.)

    We were doing what I believe that all normal shoppers do–picking up products, looking at the labels, commenting, etc. The saleslady (who had heavily accented English and seemed to be an Eastern European immigrant), kept glaring at us while we looked. We were in the store for only a few minutes before she walked over to us and told us, “If you’re not going to buy anything, I want you to leave. I have other customers.”

    There was only one other woman in the store, and she did not seem perturbed in the least by our being in the store. I told the saleslady that I was looking for something to use for prom, and she just yelled at us to get out.

    All of us are clean-cut students with valedictorian status at our high schools; my friend was recently accepted to UCLA and I to Harvard. Naturally, I was upset and later returned to ask her what exactly was so wrong with us that she wanted us to leave. She would not let me step foot into the store and then said “I didn’t like the boy you were here with. We don’t allow his kind here.”

    Under these circumstances, am I allowed to take legal action? (I don’t think I would, I’m just extremely angered at this moment.)

  113. To keep dumb ass like YOU out , and let real customers in. If you have a problem , stay home ….

  114. Well, the right to refuse service in my opinion, being an employee of a 24 hour fast food business, IS PROTECTION!! I have had so many people throw stuff at me , SPIT at me , and threaten me! I would never refuse service just to refuse. If for any reason i feel unsafe i will refuse sevice. Shouldn’t employees have rights as well?? After all we are people too! OH and i know it is mostly about private business but they need the money more than big corperations. I am sure they only refuse when they feel the circumstances are bad for business!!

  115. This sign is used by businesses across the country to protect them from customers they don’t want in their store. I own a small hardware store, and I have this sign posted as well. If I believe someone has stolen from me, I’ll simply tell them they are no longer welcome in the store. If a tweaker comes in and is disruptive, I tell them to leave. They always argue, but I point to the sign, then inform them that they are currently trespassing and that if they do not leave the police will be called. They leave, and they don’t come back…making my store a better place. This sign is not based on race or religion, to believe that means that you are narrow-minded and probably a racist yourself.

  116. Does a Restaurant Have the Unrestricted Right to Refuse Service to Specific Patrons?

    No. The Civil Rights Act of 1964 explicitly prohibits restaurants from refusing service to patrons on the basis of race, color, religion, or natural origin. In addition, most courts don’t allow restaurants to refuse service to patrons based on extremely arbitrary conditions. For example, a person likely can’t be refused service due to having a lazy eye.

    But Aren’t Restaurants Considered Private Property?

    Yes, however they are also considered places of public accommodation. In other words, the primary purpose of a restaurant is to sell food to the general public, which necessarily requires susceptibility to equal protection laws. Therefore, a restaurant’s existence as private property does not excuse an unjustified refusal of service. This can be contrasted to a nightclub, which usually caters itself to a specific group of clientele based on age and social status.

    So Are “We Reserve the Right to Refuse Service to Anyone” Signs in Restaurants Legal?

    Yes, however they still do not give a restaurant the power to refuse service on the basis of race, color, religion, or natural origin. These signs also do not preclude a court from finding other arbitrary refusals of service to be discriminatory. Simply put, restaurants that carry a “Right to Refuse Service” sign are subject to the same laws as restaurants without one.

    What Conditions Allow a Restaurant to Refuse Service?

    There a number of legitimate reasons for a restaurant to refuse service, some of which include:

    Patrons who are unreasonably rowdy or causing trouble

    Patrons that may overfill capacity if let in

    Patrons who come in just before closing time or when the kitchen is closed

    Patrons accompanied by large groups of non-customers looking to sit in

    Patrons lacking adequate hygiene (e.g. excess dirt, extreme body odor, etc.)

    In most cases, refusal of service is warranted where a customer’s presence in the restaurant detracts from the safety, welfare, and well-being of other patrons and the restaurant itself.

    taken from http://www.legalmatch.com/law-library/article/restaurants-right-to-refuse-service.html

  117. I used to work in Mcdonald’s. in Mcdonald’s actually have this sign as well. My manager used to not sale food to homeless or some customer who complain with our services too much. These people are the same person and they are trouble maker like when they order a cup of cuffe but need 20 creak cube and sugar or age a bite of hamburger and said the burger is cold after 10min.

  118. I actually posted the sign today. I had a customer yell at me a few months ago to suck the gas out of her car because we do not take checks. There is a sign on the pumps, on the window, and also by the register stating that we do not accept checks. I told her about the ATM, she didnt want to use it. I asked her if anyone could bring her the money, she said she lived too far away. I told her about the bank in the next town, 4 miles away, she refused to go. So, now I have the option of calling the police or taking her check. I choose to be nice and ended up taking her check even though it was against policy. Thankfully, my boss was understanding.

    Next, we had a guy come in wanting free food constantly. He said the pizza is under cooked, the next one is over cooked, and the last one is was old/dry. Knowing for a fact that the last two were cooked properly, I was starting to get frustrated.

    Next, we had a guy call me names, a b**** and wh***, and threatened to beat everyone up who works at our business(which happens to be 5 females and one male) all because a customer, not an employee, called his wife beautiful.

    At some point, you have to draw a line. I will not have employees getting yelled at or threatened. I will not serve someone who is never pleased and tries to milk us for everything we have. I will not be called names certainly when I did not do anything! And the entire time, have to smile and be friendly!!! I am so happy now that I have that sign posted.

    It’s for no other reason but to keep out people who are ruining OUR BUSINESS!

  119. And I would like to add..

    Lets say your a customer..and lets say while you are in my gas station another customer starts screaming and cussing because she didnt happen to see 3 signs that state we do not accept checks…and we just keep trying to work with her and she’s still yelling and cussing at the employees. Now, as a customer that just witnessed all of this.. would you come back to my store?

    Now lets say it happened to be when the guy was yelling about pizza. Would you want to buy our pizza?

    Or even being in there while we were getting cussed at? Do you want your kids to hear such language?

    Then we get criticized for not kicking them out!

    What about a customer that keeps driving off with our gas? Should we keep selling gas to them on the off chance that they arent going to steal it?

    Okay, now let’s say a person goes into your job… and let’s say they call you a few bad names and what do you do? Call the cops..ask them to leave…stand there and take it (which I can tell you right now isnt the best idea..or it will repeat and repeat). Tell me what I could say or do to make my employees feel safe. Or even to convince myself that it will never happen again.

    I think it is stupid NOT to post the sign.

  120. Most of the comments assume the sign is referring to racial prejudice. I frequented a Vietnamese nail salon for several years and they constantly had problems with customers (of various races) make appointments for services and then pay with bad checks. At first they put up a sign saying “we do not accept checks.” But, the clients would not tell them until the services were performed that they did not have any cash or a credit card. Rather than insist on payment up front from every client, they decided it would be better for client retention to just ‘remember’ the deadbeats. They put up a sign that said “we reserve the right to refuse service to anyone” and they invoked that right when repeat offenders came in. They also used it when someone came in with open sores or rashes, still expecting service.

    I imagine that in a restaurant setting, the staff has had run-ins with drunks or persons who think they can abuse the staff because of their ethnicity. The sign is then a security blanket AND a way of letting the staff know “the owners will back you up; they will not force you to wait on someone who is belligerent.” It may seem inappropriate to someone who is confident they can call the police and summon protection, but for many legal new immigrants, the signage is an insurance policy against being seen as racist, not a racist statement. Ironic, huh?

  121. As someone who has worked in stores for many years, it is sickening the way some people treat the people who work in retail. The misconception out there is that the “customer is always right”, and unfortunately, many rude and inconsiderate people have interpreted that as “I can behave as obnoxiously as I want and these people will kiss my a** to have my business.” I have had to ask many “customers” to leave as they feel free to use profanity towards my employees, as they abuse the store and/or the merchandise, or are just simply loud and disruptive. Since many of these people are looking for confrontation, it is often easier to point to a sign and quietly ask them to leave.

  122. The “customer is always right” mantra is a relic from around late 1890s when businesses catered to the upper middle class and higher and so had a far smaller customer pool than today. “We Reserve the Right to Refuse Service to Anyone” signs are simply an extra legal figleaf to reduce potential lawsuits by refusing problem (or potential problem) customers. Every business likely has their own example of ‘satisfaction 100% guaranteed’ promotional that went wrong thanks to handful of customers who gamed the promotional so to get free stuff or the customer who claims another employee has “always” given them that price thought it is way below what your business charges.

    For example, if you are a Holiday Inn you certainly have the right, sign or no sign, to refuse service to someone who is clearly wasting your time “thinking” about the lowest rate you have offered him when he has stated he wanted rate more in line with Motel 6 or Super 8 because dimes will get you donuts that even if he does accept the rate you offered odds are he will find something wrong with the room and you will wind up with an even lower rate (or most likely free) to keep him happy. This is especially true if the so called customer is effectively brow beating the merchant’s employee to give then a room even though they are plenty of other hotels available–they are setting things up to file a complaint and get something out of it. Simply put it is not worth servicing such people.

  123. If a sign like that appears in MY establishment, it’s meaning is clear. If YOU find it “offensive,” YOU are who it’s speaking to. THINK about it.

  124. don’t even tell me about this. i and my friends have been kicked out repeatedly by this southern coffee house bitch and it went too far where we retaliated and people got arrested. i swear we still live in jim crowe era.

  125. You people who think this sign is offensive:

    This is perfectly okay to have a sign like this. In fact, you MUST have a sign like this if you decide to throw out a customer. There are a myriad of reasons you could throw out a customer, including being unruly, making obnoxious and outrageous demands, causing a scene, etc.

    If you ask a customer to leave and DO NOT have this sign, then you are inviting a lawsuit. It is not inviting a lawsuit just by having this sign, you’d have to be an idiot to think that.

    If a store asks a customer to leave because, for example, he starts throwing fruit on the ground, he will be asked to leave. If a customer becomes unhappy and throws food at a waiter (seen it happen) then he can be asked to leave.

    It’s not any different. If a customer caused a scene last time he was in a restaurant, the restaurant has the right to refuse service if he chooses to dine in again. You people who are “offended” by this sign (give me a break, thin-skinned, anyone) do not see what the purpose of the sign is.

    Stop being so thin-skinned. If you don’t like the sign, don’t eat at places that have them; they’re not violating your rights no matter how offended you are. If they had a sign like “We Don’t Serve Smelly People” or anything specific, then you’d have a case. This sign is just to general and broad for you to take offense.

  126. I live on the Big Island of Hawaii, where ‘ALOHA’ is supposed to be a big deal here – yet there are ‘WE RESERVE THE RIGHT . . .’ signs everywhere. Here is a definition of the word ‘aloha’


    Aloha is a word in the Hawaiian language that has numerous meanings both as a single word and when used in context with other words. The most common uses are as a greeting, farewell or a salutation. Aloha is also commonly used to mean love. It can also be used to express compassion, regret or sympathy.

    On the Hawaiian Language Website, Aunty D states that

    Aloha (and mahalo) are ineffable, indescribable, and undefinable with words alone; to be understood, they must be experienced. Deeper meaning and sacredness is hinted at by the root words of these words. Linguists differ in their opinions as to the exact meanings and origins, but this is what was told to me by my kupuna (elder): “On a spiritual level, aloha is an invocation of the Divine and mahalo is a Divine blessing. Both are acknowledgments of the Divinity that dwells within and without:


    [Alo = presence, front, face] + [hā = breath]

    ‘The presence of (Divine) Breath.’

    – – –

    I’m thinking of doing an art piece, whereby I take pictures of the ‘We reserve the right ….’ signs all over town, in small letters note on the pic what business they’re from, shrink each picture down, then use many of them to spell out the word ‘aloha’

    I think that would show the hypocrisy

  127. I expect one day we’ll see them in churches, if they’re not already there

    I’ve already seen surveillance cameras in church gift stores


  128. Most of these posts are asinine.

    You DO NOT have the right to not be discriminated against when it comes to issues of private property, much in the same way you DO NOT as someone posted have “the right to eat.” You cant just walk into my house, OR my business and demand that I feed you eggs from my fridge. In the same fashion, if I work in a restaruant and dont want a smelly homeless person regardless of his financial situation stinking up my hard earned establishment, I will tell him to beat it.

    People get confused about discrimination laws, mainly due to the laws covering employment. It is true that employers who have more than 15 employees must adhere to an anti discrimnatory hiring standard ordained by the federal govt. However, this doesnt imply that they have to maintain these same standards in whom they serve.

  129. Oh my Rusty, your telling me that you would refuse a homeless person who due to circumstances has no hot water to bathe in or food to eat and is starving to death because hes “smelly” and you would tell him to “beat it”? if you were willing to let me starve to death just because you too stuck up your own bum to help anther desperate, unfortunate human being out, oh wait, there not human beings are they? there just smelly homeless people stinking up your hard earned establishment wanting a small bite to eat (which they would pay for) to stop their demise, i hope there’s a place reserved just for people with the same mind frame as you after you pass on.

    Personally if i thought a downtrodden individual, down on his luck asked to buy food but i thought his presence would “disturb” other customers i would attempt to accommodate his need in some possible way even if it meant selling him food to take away, people like you disgust me, maybe you should starve for a few days then see how you like it huh?

  130. I will not do business with any business that displays the sign and I tell the owner, manager so. In my opinion any “public” business is open to the public. Health concerns because of dirty, drunk, disorderly actions do not need that sign to escort them from business…..Police can be called for these type of actions. If you accept the American Dollar to serve someone, then my dollar is as american as anyone else’s dollar and you are open to the rest of the public, then I am as public as any other public. If you are private club such as the Eagles, Elks and etc, then I understand members only.

    I find the “We reserve the right to refuse anyone service” very insulting, threatening and there is NO justifiable reason to display that sign. Police saying you have to have it is bull. Thats the kind of statement better reserved for Nazi, or communist countrys. Display that sign and I will do everything I can to boycott your business and tell everyone else I come into contact with to boycott that business as not consumer friendly. Posting signs, banners and etc saying not to use that business because of the sign would fall under the heading: If you believe in the right to use that sign, then you have to believe in the right for me to picket, post signs (on public prop), and file newspaper ads to not use that business.

    I am an American and I believe I have the right to do whatever I want (legal) and so do you, as long as you don’t infringe on my rights. I have the right to use your business if it is open to the public.

  131. One more statement: I have read all the above posts and the ones that state “private property” do not apply to homes…..Business open to the public may be owned as private property but as soon as you open your doors to the public……don’t preach the private prop. speil.

  132. Hi

    I have to say that I totally agree with posting a sign regarding the right to refuse.If you visit an establishment and you arent going to do anything wrong then what does it matter if the sign is on the wall.

    I have found signs in my workplace help cut down on abuse i receive from those people in life that follow the” i can do what i like when i like how i like” philosophy.

    Signs like only assistance dogs allowed ,people who look under xx age will have to show id to buy alcohol,no smoking signs all have helped me in situations where rules have been broken and the persons attitude to being informed of this is to make a scene and intimidate me for having dared point out they were wrong.

    I once got abuse from a customer who also phoned the head office to complain about me because he opened a can threw the ringpull on the floor n casually wandered round.I lifted the ringpull and said we have a bin outside or we have a bin where u pay please dont throw stuff on the floor .He took this badly i hadnt even challenged him on drinking the can before paying for it but yet he was abusive and gave me the dont you dare tell me what to do il do what i like speech.

    Very few establishments abuse these rights and it is impractical to phone the police to escort rule breakers from the premises for circumstance.

  133. Hi,

    I am a restaurant owner and I have been trying to avoid to post the “refuse” sign in my restaurant, but lately I have encountered a situation that I wished I posted the sign. I eat out a lot and I know when to complain and when to not, but complaining a meal after you finished the whole thing is just not acceptable. For me if you devoured your food that means you liked it, This person complained and we gave him 20% discount to his bill and then he came back the next day demanding for more compensation, isn’t that absolutely ridiculous or he thinks we are stupid. This happen to us recently and it really breaks my heart that there are some people out there that make it their business to destroy businesses that is just trying to make an honest sale.


  134. A lot of people add on ‘for any reason’ and this is wrong. Too often, people start focusing on the ‘anyone’ part but this has nothing to do with people in general. Notice the first part ‘RESERVE’ which means to set aside for a specific purpose. They reserve the right to refuse service to anyone, FOR A SPECIFIC PURPOSE. What the purpose, for this right, has more to do with a specific BEHAVIOR of a person who goes into a place of business.


    If a customer comes into my store and proceeds to treat me like crap (cuss at me, not be respectful of my store or me) just because they want to; I THEN make use of the right I have reserved (for this exact reason).

    I don’t have to take sh** from people just because they CHOSE to come into my store and spend THEIR money. It is people with those attitudes that need to realize that we don’t NEED them as much as they need us. If they can’t act right and treat others with the same respect as they are given then they should keep their money and see how far it is gonna get them without others.

    BUT THIS IS A TOO WAY STREET! Store owners have NO RIGHT to treat their customers with disrespect and prejudice! If they think so, they may soon be replaced with people who understand the reality of things. Their customers deserve as much respect as they do.

  135. I have a friend who has recently been thrown out of a bar just for walking in. She used to date a guy that broke into her boyfriends house and assaulted him and her. He has been convicted of 2 felonys has a a no contact order with her but seems to be working the system and is not in jail yet. However whenever we go into a bar and he either comes in or is there she gets asked to leave, however never by the owner but by his staff. In both situations I have asked to speak to the owner and neither would come and give us an explanation of why she is being asked to leave. We are not drunk, dressed innapropriately, or have caused any problem at all. In actuallity the guy still speaks to all of us and asks if he is still “best of friends” with us yet this continues to happen. Is this legal? Can she do anything about this. There are no signs posted about refusing the right to serve either. What can we do?

  136. I see NOTHING wrong with the sign. I work at a club and we don’t post a sign but we STILL have the right to refuse service to anyone, and we have the right to ask ANYONE to leave at any time. This DOES NOT mean we have the right to refuse service to someone on the ground of race, color, religion, or national origin.” or due to any handicap, in face we bend our normal rules for the Handicapped. We can in fact by law refuse service if say a biker group tries to enter and they refuse to remove their “Colors” or Patches. We can legally refuse service to someone who is overly intoxicated, ect ect ect. This is basically what the sign you speak of means. What do you expect them to post a sign saying if your an asshole we will refuse you service.

    We also refuse service to anyone that any employee is uncomfortable with them being there, and we have that right also. As the employee has the right to work without feeling intimadated. So in my opinion Freedom goes both ways, if your freedom interferes with my freedom, you both cannot have it your way. Best way I can explain it is it’s the same with people who smoke, the non smoking laws interfere with my freedom to smoke, but since my smoking bothers a non smoker, we cannot both share our freedom in the same place.

    And as far as the people here that think freedom means you can do anything anywhere you like as long as it’s legal. Well they are just looking for a reason to complain about something. Just because it’s legal to wear a ski mask when your out sled riding does that mean you have the right to walk in a bank wearing one? Just because it’s legal to have sex in your bedroom, does that mean you have the right to have sex in public?

    Now to break down the original post:

    My question is, although it is the private property of the restaurant owner, does this violate the anti-discrimination law?

    No it does not

    Is it offensive to anyone?

    It may be offensive to those that think their freedom means they can do anything they like no matter who’s freedoms they infringe on.

    What are the cases that the owner refuse service to some one?

    I explained some above, the most obvious is anyone that is obnoxious, which could include many things, Intoxicated (Laws and ordinances at the state and local levels, which vary by area, make public intoxication a crime.) using profanity (which is against the law to do so in public) Not wearing a shirt or shoes, ofcourse for sanitary reasons. There could be many reasons like I explained above, if your freedom interferes with my freedom.

    Don’t get me wrong. I am not assuming this is not correct. I just want to have better understanding how freedom works in U.S.

    Don’t get me wrong there are many things I think take away from our freedoms in the U.S. this not being one of them.

    My top two observation during my last few trips in U.S. are:

    1. Freedom is all about the right to say NO in one’s place.

    2. Property is protected by walls, and in U.S. by laws.

    I will talk about these two conclusions later. Anyone help me to understand this disclaimer? Obviously it is legal, and allowed, and this is not the first time I saw the sign. How come?

    The reason you see the sign a lot is because “SOME” people think that freedom means they can do anything they like!!! And that is NOT what freedom means. Granted the definition is: “the condition of being free; the power to act or speak or think without externally imposed restraints” But common sense goes a long way. However, can any of us ever be truly free? Well, yes. If the definition as posed here is used. If we are to use “externally imposed restraints” as our measure. It has been said that my freedom ends at your nose. This implies that I am free to act as I will as long as it does not impinge upon your freedom. Then we have a problem. So if restraints are to be applied, they must be internal. That is, I must apply them.

    Getting back to “SOME” people think that freedom means they can do anything they like!! Even if it Impinges upon someone elses freedom.

    Here is a question for you

    Do you feel you should be free to impinge upon my freedom?

  137. If you dont like the sign do not eat there. They are providing a service but they are not required by law to provide any service. This is a private business serving the public. Get over it.

  138. This sign is very simple to understand.

    If you are mis-behaving (rude, drunk, loud, smelly, obnoxious), this sign applies to you.

    This sign in no way does it mean that they will refuse service to a handicapped person, a person of a certain religion, or ethnicity, or color.

    Common sense guys: Be good, be appropriate, have manners when you go into someone else’s place.

    Please don’t ask me how I define “appropriate.” You should know that.

  139. Can anyone answer this question? What is the California law that protects its employees from unreasonable/rowdy/uncontrollable customers? EXAMPLE: I work at market, customer is cursing me out (four letters) & making raciest remarks, i ask them to leave, they dont, management sees, hears & ignores their actions towards me & allows customer to cont shopping & even check out. The customer verbally & mentally assaulted me, the store owners just condoned their actions. what do i do, who should i contact?

  140. It allows businesses to kick people out who are: disruptive; exceptionally rude; not dressed correctly (no shoes, no shirt, no service), etc. I work in a doctor’s environment…have seen this happen couple of times…once a patient cursed, yelled, etc. at another employee; the dr. politely asked him to leave/refused service. Another place, similar environment…client came in…so rude, accusing us, basically, of being like “used car salesmen,” my boss politely asked him to leave/refused service. The customer IS NOT always right…I appreciated both of my bosses who did this.

  141. A friend and were in a McDonalds restaurant one day And I had a lot of gas and was doing a lot of burping and some loud mouth across from us keep trying to get me to stop burping

    which I said ( I happen to enjoy burping) when he couldn’t et me to stop he tried to get some young brainless manager to come over and get me to stop when that didn’t work the man started making threats to my life and the manager did nothing, I told the manager I was reporting him which I did, The mistake I made was not turning it in to the police so nothing was done a McDonalds security cameras do not pick up sound and the man did not actualy make any threating moods So if this ever happens to you get the police out there immediately don’t set there and argue a Person has the dam right to burp or belch when they dam well want to!

  142. wow…. some of this is helpful… thank you carrol. some of the postings are ignorant and useless… thank you homeless nick. if a homeless person isnt asking for money and just enjoying his meal and doesnt look like he may be contagious or begging on the premises no one would care if your eating there. nobody wants TB or lice or any other nasty things a homelss peson with no resources may carry. the appearance of homeless people varies. street punks are optional homeless… then there is the i have no birth certificae or social security card and i cant get any of it kind of homeless… most rock bottom homeless people dont get on the internet and go to these forums. any who on that last comment…. i was at bojangles and had just gone tubing down a river… 3 very obese women began complaining about the fact i had on a swimsuit with a towel wrapped around my waste even though one of the men had no shirt on at all (i am not that well endowed by the way)… i had shoes and my top was covered. the manager came and told me i was offending the customers…. personally i was offended by the fact that they were seated and eating when i ordered my food and still eating when i left. i think they stayed longer just to bother me.

  143. we have the right to refuse service to ((drunk people/trouble makers)), if i were a resturant owner and i see some customer causing trouble, i would point my fingures to the sign and show the customer so he will leave or behave! It s not about race, or color, or sex, or homeless person! its about trouble makers, and the good of the business. Mostly we find these signs in ;Open late resturants!

  144. This sign is there so that the proprietor can refer certain customers to it in order to justify kicking them out of the establishment due to rowdy, bad or disruptive behavior. The sign doesnt apply to most customers that visit, nor will the establishment invoke it except in the instances just described.

    Although on the face of it the sign seems to imply that the establishment could use the sign to discriminate (perhaps based on “sex, religion, sex orientation, age, etc.), it would be unwise for the establishment to do so due federal discrimination laws. If they were going to refuse service to anyone, it had better be for any other reason but discrimination. If the customer can show it was discrimination and not due to bad or rowdy behavior, the establishment could get into very hot water with the Feds.

    Rest assured people, it doesnt matter what your race, sex, creed, orientation is. If you behave in a manner that is deemed rowdy, bad or disruptive, you will be kicked out. If you are just a regular customer who will not be bad or disruptive, it doesnt matter what your race, sex, creed, orientation, etc. is. You will be given all manner of due service.

  145. Actually, a misconception is that the first ammendment GRANTS rights, and really the entire bill of rights (IT DOESN’T!) but rather its lies out rights that are already innate within us.

    Congress shall pass no law abridging the right ….

    which does more than imply, its specifically states, that the rights that congress cannot abridge are already in existence WITHOUT the bill of rights…. In effect the bill of rights protects the citizens from the GOVERNMENT!! Which means that the bill of rights does NOT do 2 things

    1) The bill of rights is not the government bestowing upon us rights that come from the government, but rather protecting rights that we have naturally as human beings and

    2) The Bill of Rights does not protect citizens from other citizens who wish to abridge those rights.

    If you were to enter my house and start talking about something i find offensive or insulting me, I could throw you out, without you being able to sue me for abridging your freedom of speech…

    Same can be said about throwing racists from your store because they are disrupting business using their racial slurs aloud and causing a scene… These people do not have a legal leg to stand on, because, again, the constitution does not protect them from other private citizens.

  146. i walk into a restoreont and got completely ignored! i wasn’t drunk, loud, homeless i had my shirt and shoes on. the only reson i can think of is race. they ignore and kick out most black people who come in there a night.

  147. open your own store and see what you come up with.. ?? its easy to say anything unless you truly do it and I do i have store and you have to have rules or people will chew you up and spit you out that’s the bottom line the reason we have all the language is customers ruin it for everyone else. It takes 1 bad apple to ruin the rest.. happens all the time.

  148. I own a salon that I lease. I have a customer who is very disrespectful to me. She’s told me to shut up and caused a scene. I put up a “we reserve the right to refuse service” sign. I am working up to refusing to serve her. I just want to make sure I’m handling it right. People that have never operated their own business don’t realize how much covering of the ass that business owners go through. Next, it will be security survelience with audio. The publics behaviors normal and abnormal cause business owners to get defensive and paranoid. Sad really. Thank goodness, I don’t have many bad apples.

  149. It’s not meant to discriminate. Consider this – if a mom is yelling, and hitting her kid, or an angry man is cursing at the waitress – no one in the whole restaurant is comfortable. In that case, the owner should refuse service to that person. Especially if all attempts to resolve the problem failed. THeir right to behave disruptively shouldn’t violate anyone’s right to a relaxing dinner. Bottom line – a store owner is obligated to protect other customers and the staff. If a customer is especially offensive or abusive, the can be asked to leave.

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