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BBHQ Boomer Essays:

Money 101: The IRS Cafe

Our Boomer-In-Charge at BBHQ, Hershel Chicowitz, writes about boomer memories and current events... from a boomer's perspective. He is sometimes funny, sometimes provocative, some-
times a little of each. We hope you get a kick out of our Boomer Essays.

Half of the diners received checks totalling $970. In other words, 50 of the diners paid nearly all of the bill for every diner at the cafe!

Lunch for forty of the 100 diners cost less than four dollars each.

Several diners got a check indicating that they owed nothing for their meal — absolutely nothing. Defying the axiom, for a few, there is indeed “such thing as a free lunch.”

And a few received not a bill, but an envelope containing a small amount of cash! That’s right. Instead of paying for their meal, they were paid money because... because... well, just because they came to the cafe, sat down, and ate. For them, Woody Allen was right: 80% of life was just showing up.


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Irving, Ralph, and Saul -- three high school grads -- decided to forgo college and instead start their own restaurant. They saw how the guys who founded Outback Restaurants and the Hooters chain did it, and decided they could do it, too. Thus, Irv's, Ralph's and Saul's Lunch Cafe began.

Picture it: A modest cafe on Route 24, a busy thoroughfare just outside of Topeka, Kansas. It's just after noon on a sunny day in April. We're at Irv's, Ralph's and Saul's place, better known as the IRS Lunch Cafe. It's the heart of America; and today, like most days, the IRS Lunch Cafe serves a perfect representation of America. One hundred people are dining at the IRS Lunch Cafe; rich and poor, of many colors, religions, incomes, and ages.

Irv, Ralph, and Saul move briskly from table to table, tending to all 100 customers. All the customers receive a healthy meal. Some guests are grateful; others take the bountiful food for granted. All eat well.

Then the three owners passed out the checks. It is time to pay up.

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