I recently discovered, much to my dismay, that I had eaten Satan for dinner.
This is a true story. Allow me to explain.
In the midst of a snowstorm, my wife and I decided to try a new restaurant.
We ended up at a brightly lit, very mod, hipster-friendly place that put an emphasis on fresh food.
Hey, I’m cool. I love fresh food.
But what landed on my table bore no resemblance, by any stretch of imagination, to the gyro I had ordered. There was no pita, no lettuce or tomato, no tzatziki sauce.
Instead, I was confronted with a bowl of hot couscous topped with deep green kale, crunchy steamed carrots, tangy hummus, and savory slices of spicy gyro meat.
It was delicious.
But the meat tasted decidedly … different.
Here’s how my conversation with the waitress went:
ME: What kind of gyro meat was that? Chicken?
WAITRESS: Seitan. It’s pronounced SAY-TAHN.
ME: Um … SATAN? WTF?!
Turns out that it’s a fake meat made from wheat protein.
Much to my surprise, I had taken us to a vegan restaurant.
(By the way, if you want to hear the voice of Seitan, click here. Go ahead, it’s fun.)
Don’t get me wrong, the food was tasty. And the wait staff was bubbly and helpful.
But still, I felt deceived.
Not just because I had paid $20 for a steaming bowl of vegetables.
I felt misled because it didn’t say “vegan” anywhere around the restaurant. Not on the sign, not on the menu … nowhere.
So I got annoyed. That’s a bad way to treat your customers.
A paperback book did the same thing to my wife the other day.
In the middle of reading a new novel, she looked up from the page and said, “Did you know that this is a Christian book?”
We checked the cover copy. It didn’t say “inspirational” anywhere on it. There wasn’t a hint of anything religious. Yet, partway into the book, suddenly all of the characters started quoting scripture.
Nothing wrong with that–if you know that when you buy the book.
Nothing wrong with a vegan restaurant–if you know that when you read the menu.
To be happy with a purchase, we need to know what we’re buying.
I suspect that somewhere along the way, the author or publisher decided to try to expand their audience by omitting “inspirational” from the description.
Likewise, I suspect that the owners of the restaurant decided to appeal to meat-eating diners like me by omitting the word “vegan” from their menu.
But we need to know these things up front, before we decide to buy.
If I had, maybe I wouldn’t have ended up getting tricked into eating Satan for dinner.
Have you ever felt deceived after a purchase? Let me know in the comments.
Subscribe to my newsletter to get more posts about books. Plus, free chapters, sneak previews, and insider-only deals! Click here.