This is a (browser-friendly) copy of the official code of ethics of the Serial Diners, a group founded in 1989 and dedicated to dining at every restaurant listed in the Toronto Yellow Pages (in alphabetical order), at the rate of one per week. All are welcome! See also the current agenda and the Serial Diners rules.

I. Let the record show that the Serial Diners are not only permitted by their essentially arbitrary charter of rules, but are indeed encouraged, to avoid dining at any restaurant, appear though it may in the Toronto Yellow Pages (West or East Edition), and be listed though it may in the Serial Diners' official agenda, if that restaurant should be known or strongly suspected (whether as a result of public allegations or inside knowledge), to be conducting their business in a manner that is unethical, as defined below.

II. Unethical behaviour is defined as any action (especially if ongoing) that is directly and unconscionably detrimental to specific human beings in an extreme and significant way.

III. A partial, and by no means exhaustive, list of actions that would constitute unethical behaviour by the terms of section II might include the following: killing people; publishing hate literature; serving human flesh on the menu; funding a genocide; forcing customers to eat their meal even when they're full because the sign doesn't say 'All you want to eat', it says 'All you can eat'; fomenting wars for the purposes of arms profiteering; inflicting irreparable psychological damage on children by shining bright lights in their faces and repeatedly screaming 'You exist only to serve me!'; wishing people into the cornfield just because they didn't tell you it was a good thing that you made it snow; and, as a purely hypothetical example, using immigrant slaves as your cooks and waiters and making them sleep on the restaurant tables at night.

IV. It should be noted that the definition of unethical behaviour in Section II deliberately excludes the normal, everyday questionable behaviour that is here acknowledged to be an integral part of the restaurant business, such as underpaying and overworking its staff; firing someone for no good reason; being rude, surly or forgetful; failing to maintain a non-smoking section; miscalculating the mandatory gratuity; breaking Health Code regulations; donating part of its profits to a rotten government; identifying every meal on the receipt as 'MEAT'; or serving lousy food.

V. As a corollary to section IV, it must be noted that a restaurant that just happens to look run-down and seedy, or whose existence seems explainable only by positing a mob connection, cannot just be assumed to be unethical. Until there are facts to the contrary, even a dive must be assumed to be ethical.

VI. Note also that although there is a good case to be made for the ethical rightness of vegetarianism, serving meat is not, for the purposes of this Code, to be considereed unethical, unless perhaps the animals were tortured for the sheer fun of it.

VII. An unethical restaurant that closes and then reopens under a new name should be observed with suspicion. Unless a change in management is definitively known to have occurred, it should probably be assumed to be unethical.

VIII. Once a restaurant has been deemed unethical, it remains unethical until it not only stops its unethical behaviour, but does a good deed too.

See also the Serial Diners rules and the current agenda.

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