Modern Living: Sugar Free

Restaurant patrons often complain of being taken, but in inflationary 1974 it is the diners-out who are doing the taking. Not just ashtrays, but about everything à la cartable, from cups and dishes and silverware to rolls, crackers and ketchup—even paper napkins and soap.

Diners are emptying salt shakers into plastic packages—or taking the shaker itself—for home consumption. Even at tony establishments run by Manhattan's Restaurant Associates, well-to-do customers are making off with people-bags filled with everything from fruit to nutcrackers.

Throughout the U.S., the biggest takeout item for restaurant rippers-off is sugar, which has had a price rise of 160% in the...

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