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It's Enough to Make Your Stomach Turn

But although Fairfax police spokesman Mary Ann Jennings says the department has accepted the apology and the company "acted very graciously" once its top officials got involved, the gall of the original request continues to send waves of revulsion through the ranks of police everywhere. Cops are a tight brotherhood, and the Internet has enabled officers to lean on the electronic shoulders of comrades across the continent, so police chat boards are still buzzing about the restaurant's behavior. Doster says Texas Roadhouse is still hearing from officers venting their anger.

"We're hearing from people who want to boycott, and I've talked to a number of these guys on the phone and I gave them the facts," Doster said. "To a man, they're saying 'Okay, that's what I need to know.' "

So the company may now be digging its way out of a pretty deep hole. But why did this happen? What could possibly drive a person to be so callous, so deeply selfish and greedy?

"Only Eric knows himself," Doster said. "Just frustrations with his alarms or whatever."

Or a blindness to others that we see all too often these days, even in businesses that rise or fall on customer satisfaction. A newsletter that advises corporations on crisis management dubbed the Texas Roadhouse incident a "case study in how to do it completely wrong." But think about the people you know and how they respond when they think they have been cheated -- think of the nasty e-mails they dash off, the angry calls, the righteous demands for compensation. Is what happened here really so inconceivable, so far from the kind of behavior we've come to accept in our daily lives?

Join me tonight throughout the evening to discuss the primary election results in Maryland and the District at

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