Here we go again: It's the last week of the month, during summer no less, and saying you're broke would be an understatement. How do you power through the last stretch of the month? Well, for starters, dining out is out of question, unless you go for a quick, cheap bite.
Naturally, what qualifies for a cheap option is rather relative, so relative that for one Lebanese politician, lunch at a five-star hotel seems like a good enough bargain to boast about on social media.
Behold, the "austere" lunch
Earlier this week, Member of Parliament Michel Daher posted a photo of the so-called "austere lunch" he indulged in with his fellow parliamentarians, all of whom happen to be part of parliament's Economy and Industry Committee.
In a failed attempt to accommodate for the country's financial woes, MP Daher referred to lunch at Gordon's Café in Beirut's Le Grey Hotel as a budget meal.
"Our austere lunch comprises of a hamburger meal, in light of the current economic situation, with members of the Economy Committee: MPs Ali Bazzi, Chawki Daccache and Roger Azar," the MP wrote on Twitter.
Lebanese Twitter users were quick to find out the location of the alleged budget meal and came out in full force to criticize the tone-deaf tweet.
People put their investigative skills into use
"When someone is on a tight budget, they doesn't order a burger for 32,000 Lebanese pounds ($22)! Basically, the four of you paid (excluding drinks) a total amounting to 20% of the minimum wage, which a family of four is supposed to live off of for 30 days. You're free to spend your money in any way you like, but don't mistake us for fools."
So many questions come to mind
"If they go to Le Gray to stay on budget, where do they go to splurge? If they had went to Barbar, what would've happened to them?"
People simply can't relate
Newsflash: Poverty is no joke
Seems like our economy is in great, great hands
"We have a huge problem. This Economy Committee is handling our issues from Le Gray. We have a major problem."
Do instant noodles ring a bell?
"Austerity means having instant noodles at home. How do you expect to gain our sympathy by eating at Le Gray? #Have_Some_Shame"
What about Snack Hammoudi?
"Haven't you heard of Snack Hammoudi?!"
Where can we sign up for this level of austerity?
Paris Hilton-approved austerity
"Lebanese MP boasts about taking austerity measures by sharing a photo of his lunch at a restaurant 99% of Lebanese can't afford. This theatrical performance by rulers pretending to stand in solidarity with their people becomes more comical every day. We can barely tell if rulers really think we're dumb or if they are purposely being rude to us."
Dear MPs, this is how the Lebanese actually deal with "austerity"
We suck it up in the country's less-than-stellar means of public transportation or walk through the city's trash-ridden streets to save some cash. We skip meals during the day and settle for the cheapest options out there. We drain ourselves to cover the most basic of needs. We are constantly haunted by the fear of facing an unexpected emergency that we can't afford to deal with. We are stuck in limbo with our partners because getting married and starting a family is too much of a luxury nowadays. We are forced to maintain jobs we despise, accept salaries that don't remotely come close to what we deserve and deal with employers who violate our rights.
We sacrifice our mental health and well-being to make ends meet. We can't afford to plan too far ahead in the future and instead simply focus on making it to the next day, week, month... And when we're taking "austerity" measures - i.e. always - we sure as hell don't have lunch at Le Gray.