Saturday, November 24, 2007

How's That Again?

Going out to eat should not make you feel like a dumbass.

You know those restaurants where they have a big board posted by the door that says "How It Works" and then when you get to the front of the line, the staffer asks you, "Have you ever been here before?"

On the other hand you have your traditional types of places, where nobody has to explain anything. You sit down and a waiter takes your order; or it's a buffet, or cafeteria style, or fast food. These are better because, no matter how friendly and patient the staffer is whose task is to explain the rules to you at a non-traditional-format restaurant, you can't help seeing it from his perspective. Oh look, it's Faceless Customer. He comes in here all the time. But he still just... never... gets it. Geez. What the hell is wrong with this guy?!

Last night I dreamt that a friend and I went to grab a quick breakfast taco at some place with a weird system. There was a long line snaking out the door, but we walked right up to the counter and placed an order and paid. This upset a few of the people in line and a fight nearly broke out; the staffer behind the counter explained - a bit huffily, too - that this was the way it was supposed to work, but the people waiting were still not at all happy. Novices. So it's probably not a good idea to come up with a concept for a new restaurant in your sleep.

But next time you go to Freebird's and the guy behind the counter asks you if you've ever been there before, furrow your brow, say, "Yes, I come in here all the time, but it's still not quite making sense to me. Could you run over the rules again?" You'll be a big hit.

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