To the Man Waiting in Line at Max Brenner,
It’s about 10:30pm on Saturday night and after a somewhat interesting dining experience at a local hotdog ‘restaurant’ we decided to pop over to Max Brenner for some heavenly chocolate dessert. When we arrived, the line was about 40 people long and all the way to the door but when you want Max Brenner chocolate… you join that line.
You were in that line. You were in front of us.
You, your wife and another couple.
Waiting, just like everyone else.
At first I smiled politely at you in recognition of the fact that YES we were at the end of the line; and YES we weren’t moving at all. You brought it up and I acknowledged it. Did it change anything? No. We all had to wait. Us, along with the 40 or so other people in front of us. More people joined the line behind us. The anticipation was growing. This was going to be delicious!
Suddenly, the line moved about a metre and we shuffled forward eagerly and there you were again, whinging to your wife and complaining that we had hardly moved at all. Discussing rather loudly and rudely that the staff must be incompetent and disorganised. Almost threatening that whatever you chose to order had better be good or you’ll be angry. As the line moved (very) slowly, we watched waitress after waitress bringing out amazing chocolate desserts and delivering them to tables of excited diners and children. They were almost running and were visibly overwhelmed. Behind the counter, several workers were preparing, cleaning, serving and creating amazing chocolate desserts and all were working fast… really fast.
The demand was enormous. Around us, tables lay dirty with abandoned plates with finger-swiped chocolate marks on them. Obviously, it was busy but in case all of us around you didn’t already realise that, you continued to point it out… loudly. At one point I considered saying something to you about your manner, but I really didn’t want it to cost me a place in that line so I kept quiet, turning my head the other way and trying not to look at you. I was so embarrassed. I even moved back just a tiny bit so that other people didn’t think that I was with you.
As we finally approached the beginning of the counter I watched your friends clear a table, dumping dirty plates onto another, claiming that their request for a clean table had been ignored by the staff who were preparing on the other side of the bar. Big whoop. You called out rudely to a waitress who was buzzing frantically around us trying to clear tables and take out orders, speaking disgustingly to her about the state of the café and how long it was taking to reach the front of the line. What would you have liked her to have done? Apologise profusely and personally guide and escort you to the front of the line like a VIP just because you made a complaint?? She smiled politely and explained that everyone was doing their best, to which you scoffed at her.
Eventually, a table became available and I sat down, allowing my friends to order for me and as I did, a lovely waitress instantly came and cleared the table and wiped it down for me. I smiled at you but you did not smile back. Instead you gave me a dirty look. It felt good. Our chocolate dessert was worth the wait. Simple, yet amazing. As my friends and I chatted excitedly about our day and how good our dessert was, you and your friends continued to criticize everything and everyone.
At the table to our right, two young children sat patiently, waiting for their dessert and that’s when it occurred to me that they were sitting quietly and sensibly with their mum. They were little children, waiting and watching everyone else enjoy their chocolate desserts without making a fuss and without one complaint. I realised in that moment how difficult that wait would have been for those two little people, whose time would tick so much slower than ours. In this day and age of instant gratification and wanting everything yesterday and refusing to wait, they actually were. I don’t think you saw them.
You might think that you waited patiently for your turn to be served simply because you stuck it out and waited. But let me tell you something – man waiting in the line at Max Brenner; being patient has nothing to do with how long you wait, but everything to do with how well you behave while you wait. And you failed miserably.
The lady behind you in the line at Max Brenner.
Photo courtesy Paul Farris www.PhotoGenius.com.au