My foyer fills up with dozens and dozens of people by noon. Kind of hard to tell who’s first in line when they form a tight knot at the podium. But most of our patrons are pretty respectful and defer to those before them. Most, that is. For some reason, today and yesterday have been the days of “I was here first.”
Picture me at the podium with a cartoon cloud over my head:
Customer: Uh, Miss, I believe I was here before them.
Me (cloud talk): I KNOW you weren’t, you pathetic liar.
Me (for real): Oh, really? I’m sorry. Can I help you?
Customer: I’m first! Miss? I just told you, I was here before them!
Me (cloud talk): The hell you were. And next, you’ll tell me you have a reservation.
Me (for real): Okay. Hmm. We have about a 20 to 25-minute wait. Pager?
Customer: Excuse me. Hello? Miss, I know I was here first and I want a table upstairs–now.
Me (cloud talk): Hey a— h—! First time out in a restaurant that doesn’t ask, “For here or carryout?”?
Me (for real): Oh, you were here first? First? I am so sorry!! Would you like a pager? We have about an hour wait for a table, maybe a tad more.
Customer: I was here first! I was here first!
Second Customer (who was clearly there first): Uh, yes, I guess they were.
Me (cloud talk to first customer): We’re on a ten-day wait, jerk.
Me (for real to first customer): Okay. Would you like a pager? We’re on a half-hour wait.
Me (for real to second customer): Thanks so much. Would you like a pager? We’re on a half-hour wait. (And then I put him at the top of the wait list so he’ll be seated in five minutes or less.)
Be nice out there, folks. It’s only food. And everyone will get fed. Some sooner than others.