Have you ever seen that Seinfeld episode where Jerry, Elaine, George and Kramer are in a rush to get to a movie and they go to a Chinese restaurant and have to wait for a table? The Host of the restaurant keeps telling them 'Five, ten minutes', in response to their questions about how long till they get seated. To make a long story short, the whole episode is them in the waiting area of the restaurant trying to get seated, eventually they give up and leave because they are starving and have missed the movie and just after they leave the restaurant the Host calls out "Seinfeld four!"
This past weekend my bride and I took the kids to Fredericton for the night and decided that we would go out for supper when we got there. After three tries at three restaurants we finally got to have our supper (it seems that no one in Fredericton cooks at home on Friday night). At two of the restaurants the wait for a table was 45 minutes or longer! The third restaurant we got to originally told us 15 minutes, so we thought, 'o.k. that's not too bad' and hunkered down to wait. The funny thing about this whole situation was that as each new person entered the restaurant and asked about seating, the hostess told them progressively shorter times. I looked at my bride and we both, in a moment of shared brain activity, whispered to each other 'Seinfeld four!'
This of course got me thinking, how long do you wait for a table before you just say the heck with it and leave? If you go to a restaurant and they tell you '10 minutes' say, and you wait and wait and then look at your watch and it's been almost 15 and you ask again and they say 'just another couple of minutes', have you invested too much time to leave that restaurant? Do you take the chance that it might be just a couple of minutes or do you bail in the hopes of getting quicker seating somewhere else? It's one of those circular conundrums. If you stay the wait might be longer than you are being told, but if you leave you might get quicker service at another restaurant, but if you leave your table will probably be ready in just a couple of seconds. Then there is the whole factoring in of the time it takes to get to that other restaurant… Ugh!
Luckily in our case we got seated faster than we were actually told and the meal was good, the kids had a good time and all was well with the world. Looking back at the weekend, and the faces I saw in the waiting areas of the three restaurants we visited, I can only remember three smiling faces – those of the owners.