Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Lookin' confused

Yesterday I went to a new restaurant.  It is sort of a restaurant, sort of a bakery, sort of a coffee shop, and like many places that don't fit standard molds it wasn't exactly clear how things worked there.  It had a glass case with lots of different sandwiches and other food on display but I stood around unsure as to the procedure - should I walk up to the cash register and order?  Wait at the food counter?  Go sit down and wait for a server to come up and take my order?  It turns out that this place is best described as a coffee shop.  You tell the people what stuff you want, pay for it, and then you can sit at your table while they heat it up and then bring it to you.  The coffee shop descriptor isn't perfect but it is the closest thing I think; there is no ordering at the table and tipping does not seem to be required.

I find this sort of thing fascinating to watch because the first time in this sort of a situation people tend to be confused and nervous and it ends nearly instantly once they can shove the place into a convenient box.  Prior to that there is a lot of rapidly looking around trying to sort out how to not appear foolish.  It is, of course, a very simple process to acquire food at such a place and certainly if you do it wrong nothing bad will happen but that doesn't seem to mitigate our collective 'what if I do something wrong and look stupid?' subroutine.  It is sort of like when people fall down or stub their toe or some similar thing in public.  They first thing they do is look around and see if anybody noticed instead of checking the injury.  That desperate desire to not appear foolish, ill informed, or clumsy is very powerful.

In addition to confusing new people who don't know how to act they also have a fantastic patio with lots of shade from trees and make very nice pulled pork sandwiches.  Overly expensive pulled pork sandwiches to be sure but that the taste of them is excellent cannot be denied.

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