When you walk into a restaurant and there are other people crowding the front door and waiting area, you walk towards the front of the crowd to put your name on ‘The List’. After I walked through the front door of a happening breakfast spot, I saw the crowd and plotted a course to the hostess station to check-in. I did that because, again, that’s what you do. It’s that simple. From a young age, we begin social norm and behavior training. You check in with the hostess, you move to corners in elevators, you wave to people who let you out in traffic, and you acknowledge when someone sneezes - it’s just what you do.
After navigating through the other people waiting, I reached the frazzled waitress who was juggling the role of hostess with her serving duties.
“Good morning. Two.”
“Okay, uh…uh,” she said as she surveyed the tables around her. The tiny restaurant was smaller than the studio apartment I rented after college. It didn’t take the hostess/waitress long to see a table being cleared to our right.
“We’ll have this table available for you in just a minute,” she assured me. Before I could even explain that I was merely trying to add my name to the list, the yelling behind me began. Three women behind had heard this exchange and they were not happy.
“No, no, no!” one women exclaimed, while her friend cried out, “We were here first, you need to get back in line!” The third woman wasn’t nearly as loud, but her glare told me she was fuming. She said, as the two other women piped down, “You’re just wrong to cut in line.”
I didn’t say anything to those overreacting bunch of ladies (yet). I turned back to the waitress and politely proceeded to explain that I was checking in, not requesting to be bumped up to breakfast VIP. Before moving to the back of the though, I let the ladies know exactly what I thought of their collective overreaction.
Before protesting injustice, make sure there’s actual injustice. If not, you may end up having to meekly apologize to a 5’10” blogger that schools you on appropriate conversation starters with fellow restaurant patrons.