Olivia and Jason found the end of the buffet line and fell in. It was Wednesday morning and the line, about fifty people or so, was familiar to them. They had the day off together and enjoyed eating out.
The line was about 100 people total between the VIP line and the regular customers. Eventually the wait to be seated would turn out to be closer to 45 minutes. Since they were both off they didn’t mind the wait. They figured they would be out of the restaurant around noon.
Jason works as a system analyst and Olivia is a dispatcher at a contracting company. Olivia complains that Jason never stops and is continuously in the “logic mode” as she puts it. Olivia will tell you that once Jason latches onto a problem, he doesn’t stop. While waiting in line, Jason peeked over the plants and looked in on the dining room. He was surprised to see so many empty tables. As the wait continued, he started to comment to Olivia saying, “I don’t understand how they can have this many people in line and have that many tables empty. Can’t they do this faster?” Olivia replied, “Take it easy, this is our day off, I don’t want to manage the restaurant, I just want to eat.”
A few minutes later Jason said, “Olivia we haven’t moved and the tables are still empty. What is going on here?” A person ahead of him in line turned and said. “I agree with you man, why doesn’t this move faster?” They struck up a conversation and the line moved little by little. About 25 minutes later, Jason finally managed to be next in line for the cashier. He asked her. “Excuse me, I wondered if you could tell me something? I want to know why there are so many empty tables and the line is still so long.” The cashier put her hand on her chest and shook her head and said, “I don’t know, I am just a cashier.” Jason said, “Well someone must be able to tell me. Why don’t they plan this better? I could have all these people seated and eating by now” The cashier shook her head and said, “There aren’t enough people to cover. There will be more people at 11AM.” Jason elbowed Olivia and said, “Did you hear that? A giant casino company and they can’t hire enough people to cover the morning rush.” Olivia nodded and looked away disinterested.
Jason persisted. He teamed up with the man in front of them and the duo picked apart the operation. The hostess/greeter made frequent hand signals to the staffer at the end of the aisle, alternating between flashing one finger, two fingers, and sometimes three or four. By the looks of it, about one table was seated every five minutes or so. Jason kept it up, “Look, he said, the hostess is walking around, she isn’t even trying to move the line.” His in line friend said, “Yep, this is bad, all those open tables and no one is getting seated. I wonder why they don’t recognize this.” Jason said, “Maybe they just don’t realize it. Looks like no one is in a hurry, maybe that’s what they want, customers to wait!” His friend said, “Naw, that doesn’t make sense.”
Just then one of the hostesses appeared at the cashier stand, stood there a moment, then leaned against the counter, “You guys busy up here?” Jason, said, “She has time for a chat? Oh my god.” His friend says, “Hey that guy looks like the Manager, let’s ask him why he can’t schedule enough people to cover the work.” Olivia overheard then and elbowed Jason. “Don’t you dare, Jason, we are here to eat, remember?” Jason calmed down a moment and the line moved. Just then a hostess turned the corner and said I have tables. She pulled several parties out of line and instructed them all to follow her including Jason and Olivia.
The pair, happier now, followed the hostess and finally got a table. As they approached their table, they passed the Manager. He was leaning against the wall, chatting with a security guard. Jason, thought, here is another person with time to chat.
After their meal, Jason and Olivia were leaving the buffet. The line was just as long as it was earlier. Jason said to Olivia, “Hang on a minute… he said to the cashier, “I would like to speak to the Buffet Manager.” The Cashier said, “Oh, he is out to lunch.” Jason nodded and said, “You got that right!”