I took some friends out to dinner last week, and I
noticed a spoon in the shirt pocket of our waiter as he
handed us the menus. It seemed a little odd, but I dismissed
it as a random thing. Until our busboy came with water &
tableware. He too, sported a spoon in his breast pocket. I
looked around the room, and all the waiters, waitresses,
busboys, etc. had spoons in their pockets. When our waiter
returned to take our order, I just had
to ask, "Why the spoons?"
"Well," he explained, "our parent company recently hired
some consulting efficiency experts to review all our
procedures, and after months of
statistical analyses, they concluded that our patrons drop
spoons on the floor 73% more often than any other utensil; at
a frequency of 3 spoons
per hour per workstation. By preparing all our workers for
this contingency in advance, we can cut our trips to the
kitchen down and save time . . . nearly 1.5 extra man-hours
per shift." Just as he concluded, a "ch-ching" came from the
table behind him, and he quickly replaced a fallen spoon with
the one from his pocket. "I'll grab another spoon the next
time I'm in the kitchen instead of making a special trip,"
proudly explained. I was impressed.
"Thanks. I had to ask."
"No problem," he answered, then he continued to take our
As the members of my dinner party took their turns, my eyes
darted back and forth from each person ordering and my menu.
That's when, out of the corner of my eye, I spotted a thin,
black thread protruding from our waiter's fly. Again, I
dismissed it; yet I had to scan the room and, sure
enough, there were other waiters and busboys with
strings hanging out of their trousers. My curiosity overrode
discretion at this point, so before he could leave I had to
ask. "Excuse me, but . . . uh . . . why, or what . . . about
"Oh, yeah" he began in a quieter tone. "Not many people are
that observant. That same efficiency group found we could
save time in the men's room, too."
"You see, by tying a string to the end of our, eh,
selves, we can pull it out at the urinals literally
hands-free and thereby eliminate the need to wash our hands,
cutting time spent in the restroom by over 93%!"
"Oh, that makes sense," I said, but then thinking
through the pocess, I asked, "Hey, wait a minute. If the
string helps you pull it out, how do you get it back in?"
"Well," he whispered, "I don't know about the other guys,
but I use my spoon."