Continuing my review of the weekend just past…..
I’ve written before about the “Friends of Dave”; cranky, entitled, ill-mannered people of a certain age for whom I seem to be a magnet. I encountered a new variation of this too familiar theme on Saturday morning at our local bagel shop.
A few people ahead in line was a soccer mom wearing a bright pink sweatshirt with matching shorts of a length that used to be called ‘hot pants’ or ‘Daisy Dukes’. I just think of them as ‘tart-wear’. She was talking a very long time to communicate her large order. Many in line were mumbling in frustration. Harper’s Other Dad even commented on it quietly and he rarely comments critically of strangers. After finally getting her order in, she moved on to the register and entered into what could only have been some kind of negotiation with the cashier. I was not close enough to hear the discussion but it went on for several minutes. The line behind her was all the way out the door. The backup of people waiting to pay was so long the customers behind them could not get to the counter to order. The frustration level was rising.
FOD to the rescue! The Friend of Dave in front of us (but behind her) leaned forward and told her he was tired of waiting behind her. He was not polite about it, not even close to polite. She did not seem to welcome the feedback. Voices were raised. She got out her iPhone and, leaving the register, started taking photos of the FOD. (Note to self – create an FOD Calendar for Christmas – “It makes the perfect gift!”). She then dialed her phone and called someone; the Police, Homeland Security, a life-line, God only knows. (Hopefully not a copyright attorney to steal my FOD calendar idea.) This led to an expletive-laden description to whomever she called, of how she has been harassed. In the meantime, of course, she still has not finished paying and upwards of 30 people are waiting. Eventually the manager stepped in to process her credit card. He also told her she could not use the kind of language she was using to him nor the FOD. Finally, the line began to move but the turmoil continued for some time. While waiting for her order, she made a point of standing as close as possible to the FOD’s table while speaking harshly about him to whomever was on the phone…. and everyone else within earshot.
Who was more at fault in all this? There plenty of blame for the two to share but, acknowledging my prejudices up-front, I have to assign most of the responsibility to the FOD. We were all inconvenienced by the delay the woman was causing but, inconvenient as it can be, she was in line ahead of us and she was actively engaged in talking with shop employees about her transaction the entire time. Yes, she had turned a 2 minute transaction into a 10 minute ordeal but he added another 10 minutes by taking it upon himself to intervene. Worse still, most people in the shop on Saturday mornings want a bagel and a beverage and to read their book, use the free Wi-Fi, or chat with friends. We didn’t need Grandpa Crunkypuss acting out Long’s Day Journey Into Breakfast and creating tension. Bottom line, we’d have gotten our food sooner and had a much more pleasant experience had he kept his mouth shut. There is a lesson in that. I’m not betting he learned it, however.