Careful Disregard


While sitting in an unusual spot, in one of my many coffee haunts, I was privy to a most interesting occurrence. Well, I’ll let you be the judge of the term ‘interesting’. There were three servers on hand; one doing inventory, one taking the order of a customer before taking her break, and the other operating the barista to accommodate the order just taken. This customer was the last one in line of which I was in, and he moved to where he was to collect his order being made.

During the process of his move, the second server was in conversation with the barista-operator and proceeded to take her designated break. Enter four new customers who positioned themselves in-line, or so they thought, behind the customer awaiting his drink.

What struck me as odd was the inattentiveness of all three; the server-on-break, the customer; and, the barista-operator. In my estimation, if newcomers are lining up behind/beside me where I’m retrieving my beverage, I’d be inclined to inform them that they’re to relocate to the ‘ordering’ station and not spend time behind me by assumption. It was also curious that, while in conversation with one another, both servers in the vicinity of guidance also refrained from notifying these ‘customers’ of their assumed location.

I waited as these new customers waited, and watched as the careful disregard continued unabated.

Eventually, one of the four began to look about for some indication of having their order taken. It was then he noticed my subtle gesture indicating that relocation to the ordering position was necessary to modify their futile positioning. He commented to his party, they laughed at their assumption, thanked me as they relocated to the order-desk.

Still, undaunted and apparently unaffected, the barista-operator completed making the beverage, while still in conversation with the other server-on-break, and the initial customer accepted his beverage and departed. Then, then inventory taker assumed oder-taker status and all was right with the world, in that moment.

I find it odd, that a few timely words would have smoothed the entry of the four new customers but they were deemed unimportant as things would sort themselves out, eventually. Stepping back, this simple and minor event to me signalled a greater dilemma when extrapolated to other spheres where this ‘habit-of-disregard’ would have a more severe impact on peoples’ lives and few, if any,¬†are the wiser. So much for minding your own business and social awareness/kindness. There I found another example that what you don’t know can hurt you, especially when others about you ignore a simple gesture.

That quantum premise of the butterfly-effect?

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