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February 14, 2010

Are you suuure we can't sit there?

Sunday morning I awoke with no hangover. Pizza is the perfect prevention.

Before making our way to the mountain, Mr. A and I stopped in town for breakfast. The night before, I'd eyed a diner called "The Evergreen Cafe and Raccoon Saloon," so we parked across the street and walked over.

To my shock, there was a line. Like a real line. A crowd of people waiting outside. I've never been to a mountain hamlet diner before and not found a seat. What was going on?

"Are you waiting? For a table?" I asked.

"Yes," someone answered.

We walked in anyway and asked for a table for two.

"That'll be a 20, 30 minute wait. There's a few people in front of you."

I glanced at her list. Party of 5, party of 2.

I looked around the room and saw three open seats at the counter.

"What about those?" I asked.

"I can't give you those. There's a list and we'll need them soon."

"We just want a quick cup of coffee. Before we go skiing. I promise we'll be in and out in 15 minutes."

"I'll have to check with my manager."

"Of course! Thank you!"

She came back with a smile.

"You can have them. One party has five people, and the party of two only wants a table."


Would she have turned away two customers who were eager to eat there and who had a place to sit -- simply because she wasn't thinking on her feet?


Did it matter?

Apparently not. The place was full, it had a line out the door, and we wanted to eat there so bad I asked her to reconsider her refusal.

Some places, I guess, can afford not to be too careful.

What do you think: Are competence, quick thinking and customer service sometimes overrated? Or are they always paramount?

[image of the Tiffany Diner, in NJ, not the Evergreen, since I could find none online.]
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