Thursday, August 07, 2008

Excuse Ma'am I think you've just hijacked my table.And I'm not paying a ransom.

'Can you please blog about tablejackers?' A friend asked me recently.

He had been standing in a queue in a very busy cafe. There were people in the queue in front of him and long queue behind him. The cafe was pretty packed and he saw there was an empty table but, out of respect for the people in front of him in the queue, he didn't claim it.

Those people duly ordered their food at the counter and found another table that had become free. Him and his mate were then served and he assumed that the free table would be rightfully theirs as effectively they were next in line to the throne.

Having ordered their food they went to move to said table when they saw that it had been nabbed.

By one of the two women behind him in the queue.

'I hate it when that happens. And generally it's always bloody women who do it. It's the worst form of queue jumping.'

Anyway he got me thinking. And I have to admit that I have been one of those bloody women before. But not I have never really thought about like queue jumping till now. But I think he's right.

Normally if I am going into a cafe, I will survey the room and the queue. If the room looks too packed and the queue too long I will generally abandon the cafe as I will never be arsed with the bun fight to snaffle a table.

If you're going to commit to the queue I am thinking you have to commit to the table lottery.

Cause queue jumpers make me seethe.

I recently unwittingly coincided a visit to a supermarket with the same night it was running a 'If You Come Tonight, Everything is Free' night. Okay, I am making a good story of it, but it felt like the entire population of a nation with a GNP of under two billion dollars had stopped by to do their shopping.

It was teeming with people.

Mental note to self: never bother with the supermarket if the car park is full.

But did I work that one out ? Oh no, I merely looked at the full car park as a challenge to get a park, not the beginning of what was about to become a major pain in the arse.

I managed to battle my way around the supermarket without suffering too much supermarket rage - until I hit the queue.

It was of biblical proportions. Wall to wall people attempting to proceed to check-out counters. This queue made a queue to the chairlift on the first fine day of the ski season, in the middle of school-holiday-madness, seem like a doddle.

It was a supermarket trolley clusterfuck.

People took it not too badly and, bonded by our supermarket trolley jam, we slowly edged our way up, inch by inch to the check out counters joking that we hoped we would get there sometime before Christmas.

In the middle of all this suddenly a woman, completely ignoring the lines of people waiting, steamed past all of us and headed around the corner where she entered - at the top of the queue. She would have walked past at least thirty people.

People yelled 'Oi queue jumper!', 'THIS IS A QUEUE, LADY' and other equally withering statements, but she didn't take the slightest bit of notice of any of us.

I am not sure if she didn't understand what was being said, or she couldn't give a toss - she was dressed in a burqa and that type of fashion has the tendency to demand a little respect (or instill a little fear/uneasiness) - you never know how explosively she may react.

(Okay that was lame, but burqas have had their share of bad press recently.)

So that's my indignantly furious queue jumping morning talk.

But back to tablejacking, what is the etiquette?

Is it 'If you're not fast, you're last ?'
Or, 'Stand back from the table, bitch, it's not your turn?'


vdog said...

Maybe I've just been in Auckland too long, but I don't see tablejacking as a problem... The queue is for the food/drink, not the tables - so if there's two of you and one can score the table while the other scores the grub, well good on you.

Just try going to Frasiers in Mt Eden of a weekend mid-morning and see how much luck you get finding a table if you're not willing to 'jack it.

laughykate said...

That place a bunfight to snaffle a table. I reckon they should see if they can sneak in another couple of tables and then quietly step back and watch the carnage that ensues.

surfergirl said...

To be depends on the time of the month and what kind of a day it's been. Sometimes I'll happily wait around, gazing contentedly around until a table's free, other days it's 'all on' and I'm all "don't you dare look at that table it's mine!"
I think though often if you're just a couple/pair then wait your turn, if you're a big group and there is only one big table then snaffle away. If you're that keen on sitting down, book a table, or turn up early.
BUT don't get me started on big groups who snaffle all the tables and pull them together leaving no rooms for the small people....
OMG - who would have thought I'd have an opinion on this....not me!

laughykate said...

'The Science of Table Snaffling' - I am sure there's a thesis in it!