Great! I thought as I entered the doors of the local eatery, Cafe Rio. It's 6:42pm and we called in our order to be ready by 6:45pm.
"Boy, this place is packed!" I said to myself as I saw the line for sit-down service wind through their built-in people corral and extend to the door. I followed a couple obviously on a date and they took their place at the end of the long line. I wouldn't want to be them, I thought to myself.
Then I walked over to the pick up window.
I had one of those moments where I wasn't sure which group I should join. Should I stand behind the three guys who were standing directly behind the "Phone Order Pick Up" sign or with the half a dozen people not standing in a line, all busy on their smart phones? I chose the guys under the sign.
Occasionally a name would be called and they'd get their order. And about as often another of us in line would have our credit card run. I looked over to one of the phone guys and asked if he'd been waiting long.
"Yeah," he said. "I got here right at my appointed time and I've been waiting ever since."
"When was your appointed time?"
"I was here right at 6:15pm."
And I laughed.
"6:15? You've got to be kidding!" I was about 6:50pm at that time. "No, he said. I've been waiting that long.
Boy--hate to be him, I thought to myself. Eventually all those with their phones were helped and those of us in line paid for our food then took the place of the phone people to wait our turn. At 7pm I sent a text to my wife who was waiting for me in the car. "Did they lose our order?" she asked. "No, just taking too long," was my texted reply. Eventually she got sick of waiting in the car and came inside.
"What's up?" she asked. "Just slow," I said. She looked at me and gave me the best quote of the evening.
"Cafe Rio's not that good."
As we waited I kept looking over at the slow moving line of those who I once pitied, those waiting all that time to get their food, those who didn't call an hour ahead to get their food. I spotted the blond and her date and I wondered if they would get their food before we would.
Turns out, they did. The guy in the red shirt and the blonde in the picture were the ones who came in with me.
We got our food and returned to our car. The light on the dashboard read 7:30pm as the engine came to life. To the restaurant's credit they did apologize for taking so long (there were many, many others waiting with me...) and they comped our meal. I guess the question is, should I call ahead or just wing it?