"Are we there yet?"

January 21, 2013

Notable Stats

Pre-school Wait Time (PWT) – The multiplier used when converting actual wait time into time that a preschooler thinks he or she is waiting. One minute of real wait time equals 62.25 years in pre-school time.

Behavior Degradation Rate (BDR) – The accelerating rate by which well-behaved children will decline until they can only be picked up by a mop.

“Wait? It is your funeral?” I wanted to ask the host at the Cheesecake Factory.

As we approached his podium and asked for seating to accommodate our “4 plus a high chair,” entourage, we heard him confidently say that it would be a “15 minute wait.” Did he see that our 4 and 3 year olds were wandering around looking for outlets? Did he see that our 1 year old was drooling so much for a bottle that she was spit shining their floor? He did not realize how close to storewide implosion he was walking.

There has to be common sense used by any host or hostess of an eating establishment. Sure, it is only fair to work on first-come, first-serve basis; but what is the point of it all if the last to come causes your building to be quarantined, or at the very least, destroyed by a wayward pack of ravenous beings wearing 4T-sized shirts.

Keep in mind, 15 minutes in pre-school time is 933.75 Earth years.  If toddler time was a planet, Neptune would have circled the sun about six times by the time we finally had our name called for seating. That cannot be good for business.

I imagine people would understand if we were allowed to cut the line; they would feel safer or recognize that our kids may be safer. There is only so much iPhone time, only so many handfuls of Cheerios you can pour down our daughter’s throat. Mix the waiting with the apparent near-death starvation they are experiencing and you have a cesspool of infant dynamite waiting to scorch your glass case full of cheesecakes.

Some industries have figured it out already so we do not have to re-invent the wheel. Do we actually think the airlines are being courteous letting “passengers with small children” get on the plane first? No, they have made a choice that it is less expensive to have a plane destroyed versus an entire airport. Plus the airplane has seatbelts, life preservers, and bathrooms the size of gerbil jails in case Defcon 5 is necessary.

True no one likes to wait. It is to be expected that agitation increases with time, that we will debate the reward side of waiting when we are actually waiting. But, to wait with beings that cannot comprehend time is the ultimate conundrum. What words do we use to calm their impatience? Soon? In 15 minutes? Almost? Be patient? It is probably equally effective to use made up words like “Hojoptop.”

I propose that every restaurant that insists on being fair with the first-come, first-serve concept have a special family waiting area that is indoctrinated into city code. This area must be enclosed, must have at least two Port-A-Pottys, must have a dispenser full of Cheerios and Fruit Squishers, must have a tantrum zone that is padded and plays duets sung by The Wiggles and Phillip Phillips; and, lastly, it must have a show playing on loop that has those awkward pauses in it so that the viewer thinks the cartoon figure actually is waiting on his or her answer.

Any restaurant that does not comply will be forced to deal with the consequences that only people under the age of 5 can dish out when given free reign. I do not wish it on any one or any place, but this is what happens when you ask them to wait.

Are we there yet? No, we are not.

- Doug Glanville

Blog Category: 


Motivational Speaker

Click here to learn more about having Doug speak at your next event!




The Daddy Games

Check out Doug's blog, The Daddy Games.  Click here to read more.