Will that be all?


I stopped at Dunkin’ Donuts yesterday on my way to work to buy a cup of coffee. Ahead of me were a man, then a woman, deep in whispered conversation with a boy of about 10. We waited two or three minutes while the man ordered his coffee, received it, and paid. Then it was the woman’s turn.

DD employee (indicating two bottles of water that the woman was carrying): “Will that be all?”
Woman: “No … er … let’s see …what do you want, honey?” (More whispered conversation with child.) “Umm … .”

Now the woman and boy didn’t walk across the parking lot in front of me, so they hadn’t just got there. They’d been there long enough to get the bottled water from the fridge, then we waited for the man to finish up being served. It never occurred to them, during their sotto voce chat, to start discussing what they wanted?

Woman: “Plain bagel, toasted, with cream cheese.” (Yet more whispered conversation with child while DD goes off and prepares the bagel.)
DD: “Anything else?”
Woman: “Yes, another plain bagel, toasted, with cream cheese.”
DD (goes off and prepares the second bagel): “Is that it?”
Woman: “And a chocolate cream donut.”
DD (having fetched and bagged the donut): “Will that be all?”
Woman: “One small coffee, cream, no sugar. And the water.”

Halfway through this, the man behind me gave up and left. I stayed out of a kind of ghastly fascination with how much longer it could go on—and the fact that the alternative for coffee was the new Starbucks around the corner that I walked out of last week after waiting for five minutes, during which time one customer’s transaction had still not been completed. (As Dave Barry would say, I am not making this up.)

Do you know the scene in Cabaret where Sally Bowles (Liza Minelli) takes Brian (Michael York) under a railway bridge, and when the train goes over, she screams at the top of her lungs (of course, unheard over the noise of the train)? Well, I badly needed that railway bridge. My other impulse was to push the woman up against the wall, tell her she was the most stupid person I’d ever had the misfortune to encounter in my life, then grab her by the neck and squeeze the life out of her. Fortunately I didn’t act on it, which is how come I am sitting here writing this and not in the pokey paying my debt to society.

Anyway, the rest of my day was better. Oh, except for walking out of the Starbucks next to the Chinese restaurant where I had lunch because I got bored with being ignored while the barrista polished the espresso machine and chatted with a friend.

Is the message that I should stop drinking coffee?


8 Responses to Will that be all?

  1. Kirk says:

    This kind of thoughtlessness is hard on me, too. I remember a 17-mile stretch of narrow country road full of curves and hills I used to take to work. Suddenly, there would be this driver(?) in front of me, stolidly steering along at 35 mph (or worse) with two or three cars in tow–mine now in the ranks. Despite the fact the speed limit was 55 mph and there were plenty of places to pull over and let people pass it never happened. Never. Apparently, people behind some people don’t exist. I would pull over for one driver. So would you, Passante! Thanks for letting me know you are not “easygoing” about it either!

  2. Thibault says:

    You know what? I had the same “funny” situation this morning in Paris, except that was for gasoline, not coffee…
    I was queuing at a service station (and 3 other cars after mine!), when the guy before me, having refuelled and paid, didn’t move his car and started cleaning his windscreen!!!
    And the other pump was also blocked because a poor little rich man didn’t know how to open the fuel tap of his brand new Maserati… Can you believe that????
    Well, I just decided to relax and enjoy being in “Paris au mois d’aout”, i.e. empty of all cars…

  3. Elisabeth says:

    This happened to me in the K-Mart line the other day: this couple with a kid is in front of me in line, being checked out (the cashier is already ringing stuff up.) Conversation between husband and wife, during which they decide that he needs to go and look for one more item (or a few more, I’ll never know.) So, he takes off, and the cashier now has to wait until he returns to ring up whatever he’ll bring. I waited close to five full minutes – and, believe me, when you’re in a line, that’s a long time – before I switched to another cashier.

    At a local supermarket the other day, two cashiers were having the time of their lives, chatting away and completely ignoring customers, while one of their colleagues was doing all the work.

    If I feel indecisive about what I want at a coffee shop or fast food place (although I don’t ever frequent fast-food places, except for Taco Bell and Arby’s once in a blue moon), I let the people behind me step in front of me.

  4. Uugghh, people are sooooo clueless and apparently very often unaware of how irritating and inconsiderate they’re being to everyone around them! Too bad that woman in Dunkin Donuts has never been in line in front of NYC’s (and Seinfeld’s) “Soup Nazi”…no bagel for her!

  5. freckled-one says:

    I find I have a hard time keeping my patience especially while waiting in line. I think you showed great reserve by patiently waiting your turn for that inconsiderate family to make a decision. Bravo..

  6. passante says:

    Kirk, Thibault, Elisabeth — Lack of consideration is clearly a worldwide epidemic.

    Run Around Paris — I didn’t watch Seinfeld so I had to look up the Soup Nazi, but now I know about him — yes indeed!

    Freckled-one — It wasn’t really patience. I was transfixed–rooted to the spot in horrified fascination. Or you could call it social studies!

  7. MarieMcC says:

    There are clods everywhere. I love the people who are waiting at the bus stop, and maybe they’re fourth or fifth in line, even. Do you think while they have been waiting for the bus they could get their money ready? No. They wait until they get on the bus, then the whole bus gets to wait while they fish around in their huge purses (sorry, but it’s ALWAYS a woman) to see if they have the right change. And I won’t even get started about the Philistines on the metro.

    Thank goodness we can at least mock them on the internet!

  8. Neil says:

    I’ve thought of that scene from Cabaret many times in my life in situations like that.

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