It was a no-brainer, really! Or so I thought… (Famous Last Words!)
The big coffee chain had about a thousand people standing waiting to order at the counter. (Please excuse the hyperbole, but it was at least two dozen.) The popular fast-food place (specializing in fried chicken and mediocre pizza) next to it had three TSA Agents at the till and one gentleman standing off to the side. There were a couple pizzas under the heat lamps and a couple sandwiches to boot.
The choice was simple. Really! All I wanted was a cup of coffee. That's it, noting special, nothing fancy. I am of the school of thought that if it takes you longer to describe your coffee than it does to drink it, you're no longer ordering coffee, you're ordering a milkshake! (As my dad used to put it, "If you can't drink your coffee with less than a quart of milk and a pound of sugar, you don't need the coffee!") …but I digress…
I did not know then and I do not know now what the problem was, it certainly wasn't lack of activity, but when the person who had been at the end of the line at the coffee shop had ordered his drink (specifying, I am sure where the sugar was to have been harvested) I was still standing behind the three TSA Agents at the till.
It certainly wasn't though inactivity of the staff. The woman handling the till was constantly going back to the back of the kitchen and doing something thoroughly mysterious which had absolutely no visible affect on the line ahead of me or on the gentleman waiting off to the side. The woman to the right-hand side of the kitchen was constantly in motion, she made repeated elaborate motions on the counter before her which had the mystifyingly unsatisfying result of producing a single wax-paper wrapped item (approximately the size of a small biscuit) every four-or-five minutes.
I watched this spectacle intrigued – sure, I was irritated, but I was also intrigued – for long enough for the ever-moving line at the coffee place to cycle through another half-dozen people before switching lines. There were still three TSA Agents standing at the counter of the (inappropriately named) fast-food place as I picked-up my coffee from the other end of the counter.
Wherever you are today, I hope your morning coffee run is accomplished with far less annoyance!
Don Bergquist – May 25, 2011 – Denver International Airport, Concourse A, Denver, Colorado, USA