I went to Panera Bread yesterday morning and it was nothing but cool. You could have cut the tension with a knife during the hour I was there. I loved it!
I walked in the door and walked back to the far left corner and setup my laptop then walked back to the front to get a cup of coffee. I was walking toward the counter on the left and was reminded that the line forms from the front door coming toward the counter in front of me. My “reminder” was not to do what I did before which was went straight to the counter, got a cup of coffee then looked back toward the door to see that I had cut in front of four people standing in the real line. I didn’t need to apologize because they got to see the look on my face when I realized what I had done. They were smilingly forgiving.
Got my coffee and sat down looking toward the front door. Usually when I’m at this Panera Bread there’s a group of 70 and older men that take up two big tables. They’ve apparently known each other for a lifetime, I don’t think they work and man they can talk! I’ve heard them talk to the employees by name, hug them and watched them call the manager out to talk to him. I think if I asked them they’d tell me they’ve worked hard their whole lives and now they are doing this….hanging out.
However there was a wrench in the works today. When I sat down they weren’t there and one of their tables was taken by a group of five women with a child sitting at a close table watching a movie on an iPad. I also observed sheets of paper with “Reserved” written on them scattered on the other table. One dude came up and set his coffee down and began an ominous gaze at the ladies. I saw some of the other guys come in, got their coffee and were huddled at the creamer station looking at the table of ladies as if the Nazis had infiltrated Panera Bread. Some guys came straight from the front door to the table and when they turned the corner I could see the disgust on their faces when they saw these women.
I have to admit I was a little confused because when I’m 70 I would gladly have a group of pretty, younger women sitting as close to me as possible. I’m just sayin…
This must have been a special day for these guys because the Panera worker brought them a stack of plates and they had something in a big bag. I guessed cake for a birthday party but I wasn’t there long enough to find out. Whatever tension was there because of the women was made worse by their interfering with whatever plans they had. Three of the ladies left so for a while only two ladies were sitting at this six-top . I thought they were going to pick them up and move them to another table. The ladies were oblivious. Everything remained calm but I think any additional irritation from the women would have started a fist fight between the tables. I would have paid money to see the little boy get up and start running around the men’s table.
Other fun things that happened while watching the table war: I kept looking at the front door while thinking and there was a lady sitting facing me. So every time I looked I think she thought I was checking her out. I didn’t really pay attention to it for a while then I kind of freaked out because I was looking right through her and saw here looking right at me. Another lady two tables straight in front of me stood up and made a huge production of pulling her jeans a little higher. She pulled them up and moved around to make sure they were comfortable and then sat back down. It was such a production I felt like she was expecting us to clap or maybe go by and pat her back.
It was so entertaining I am having a hard time not packing up my laptop and going there today. As a matter of fact, I think I will. Stand by…..