No soup for you

We asked the waitress if they could split our giant order of Pho.

To my surprise, the waitress said that they would have to charge for two meals if they were to split it in the kitchen but that she could bring a second bowl out.

One portion of Pho, two bowls. The same resources being used and distributed in the transaction either way you dissect it. The only difference is the amount of emotional labor that is being brought to the table.

It’s a small chain in the Valley. The place doesn’t shout corporate bureaucracy. Unfortunately, the food was average, slow, and the atmosphere isn’t much to speak of. In the end, there was an opportunity to delight.

What a waste.

I feel sad for the waitress. Maybe the boss was in the back and would have scolded her for breaking protocol. Maybe it wasn’t worth getting into trouble. Maybe she thought she lacked power and authority. In the end, she missed an opportunity to put a smile on someone’s face.

The message is clear that she needs to follow the instructions and do what she’s told. But if there is no room to put a smile on someone’s face, there is no room for generosity. Without generosity, there is no gift. If there is no gift, there is no art. Without art, there is no joy or connection to bring us closer together. You’re just a cog in the machine.