Friday, November 16, 2007

Look around

I really love Chip0tle. I mean, I really like it there. Their burritos are sweet ambrosia to my mouth. Today I went their with co-workers and something really ticked me off.

Let me take you back to scene of the "incident."

Here we have an aerial view of the interior restaurant layout. Like at every other Chip0tle, you enter the restaurant and go strait to the beginning of the food line. At position number 1 you give the first worker your meat and bean choice. You slide down the line as you watch their nimble hands prepare your delicious lunch until it is all wrapped up and cocooned inside it's silver protective sheath. At position number 2 you pay for your choice and move on.

At this particular Chip0tle, everyone then turns around and flows to position 3 where silverware, hot sauce and napkins can be procured. Each person then slides down to position 4, the soda machine. This is the particular locale of the frustrating occurrence.

After smoothly participating in the well-designed directional flow you leave and sit at your chosen table. We usually sit at the large round table indicated in the figure above as position 5.

As you can clearly see, the flow of traffic moves from right to left at position 4. This is the only thing that makes sense. The ONLY thing.

We need to take a closer look at the soda machine featured as the pivotal focus of position 4. Below is a schematic view of the soda machine looking face on.

As you can see the ice machine is the first device each person encounters. This is logical and makes sense with the flow of the entire experience. Then, each person moves down to fill their cup with their beverage of choice.

I don't know if you can tell, but both normal Coke and diet Coke have 2 spigots each.

Today, and almost every other time I've been to this particular establishment the person before me will get their ice and choose the FIRST diet coke spigot to fill their drink. This puts me in a very odd position. Do I get my ice, go around behind them to use the farther away, second spigot or do I wait until they are done using the closer spigot? What if they step back at the exact wrong moment while I am accommodating for their flow disruption (going behind) and I end up dropping my burrito and the goodness explodes out of it's tightly wrapped silver container? If I do decide to wait, should I then slide to the farther spigot so that the person behind me isn't in the same quandary? Ugh!

Why didn't they just take an extra step to the left so that we could both fill our drinks in parallel?

The world may never know.


Greeneyes said...

Wow. Flow patterns, really ARE an engineer! ;)
p.s. The soda quandary is a doozie. Best of luck resolving it.

katezmom said...

Ok, since someone else started the comment; I was laughing all the way through the flow patterns and schematics, thinking this is just sooo you. I always end up with the same quandry at the gas station. Do I go around the guy in front who is at the back pump,( maybe because there was someone in front who left)(or maybe he doesn't realize that he should go in a little farther) or do I sit there and do some deep breathing exercises?

Julie in CA said...

I had this predicament at Costco the other day. A lady stopped to get one of the free samples, and she and her cart were in my way. Each time I started to go around her she acted like she was going to move, but didn't. If I tried to go around her, and she moved at the same time, we would have collided. This lasted probably only 10 to 15 seconds, but it seemed like an ETERNITY. It was exhausting to me, because I like to be polite, but my horns were "this" close to sprouting. I think the world is getting just too crowded and hectic. Especially at this time of year!

Olivia said...

This is so stinking FUNNY! I love the precision and logic of it, the diagrams, etc. I also love those burritos. (I always take a bunch of extra limes from the beverage/tableware section so that I can squeeze lime juice onto every single bite of my burrito... I even do this when I get food to go... I think it definitely disrupts the flow of things.)

grandmajane said...

I am still laughing! You should be like the homeless people and practice patience.