This Ain’t McDonalds.

Earl and I like to go out to supper after we do the voting thing. It’s become a tradition of sorts and we keep the dinner low key.

Tonight we went to the local Panera.

I’ve mentioned before that I find our Panera to be a little frustrating. Actually, I find the customers of the local Panera to be frustrating. True to form, the queue was 15-20 people deep and few knew what they were going to order before standing in front of the register with their mouth agape. Tonight’s featured question was “What’s gorgonzola cheese?”

Panera has been kind enough to put out “courtesy cups”, these little plastic cups for patrons to use for little sips of water. They’re smaller than those Dixie cups that used to be dispensed in the kitchen (and there’s no jokes along the side to read.) Many feel that these cups are for iced tea and pop, even if it involves 8, 9 or ten trips to the soda fountain to refill them due to the size of the cup.

I found this infuriating.

I also noticed that several people just left their garbage on the table instead of taking it to the trash bins as most of the other customers do. While we were waiting in line to order I glared at a woman who left her garbage spread out all over the table. She looked at me defiantly. I continued to glare and she softened her return stare. She didn’t do anything about the garbage but I made her feel sufficiently guilty. When another party left their garbage I proclaimed loudly, “Why don’t they just rip down the Panera sign and serve nothing but Happy Meals since everyone is intent on making this place a DUMP.” That garnered a few startled glances that made me feel quite proud of myself.

All in all the meal was enjoyable, the company was extraordinary (Earl is always a good date) but the clientele was frustrating. Earl says I can’t change the world but I’m going to keep on trying.