Reserving a table in a cafe = very annoying!

Every time I get in line to order and pay at a busy cafe there is always someone who gets their friend to reserve a table for them whilst they place the order. I thought this annoyed most people, however, from speaking to people I have realised that it’s accepted.

How is this? Firstly let’s just look at etiquette. If you jumped the line to pay people would get annoyed and call you out for this. Effectively what you’re doing when you get your friend to reserve a table is jumping the second line, the seating line. This is not as direct and harder to police so I understand that it’s more common. However, this doesn’t mean it shouldn’t be frowned upon. The second issue is with efficiency, which is demonstrated by the computer memory management concept: caching.

If you have an iPhone, double press the home button and you’ll see a list of apps that were recently used. This is a memory cache. Think of the books in a library as memory data and the bookshelves as memory. Caching is like taking the books you want to use from the shelves and placing them on your desk. It’s a separate storage space but it’s a lot quicker to reach for the books you’ve cached. A common algorithm to use for caching is creating a list and putting the most recently used program at the top of the pile, like when double clicking on your home button. The same goes waiting to be seated. Once the person has paid they are then in a cache waiting to be seated. However, when a person prematurely takes a seat whilst their friend is waiting to pay they are holding up a table and not using it.This means that people who are ready to eat will have to wait until a table becomes free slowing down the whole process. They are bypassing the cache! It’s the equivalent of forgetting that you needed another book and going to the shelf to find it as opposed to picking it up from your desk. Although the book didn’t have to wait in the cache it’s slowed down the whole process. The more you do it the slower your study session becomes.

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