Tonawanda News


August 11, 2013

DUVALL: A subtle nudge toward the right decision

Tonawanda News — One of my first college jobs at age 18 was waiting tables at the now-defunct Country Kitchen restaurant on Niagara Falls Boulevard. 

Truth be told, though I honestly did try hard, I wasn’t very good at it.

Despite failing to remember to tell the kitchen to hold the tomatoes or put the sauce on the side, I was then — and still am — a studious observer of people’s behavior.

In one specific instance I used it to my advantage.

The Country Kitchen menu afforded diners ordering a sandwich the choice of accompanying French fries or a house salad. I silently despised customers who opted for the salad because I had to make said salad — more work for me and another thing for me to forget or screw up.

Over nearly two years of waiting tables I happened upon a discovery when taking orders that allowed me to minimize the number of salads I had to make. Though it may seem a stretch, there’s a public policy implication to my little salad scheme. I’ll get to that in a bit, but here’s what I figured out:

There were three options when taking someone’s tuna melt order: No. 1, ignore the fries or salad question entirely and hope the customer was too dumb to notice they could have made a choice, treating French fries as the default option. No. 2, ask the customer “are French fries OK with that tuna melt?” and hope they say yes without asking what the alternatives are. No. 3, ask the customer, straight up, “would you prefer French fries or a salad on the side?”

The first option was successful (meaning no salad requests) about half the time. The other half, customers would ask what comes with the sandwich (because they were too stupid to read the menu). Then I would be forced to inform them, “French fries or a salad.” When customers felt they had reached the fries-or-salad conclusion on their own, I was subject to their whims and more often than not, they got a salad. Good for their heart, bad for me.

Text Only
  • duvall, eric.jpg DUVALL: On lines blurred, crossed and nonexistent It strikes me more and more how blurry the lines have gotten in all facets of our world, large and small.

    July 28, 2014 1 Photo

  • Tucker, Barbara.jpg TUCKER: Oh, the joys of Sound Off Never thought the words "Thank goodness for Sound Off" would ever be printed here.

    July 26, 2014 1 Photo

  • adamczyk, ed.jpg ADAMCZYK: And now for something completely different... Last weekend I attended a local movie theater (a plushy, posh experience; they design these places now to get you out of your living room and away from your home electronics) to watch the sun set on the British Empire.

    July 25, 2014 1 Photo

  • OUR VIEW: Arson suspect never deserved bail Two of the 11 fires reported on Fifth Avenue could have been prevented with some jurisprudence in evaluating whether the suspect, Michelle Johnston, deserved to be offered bail. Given the obvious nature of a repeat offender who was charged with nine felony arson counts, bail never should have been offered in this case.

    July 25, 2014

  • wallace, amy.jpg WALLACE: Too much information? Is there such a thing as TMI or too much information anymore? Some might say yes.

    July 24, 2014 1 Photo

  • duvall, eric.jpg DUVALL: On reading and the lack thereof It was surprising to me a few weeks ago when a friend asked a group of us to estimate how many books we have each read over the last five years. The English teacher said 200 and he far and away led the pack. I was probably the median and my number was 20-25.

    July 23, 2014 1 Photo

  • confer, bob.jpg CONFER: A Con-Con would be a con game

    July 23, 2014 1 Photo

  • duvall, eric.jpg DUVALL: Conflict in Ukraine now a concern of global proportions It seems increasingly clear Ukrainian separatists, with the help from the Russian military, are responsible for the tragedy. They, of course, have denied it. They've also denied access to the crash site to international investigators seeking to recover the dead and determine what happened. That's not something the innocent party does.

    July 20, 2014 1 Photo

  • ADAMCZYK: Personal development, rendered in steel Accepting the premise that everyone needs to fill the same amount of time every day (24 hours, every day), some people use theirs rebuilding things, tangible things, and thus fulfill a few intangible goals.

    July 18, 2014

  • WALLACE: Festival season is underway Summer is the season of fairs and festivals. From Canal Fest in the Tonawandas to the Allentown Art Festival and Italian Heritage Festival in Buffalo to the Erie County Fair in Hamburg, the Western New York area has no shortage of things to do with the family over the summer.

    July 17, 2014

Featured Ads
Seasonal Content
Hyperlocal Search
Premier Guide
Find a business

Walking Fingers
Maps, Menus, Store hours, Coupons, and more...
Premier Guide
Front page
NDN Video
Raw: Japanese Soldiers Storm Beach in Exercises Raw: Weapons Fire Hits UN School in Gaza Raw: Rocket Launches Into Space With Cargo Ship Broken Water Main Floods UCLA Two Women Narrowly Avoid Being Hit by Train In Virginia, the Rise of a New Space Coast New Sanctions on Key Sectors of Russian Economy Crayola Announces Family Attraction in Orlando US Ready to Slap New Sanctions on Russia Kerry: Not Worried About Israeli Criticism Boater Rescued From Edge of Kentucky Dam Girl Struck by Plane on Florida Beach Dies Rodents Rampant in Gardens Around Louvre House to Vote on Slimmed-down Bill for Border Looming Demand Could Undercut Flight Safety Raw: 2 Shells Hit Fuel Tank at Gaza Power Plant Raw: Massive Explosions From Airstrikes in Gaza Giant Ketchup Bottle Water Tower Up for Sale Easier Nuclear Construction Promises Fall Short Kerry: Humanitarian Cease-fire Efforts Continue