Folding Table Diners
A Metaphor By Chuck Marshall
There once was a restaurant with excellent food, service, atmosphere, fair pricing and these unusually solid and beautiful tables. All who dined there were happy, and all who dined there were satisfied. It's popularity grew so much that a perpetual line formed outside of it. The wait was often very long, but all who got in agreed "it was worth the wait".
One day a group of diners got tired of waiting and decided they would sneak through the back door of the restaurant and grab a seat to dine and be happy. The group, got in through the back, past the kitchen, and stole to the front and set up a folding table for themselves that they had brought with them. They sat and waited. The staff fed them, and served them and treated them graciously. Then, one of the other diners pointed out to the waitress. "Waitress, they brought in their own table and didn't wait their turn. There is a line of people waiting outside to come in. This is not fair." The waitress replied that the "folding table diners" had been there a long time and had gotten use to the excellence of the restaurant and that management had decided it would be wrong to send them out the door to wait their turn.
Word spread outside the restaurant that this dramatic event had happened and the kitchen became a major path into the restaurant for those inclined to not wait their turn. The kitchen was no longer effective and efficient at creating culinary masterpieces what with all the people tracking through the kitchen. The restaurant management eventually replaced its fine, solid and beautiful tables with the smaller, folding tables to accommodate all the "folding table diners". What was once a beautiful restaurant with strong, stable tables and fantastic food was now a room full of rickety legged, folding tables and poor food. The tables were even so unstable that diners could barely eat off of them for fear and doubt in their sturdiness. The restaurant had morphed into something like any other restaurant. Nothing special.
Management moved the sturdy and beautiful tables to their own dining rooms for themselves and their families to enjoy. They hired the chefs and wait staff to help them in their own homes. Management declared themselves "very fair" because now anyone and all could come into their restaurant and dine at any time.