Mon 24 Jan 2011
As you’ve probably surmised from the name of this website, we spend a lot of time eating in foodcourts. There are five of them within a three minute walk of where we work, and it’s probably fair to say we know them better than our own kitchens. We know precisely when to go to minimize line-up wait times. We know when the popular new places have started to scale back on the quality of their ingredients to expand margins. We know what the meat is at the Asian Wok (hint: it’s in the Chinese zodiac, and it ain’t dragon).
And I covet this foodcourt time. I really do. Not just because it’s a ritualistic half-hour escape from the daily grind of office life. But because, as you will soon see, it is about to make me a millionaire.
Flashback: the other day we were walking away from a burrito place we often go to, with our lunch trays in hand. Now I can’t stand to have things in my pants pockets, so my mitts were clasping not only the sides of the tray, but my wallet and cell phone as well. This would otherwise be fine, except for the fact that I had a fountain pop on the tray. And as everybody knows, fountain pops are far too tall and top heavy to rest comfortably on a tray, so you have to be extra cautious when walking with one.
Did you ever read that book Outliers by Malcolm Gladwell? In the chapter on plane crashes, he says that in any given crash, an average of seven things went wrong. Well, for my burrito to get baptized with Coke Zero, it took only three. First, my hands were full. Second, I was trying to balance a 20 oz. soft drink, which is the adult version of that stupid roll-the-multiple-ball-bearings-into-the-too-small-holes game that everyone hated as a child. Third, the foodcourt was extremely crowded (we left for lunch late that day), so I didn’t see the guy standing four inches behind me when I turned around. One incidental bump and three seconds of futile recovery efforts later, and lunch was ruined.
“But alas, moments of great tragedy are often the well from which springs great inspiration.” – A.J. Burnett, New York Yankees
Behold! The Classy Awesome Food Tray!
Now give your eyes a moment to adjust. I’ll admit, there’s a lot going on there. But before you organize your Luddite posse to come and burn this heathen abomination, allow me a minute to walk you through the sweet deets.
1 – Drink caddy. Simple enough. Keeps your soda/water/V8 vertical and snug. Tip: eating at Wendy’s? Their circular fry containers fit like a glove.
2 – Business card holder. For people who see every social interaction as a client development opportunity/chance to pick up chicks. Alternatively, it can be used to prop up a wallet-sized photo of your family. Also available in mahogany.
3 – Permanently-fixed condiment depository. You can use it to store your ketchup, change or, if you will, lactose intolerance pills.
4 – Personalized name engraving. You are going to want something to identify the tray as yours, particularly since I plan on retailing them for $1400 a pop.
5 – Rear view mirror. Know your surroundings! No need to keep your head on a swivel as you desperately scour the ‘court for an empty table. And in a further miracle of science, I’ve fixed it so that objects in the mirror are exactly as they appear.
6 – Electric Buzzer. The whole tray is electrified. This is particularly helpful when you eat with people like General Tao and Butter Chicken. Those two are always “training” for “triathlons”, and therefore order healthier selections. But they won’t hesitate to dip into my fry pool to satiate the body’s natural craving for trans fat. A quick push of the buzzer, however, and ZAP! Hands off, friendos. You don’t see me jabbing a fork in your tabouli.
7 – Hole (optional). For those lonely lunches spent eating at your desk. Sometimes a man just wants a little friction.