Just because it’s what’s done, doesn’t mean it’s what should be done.
She was in an all-you-can-eat Korean BBQ restaurant that serves ready-to-eat food (bibimbap, ramyun, bulgogi, etc.) and self-cook food (raw beef, satay, cuttlefish, etc.). With her were some of her colleagues.
Since they arrived a minute later than the appointed reservation time, they were put in waiting list. They have to wait for 15 minutes, but it’s ok as they had traveled quite far to this place. At last they got directed to an empty table for 10 (it was a set of tables put together).
Arrived at the table, she knew right away that they would not fit in the 10-person table. 14 were just too many! 40% overloaded?
But still they sit on that table. A table with two stoves used to grill raw food. One stove would usually be suitable for a group of four.
It didn’t feel right for her, but they got no other option, she told me. It was late and they had come a long way. So, she endured it for a while with the hope of separating into two groups as soon as the next empty table was available.
Her hope materialised, partly.
The next few empty tables were available. Some of them can now move to that table. 4 people moving would do them good, especially for the ones not being able to eat conveniently as they are far from the “excitement” generated by the stoves.
But, alas, none of her friends want to move. They prefer to sit as a “group”.
She was not able (or didn’t want) to reason with them on why moving to another table would be good. She could have explained how they will be able to eat more properly and relaxed; how 14 is too big for a group chat; on how “group” does not necessarily mean being physically together. I personally think that being a group means caring for others, and had they moved to a separate table, they would still be classified as a “group”.
Well, she finally was able to suppress her instinct to move and then started to reason with herself “Hey, it’s not too bad after all, I could still eat what others cook!” (Was she trying to falsify her standpoint?)
Why should she stayed and endured the tight space? Was she succumbing to social proofing? Wouldn’t a proper dinner serve better for those people? If a group of 4-6 people is too small, they could even exchange seats whenever they want!
Well, perhaps she just wanted to fit in (and therefore chose to be inactive in this matter).
Now, just because it’s what’s done, doesn’t mean it’s what should be done, does it?
Just like W. Somerset Maugham put it, “If 50 million people say something foolish, it’s still foolish”.
P.S. Initially, I find it hard to share the story of this co-worker of mine. But something put me onto the path of enlightenment!
Fine, I’ll admit it. That something was only a movie, a re-take of an old fairytale where the Prince fell in love with a “princess with glass shoes”. I found the story quite naïve, the kind of story I would like to believe exist in this world. Can you imagine that having courage and being kind would serve us good?