On a recent trip to NYC, I was having a coffee at the end of my lunch when I reached for my phone and dropped my teaspoon. Anyone who has ever spent time working in a restaurant will tell you that the hardest things to locate are teaspoons. They must be hiding with all the single socks.

By the time I bent over to pick up my spoon another waiter came by to replace it for me. Amazed, I asked how he knew to have a teaspoon ready. He said, “In a company wide effort to trim costs they sent an efficiency expert to help find areas in each outlet where employees could save time and as a result save labor costs.”

Turns out, waiters spend a great deal of time looking for spoons and the suggestion was to always keep a few spoons on you; like a corkscrew or a pen, teaspoons are now part of the waiter’s uniform.

I was in shock. There is nothing worse then wasting time and I wondered how much time I have spent over the years looking for teaspoons. Days? Weeks? Months? Not to mention how much money the company is saving in labour costs.

As I was paying my bill, I noticed that the waiter had a string attached to the zipper of his fly, so I asked about it. This time he explained that the same efficiency expert suggested they could also save time when going to the bathroom during a shift by not touching their body parts while taking aim into the toilet, there by saving the company more money and saving the world some water as the waiter didn’t have to wash his hands!

I looked around and noticed just how busy the restaurant was for lunch and thought that this place was doing very well and that the owners must be thrilled with the level of revenue not to mention the efficient cost-saving measures.

Then it occurred to me that string is helpful for getting things started in the bathroom, but how does one put things away after the chore is done?

And without blinking, the waiter says, “That is what the teaspoons are for.”