Order In The Food Court

Order in the food court by Paul Radin

Judge Paul, now presiding!

I’m only kidding; not really.

What is your favourite part of a shopping mall?

On the count of three, we’ll all reveal our answers as loud as we can. One…two…three…


Wonderful. How many of you also said “food court”?

You are reading a guest post, written by Paul from The Captain’s Speech.

Whenever my parents brought me to a mall when I was a kid, I always asked for the time as soon as we got there. Then, in my head, I did some very accurate calculations to determine how long before we would be heading to the food court for lunch.

A timer in my head would start.

I did not care about anything else in the mall. It’s not like ten-year-old Paul was wandering around with a wallet full of money ready to splurge on every flashy item in the window. Heck no.

I wanted food.

And as the timer in my head started to tick down and our location in the mall got closer and closer to the food court, the finish line was upon me. I could smell it. Literally, I could smell it. It’s food. Food smells. I could smell the food.

Anyway, as we approached the gates of heaven…err the entrance of the food court, so many food options were presented to me. It was almost overwhelming. All these years later, it still is overwhelming.

Do I feel like a sub? Do I want fries and a burger? Do I want pizza? Silly question, I know. Do I want pasta? Do I want noodles with honey garlic chicken and sweet and sour pork? Did I want pizza and fries? Did I want a small sub and a pizza slice?

If I’m being honest, I wanted all of these items, all of the time. Still do.

Did I want soup? Never. Never have I ever ordered soup at a food court. I’m not going to a food court to eat seasoned water with noodles, sorry.

Just had to get that in there.

If it were up to me, food courts would be buffets. Or they would at least provide you with the option of a buffet.

For instance, if all you want is a cheeseburger, go buy a cheeseburger and pay for the cheeseburger. Fine.

But, if you want something from multiple food places, then you should pay an all-encompassing fee – let’s say, $14.99.

There would probably be a time limit to the whole thing to prevent people like me from sitting in a food court all day, but you get the gist.

Where do I go from here?

Some food courts are busier than others. It depends on the day, time, and how hungry people are, I assume.

Have you ever arrived at a food court during peak hours, though? I’m talking about lineups longer than Pinocchio’s nose. I’m talking about tables with people at all of them. I’m talking about strollers that appear out of nowhere, that you may run into and show no remorse for doing so because it wasn’t behind you one second ago, but then it was…

Sorry, I was having a flashback.

People at the mall are generally frustrated over something to being with, so add to that hunger and long lines and you have a bunch of steam building in a tea kettle.


Have you ever seen two people race to a table? Or have you ever raced someone to a table? You know, to claim it?

It’s the most fascinating thing to watch. Just two people running frantically for a table that just opened up, and all the while they’re wishing they had stretched out their hamstrings when they woke up that morning.

Hey! No running in my food court-room!

And when they don’t get to the table first, they look so defeated.

“Oh, this stranger put their bag down on the table a fraction of a second before I did. They win. It’s their table.”

Meanwhile, there are cameras throughout the food court. If you feel like you beat them to the table, but they claim otherwise, then you should be able to challenge the call on the field and go to video review!

Or at least flip a coin. Coin flips solve everything.

But when you do find a table in a busy food court, it’s almost like finding water in the desert.

And then you look at the table you ended up with and how dirty it is. You see the smeared ketchup across the middle and the crumbs that are swimming in a small little puddle of what you think is juice, but could be lemonade.

I haven’t even mentioned the pepperoni under the table, which is now attaching itself to the bottom of your left shoe.

I also haven’t mentioned the fries that you squished with your right foot when you sat down and the potato residue which is now stuck between the grooves of your shoe.

It’s these sort of things that tell me the general population isn’t quite ready for a $14.99 food court buffet, especially if they’re going to be that negligent with their food.

Those poor french fries had a family. How sad.

Food court is adjourned.

I wrote a post on Paul’s blog, so don’t forget to check out “That Time I Was A Hero” on  The Captain’s Speech!


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