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The New Zealand Railways Magazine, Volume 9, Issue 5 (August 1, 1934)

“Orders is Orders”

“Orders is Orders”

The following amusing paragraph, from “Saturday Night,” Toronto, has been kindly forwarded by Mr. J. W. Collins, N.Z. Trade Commissioner in Canada and U.S.A.:-

A very good friend of ours who recently had occasion to breakfast on a railway train found that the one-dollar breakfast consisted of fruit or cereal, ham-and-two-eggs, toast and coffee. Being, like ourselves, a man of most abstemious habits in the early morning, he ordered this breakfast but with the qualification that the main dish should contain only one egg. He obtained his desire, but the bill was one dollar and twenty-five cents. Upon requesting an explanation he was informed that while ham-and-two-eggs were part of the dollar breakfast, ham-and-one-egg could only be served a la carte, and his attention was drawn to the rule on the menu card: “No variation from the items named in the table d'hote menus is permitted.”

Our friend was annoyed, but we think he was wrong. He was asking for a certain elasticity of mind which nobody has a right to ask for in a railway diner in connection with a dollar breakfast. With an a la carte breakfast, yes; with a table d'hot one, no. The difference is part of what you get for the higher charge. Our friend was trying to save the railway the cost of the second egg; but in doing so he was imposing upon it a far more serious item of expense. He was upsetting the system, he was causing a bouleversement of the routine, which would probably cost more than a dozen eggs. What he should have done was to suffer the second egg to be brought, and then to throw it out of the window, or at the waiter, or put it in the finger bowl, or ask for an envelope and mail it to the president of the railway with a few well chosen words on Costs and How to Cut Them.

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