I stumbled into an odd conversation this weekend about curbside order wait times.

To be exact, it was a debate on how long you would wait for your food before giving up and just leaving.

Before you let the intrusive thoughts win, let me tell you the tale.

After another brutally hot weekend day of working outside in the yard, we agreed we were too tired to cook dinner last night. Not wanting fast food, we opted to order something over at Chili's since it's reasonably close to the house.

I popped onto the website, ordered the food, and since I had cash I checked to pay at the restaurant instead of on my mobile.

Now we just sit and wait.

Happy couple in car interior at vehicle dealership showroom.

The ambiguous prep time went by and the notification our order was ready dinged just as I was pulling into the parking lot. I pulled into a spot, checked in through the link, and waited for our food to be brought out.

I don't get out much on the weekend, so we were having this odd conversation about how little traffic there was, and how empty the parking lot was, but there were a few of us in the curbside spots.

One by one, drivers parked on either side of us got out and walked into Chili's to get their orders. Since we had just hopped out of the shower and tossed on our PJs, I didn't want to get out--hence the curbside ordering.

Just keep waiting.

businessman late for work because of traffic jams

As is pretty common in a restaurant setting, we didn't become aware that the service was taking so long until we did.

You know how it is... you're talking in conversation, everything is flowing along, and just all of a sudden you think "We've been waiting for a while now, right?"

That thought hit both of us at the same time right around the 10-minute mark.

I was the understanding one between us. I know that things have been difficult for restaurants post-pandemic, and we're both aware that nobody goes to Chili's in Lawton for the exceptional service... and the conversation quickly became "Well, how long are you going to wait?"

We agreed, twenty minutes is the statute of limitations on a "ready" curbside order we haven't yet paid for to be brought out.

Not shocking.


Spoiler alert, I actually waited 23 minutes before I gave in and left to grab a quick and much cheaper bite up the road.

I'm not sure how the conversation got to this point, but a coworker of mine shared that she had a similar curbside experience on Saturday. The conversation quickly opened up to everyone on the topic, and the question became "How long would you wait for a curbside order before you gave up?"

The poll.

There were only nine of us here at the time, but the results were overwhelmingly on the short side.

Just over half of us said the statute of limitations when waiting for a curbside order is 10-15 minutes after the notification your order is ready. 10 minutes if they're not busy, 15 if they are.

I was the lone person to say 20 minutes, but only because I can waste 20 minutes pretty easily on my own at will.

One coworker said 5 minutes is adequate if the order is "ready," and the rest agreed 5-10 minutes was the max.

The average seems to be about 10 minutes.

How long will you wait until you decide to have something else for dinner?

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