Wednesday, August 26, 2015


The line inside the fast food French fry restaurant, Best Frit, was disorganized and cramped. Customers were either leaning on the glass counter or using their shoulders and body posturing to jockey a little closer to the front of the queue that really wasn't a queue at all. The man in charge behind the counter was a burly guy in a red and white t-shirt, the uniform of all two of the employees working back by the deep fryers. We reluctantly joined the queue, as we were as determined as the unruly crowd to try these frites that came so highly recommended.
We forced our way forward and waited our turn as the big guy on the other side belted out orders to his poor attendant whose sole job seemed to be sweeping up after the more self-important t-shirted dude who was clearly in charge.
Emmy decided she'd try to help make things go a little faster by getting our drinks before we made it to the front of the line.  The glass-doored cooler with cans and bottles of sodas and beer was located by the front entrance. The minute she slid the door of the cooler to the side the big-gutted man in the red and white tee, who I believe must have had eyes in the back of his head yelled without even looking up, "No drinks until you pay!" It scared the Holy Beejesus out of Emmy. She let the door slam shut and meekly walked back to where the rest of us were standing.
Within minutes of the cooler outburst a woman with a small dog blithely walked in, the dog on a leash. "No dog, get out"
We were all pretty terrified by this time as we became little soldiers our heads bent and our arms now hanging straight against our sides. We were slowly inching our way to the front of the queue our fear becoming palpable as the couple in front of us heard, "No fries for you".
It fell on Laura to place our order, her being the lead Dutch speaker among us. She managed to squeak out our order for frites in paper cones and the various sodas Emmy had tried to pull from the cooler earlier. She, unfortunately, forgot to add we wanted our drinks in bottles not cans. The man was too fast and had already tabulated our bill. He was not happy. You don't try to change something on the guy with the voice that would make even Schwarzenegger tinkle a little.
After he miraculously reworked our check adding the additional charge for the bottle upgrade he pushed a little devise toward Laura that was supposed to buzz when our order was ready. Then he said, "You sit". We did, but that wasn't the end of it. There was a video screen above the order counter that cycled through the menu. A little line appeared at the bottom of one of the images telling us each table had to have a minimum of one drink on it or you couldn't use the tables to eat your fries. It was the demise of a table behind us as he shouted, "No drink, get out".
We were okay. We had ordered enough drinks. Finally our buzzer went off. Our fries were ready, in baskets not cones. We weren't about to complain, the frites were that good.
New York has its "Soup Nazi" made popular by the sitcom, Seinfeld. We found Bruges has its equivalent, "The Frit Nazi".

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