Outward-Facing Life Hack #2

A while ago, I wrote about an “outward-facing life hack” for sending DVDs back to Netflix. This is a category of life hacks that make other peoples’ lives better, easier, or happier.

Back in college, I spent two summers working as a waiter at local restaurants in my hometown. We had bus boys at the restaurant, but I liked to stay busy, so I often bused my own table (or at least I’d grab an empty plate or two when I had the chance).

I quickly discovered that knives on plates provided a unique challenge. Unlike forks and spoons, which have roughly the same distribution of weight from end to end, knifes are heavily weighted on the handle. As a result, if you place a knife on a plate like this (as most people do), it’s likely to slide off the plate when you’re busing it.

So I found a simple solution: If you move the handle of the knife to the middle of the plate, it’s much more likely to stay exactly where you want it: on the plate.

As a result, whenever I prepare my plate for a server at a restaurant, I try to always place the knife handle in the middle of the plate. It’s a very easy gesture that significantly increases the chances that the knife stays on the plate between your table and the dishwasher, which makes the server’s job easier.

Have you ever learned something like this at a job that you later used as a customer?