How Overlooking Something Minor Can Become Significant — and Easily Avoidable

Overlooking paying attention to something minor can lead to becoming significant for at least one of two reasons: completely by mistake; or by being lazy and taking a short cut to avoid having to do more than seemingly necessary.

How Overlooking Something Minor Can Become Significant — and Easily Avoidable

I went to a restaurant for dinner earlier tonight on this rainy evening, wiped my feet on the mat inside as the woman at the hostess stand greeted me. I was escorted to a table; and the waiter eventually came and took my order.

After he left, I decided to use the washroom — but I noticed that the running shoes which I was wearing had no traction on the floor, as I felt like I was walking on oil and felt like I was going to slip on every step. I attributed that to the soles on my running shoes either simply still being wet from the rain; or that the soles were on their way out — although the running shoes are not old.

When I returned to the table, there was a mess underneath the table in front of my seat which I had not noticed. It looked like mashed potatoes. I alerted the woman at the hostess stand nearby as I wiped my feet on the mat again. After she went to get what she needed in order to clean the floor underneath the table, the waiter was arriving with my beverage and some bread — as well as some items for other diners — on a tray; and what happened next seemed to play out in slow motion…

…the waiter slipped — presumably on what was left from what I might have tracked on the floor — and tried to recover. Thankfully, he never fell or hurt himself; but the same cannot be said for the items on the tray, as everything came crashing down loudly onto the hard surface of the floor. Diners stopped eating and watched as shattered glass and liquid were seemingly everywhere, as well as plates, utensils and bread.

I do not know how long they needed to properly clean the entire mess up; but during the cleanup, I was finally escorted to a table in a different part of the restaurant. I graciously accepted their apologies and a complimentary appetizer; but I did wonder why I was not immediately moved from the original table.


I did not take photographs of the incident, as the parties involved seemed more than embarrassed about it.

I then thought about countless other times when proper preventive maintenance could have easily avoided embarrassingly significantly situations. One of myriad examples which comes to mind is the entire Boeing 737 MAX airplane fiasco, which has dragged on for months, caused two airplane crashes which resulted in hundreds of deaths, cost a substantial amount of money, and cast the reputation of safety of the aviation company in a bad light in the public eye.

Similarly, had the person whose responsibility was to clean the table and the area around it did his or her job properly, time would not have been wasted, glassware would not have been broken, a mess would not have occurred, and the restaurant would not have had to eat the cost of an appetizer.

The important lesson to learn is to take the extra moment to ensure that what is supposed to be done is done properly.

Photograph ©2009 by Brian Cohen.

5 thoughts on “How Overlooking Something Minor Can Become Significant — and Easily Avoidable”

  1. Ell says:

    Are you seriously comparing the deaths of hundreds to leftover food on the floor???

  2. Bill says:

    Wow. Not your best effort.
    And you didn’t think the analogy was a bit of a stretch?

  3. Marcelo ABRA says:


  4. Robbo says:

    Give yourself an upper cut. You can’t be serious. If i was you, I would delete this post from your blog forthwith, you sound like a complete goose. We know your not. Delete it. It’s embarrassing.

  5. Sad State of Our Country says:

    Your analogy was too subtle to the readers above.

    Perhaps next time use something more of their comprehension level like including reference to an AR-15, good guys with guns, God will solve global warming, trump is clean or whatever…

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