What a difference two cookies make

Coffee at Kimpton Fitzroy in London
Coffee at Kimpton Fitzroy in London

Note: Marieke and I got divorced in 2020. This post might not reflect the current situation.

This is a short story about cookies. Not the digital kind, but real cookies. The edible kind. And what a difference two cookies make. I recently started using it as an example in my presentations on how attention to detail, even extremely small details, can make a huge difference. So here we go. 

Last summer, we were staying at Hof van Saksen, our favorite holiday park. My wife, our two kids and me. We were having a drink at one of the restaurants on the premises. My wife had ordered a tea, our kids had ordered an orange juice and I had ordered an alcohol-free beer. When the waiter arrived at our table, my wife got three cookies with her tea. And I marveled in the brilliance of the moment. 

The difference between one (the most obvious solution) and three cookies is the difference between life and living hell. Let me elaborate.

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What a difference two cookies make …


Let’s go for the one-cookie scenario first. My wife gets one cookie. As cookies are kids-magnets, what will probably happen is that our kids will start bickering about who gets to have the cookie. One thing is certain in this scenario: my wife is definitely not getting a cookie. Dividing a cookie in three is both hardly worth the try and will inevitably lead to a discussion about who gets what part of the cookie. The best scenario is that the cookie gets divided in two and the kids each accept their half. A less optimistic scenario is when the kids start fighting over who got the bigger half. In any case, the first five minutes of our time in the restaurant will already be a hassle. Whatever happens, the chance my wife gets to enjoy her cookie is close to zero.

So, the solution is *at least* three cookies – my wife and our kids each having their own cookie. 

If the first five minutes in the bar already start with a fight over cookies, chances are really slim that the family will stay there all afternoon. What a difference two cookies make …

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