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i waited 1 hour for food at shake shack yesterday...

sam1 May 5, 2008 06:42 AM

and it was totally worth it.

ive had a concrete before but never was there for food. i happened to walk by with the girlfriend and figured we'd check it out. the line got excruciating at the 40 minute mark but once we got our double shack burger (amazing), portobello burger (possibly even better), fries (surprisingly great), and 2 concretes, we were in heaven.

one small side note...in carroll gardens, schnack recently closed. i swear, the shake shack burger was just a larger, better version than schnack's little sliders called schnackies. if anyone has the time and dedication, they should revamp schnack with a better location and improve on their menu and have a shake shack-type place in brooklyn...very similar style of burger.

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  1. d
    dwaves RE: sam1 May 5, 2008 07:12 AM

    I used to wait between 1/2 hr and 3 hours for shake shack. I am over it. Yes I love the burgers, but unless i walk bay and the line is manageable, I'll keep walking.

    13 Replies
    1. re: dwaves
      Mintycake RE: dwaves May 5, 2008 07:40 AM

      Interesting...I'm planning to visit on my trip to NYC later this month but wondering if the line is horrific are there any other quick eats options in the area?

      I would love the Shake Shack though - the menu looks so yummy.

      1. re: Mintycake
        scoopG RE: Mintycake May 5, 2008 08:10 AM

        Try Molly's, where you will not have to wait an hour!


        1. re: scoopG
          sam1 RE: scoopG May 5, 2008 08:28 AM

          i usually go to eisenberg's sandwich shop...on 5th ave and 22nd street. old school nyc shop with great cherry lime rickeys, egg and tuna salad sandwiches.

          1. re: sam1
            a_and_w RE: sam1 May 6, 2008 08:03 AM

            I like Eisenberg, esp. the BLT and eggcreams, but skip the Eisenburger.

            1. re: a_and_w
              RGR RE: a_and_w May 6, 2008 08:25 AM

              Only been to Eisenberg's once. The BLT I had was horrible, and the egg cream was mediocre.

          2. re: scoopG
            Miss Needle RE: scoopG May 5, 2008 10:43 AM

            Just wanted to mention that Molly's burgers and Shake Shack's are two totally different styles -- Molly's are thick while SS's are small.

          3. re: Mintycake
            RGR RE: Mintycake May 5, 2008 08:55 AM


            If you want to avoid the insanely long lines at Shake Shack, your best bet is to go on Saturday or Sunday morning. Be there a few minutes before they open at 11 a.m., and there should be either no line to speak of or a very short one.

            1. re: RGR
              scoopG RE: RGR May 5, 2008 09:04 AM

              Yes, go right at opening time as RGR says. In the meantime Mintycake, you can get a good idea of the lines anytime with their Shake Shack video camera:


              1. re: scoopG
                Mintycake RE: scoopG May 5, 2008 09:25 AM

                Thanks! we're actually planning on hitting it on a Monday at 4pm for an early dinner....hopefully that works out.

                1. re: Mintycake
                  scoopG RE: Mintycake May 5, 2008 12:51 PM

                  Long lines today at 3:47 p.m. on their web cam! Miss Needle is correct in the difference between Molly's and the Shake Shack. One Molly's cheeseburger will fill me up for the day, whereas it would take 2-3 from the SS.

                  1. re: scoopG
                    goodhealthgourmet RE: scoopG May 6, 2008 12:00 PM

                    i was walking through madison sq park about an hour before that, and couldn't believe how long the line was.

                    here's my question: who has that much time for lunch? doesn't anyone work anymore? the people waiting in line can't ALL be tourists.

                2. re: scoopG
                  Scagnetti RE: scoopG May 6, 2008 09:27 AM

                  I looked at the webcam at noon and I wouldn't wait in a line that long for a hamburger even if Angelina Jolie gave me a kiss with my fries!

              2. re: Mintycake
                mpatrissy RE: Mintycake May 8, 2008 12:27 PM

                The best time to go is at 11 am when they open,

            2. g
              ginsbera RE: sam1 May 5, 2008 08:51 AM

              I went Friday and had the shortest line ever, waited 5 minutes to order and 10 minutes for the food. I tried a dog for the first time, the flat top, and though it was good I think I'll stick with the burgers. maybe next time I'll try the Chicago Dog with the works.

              One point of interest, the shake I got (black & white of course) was larger than usual. Maybe it was that day only, but has anyone else witnessed an increase in the size of their shakes?

              1. j
                joeyz RE: sam1 May 5, 2008 03:12 PM

                It's a good burger but not even remotely worth an hour wait. There are so many good burger places in the city - you could travel to almost any of them and back in that time period. I work 2 blocks from the park and still virtually never go there, and I love burgers. Corner Bistro is where it's at!

                18 Replies
                1. re: joeyz
                  dwaves RE: joeyz May 5, 2008 08:49 PM

                  I agree - try Fanelli, Blue#9, Lucky Burger, Island Burger .... the options are boundless.

                  1. re: dwaves
                    sam1 RE: dwaves May 6, 2008 06:12 AM

                    a couple of notes...shake shack is fast food...not a regular burger...also, corner bistro is on serious decline lately...particularly at peak hours.

                    it was a beautiful sunday outside with the ladyfriend. you make the most of it and we enjoyed ourselves. everyone on line were nice.

                    but yeah, im only going at quieter times going forward.

                    1. re: sam1
                      RCC RE: sam1 May 6, 2008 08:21 AM

                      Shake Shack is fast food?

                      When I think fast food, Burger King and Macdonalds comes to mind. I don't think that any of those come close to the quality and flavor that Shake Shack provides.

                      1. re: RCC
                        sam1 RE: RCC May 6, 2008 08:31 AM

                        LA style fast food...in n out, fat burger...better quality food...not the sludge they pour out and call burgers at burger king.

                        1. re: sam1
                          RCC RE: sam1 May 6, 2008 08:48 AM

                          I've had In n Out many times and I liked it (we used to be Marin county resident) and I agree that it is fast food. However, I still maintain SS to be better.

                        2. re: RCC
                          RGR RE: RCC May 6, 2008 08:36 AM

                          I agree, RCC. The Shake Shack's burger is far, far superior to what one gets at fast food places like Mickey D's and B.K.

                          Also, in addition to the high quality of the food, part of what makes going to the Shake Shack so appealing to me is the opportunity to enjoy it in a lovely park setting.

                          That said, afaic, there's no burger anywhere that's worth waiting on such insanely long lines for.

                          1. re: RGR
                            ginsbera RE: RGR May 6, 2008 08:41 AM

                            Corner Bistro is nowhere near Shake Shack in terms of quality. Shake Shack is a thin burger, best in the city. It's hard to compare it to the biger 8oz+ burgers. My favorite big burger is Market Table.

                            1. re: ginsbera
                              joeyz RE: ginsbera May 6, 2008 08:50 AM

                              I would agree that Corner Bistro is nowhere near Shake Shack in terms of quality, in that Corner Bistro's is so much better.

                              1. re: joeyz
                                ESNY RE: joeyz May 6, 2008 08:54 AM

                                Yeah, love when corner bistro serves those pre-cooked burgers reheated till they are nice and dry.

                                1. re: ESNY
                                  joeyz RE: ESNY May 6, 2008 09:48 AM

                                  Well, for the record I almost never go there during the early evening or traditional lunch hours but I have no idea how you have ever ended up with a dry burger there. I get mine medium rare (even rare a few times) and it is indescribably juicy and delicious. If anything you could complain that it's so juicy that it falls apart and is hard to manage (a price I will gladly pay). It doesn't need "seasoning" - it has the burger goodness of the meat, cheese, raw onions, pickles, delicious bacon and (thankfully) no "secret sauce" for me to request my burger devoid of. Perfect.

                                2. re: joeyz
                                  a_and_w RE: joeyz May 6, 2008 09:02 AM

                                  Please. Corner Bistro went downhill years ago.

                                  1. re: a_and_w
                                    Cpalms RE: a_and_w May 6, 2008 10:48 AM

                                    I don't think Corner Bistro really went downhil all that much, its just that the competition has risen so dramatically in the last few year....shack shack, burger joint, royale, blt burger, etc etc....when corner bistro is super busy their burgers suck, always have...

                                  2. re: joeyz
                                    ginsbera RE: joeyz May 6, 2008 09:03 AM

                                    Corner Bistro under seasons and pre-heats burgers, it's a known fact. I surely won't wait more than 30min for a burger at Shake Shack, but it is much better.

                                    1. re: ginsbera
                                      sam1 RE: ginsbera May 6, 2008 09:28 AM

                                      corner bistro can still bring it...like 1am on a tuesday night.

                                      but all other times ive been there in the last 2 years, its been dry and underseasoned.

                                      1. re: sam1
                                        bigjeff RE: sam1 May 6, 2008 09:46 PM

                                        nothing beats either the late night shenanigans crammed into a back booth, dark mcsorleys constantly; or, the lazy sunday afternoon staked out at the bar, shootin the shit and just general chilling

                              2. re: RCC
                                rootytootyfreshnfrooty RE: RCC May 9, 2008 10:02 AM

                                The only reason Shake Shack isn't fast food is because the line takes an hour. I recently had a very bad burger from them. A whopper would have been superior. The shakes are definitely great, but an hour wait? Eff that.

                              3. re: sam1
                                Bob Martinez RE: sam1 May 6, 2008 02:41 PM

                                "a couple of notes...shake shack is fast food...not a regular burger"

                                If you waited for one hour, it's sure not "fast food."

                                1. re: Bob Martinez
                                  MMRuth RE: Bob Martinez May 6, 2008 02:43 PM

                                  Well, one cannot dispute that fact! I only go at 11 am on weekends and enjoy my little Shake Shack lunch, with no or little line. But you make a good point!

                          2. m
                            marye RE: sam1 May 6, 2008 08:49 AM

                            Bottom line is that the wait blows, but the burgers are very tasty- are they worth 1 hr on standing in line listening to inane conversations by fellow customers, no you just have to get your burger fix at odd hours.

                            5 Replies
                            1. re: marye
                              Mintycake RE: marye May 6, 2008 08:50 AM

                              can you skip the line if you're just getting a Concrete? I heard something about a "B" line?

                              1. re: Mintycake
                                ESNY RE: Mintycake May 6, 2008 08:54 AM

                                I think the B line is only drinks, which does not (or did not as of last year) include shakes.

                                1. re: ESNY
                                  ginsbera RE: ESNY May 6, 2008 09:04 AM

                                  b line includes everything but fries, burgers and dogs I believe. So yes, you can get your shake there.

                                  1. re: ginsbera
                                    oolah RE: ginsbera May 6, 2008 09:07 AM

                                    Definitely no shakes on the b-line. It's concretes, custards and t-shirts only.

                                    1. re: oolah
                                      Lucia RE: oolah May 6, 2008 01:32 PM

                                      B line is open for business, by the way. I used it last Friday.

                            2. livetotravel RE: sam1 May 6, 2008 11:21 AM

                              Wed, April 30th, 11:25AM - no line
                              Wed, April 30th, 11:55AM - 20 people on line
                              Mon, May 5th, 11:15AM - no line

                              You will also find reduced lines at 4:00PM

                              1. ballulah RE: sam1 May 6, 2008 11:53 AM

                                If you sneak in close to closing time on a night with bad weather you won't have much of a wait either. I happened to be walking by one night under just these circumstances and basically strolled up to the window and got in the last order. There's a bar on 20th between Park and Bway where you can hunker down and eat if the weather is truly terrible...it's called No Idea.

                                1 Reply
                                1. re: ballulah
                                  Blumie RE: ballulah May 6, 2008 12:50 PM

                                  Sorry, but although I like a shack burger just fine, it certainly ain't worth all of the logistics. It's great if you happen to be nearby and there happens to be a short line, but otherwise you're always gonna be better off going elsewhere.

                                2. r
                                  RedVelvet RE: sam1 May 6, 2008 09:24 PM

                                  Say what you may, but no one (to my knowledge) makes a Shroom Burger like Shake Shack. And now it comes in Double Stack - one shroom burger and one cheeseburger. I'll gladly wait in line for that, especially that I go for burgers just a few times a year. In my experience, the lines subside significantly after 8 pm if you go for dinner. During the day is pure luck or lack of it.
                                  I heard rumors of a second Shack at the other side of the park, anyone know if it's true?
                                  Oh, and try the Red Velvet frozen custard, it's really good! (fridays in May).

                                  9 Replies
                                  1. re: RedVelvet
                                    RGR RE: RedVelvet May 6, 2008 10:50 PM

                                    If by "other side of the park," you mean Central Park, then it's true because there is going to be a second (indoor) Shake Shack on the UWS.

                                    1. re: RGR
                                      a_and_w RE: RGR May 7, 2008 07:27 AM

                                      An indoor Shake Shack? About freakin' time!

                                      On a related note, I had a burger the other night at Burger Joint, which tends to get maligned on chowhound these days. My cheeseburger was cooked a juicy medium rare, though the patty itself could have been more seasoned. The fries were better than those at Shake Shack, which are great fresh but decline dramatically when cold. As with the Shack, I wouldn't wait in line or fight for a table. But I could easily see placing an order to go, getting a drink nearby, then grabbing my food.

                                      1. re: a_and_w
                                        Blumie RE: a_and_w May 7, 2008 09:59 AM

                                        One of the great things about burger joint is that, except, perhaps, during the lunch rush, the line usually is not longer than 10 or 15 minutes. And usually you can snag a table by the time your food comes.

                                        Like any of these quick serve (not fast food) burger joints, the product's not always gonna be perfect, but I'm thrilled with burger joint a lot more than I'm disappointed.

                                        1. re: Blumie
                                          bklynbiker RE: Blumie May 12, 2008 07:40 PM

                                          Having popped into SS on the same day as this original post, I can say the wait was reasonable (20 mins. at 1:45) for a beautiful day. But the burger, quite good, didnt hold its own vs. burger joint's -- smaller (and bj's isn't huge by any means), and missing that crunchy char the bj has mastered so well. I also prefer bj's fries, tho SS's were an interesting change. Can't imagine waiting anything beyond 1/2 hour though. To sit in that setting for a $10 lunch was well worth it, but bj wins the taste test by far (IMHO)

                                      2. re: RGR
                                        AriB RE: RGR May 7, 2008 09:52 AM

                                        Wow, awesome! Is there an article somewhere to verify this? Thanks!!

                                        1. re: AriB
                                          Blumie RE: AriB May 7, 2008 09:57 AM

                                          You don't need an article. Just go to their website. Look on the bottom left where it says "Shack Two!"


                                          1. re: Blumie
                                            AriB RE: Blumie May 7, 2008 11:54 AM

                                            Thanks, I would've never checked there. :-)

                                          2. re: AriB
                                            ESNY RE: AriB May 7, 2008 10:24 AM

                                            Its been known and broadcast for months.

                                          3. re: RGR
                                            RedVelvet RE: RGR May 7, 2008 11:51 AM

                                            The rumors I heard were about a second Shack in MSq Park, but apparently is not true. Thanks for the UWS news, haven't looked on their website in a while. Not soon enough, but better late than never.

                                        2. sing me a bar RE: sam1 May 7, 2008 12:19 PM

                                          My solution is to satisfy myself with the B line. What a great chocolate frozen custard cone I got the other day! I think the A line is for hair shirt/self-flaggelating types, no disrespect meant to those who choose that path! I just can't see tghe logic in such a long wait when burgers abound in the area.

                                          1. s
                                            sugartoof RE: sam1 May 8, 2008 12:02 AM

                                            It's not worth the wait at all! Luckily I've never had to wait....but the service is STILL sloooooow. Really slow.

                                            Then you never know what you're going to get. I've had amazing burgers, and then I've had smashed on one side, lopsided, half moon shaped burgers. I've come to the conclusion I'm only happy with them in combination with the fries....and then I've realized it's really the salt that's helping me enjoy the meat...... eating a straight up burger without fries there reveals just how boring they are.

                                            Most of the time I feel stupid for not just going paying a few extra bucks for a real burger instead of these dinky things.

                                            23 Replies
                                            1. re: sugartoof
                                              Miss Needle RE: sugartoof May 8, 2008 04:17 AM

                                              You're right about how sometimes the burgers are pretty sloppy. I've got to say I've never liked their fries, though. Something is really just not right about them. I'd much rather have McDonalds over those.

                                              1. re: Miss Needle
                                                RGR RE: Miss Needle May 8, 2008 07:45 AM

                                                I really like Shake Shack's crinkle-cut fries. Always crispy and delicious. I'm wondering if your dislike has anything to do with when you have them. Since we always go on weekends just when the Shack opens, our fries are the first batch fresh out of the fryer.

                                                I do like the fries at Mickey D's.

                                                1. re: RGR
                                                  Miss Needle RE: RGR May 8, 2008 12:57 PM

                                                  I don't go when it just opens, but I don't go at prime time either. I don't think it's the freshness factor. I really think they're using the wrong type of potato for fries (at least for my taste). I prefer a fluffier potato like an Idaho.

                                                  1. re: Miss Needle
                                                    Blumie RE: Miss Needle May 8, 2008 01:01 PM

                                                    Given the volume of fries they churn out, I'd be surprised if freshness were a factor. It's not like they're sitting under a heat lamp for any significant period of time.

                                                    1. re: Blumie
                                                      sugartoof RE: Blumie May 8, 2008 10:18 PM

                                                      Actually, the high volume is he problem. I find they try and preempt the orders by making the stuff in anticipation. Many times I see a stack of cheeseburgers just waiting to be ordered. At some point the line fades away and there's still that cheeseburger in the heat lamp.

                                                      1. re: sugartoof
                                                        Blumie RE: sugartoof May 9, 2008 08:15 AM

                                                        Sorry, I don't buy it.

                                                        1. re: Blumie
                                                          sugartoof RE: Blumie May 9, 2008 09:35 AM

                                                          Don't take my word for it, go take a peek what's sitting under the lamps during less crowded and you might be surprised.
                                                          The truth is they're not grilled to order.

                                                          1. re: sugartoof
                                                            Blumie RE: sugartoof May 9, 2008 09:40 AM

                                                            I've been there plenty of times, mostly when they're less crowded (cause I won't wait in an hour-long line). I've never been served a burger that's sat under a heat lamp for more than a minute or so. Yes, they generally prepare as many burgers as they can fit on the grill at a time, but the volume of customers always has been such that they're served right away. Same with the fries (which is what we were talking about). I guess it's theoretically possible that on days where there are only sporadic customers (which I have never seen, but again, it's theoretically possible), they might serve a burger that's been under the lamps, but based on the customer flows I've observed, even in slow periods, that's an exceedingly low risk proposition.

                                                            1. re: Blumie
                                                              Miss Needle RE: Blumie May 9, 2008 09:46 AM

                                                              You know, I have seen burgers sitting on the heatlamp. I don't think its because they're making it ahead of time, though. I think it's because there are sometimes some server issues getting the burgers wrapped up and to the customer. In fact, I sat around for at least 10 minutes seeing my burger on the lamp (already paid and was waiting by the window), waiting for somebody to pick it up and give it to me. I don't know if it's because they're understaffed or there are communication problems or whatever. It really is frustrating to see that because I just want to grab it and start eating right away before it gets stale (of course, I don't know that the burger is intended for me until they give it to me). But it is frustrating to see the burgers just sitting there without anybody doing anything about it.

                                                              1. re: Miss Needle
                                                                Blumie RE: Miss Needle May 9, 2008 09:57 AM

                                                                Have you experienced that on more than one occasion? I've always thought they do a pretty good job of getting the food out.

                                                                I know it must sound like I feel the need to defend Shake Shack against all attacks. On the ultimate test -- the taste of the food -- I like it just fine, but absolutely do not consider it among the best burgers in NYC and would not wait in a long line for it (except on a really nice day if my 8-year-old asks politely!). But I've always found that they do a really good job from a service and freshness perspective. They deal with an overwhelming crush of customers, but in my experience they get the food out quickly and accurately.

                                                                1. re: Blumie
                                                                  sugartoof RE: Blumie May 9, 2008 10:07 AM

                                                                  I have to agree with Miss Needle, a lot of times the food will sit before the number is called. Part of the reason for the lines is the way they process orders. It's not uncommon to see food sitting boxed on the counter with it's tag for a looong time before they get around to calling the number.

                                                                  Also, there shouldn't be any reason the food should sit under a heat lamp at all .... unless they're precooking it and estimating crowds. Why would you burger or fries sit for a minute? It should be cooked to order, and served. Shake Shack doesn't always do that.

                                                                  1. re: Blumie
                                                                    Miss Needle RE: Blumie May 9, 2008 10:12 AM

                                                                    Most of the time, they're fine. The lines are long (though I will never go on line if it looks like it will be over a 20 minute wait). But once you order the food comes out in a reasonable amount of time. But three times I've had that experience where there's something going on between the time I put in my order and I get my burger. One of the times, the manager had to interject and start wrapping up all the burgers. So I definitely think they sometimes have employee issues.

                                                      2. re: Miss Needle
                                                        a_and_w RE: Miss Needle May 8, 2008 02:22 PM

                                                        I know what you mean Ms. Needle. It's a texture thing -- they're too crunchy. This is less of an issue when the fries are warm, but they rapidly cool to a texture that I'd almost describe as stale. I wonder if this is to stand up to the cheese sauce...

                                                        1. re: a_and_w
                                                          Lucia RE: a_and_w May 8, 2008 02:31 PM

                                                          I'm going to join RGR in standing by the SS fries. Granted, I usually get them with cheese, but I love the crispy exterior and meaty interior. I'm a fan. And, I don't like McDonald's/shoestring fries.

                                                          1. re: Lucia
                                                            MMRuth RE: Lucia May 8, 2008 02:35 PM

                                                            To, they are nice and crispy on the outside, and just soft enough on the inside - so I agree! The only time I get them though is at about 11:15 on a weekend.

                                                          2. re: a_and_w
                                                            Miss Needle RE: a_and_w May 9, 2008 09:49 AM

                                                            I agree. I think the potatoes they use for the fries are more waxy than what my preference is. So when they cool, they're not as fluffy and they're more -- can't think of the right word -- creamy?

                                                            1. re: Miss Needle
                                                              goodhealthgourmet RE: Miss Needle May 9, 2008 11:31 AM

                                                              "can't think of the right word"


                                                              1. re: goodhealthgourmet
                                                                Miss Needle RE: goodhealthgourmet May 9, 2008 02:11 PM

                                                                Ah! That's the word I was looking for! Thanks! : )

                                                      3. re: Miss Needle
                                                        the_state RE: Miss Needle May 8, 2008 02:36 PM

                                                        i might be nuts, but did anyone here notice a difference in the shack fries once transfats were banned in nyc? they used to be among my favorites, now i usually don't consider them.

                                                        1. re: the_state
                                                          RGR RE: the_state May 8, 2008 03:44 PM

                                                          The only difference I've ever noticed with the fries was a couple of years ago, for a period of time, instead of the crinkle-cuts, they served straight cuts (though I don't think they were shoestrings), which were not as good. We asked about it and were told there has been some sort of ordering mix-up, and they would be returning to the crinkle-cuts -- which they did.

                                                          1. re: RGR
                                                            ricky7 RE: RGR May 8, 2008 08:54 PM

                                                            i remember reading that Shake Shack will open a branch in the new CitiField, the Mets new stadium. Any further information on this? I dont go to SS as often as I used to, the lines being one of the reason. More likely to go off hours to avoid the line.

                                                            1. re: ricky7
                                                              kathryn RE: ricky7 May 9, 2008 06:38 AM

                                                              I don't think it's a done deal yet but he's working on it:


                                                            2. re: RGR
                                                              a_and_w RE: RGR May 8, 2008 09:34 PM

                                                              Actually, they were shoestring like McDonald's fries. I just realized what the Shake Shack fries remind me of -- Ore Ida extra crispy.

                                                      4. l
                                                        lemonyc RE: sam1 Jun 2, 2008 01:21 PM

                                                        well i finally made it to shake shack for my first does of a shack burger and shack attack concrete....stood in line for a little over an hour last nite, and when i finally paid i almost cried when the guy at the counter gave me a buzzer and said it would be about 10 minutes. it was only 5 min wait..but i was so hungry i inhaled the burger and fries....
                                                        it was good, but maybe their trick is to make you wait so long that youre starving, and even if they serve you a 2 day old burger it tastes great?

                                                        i was really excited about the shak attach concrete, but i couldnt even finish half it was too sweet. i guess next time (if i can stomach the line again) ill try the black and white shake....

                                                        1 Reply
                                                        1. re: lemonyc
                                                          sam1 RE: lemonyc Jun 2, 2008 01:44 PM

                                                          yeah, the concretes are too thick for shakes...

                                                          i created this post and probably have been back 5x since. that shroom burger is insane.

                                                          but i dont wait on the line anymore.

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