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US waiters' worst conduct - Page 9

post #121 of 538
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by vincent
Mr. Pollock,

While I agree that the plebish mannerisms of most waiters are slightly offputting, your pretensious, and abysmally affected dinining manifesto is equally as abominable as the manners which they speak out against. The first sign of breeding and sophistocation is the ability to turn a blind eye to the bafooneries that you described above, and go about your business. It is the sophists, poseurs, and ninnys who point them out which can be nothing else other than some strange freudian defence mechanism. I know more than one owner of fine establishments who'd probably piss in your soup while you wait if you sent him that. It's insulting.


Why do I have to accept that type of behavior with a smile? It is wrong. Not only am I right, I am the [paying] customer. Actually, I have rarely said anything to waiters, except to quietly stop them when they threaten to talk on forever.
I basically only complain to the management; if they find it insulting for me to criticise the weird behavior they make their help foster on customers, they are idiots.
Why does no one answer my questions, as follows:
"No one seems to dispute my claim that about 30-40 years ago virtually all US restaurants gave the type of proper service which I like. Now only a few of the very best do.
"What are your thoughts about the reasons for the change.
"Has the change been an improvement?
"If not, why is that (other than the fact that I am old enough to remember the way things once were) I am one of the very few complaining?
"Is there any rule or reason why lesser restaurants have to serve customers any differently from the best ones?"
post #122 of 538
Ken,

I think your points and questions are quite valid. In many ways, service has been on the decline especially in LA area restaurants where most wait staff are A/M/W's who will drop a plate on your lap if their agent pages them in the course of service--I know -I have had this happen. Nothing is wrong with being an aspiring actor--and working your way as a waitperson to support your passion and pursuit of craft is commendable, but when you are paying big bucks on the west side to treat you and your lady to a nice evening out, you really don't want the "hard sell", or quasi coersion, ie expensive bottled water is a necessity--or you risk looking cheap--believe it or not, NYC tap water with ice beat pelligrino or perrier any day for me--or an overly expensive wine "suggestion"... am I imagining things, or do waiters get the sense that when we are on a date or with our wives, they kind of have us in a corner?
post #123 of 538
Quote:
Originally Posted by kennethpollock
It is wrong. Not only am I right, I am the [paying] customer.

And we all know that the customer is always right.
post #124 of 538
Also for the record: good service will command--and deserve-- Great tipping.
post #125 of 538
Quote:
"Has the change been an improvement?
It depends on who you ask. Many people would say yes. Your preference for a certain style of waitservice is YOUR PREFERENCE, not a reflection of any "proper" way things should be. Things are like they are today, and not like how they were 40 years ago for a good reason. I could usually give a crap less what the server's name is, but the modern viewpoint of good service is not what it was 40 years ago. Today it is MUCH more important that the employee builds a relationship with the client. There are thousands of businesses out there, and one of the only ways to keep people coming back to your establishment is to make people understand that you CARE they are doing business with you. One of the best ways to do this is to introduce yourself and be as helpful as possible. You can ask anyone in the sales or services industry with any real "traning" in customer service. THIS IS THE CASE. You may not like it, but being friendly, asking if you have any questions (in some places, asking open ended questions), introducing themselves, and etc. is what most people expect. Unless I've been lied to by movies and television, 40 years ago, weren't there many more mom and pop local restaraunts than there are today? These places gave you curt, silent and efficient service until they were replaced by the TGI-Fridays and Denny's of the world? Somehow I don't think the "familiarity" of service has changed much over the past 40 years ago.I could be wrong, since I wasn't around then, but this doesn't make much sense to me.
post #126 of 538
Ok Mr. Pollock, fair enough. I still think your whole bill of rights spiel is a bit neurotic, but we'll agree to disagree.

I can honestly that if you're dining in a good restaurant, this should never happen. Pretty much the only place I ever experience what you're describing are these depressing family/chain/corporate restaurants. I almost never go to those places. If I want to eat generic, derivative slop, I'll order pizza. So my question to you is, do you REALLY expect to get discreet, sophisticated service at a place that is meant to have a "fun" family type of atmosphere where one is supposed to comfortable with having BBQ sauce all over your face? Obviously not. These types of restaurants cater to a far less discerning clientel, and 40 years ago, I think dining out was more of an event. Therefore my contention that your expectations are too high. If you are having to put up with these platitudes at decent restaurants where the chef is at least trying, and the wine list has anything over $35, then you probably need to move because you're probably in the wrong town.
post #127 of 538
Quote:
Originally Posted by Jen
Right...You seem to think that it is fine to call southerners by nasty names. As if all who speak in a southern dialect are poor and uneducated? In fact, the quality of public education in Texas (I lived there for 5 years) far exceeds the quality of public education in California (I lived there for 7 years).

I am so tired of all of the hateful bigotry toward the south (aka Bible belt) that spews out of people's mouths on the coasts. If anything close was said about a racial minority the PC police would cuff you and take you off to jail (if they were faster than the lynch mob).

I have no intention of living in the south again, but I find the closed-mindedness of supposed intellectuals on this subject to be quite disappointing.

For your own sake you better not let anyone at Harvard find out you said anything that makes that much sense.
post #128 of 538
First off, the reason nobody's challenged the "things were better 30-40 year ago" claim is most likely that the vast majority of us here weren't alive then, and don't really care enough to go out and try to find primary sources on dining in that era for an internet debate. That said, I'm willing to bet there's a good deal of nostalgia in your memory of the past; even though the chain restaurant revolution did not occur until the late 70's-early 80's, things probably weren't all that different before then.

Having held a few customer service oriented jobs myself, I can say that Tokyo Slim is correct with his assessment of today's market. I can also say that the training actually works, and people who do make a point to introduce themselves, give an air of informal friendliness rather than demure aloofness, and take the initiative in approaching the customer, experience more success at work, whether it be in the form of higher sales, better tips, etc. As I would say the reactions in this thread demonstrate, you are the exception to the rule in today's consumer culture, like it or not.

One possible influence family restaurant chains might have had on the state of service at other places is that the vast majority of waiters get their start at these places. Assuming you had no past experience or nepotism to work with, getting a job waiting tables at a decent non-corporate restaurant is absolutely impossible these days. It's expected that a waiter start out at a chain to get his training and then move up to higher price point indepdendent restaurants; no high-end restaurant wants to bother teaching the basics to a new employee. It's somewhat similar for management positions too. So you might be noticing a trickle down effect, but again it's not accurate to just blame those damn chains, because what they have done has been successful, and the wise business practice would be to emulate what has worked. Maybe you could vent your frustration the democritization of dining out, but I imagine people would have trouble taking seriously an argument that having more restaurant choices at a more affordable range of prices is anything but positive.

And one last digression for the people who complain about chain restaurants being the devil. Honestly, you really need to try living in a small town without any such items; the lack of competition they provide really shows in the quality of the food and the sensibility of the pricing. Now I will take a proven local standout restaurant over a chain any day, but for every good mom and pop place, there's about 4-5 crappy ones that are a ripoff. It wasn't until I lived in a small college town setting that I realized, for example, that the local Italian food options could be so mediocre and overpriced that driving out of town for a $10 Olive Garden meal could be a real treat.
post #129 of 538
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tokyo Slim
It depends on who you ask. Many people would say yes. Your preference for a certain style of waitservice is YOUR PREFERENCE, not a reflection of any "proper" way things should be. Things are like they are today, and not like how they were 40 years ago for a good reason.

I could usually give a crap less what the server's name is, but the modern viewpoint of good service is not what it was 40 years ago. Today it is MUCH more important that the employee builds a relationship with the client. There are thousands of businesses out there, and one of the only ways to keep people coming back to your establishment is to make people understand that you CARE they are doing business with you. One of the best ways to do this is to introduce yourself and be as helpful as possible. You can ask anyone in the sales or services industry with any real "traning" in customer service. THIS IS THE CASE. You may not like it, but being friendly, asking if you have any questions (in some places, asking open ended questions), introducing themselves, and etc. is what most people expect.

Unless I've been lied to by movies and television, 40 years ago, weren't there many more mom and pop local restaraunts than there are today? These places gave you curt, silent and efficient service until they were replaced by the TGI-Fridays and Denny's of the world? Somehow I don't think the "familiarity" of service has changed much over the past 40 years ago.I could be wrong, since I wasn't around then, but this doesn't make much sense to me.

This is bull. There is a right way to serve people and a wrong way; the right way being was always done in the past in the USA, and as is still done in Europe and the very best American restaurants today. The wrong way is the corporate method of appealing to those whom they assume to be hicks. Just because they suspect it makes money does not make it right. Selling drugs make money. So do pornography and prostitution. They are all common-place but that does not make them right.
My wife and I have eaten out in better restaurants 3-4 nights a week for over 35 years. We nearly giggle when we get the "treatment." It is like being waited on by robots; not humans. Every word, gesture and nuance is always identical. Friendly? Making us feel they care? Building a relationship? Nonsense! It is just the "treatment," air-heads (or people forced to act like airheads) following a script. The net result is the opposite of them building a relationship with us.
Anyone who is taken in by this behavior does not eat out more than 3-4 times a year and either has memory problems or has smoked too many "funny" cigarettes.
post #130 of 538
Quote:
Originally Posted by kennethpollock
This is bull. There is a right way to serve people and a wrong way; the right way being was always done in the past in the USA, and as is still done in Europe and the very best American restaurants today. The wrong way is the corporate method of appealing to those whom they assume to be hicks. Just because they suspect it makes money does not make it right. Selling drugs make money. So do pornography and prostitution. They are all common-place but that does not make them right.
My wife and I have eaten out in better restaurants 3-4 nights a week for over 35 years. We nearly giggle when we get the "treatment." It is like being waited on by robots; not humans. Every word, gesture and nuance is always identical. Friendly? Making us feel they care? Building a relationship? Nonsense! It is just the "treatment," air-heads (or people forced to act like airheads) following a script. The net result is the opposite of them building a relationship with us.
Anyone who is taken in by this behavior does not eat out more than 3-4 times a year and either has memory problems or has smoked too many "funny" cigarettes.

Now you're just being ridiculous. You haven't provided any reason other than your own personal taste, which has been clearly shown to be the exception to the rule in this thread, that your meticulous preferences constitute "the right way." I don't know who you're trying to impress with your similes to black market drug sales and prostitution, but they only serve to reinforce the "you're woefully out of touch" responses people have been giving you. I think I might have called some dining guests "you guys" once or more while waiting tables, so clearly I must also have tried to sell them some black tar heroin and a copy of Hustler too.

When's the last time you worked in a restaurant? The reality is that people in the U.S. tend to enjoy informal, overtly friendly behavior in their service experiences. They see it as warm and welcoming. Conversely, being meticulously formal can often come across as cold and disinterested. When I waited, I had customers tip me better, praise me to my managers, and come back and ask for me because I provided them "warm" and "friendly" service. I've also seen customers complain to the managers about their waiter's being too aloof or seeming snobby and detached. I even see this in restaurant reviews; you almost never see a critic complain about the service being too friendly, but you see lots of critiques about aloof servers.

As much as you want to hem and haw about it, businesses exist to make money. They do that by listening to the market and responding with behavior most conducive to winning the favor of the market. Experience shows that if even that kind of service irritates you, it appeals to 95% of other customers; needless to say at that point, you have just as much say in the market as the guy who wants the French Laundry to serve peanut butter and jelly sandwiches.

You can sit here and complain about the good old days and how you hold some sort of moral high ground by having your preferences, but that doesn't change the reality of the status quo. If you want things to change, you're welcome to try to convince the majority of restaurant customers that their preferences are wrong, but I have a feeling that calling them hicks, airheads, and druggies is going to be about as effective as addressing your table with "you guys" is in terms of building a relationship with you.
post #131 of 538
Quote:
Originally Posted by aybojs
Now you're just being ridiculous. You haven't provided any reason other than your own personal taste, which has been clearly shown to be the exception to the rule in this thread, that your meticulous preferences constitute "the right way." I don't know who you're trying to impress with your similes to black market drug sales and prostitution, but they only serve to reinforce the "you're woefully out of touch" responses people have been giving you. I think I might have called some dining guests "you guys" once or more while waiting tables, so clearly I must also have tried to sell them some black tar heroin and a copy of Hustler too. When's the last time you worked in a restaurant? The reality is that people in the U.S. tend to enjoy informal, overtly friendly behavior in their service experiences. They see it as warm and welcoming. Conversely, being meticulously formal can often come across as cold and disinterested. When I waited, I had customers tip me better, praise me to my managers, and come back and ask for me because I provided them "warm" and "friendly" service. I've also seen customers complain to the managers about their waiter's being too aloof or seeming snobby and detached. I even see this in restaurant reviews; you almost never see a critic complain about the service being too friendly, but you see lots of critiques about aloof servers. As much as you want to hem and haw about it, businesses exist to make money. They do that by listening to the market and responding with behavior most conducive to winning the favor of the market. Experience shows that if even that kind of service irritates you, it appeals to 95% of other customers; needless to say at that point, you have just as much say in the market as the guy who wants the French Laundry to serve peanut butter and jelly sandwiches. You can sit here and complain about the good old days and how you hold some sort of moral high ground by having your preferences, but that doesn't change the reality of the status quo. If you want things to change, you're welcome to try to convince the majority of restaurant customers that their preferences are wrong, but I have a feeling that calling them hicks, airheads, and druggies is going to be about as effective as addressing your table with "you guys" is in terms of building a relationship with you.
I would try to say it better than this, but I can't.
Quote:
This is bull. There is a right way to serve people and a wrong way; the right way being was always done in the past in the USA, and as is still done in Europe and the very best American restaurants today.
Sorry Ken, as I said before, just because its YOUR OPINION, doesn't make it "right" or "the way it was/should be/will be". I still don't believe you that 40 years ago all (or even the majority) of the restaraunts in the US had machine-like, seen and not heard, non communicative, browbeaten, low-class-but-knew-their-place waitstaff. It sounds like some wishful thinking to me, considering the fact that the movies from the era don't reflect that. Five Easy Pieces(1970) and Casablanca (1942) come to mind. Yes it's a diner and a cafe/bar. But while it doesn't neccesarily prove my point, it does a respectable job of disproving yours. Both were filmed more than 40 years ago. Did Casablanca singlehandedly invent talking waitstaff and the cultivating of a "regular clientel" through friendly and informal banter? I doubt it. You can deny it all you want... I am in no position to dispute a first hand account. I wasn't born until 1980, but when the history of popular media (any time past the 1940's anyways) available to me contradicts your assertion, it makes me think you are a tad biased and perhaps a bit blindered to anything outside your prefered social niche. Perhaps if you have never dined outside of a four or five star restaraunt your entire life, I could understand this complete rejection of the actual history of service and "the way things used to be", but many of us do not have this "luxury".
post #132 of 538
Quote:
Originally Posted by aybojs
Now you're just being ridiculous. You haven't provided any reason other than your own personal taste, which has been clearly shown to be the exception to the rule in this thread, that your meticulous preferences constitute "the right way." I don't know who you're trying to impress with your similes to black market drug sales and prostitution, but they only serve to reinforce the "you're woefully out of touch" responses people have been giving you. I think I might have called some dining guests "you guys" once or more while waiting tables, so clearly I must also have tried to sell them some black tar heroin and a copy of Hustler too.

When's the last time you worked in a restaurant? The reality is that people in the U.S. tend to enjoy informal, overtly friendly behavior in their service experiences. They see it as warm and welcoming. Conversely, being meticulously formal can often come across as cold and disinterested. When I waited, I had customers tip me better, praise me to my managers, and come back and ask for me because I provided them "warm" and "friendly" service. I've also seen customers complain to the managers about their waiter's being too aloof or seeming snobby and detached. I even see this in restaurant reviews; you almost never see a critic complain about the service being too friendly, but you see lots of critiques about aloof servers.

As much as you want to hem and haw about it, businesses exist to make money. They do that by listening to the market and responding with behavior most conducive to winning the favor of the market. Experience shows that if even that kind of service irritates you, it appeals to 95% of other customers; needless to say at that point, you have just as much say in the market as the guy who wants the French Laundry to serve peanut butter and jelly sandwiches.

You can sit here and complain about the good old days and how you hold some sort of moral high ground by having your preferences, but that doesn't change the reality of the status quo. If you want things to change, you're welcome to try to convince the majority of restaurant customers that their preferences are wrong, but I have a feeling that calling them hicks, airheads, and druggies is going to be about as effective as addressing your table with "you guys" is in terms of building a relationship with you.

Quoted (again) for truth.

I was going to say something pretty snide and possibly offensive. Instead, aybojs said what I was going to say, but better, and without getting nasty.
post #133 of 538
Now, I suspect Mr.Pollock's habits are more evident of a European tradition than the "American" notion of the sort of egalitarian service: friends to everyone. I don't know what it used to be like, although I suspect in the high-end restaurants there was a precedent for the European tradition of service, which today has been replaced with this, what I percieve as, contrived friendliness. Most of these friendly waitstaff couldn't care less about their customers. Recently, I was in a rather well-known French restaurant, which had astonishingly mediocre food, and the service was of that faux nature. It was also slow and the floor creaked like an old ship.
post #134 of 538
Quote:
Recently, I was in a rather well-known French restaurant, which had astonishingly mediocre food, and the service was of that faux nature. It was also slow and the floor creaked like an old ship.

I was unaware that TGI-Fridays was a french restaraunt...
post #135 of 538
I must be jinxed: Dinner at a local, authentic Japanese restaurant last night.
Ordered small sushi assortment, specified it would be my appetizer, and a donburi bowl. My husband ordered a more substantial sushi and sashimi platter.

My donburi bowl arrived first, and one minute later came the sushi appetizer.
My husband's platter made it to the table 20 minutes after I was served.
I'll pass you the details about water glasses not refilled, dishes not cleared before dessert, dessert expectations misunderstood, etc.

But the dishes were beautifully executed. Next time, we might do take out instead.
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