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US waiters' worst conduct - Page 13

post #181 of 538
Heh. Thats nice. I'm glad Ken is so well regarded in Atlanta, New York and Paris.
I'm also glad that he has some friends in the restaurant industry (it sounds like you are in this business). I still maintain that he is utterly insane, in a relatively harmless way, but utterly insane regardless.
post #182 of 538
Quote:
Originally Posted by Comolli
Good Friends:
I want to make just a few notes about Mr. Pollock for those who do not know him personally. I have myself known him for some 30 years.
l. I can assure you that Mr. Pollock is dead serious about what he says. He has very high standards for service at restaurants and these were set in his formative years when he dined at the famous Friday afternoon lunches at Galatoire's in New Orleans. His standard for service is set by the waiters at Galatoire's.
2. Mr. Pollock and his wife are familiar with every major restaurant in Atlanta, New York and Paris. He travels yearly to Paris and twice yearly to New York to dine at the finer restaurants there. I have no doubt he personally knows every owner and chef at all of them. He is also widely known as one of Atlanta's finest restaurant critics, dining frequently with critics here and in New York.
3. I don't know anyone who sets a higher standard for service at a restaurant. Waiters are your servants and you pay to have them comport themselves civilly.
4. Mr. Pollock carries over his standards in service at restaurants to his standards in dress. He buys clothes all over the world and is known for his impeccable dress. He has always been a great admirer of George Frazier, as have I.
5. His Diner's Bill of Rights is his method of elevating the professionalism of the waiters in our better restaurants.

John M. Comolli, Esq.


Wow. If he were Prince Charles it wouldn't change my opinion of him. Just make sure he doesn't try speaking French around me.
post #183 of 538
Quote:
Originally Posted by Comolli
Good Friends:
I want to make just a few notes about Mr. Pollock for those who do not know him personally. I have myself known him for some 30 years.
l. I can assure you that Mr. Pollock is dead serious about what he says. He has very high standards for service at restaurants and these were set in his formative years when he dined at the famous Friday afternoon lunches at Galatoire's in New Orleans. His standard for service is set by the waiters at Galatoire's.
2. Mr. Pollock and his wife are familiar with every major restaurant in Atlanta, New York and Paris. He travels yearly to Paris and twice yearly to New York to dine at the finer restaurants there. I have no doubt he personally knows every owner and chef at all of them. He is also widely known as one of Atlanta's finest restaurant critics, dining frequently with critics here and in New York.
3. I don't know anyone who sets a higher standard for service at a restaurant. Waiters are your servants and you pay to have them comport themselves civilly.
4. Mr. Pollock carries over his standards in service at restaurants to his standards in dress. He buys clothes all over the world and is known for his impeccable dress. He has always been a great admirer of George Frazier, as have I.
5. His Diner's Bill of Rights is his method of elevating the professionalism of the waiters in our better restaurants.

John M. Comolli, Esq.

Yikes.

You are one sarcastic SOB.

I think Mr Pollock is offtrack in most of his complaints, but there's absolutely no call for that sort of attitude.
post #184 of 538
Quote:
Originally Posted by Fabienne
Anyway, at least it provides me with some additional entertainment when I have to take foreign visitors to the office out to lunch or dinner. Imagine a rotund Italian man whose eyes grow bigger and bigger as he watches his plate being taken away, his fork half way between the table and his open mouth, the perplexed look on a Dutchman's face as a waitress arranges the napkin on his lap, or the depressed Polish woman who thought her English was really pretty good, after she listened to the mile a minute list of 10 specials.

Where do you people eat? Yeah, if I'm in Friday's or Bennigans, or heaven forbid Red Lobster I expect this, but if I'm eating out, I eat at a restaurant (always modest) but I don't even get this.

Regards,
Huntsman
post #185 of 538
This thread has really been a joke. It is this simple: There is a service to be performed. There are people who are going to be dedicated in performing it, and there are people who are not. From that level of motivation there is going to be a wide variety of styles and standards, do to regional variation, target demographic, a lack of an accredited Bachelor's of Dining Service degree, from commonly misguided managerial pressure, and from personal style. If the person serving me is obviously putting forth an effort and has some degree of decorum (e.g. not rushing me or being rude) I don't care if they intorduce themself, whether they serve me a hot dog or pheasant terrine, whether they clear from the right or the left, or if they ask me if I have questions about the menu, it is good service because they care and have at least a minimum level of service. I would never stoop to slapping them in the face for not adhereing to any particular vestige of barbarism that I might consider accepted. There are things that I appreciate in a waiter, and if I encounter someone with those qualities, I usually say thanks when I leave, verbally and in more substantial forms. It doesn't mean the other well-meaning souls are lower than ameobas on the evolutionary ladder. KCP, dining is an art, it is not a science. I'm sure an individual with a level of culture which you must have understands that one must open one's spirit some to fully participate in the experience of art and enjoy it. Relish the differences, be genuinely kind to the person with the plastic greeting -- maybe you could be the one person in her day who treats her like a human instead of a robot. Perhaps I have unwittingly come across the solution for you: I could program a robot to serve your meal; it's really all you need. I'll take any person who does things imperfectly but has a modicum of care. Regards, Huntsman
post #186 of 538
The argument from the Pollock camp appears to be that lowest-common-denominator chain restaurant service culture has "trickled up," as it were, to the finer dining establishments.

This is curious, because I have never encountered many of the behaviors Mr. Pollock describes in his original post. Even if I agree with him that the behaviors are or would be annoying, I seldom agree with his reason.

I think what it boils down to is that you get what you pay for. If Mr. Pollock is paying for a higher level of service than he's getting, I think many of his complaints are legitimate. If he is "dining" anywhere the menus are laminated in plastic, he should not expect [preferred number of stars here] service. Mr. Pollock may deplore but he cannot change the fact that it is simply a matter of market economics that you do not get a single (relatively high) level of service across the dining spectrum -- at least not in America.

If you want a uniformly high level of service, come dine in Tokyo. I can guarantee you will find an outstanding level of service even at reasonably priced restaurants, at least if you understand the language and also the particular level of language that is used. Of course, Japanese society has strictly prescribed norms that govern behavior in every situation. This drives most Westerners, particularly Americans, up the wall in short order. Perhaps the trade-off is the relative relaxedness of the more horizontally structured culture enjoyed in America, and the price paid is a greater degree of familiarity from waitstaff than one might prefer.
post #187 of 538
By the way, is there a link somewhere to this Diner's Bill of Rights that has been mentioned repeatedly? Given the comments about it, I'd be interested in giving it a read.
post #188 of 538
Quote:
Originally Posted by Huntsman
Where do you people eat? Yeah, if I'm in Friday's or Bennigans, or heaven forbid Red Lobster I expect this, but if I'm eating out, I eat at a restaurant (always modest) but I don't even get this.

Regards,
Huntsman


You expect bad service from some places, then?

To answer your question, reservations for foreign visitors are seldom made at chain restaurants, only if the person is in town for several days and the secretary ran out of ideas for places to go for a quick lunch. The napkin thing was in an established restaurant in downtown St Louis, the plate being taken was, granted, at a "Bravo" (so I guess I had it coming), and the list of specials was at a local Italian that, for our city, would qualify as better than most. As to selecting restaurants in cities where we end up on business, it's not always easy to find the right place, especially if they have to accommodate a large party.

The foreigners unused to America typically only raise an eyebrow, some inquire or make an observation, which I attempt to explain as best I can as being part of the culture, certainly without taking sides. Only once did it get really ugly, in Honolulu, an Austrian trustee got downright nasty towards the waiter (who was incompetent, but still) and that took place in what could be termed an "upscale" restaurant. I sure was glad when that dinner ended. I took a long walk along the seashore to clear the bad vibes.
post #189 of 538
TWTH
post #190 of 538
So the OP'er is clearly either just having some fun or a perfect example of walking, talking (typing) self-parody, but where does that leave the people who agreed with him?
post #191 of 538
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Fabienne
The foreigners unused to America typically only raise an eyebrow, some inquire or make an observation, which I attempt to explain as best I can as being part of the culture, certainly without taking sides. Only once did it get really ugly, in Honolulu, an Austrian trustee got downright nasty towards the waiter (who was incompetent, but still) and that took place in what could be termed an "upscale" restaurant. I sure was glad when that dinner ended. I took a long walk along the seashore to clear the bad vibes.

I have had the same problems and concerns. For several years, my wife and I belonged to a local organization which hosted international visitors and we took out Brits, French, Germans, etc. It was fun and, quite frankly, we could have more interesting and different conversations than those we generally were having with friends in this very suburban middle-American city (about their kids, shrubbery, mortgage interest rates, etc.).
The big problem was fear of embarrasment at restaurants, as we wanted to portray this city to the visitors as being at least somewhat sophisticated. Several times, I had to nearly beg in advance for more mature service.
I remember the time when one of my female German lawyer interns, after several typical dining experiences here, asked me if it would be polite to tell the waiter: "I do not care what your name is and I do not need to know it." All three of my Germans interns were just horrified about being called "folks."
post #192 of 538
Is the waiter still alive? Germans are nice people, but once you piss 'em off, they just can't stop.
post #193 of 538
Quote:
Originally Posted by kennethpollock
I have had the same problems and concerns. For several years, my wife and I belonged to a local organization which hosted international visitors and we took out Brits, French, Germans, etc. It was fun and, quite frankly, we could have more interesting and different conversations than those we generally were having with friends in this very suburban middle-American city (about their kids, shrubbery, mortgage interest rates, etc.). The big problem was fear of embarrasment at restaurants, as we wanted to portray this city to the visitors as being at least somewhat sophisticated. Several times, I had to nearly beg in advance for more mature service. I remember the time when one of my female German lawyer interns, after several typical dining experiences here, asked me if it would be polite to tell the waiter: "I do not care what your name is and I do not need to know it." All three of my Germans interns were just horrified about being called "folks."
Not to pull out a cliche, but "when in Rome..." I think it's common sense that people are going to be surrounded by different a cultural atmosphere when visiting foreign countries, and as such, one just has to try to recognize those differences and learn to adapt to them. The problem seems to lie with your German interns having trouble adapting, not with American service-people behaving rudely, so I have no sympathy for them. It would be akin to my going to Iran and complaining about how all those rude headscarf wearing people are offending my sense of fashion and should be told off for daring to appear that way in my presence in their own country.
post #194 of 538
Quote:
Originally Posted by aybojs
Not to pull out a cliche, but "when in Rome..." I think it's common sense that people are going to be surrounded by different a cultural atmosphere when visiting foreign countries, and as such, one just has to try to recognize those differences and learn to adapt to them. The problem seems to lie with your German interns having trouble adapting, not with American service-people behaving rudely, so I have no sympathy for them. It would be akin to my going to Iran and complaining about how all those rude headscarf wearing people are offending my sense of fashion and should be told off for daring to appear that way in my presence in their own country.
Why are all the Islamic women wearing masks? I mean, what do they have to hide? I demand that you take that stupid thing off so that I can see you!
post #195 of 538
Quote:
Originally Posted by kennethpollock
I have had the same problems and concerns. For several years, my wife and I belonged to a local organization which hosted international visitors and we took out Brits, French, Germans, etc. It was fun and, quite frankly, we could have more interesting and different conversations than those we generally were having with friends in this very suburban middle-American city (about their kids, shrubbery, mortgage interest rates, etc.). The big problem was fear of embarrasment at restaurants, as we wanted to portray this city to the visitors as being at least somewhat sophisticated. Several times, I had to nearly beg in advance for more mature service. I remember the time when one of my female German lawyer interns, after several typical dining experiences here, asked me if it would be polite to tell the waiter: "I do not care what your name is and I do not need to know it." All three of my Germans interns were just horrified about being called "folks."
when I lived in the US and took out visiting foriegners, I always too them to Roscoes for chicken and waffles and loud waiters. Id take that over snooty any day, plus, you learn so much more about America that way.
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