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US waiters' worst conduct - Page 19

post #271 of 538
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Nantucket Red
The word you are groping for is "foisted," as in "The irksome behaviors foisted on the American dining public by chain restaurant waitstaff as acceptable service are enough to make an old fart like me apoplectic."

This is the third time, by my count, that you have made this same mistake.

I do a lot of stupid and ill-manner groping, especially when I am in the company of a beautiful female. Please try to ignore my mistakes; I am not a waiter (robot), I am human and we are prone to err.
post #272 of 538
KP,

Actually, one of my professional capacities is that of editor, so I can't help myself. I'm poking good-natured fun and not taking the piss out of you. To an extent I agree with your views on restaurant service, though I would choose to express them differently.

"Foster," as I'm sure you're aware, means to cultivate or encourage certain traits, so you could even lament that chain restaurants have fostered waitstaff who foist an appalling standard of service on American customers.

Oh, and I believe that groping can be done while maintaining one's manners.
post #273 of 538
Quote:
Originally Posted by kennethpollock
e)\tAgain, while we are on the subject of menus, the word "entree" is a French word, meaning to "come in" or "enter." It is also used on the menu in France, and in every other country, except this one, to mean, obviously, the "entering" dish, or the appetizer Doubt this? See over for bills from two Paris restaurants. Long ago, someone simply made a mistake in this county, in thinking "entree" meant the main course. Now we seem to be stuck with the improper use of the word. It is not feasible to try to correct the entire American public as to its error. Nor is it possible to try to explain this American mistake to the rest of the world. However, now that we get a few foreign visitors, restaurants should avoid the confusion that the use of the word results in. Restaurants should simply leave the term "entree" off the menu. Waiters should be instructed to use the words "appetizer" and "main course" or "main dish," instead of mentioning the word "entree."


I'm not all that well travelled and don't know the Michelin Guide from the Firestone Owner's Manual, but this one point does irritate me a little, only because I find I always have to think twice before ordering my "umm... appetizer" and "main course", and I always feel like I'm the idiot when I slip and use the 'wrong' term...

Just $.02 from the unsophisticated public.
post #274 of 538
Quote:
Originally Posted by JBZ
I think this is an interesting observation, and definitely factors into my thinking and some of the positions I have taken on this thread. I don't know if I necessarily prefer a "buddy-buddy" relationship with the wait staff, but I do go out of my way to be extremely polite to my waiters or waitresses. I imagine that this is due, in part, to a certain unconscious guilt on my part regarding being waited upon. I blame my mother.
Mine is due to that and to the fact that they have access to food which I will be ingesting.
post #275 of 538
Ah, don't be such a Nancy-pants. You wouldn't believe how much food contamination a human being can injest without any noticeable effect. Demand your diner's rights! If it means an extra loogie or two, well just... suck it up.
post #276 of 538
Quote:
Originally Posted by kennethpollock
I think that it was Will Rogers who said: "Never underestimate the intelligence of the American Public." I am not so sure about this.
I do not trust the polls and surveys run by the giant restaurant chains. If true, Mr. Rogers was right, but I suspect that it is the polling, instead. I think most politicos know that it is the wording you use and how you phrase the question, which will get you the desired answer. That is why they say "Pro-Choice" versus Pro-Life" instead of using "Anti-Choice" versus "Anti-Life." Of course, the correct term to use is asking whether one is for or against the legalization of abortion. Back in the Civil Rights era, "integrating" the schools was not as popular in the polls as was "desegregating" them.

I can just imagine the questions that were asked by the pollsters:
1. Do you prefer a friendly waiter or an aloof one?
2. Do you want your waiter to be warm and informal or distant and correct, etc?

Just watch the results if I could ask the dining public:
1.\tWhen a totally unknown waiter approaches you at a chain restaurant and turns "cartwheels" because he is so glad to see you, do you think it is because of your movie-star looks, grooming and attire or do you think that it is some sort of contrived act?
2.\tWhen a totally unknown waiter approaches you at a chain restaurant and introduces himself to you by his first name, do you think that he is being genuinely warm, friendly, and personal, or is just doing what the management in all 200+ restaurants in the chain make all of their waiters say to all customers, etc.?

I think the posters in this thread are probably a fair cross-section of the dining public. I think that most of them seem to agree with me at least in part as to my complaints about GCHS (see above for meaning). It would therefore appear to me that the American dining public are not idiots, but know that GCHS is just a con and is improper service. I think that Fabienne is correct; most of the American dining public are sheep who will not complain, even if they are offended. Even I rarely complain to the waiter and only occasionally to management. I am a sheep, too.



1. the posters here are adults men (mostly) who are interested in style and fine clothes. most of them spend as much, in a year, as the average american man spends in his life on clothes. I think that assuming that the average style forum member is an average member of the american dinning public would be a huge mistake.


2. what I don't understand, mr pollock, is what you believe the motive would be for a markeitng department of a place like, say, chilli's, to prepare poorly worded surveys. what possible interest would it be to the resteraunt chain to change the service americans get in resteraunts, if they didn't think that it would encrease their revenue. having been part of the sales department of a major corporation, I would guess that the marketing people in a corporation like chili's or Fridays, probrably knows more about the american dinning public than you know about your wife or kids. they probrably know how many seconds it takes to read each section of the menu, what is the wording most likly to get a person to purchase dessert, and, exactly what kind of interaction the average american dinner wants with his wait person.
post #277 of 538
Quote:
Originally Posted by Margaret
I'm not all that well travelled and don't know the Michelin Guide from the Firestone Owner's Manual, but this one point does irritate me a little, only because I find I always have to think twice before ordering my "umm... appetizer" and "main course", and I always feel like I'm the idiot when I slip and use the 'wrong' term...

Just $.02 from the unsophisticated public.


I find this annoying, too. but in context, there are a hell of a lot of words borrowed by different languages that have come to mean something else once borrowed.
post #278 of 538
Quote:
Originally Posted by globetrotter
I find this annoying, too. but in context, there are a hell of a lot of words borrowed by different languages that have come to mean something else once borrowed.

I know -- it barely rises to the level of 'minor irritation' for me, but the way 'entree' has been appropriated in the American dining context just strikes me as odd because it happens to be one of those foreign words whose original meaning most Americans seem to have at least a passing familiarity with -- even people who don't actually speak French. Frankly, I'm surprised more people aren't utterly confounded by the way the word is used in American restaurants.
post #279 of 538
Its because the most important part of the meal is OBVIOUSLY dessert. The main course is just something that comes BEFORE DESSERT!
post #280 of 538
As I understand it, the American usage of entree stems from an archaic meaning that placed it after the fish course. It would be what we today would consider a main. Regardless, I find starters, main courses, etc. to be more logical and direct terms than appetizers, entrees, etc.
post #281 of 538
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by globetrotter
what I don't understand, mr pollock, is what you believe the motive would be for a markeitng department of a place like, say, chilli's, to prepare poorly worded surveys. what possible interest would it be to the resteraunt chain to change the service americans get in resteraunts, if they didn't think that it would encrease their revenue. having been part of the sales department of a major corporation, I would guess that the marketing people in a corporation like chili's or Fridays, probrably knows more about the american dinning public than you know about your wife or kids. they probrably know how many seconds it takes to read each section of the menu, what is the wording most likly to get a person to purchase dessert, and, exactly what kind of interaction the average american dinner wants with his wait person.

My father worked in an analogous field once, doing time and motion studies, helping a department store chain save a few pennies here and there. With hundreds of thousands of transactions, it added up.
IMO, a lot of restaurant chains go to outside companies for these studies and even the ones that have their own marketing departments are stuck with the problem that these people, being paid to make suggested changes, have to come up with something to justify their own existance. In addition to suggesting a better placement of the ice machine, etc., they tackled the "waiter situation" and decided to change the concept from that of a borrowed servant for the evening to that of a corporate "pitchman" or hyped salesman. Then, to sell the idea to management, they needed to survey to prove that the public really liked these changes (although even you agree that most of posters on this thread dislike quite a number of them). Hence, the suveys to give them the answers they wanted to hear.
post #282 of 538
Quote:
Originally Posted by Fabienne
The "introduction" would probably not go that way, but the staff might refer to themselves and other staff by first name if necessary in the course of a conversation.
When I was living in the US, the "introduction" was probably the thing I found the most difficult to adapt to in restaurants.
post #283 of 538
Quote:
Originally Posted by whoopee
As I understand it, the American usage of entree stems from an archaic meaning that placed it after the fish course. It would be what we today would consider a main. Regardless, I find starters, main courses, etc. to be more logical and direct terms than appetizers, entrees, etc.

Within a traditional French meal around the 17th century, the entrée was actually the second and/or third course (it came after the soup and/or the hors d'œuvre), then came the "rôti" (roast, pheasant, etc).

I don't think the American usage is such a huge mistake after all. Over time, a blurring between that second or third dish and the "roast" probably occurred, that would be my guess.

You find a lot of similar examples in Québecois French and the French mistakenly make fun of the Québecois for their usage of a word, whereas in fact, our Canadian cousins simply have kept the original meaning, whereas the French in France decided to move on in various ways.
post #284 of 538
Quote:
Originally Posted by kennethpollock
My father worked in an analogous field once, doing time and motion studies, helping a department store chain save a few pennies here and there. With hundreds of thousands of transactions, it added up.
IMO, a lot of restaurant chains go to outside companies for these studies and even the ones that have their own marketing departments are stuck with the problem that these people, being paid to make suggested changes, have to come up with something to justify their own existance. In addition to suggesting a better placement of the ice machine, etc., they tackled the "waiter situation" and decided to change the concept from that of a borrowed servant for the evening to that of a corporate "pitchman" or hyped salesman. Then, to sell the idea to management, they needed to survey to prove that the public really liked these changes (although even you agree that most of posters on this thread dislike quite a number of them). Hence, the suveys to give them the answers they wanted to hear.



KP - you do seem like a reasonably bright man. If I remember correctly you are a lawyer. I am not talking about the insulting tone of your statement, just in terms of making sense to you - if somebody suggested to you that lawyers obviously prefered to create more tax problems for their clients rather than clear up problems that accured, or that litigators prefered to lose cases rather than win them, because it gave them more time to be with their families, you would assume that person was joking or a fool. what you are suggesting is that people, usually extremly well educated people, who make perhaps 2/3 of their overall anual income based not on the hours they sit in their chairs but on the value they generate, in dollars and sense, for their corporations, are, en masse, falsifying data that would result in more revenue for their corporations, and thus more income for themselves, because they have a secret agenda to have waiters introduce themselves?

is that what you are suggesting, sir?
post #285 of 538
Quote:
Originally Posted by Fabienne
Within a traditional French meal around the 17th century, the entrée was actually the second and/or third course (it came after the soup and/or the hors d'œuvre), then came the "rôti" (roast, pheasant, etc).

I don't think the American usage is such a huge mistake after all. Over time, a blurring between that second or third dish and the "roast" probably occurred, that would be my guess.

You find a lot of similar examples in Québecois French and the French mistakenly make fun of the Québecois for their usage of a word, whereas in fact, our Canadian cousins simply have kept the original meaning, whereas the French in France decided to move on in various ways.


I find those types of words fascinating, where a word has changed meaning in different coutries and cultures. you get that in many ex-colonies.
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