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US waiters' worst conduct - Page 4

post #46 of 538
Quote:
Originally Posted by Fabienne
Just for the record, I don't think I've ever been rude to a waiter, but what is a customer to do if ill-treated by a waiter, oh you lenient ones? I had this one waitress once who, three times within 10 minutes came to ask me if I was done with my plate of gnocchi, each time interrupting a conversation. I suppose I should have let her take my plate the first time so as not to bother her.

PS: I was a waitress in a relatively upscale restaurant while in college.

But what you describe is clearly different from what the OP stated were some of the "waiters' worst" (introducing himself by his first name is one of the "worst" things a waiter could do - really?; daring to ask if you have any questions on the menu is a "worst?"; insulting you (and, presumably, past generations of your family) by referring to you as "folks" is unconscionable?). In your situation, I think I would have politely, but firmly informed the waitress (probably on the second time) that I was still eating and that I would let her know when I was finished.

I'm also not trying to say that I act like a doormat in a restaurant. Here are some things that bother me:

- food comes prepared other than the way I requested it (i.e. well done instead of medium; with the rice side instead of potatoes; etc.) - in this case, I may send the food back or I may not - it depends on how important the mistake is to me, but I still expect my order to be correct (note, if I elect not to send back the item or if I send it back and it comes out correctly the second time, this will not affect my tip)

- the service is unreasonably slow (hey, I'm hungry) or fast (hey, I'm not in that much of a rush - I don't need to see dessert menus while I'm still working on my salad)

- the waiter is snotty - I had one experience where my wife and I were dining with a group of friends - one of our friends asked for some changes to an item on the menu (e.g. "could I have that side instead of this one?", etc.) - the waiter was very huffy when taking her order - he then turned to my wife to take her order and said something like, "I hope you're not going to be a lot of trouble, too." At this point I asked him whether he was still expecting a full tip. That basically stopped him in his tracks.

- if a part of the table is served and a part is left waiting for longer than 2 or 3 minutes - this is annoying and awkward for the diners ("no, please, go ahead - it's getting cold") - once, at a wedding, half our table was served while the rest of us were left waiting for 10 minutes - I finally had to flag down a member of the wait staff and request that the remainder of the table be served (of course, the wedding reception was held on a college campus and the servers were students and not a professional wait staff - also, as this was a wedding, the meal itself was free)

Even with the above, it would take an awful lot for me to decide to lower my standard tip if the food and service were generally good (the snotty waiter was my breaking point - I think we left 10%). On the other hand, unless I get truly exceptional service, I'm not going to over-tip either.

Perhaps the service in continental Europe is so head and shoulders above anything we backwards colonists can get here in the States that my eyes would be open to an entirely new (oops, I mean old) and different world. Unfortunately, I haven't yet had the pleasure of visiting continental Europe (a freely admitted shortcoming of mine), so I can't say for certain.
post #47 of 538
Quote:
Originally Posted by Holdfast
Re: bill before asking - this only happened to me for the first time the other day and I actually found it very rude and disrupting, though I can't quite pin down why it felt wierd.

...Because it implies that the waiter is washing his hands of you and will not be paying attention anymore. If they just plopped it down it would be very rude.

Many of these things that are complaints could be still done but just handled better - I go to a place quite often where they do this while asking about dessert, but say "please take your time and let me know if you need anything, I'm just going to set this here". I appreciate it because they are often overbusy (not the server's fault) and it can be hard to snag them for the check when you really do want to go.
post #48 of 538
Quote:
Originally Posted by kennethpollock
In order:
(a) My name is Bruce and I'll be taking care of you tonight (who cares what his name is and his purpose is obvious)
(b) you guys (when some of the guests are ladies)
(c) folks (i.e., commoners)
(d) Do you have any questions about the menu? (an insult; I can read English and am an experienced diner)
(e) Let me get this out of your way (as he snatches away a plate that really was not in my way)
(f) my favorite dishes are ----- (who cares?)
(g) tonight's specials are --- (as he reels off 8-10 dishes; mind-boggling; why can't they print it, as the specials are the same nearly every night)
(h) plopping down the bill before it is requested
(i) placing the cork on the table, or even worse, holding it near my nose
(j) tying a napkin around the neck of the wine bottle
(k) what "temperature" do you want your steak? (I usually say "hot")

Are you over 100? Maybe the waitstaff will be better in the afterlife.
post #49 of 538
Okay fine, I'll post one, based on the "one part of table served much earlier" above: I really don't like when people clear a person's plate well before another person is done eating. (Usually because I am the last one eating; I like to taste my food, and to digest it well; sue me.) It leaves the still-eating person (i.e. me) feeling rushed to finish.

I don't know if there is a rule about this (Ken? ) but there should be, because I say so. I'm sure many people prefer it the way I don't like it, for whatever reason.
post #50 of 538
Quote:
Originally Posted by jay allen
I was listening to NPR the other day and heard a piece about a guy that had a Ph.D on the art of Jackson Pollock. He had a very good paying job (assuming 100K+) at MOMA I believe. Again, I was struck by.....what an amazing country we live in.......there is such excess in our economy that it will support a guy getting a freakin' Ph.D on ONE dead artist, and allow him to spend the rest of his life studying, and writting about him. All the while making a very nice salary.

Just a couple semi related thoughts from a guy high in ink fumes.

There are also so-called Pollock experts who can authenticate his drip paintings.
post #51 of 538
Okay, dude, if those are ranked from first to last, you really have been pampered through life, haven't you?
post #52 of 538
First of all I do not think waiters intend to be rude.
Some waiters are great.
Other waiters just don't know how to be good. They have been taught how to behave and that behavoir may not be perfect for everyone's taste.

I must say, however, that I am ussually not impressed by service in a restaurant. When I go to a restaurant all I am paying is the service (I can cook better than most restaurants and I can acquire ingredients of similar or better quality than most). I expect the service I receive to increase in quality as the price goes up. Offer and demand laws take a toll here and I might not get the service I was expecting as price goes up.
post #53 of 538
Quote:
Originally Posted by Fabienne
Just for the record, I don't think I've ever been rude to a waiter, but what is a customer to do if ill-treated by a waiter, oh you lenient ones? I had this one waitress once who, three times within 10 minutes came to ask me if I was done with my plate of gnocchi, each time interrupting a conversation. I suppose I should have let her take my plate the first time so as not to bother her.

PS: I was a waitress in a relatively upscale restaurant while in college.
Fabienne,
dont take everything so absolute.
in that case you mention of course we will complain to management or something.
we just think that it is a reflection of a person's character to mention that a waiter who tells us his/her name is considered worst conduct.

nothing is black and white ok?
post #54 of 538
Some people don't like their jobs. They don't try to excel at them.
post #55 of 538
KennethPollock-

I think that once you dine in fine restaurants in Paris, you are ruined for service anywhere else. I distictly remember the almost ballet like work of the wait staff at Taillevent or at Lucas Carton. It was incredible that they knew every time that I needed more bread or more water, food seemingly appeared in front of me rather than being walked clumsily to my table. As I have dined at these restaurants and others more frequently, I have lost some of my amazement at the service, but none of the respect for the job that they do. It truly is another world.

I am not somebody who complains a lot. I am the last person to put anybody in "their place" or to see one person as better or worse based on their profession. That being said, I would happily sign my name to your list as I think that it does none of the above. I wish that foodservice was a more respected position here, and I wish that the waters in the US acted as though it should be.
post #56 of 538
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by JohnVintage79
Are you over 100? Maybe the waitstaff will be better in the afterlife.

Not quite, but I probably am older than most here. I have eaten around a lot; my main hobby since school in N.O. I have been fortunate enough to travel often to Europe and have also eaten in most of the best restaurants in NY, N.O., Miami and Atlanta.
I think it is sad that the type of service I like and want is not the norm in the USA. It still is the norm in other countries, the very best restaurants in a handful of the biggest American cities and [PREVIOUSLY] the norm in even most lesser places here.
Then, 20-30 years ago, someone at General Foods, Inc. or General Mills, Inc. started to think how they could improve the bottom line at some chain they were about to open. One thing: get them out faster, so plates are cleared as rapidly as possible and the bill is presented too early. Another, maybe a lot of our customers are "rubes," who easily feel intimidated, so let's have our waiters pretend to be their "friends," with first names, guys, folks, excessive chatter, etc.
This behavior is now embedded; two old-time waiters here have told me that they got complaints when they did not tell the customers their first names.
I do not think I am a snob. Maybe just old-fashioned and a little turned-off by the attitude that the buck is more important than proper behavior and the notion that leads them to say let's appeal to the lowest common denominator; the more sophisticated be damned.
post #57 of 538
If one is eating at Bennigan's, one can hardly quibble. This is an assumption drawn from your mention of chains, where, oddly enough, the patrons do like to know the name of the member of the waitstaff who is assiting them, and feel more at ease with a certain level of repor and even banter. Apart from the introduction, I have not noted any of your other offenses at any fine dining establishment. However, I have noted a remarkable number of eristical diners causing anxiety for waiters who are sincerely trying to provide them with a quality experience. In one odd instance, I was actually thanked for my manners in a restaurant by this female waiter who had been harried beyond tolerance by some of the patrons -- this at a fine restaurant in an affluent area of NJ. An interesting conclusion could be drawn from an acknowledgement that such stress levels rarely occur in one of the barabaric chains with their unsophisticated customers. There is a British comedy entitled Chef!, in which the waiters are called "morons" and are said to be lower on the evolutionary ladder than your average single-cell creature. It is no longer in production, but is available on DVD; perhaps you might enjoy it. I wouldn't call you a snob. I do wish that you wouldn't adduce being old-fashioned as the source of your particular proclivities, as it lends them undeserved legitamacy. Wanting service your way, and your way only, seems accurate, however. Regards, Huntsman
post #58 of 538
Quote:
Originally Posted by kennethpollock
In order:
(a) My name is Bruce and I'll be taking care of you tonight (who cares what his name is and his purpose is obvious)

Hoping this has been pointed out already, but justincase:

They make them say that. "Studies show" that people like it. I don't, much, and neither do you, but we weren't in the studies so we don't count.

The waiters are given specific instructions on what to say when they approach a table. It's not optional, either. If a maitre d' hotel, or an anonymous QC inspector, or perhaps one of the "mystery shoppers" hired by chain places, observes the waiter not following procedure exactly, the waiter's in DS.

They're not trying to become your new best friend. They're just trying to keep their job.
post #59 of 538
Quote:
Originally Posted by JBZ
I wonder, with such an extensive list of seemingly never ending pet peeves and annoyances, whether you've ever had a pleasurable dining experience.

I like KP's lists. In fact, I can't think of a post he's written that I have found interesting.
post #60 of 538
I don't believe the original post was directed towards the waiters, but rather service in general in restaurants in the US. My pet peeve is when mandated turnaround times get in the way of the dining, leading to many of the complaints raised in this thread. No doubt management is at fault here, and are often behind the sometimes shoddy behaviour of waitstaff. It's really the degenerating culture of service that's disappointing.
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