US waiters' worst conduct

Discussion in 'Social Life, Food & Drink, Travel' started by kennethpollock, Apr 24, 2006.

  1. kennethpollock

    kennethpollock Senior member

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    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")
     
  2. Saucemaster

    Saucemaster Sized Down 2

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    Wow. I'm feeling some empathy for your waiters right now.
     
  3. tangerine

    tangerine Senior member

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    Yes, this is why I often over-tip, I am trying to help compensate for people who get their kicks insulting wait staff.

    I like my steak cold in the middle.
     
  4. Tokyo Slim

    Tokyo Slim In Time Out

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    This seems a little nit-picky. But then again, about the most expensive meal I've ever paid for myself to eat is like $80. Maybe If I was spending $400 on dinner or something I'd be a little ticked that the guy plunked the bill down before I was done.
    You do realize of course that he is trying to be courteous and helpful. I mean, yes, he's "the help" but most people in the service industries are trained to introduce themselves because its POLITE. Its the same thing when you answer a phone for a business, for many businesses I've worked at, the preferred method of answering the phone is "Thank you for calling _______, my name is ______, how can I help you?" Do you REALLY need to know the receptionists name? Not really, but its nice.
    I don't know if you really take offense to this or not, but "folks" according to Merriam Webster is "plural : people generally"

    Doesn't sound like you should be insulted by someone generally assuming you are a person. Again, at somewhere you are paying like $400 for a plate with three peas and some sauce on it or whatever, Ladies and/or Gentlemen would probably be nice, but I wouldn't flip out about it.

    Speaking english and being an experienced diner means that you never have a question about anything on a menu? I go to a place occasionally that serves what the menu calls "seasonal vegetables" as a side on whatever I'm ordering. I usually have to ask what the hell it is to decide whether or not I want to substitute something else. That seems to me to be a question about the menu, and I appreciate it when they ask. (because sometimes i forget)

    This is not the waiters fault. If you take so much offense to this, try visiting restaraunts that do not make their waiters tell you about the specials. Because this is what's happening here. Waiters generally don't want to repetitively rattle off the bullshit specials anymore than you want to listen to it.
    So... you really don't care how your steak is cooked? Medium rare is 140-145 degrees. This (to me) is the most that any decent steak should be cooked. You can usually just say "medium rare" and they will get the point, but some people have very specific tastes about that sort of thing.
     
  5. Kent Wang

    Kent Wang Affiliate Vendor Dubiously Honored Affiliate Vendor

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    Tangerine, I did not get the impression that kennethpollock actually insults the waitstaff, only that he is peeved by poor service. Nor do I find his expectations unreasonable. In fact, I agree with most of his complaints.

    I am nearly always the youngest person at many of the finer restaurants that I dine at, so I find it frustrating that most waitstaff assume that my knowledge of food is commensurate with my age. I do not enjoy having what foie gras is explained to me yet I am unsure how to communicate that I am an experienced diner in a subtle manner. Sometimes I've begun by asking nuanced questions about the menu, e.g. "What species of salmon is this?", but I have difficulty imagining doing so when I have no actual interest in the answer.
     
  6. javyn

    javyn Senior member

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    Ditto. I don't see any harm in calling a waiter or waitress by their name. Better than "Hey, pleb, bring the check now!"
     
  7. itsstillmatt

    itsstillmatt The Liberator Dubiously Honored

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    I happen to agree with all but one of Ken Pollock's complaints. Having worked in kitchens during and after college, asking what temperature you want your meat at sounds normal to me. I can see how it would sound odd to some.

    None of these complaints or pet peeves are inconsistent with being a very polite diner. I tend to tip very well and am extremely conscientious about being kind to waiters. I still do not want to hear any of the above from them. If my wife heard Mr. Pollock recite this list, she would probably pounce on him with a large hug and kiss. They are exactly her pet peeves.
     
  8. MrDaniels

    MrDaniels Senior member

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    I bet you get a lot of spit in your food.
     
  9. aybojs

    aybojs Senior member

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    I haven't worked in any high end places, nor do I get to patronize them often, so I realize that there is a difference in how they operate, as opposed to your more casual, family-themed restaurants. That said, looking at some of the complaints listed, some are about protocols trained and enforced by management (e.g. the greeting, the recitation of specials) and some are frankly ridiculously pedantic ("you guys" is basically interchangable with "you all," and among the majority of the populace "folks" just doesn't carry the demeaning weight you're assigning it). The only ones I'm not sure I disagree with are the wine ones, and that's mainly because I don't drink wine (nor did I serve much of it when I worked) and don't have a background in it.

    Again, I don't have a lot of fine dining experience, so I'm sure things do change when the tab is $300 instead of $30, but I still don't see what's productive about getting worked up over minor issues if there's no grievance with the major ones (e.g. refilling drinks, bringing food and clearing plates in a timely manner, etc).
     
  10. Mike C.

    Mike C. Senior member

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    The worst is...

    "You still workin' on that..."

    Umm yea...
     
  11. Saucemaster

    Saucemaster Sized Down 2

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    That said, looking at some of the complaints listed, some are about protocols trained and enforced by management.

    Quoting this for emphasis, since a few people having pointed this out already and I want to add my voice to the chorus. Your waiter doesn't give a shit whether or not you know his name, and doesn't want to tell you any more than you want to be told. The management make him do it.

    Plus, I can't resist:

    Because you were born a nobleman, and it insults the honor of your esteemed lineage?
     
  12. LabelKing

    LabelKing Senior member

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    All of these points that Mr.Pollock raises tends to be seen in the more mass-catering restaurants. The sort of thing you'd expect at an Olive Garden, perhaps.
     
  13. tangerine

    tangerine Senior member

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    Kent, you have reminded me of a time I was in Tadich Grill (very old-school San Francisco seafood restaurant) and I asked the waiter "How is the halibut tonight?"

    His answer: "It's a flat fish."

    Either he didn't understand me or he had a very dry sense of humor. The halibut was quite good, as it turned out.

    I don't know if kennethpollack insults the wait staff to their face or not, or how these annoyances affect the gratuity he presumably leaves. It has been my experience that people who are annoyed in restaurants are usually successful in conveying their displeasure to the wait staff.

    I don't find a lot of what he objects to to be objectionable, and in some cases I find it desirable.

    Point by point:

    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)

    I agree that this is an annoying affectation, but please remember that some people call out to every passing busser and wait staff to bring them something, and this is an attempt by the restaurant to have you deal with your appointed wait staff. It's really an attempt to impose order, and perhaps a tiny bit of respect. I mean, the wait staff are actually living humans, and they do have names.

    (b) you guys (when some of the guests are ladies)

    Common vernacular in some parts of the country, though definitely casual and not formal mode of address.

    (c) folks (i.e., commoners)

    Get off your high horse.

    (d) Do you have any questions about the menu? (an insult; I can read English
    and am an experienced diner)

    You really are never curious to know more details about the food you are thinking of ordering? I often want to know, oh, for instance, where the oysters are from. Also, many people have restricted diets and/or food allergies and it is in everyone's interests to have that out in the open before getting that chicken salad with ground peanuts.

    (e) Let me get this out of your way (as he snatches away a plate that really
    was not in my way)

    I do get annoyed when (usually inexperienced) wait staff try to do this; I have no problem telling them I'm not done with it.

    (f) my favorite dishes are ----- (who cares?)

    This would be annoying if offered without being asked. I sometimes ask a wait staff for a recommendation, though.

    (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)

    In many restaurants that I eat in, the specials change frequently. I very much enjoy hearing about them. I have no problem asking the staff to repeat a dish I am interested in if I lose track during the recital. YMMV.

    (h) plopping down the bill before it is requested

    Can be irritating, but in some restaurants it is standard practice. I can ignore it until I'm ready to pay.

    (i) placing the cork on the table, or even worse, holding it near my nose

    I'll take your word for it.

    (j) tying a napkin around the neck of the wine bottle

    Sounds cute. Maybe too cute.

    (k) what "temperature" do you want your steak? (I usually say "hot")

    Cold in the middle, as I said before.
     
  14. TrojanGarb

    TrojanGarb Senior member

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    Sure glad I don't have to deal with people with such big egos and haughty attitudes. Oh the joys of the service industry.

    Sorry, I don't think I'm better than the waiter. Common courtesy goes further than you think.

    Wasnt this exact post up before the crash? Has it been bumped up, or merely retrolled?
     
  15. shellshock

    shellshock Forum Mascot

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    you seriously never realize how things are til you are actually on the other side, doing that job.

    i definitely agree with some of the things pointed out already, such as these people are usually forced to introduce themselves and rattle off a few lines, or they get in trouble, if say someone from the company comes to check on if everyone is doing their job properly.

    For example, i certainly never enjoyed people getting irritated with me because i told them that they could only have 5 items in the fitting room. I DIDN'T MAKE UP THAT RULE. IT'S NOT MY FAULT.

    but if you didnt enforce it, and count the items every time, and you got a mystery shopper you could get written up for not following procedure.

    I feel like as long as they werent being rude or making huge mistakes, being irritated by trivial things isn't worth it. i'm sure your life wasn't ruined because of the waiter.
     

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