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US waiters' worst conduct

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

  1. Horace

    Horace Senior member

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    I mean, seriously, what sane person interprets someone using a perfectly normal colloquial word as a classist insult

    I don't know that a sane person would interpret it that way. [emoticon of your choice].

    Don't want to turn this one into a political thread -- but we're not all "commoners" here, in the US. Some are more equal than others, eh? The rich mightn't have titles, but they're still living on Central Park South while others get their dinner from garbage cans. Also -- isn't there something deliberately antagonistic to a democratic ethos when one person serves another?

    My guess is -- and perhaps I'm wrong -- that "folks" is sometimes (or often) used, whether consciously or not, to cover up inequality in society.
     
  2. Horace

    Horace Senior member

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    notes to Horace: Interesting point about calling the waiter sir, but it is usually not advisable if your waitperson is female. What do you do in this (frequent) instance?


    Usually "madam" or sometimes "Miss". Depending. I try to suss whether the young woman (if she is) will be offended by Miss.
     
  3. Horace

    Horace Senior member

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    lol, just too funny! a,d, and f are just great. if i were a waiter cant imagine how anyone would find that i am a fellow human as well.
    i bet your abrasive,snobby self attitude and outlook carries to other aspects of your interpersonal relations in life![​IMG]


    I think we should try to separate KP's complaints from his treatment of the waiter himself. I'm sure he's polite.
     
  4. Horace

    Horace Senior member

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    For me, this argument really boils down to what you see the role the waiting staff as: are they a friendly guide through your meal - part of the experience of eating out; or are they there to be invisible through your meal, food and drink appearing as if by magic, though perfectly capable of answering questions if you have them.

    Good point. I prefer the second way. And so do the several friends of mine who are French waiters in Paris.
     
  5. Tokyo Slim

    Tokyo Slim Senior member

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    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.
    Well the title thread is "US waiters' worst conduct" not "Culture deficiencies in the U.S. services industries." Thusly he is implying that it IS the waiter's fault. The rest of us are trying to point out that this is unreasonable, as MOST of his complaints are not with the waiters, but with the entire state of courtesy in our culture. (complaints that not all of us share) The waiters, as it has been pointed out by myself and numerous others, are just doing their jobs.
     
  6. Kent Wang

    Kent Wang Senior member Dubiously Honored Affiliate Vendor

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    Can you state your reasoning for said hypothesis, as I don't really see anything expressed beyond your intuition alone? Why are any of these minor complaints eregiously bad, and why should someone become more prone to espouse them upon gaining more experience dining? I really don't see what makes you think that way. For instance, when I read reviews by Robb Walsh (to use a Texas/EG reference), he never gets pissy about the service having the gall to refer to him as a commoner (since he actually tries to dine out anonymously to avoid getting preferential treatment). A lot of arguments that are sound regardless of the issue of a diner's experience have been put forth here, and I'd be more inclined to understand where you're coming from if you'd rebut them.
    Intuition alone. My argument is this: if KP had posted his list of peeves in that "Weird pet peeves" thread we had a few months ago, where a huge number of people came forth with tiny not-always-rational peeves, would you have criticized him at all? I don't think so. I think KP makes clear several times, and I agree with, that these are minor peeves which nearly everyone on this thread has blown completley out of proportion. You reference Walsh, who I agree is a very reliable reviewer, but how are you to know that he too does not share KP's peeves? Surely he does not mention them in his article as that would give said peeves too great of a weight but perhaps he mentions it to his close friends, or in KP's case on an internet forum. KP is not writing a newspaper column here.
     
  7. kennethpollock

    kennethpollock Senior member

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    I think we should try to separate KP's complaints from his treatment of the waiter himself. I'm sure he's polite.

    I am sure that you have heard about the Anti-Semite who protests: "But some of my best friends are Jews."
    A few years ago, one of our favorite waitresses remarked to us: "Boy, you sure know a lot about wine. I wish you would take me out to dinner sometime so I could learn more." So we did. It was so enjoyable that since then, we have taken 3 other waiters (one a male) out to eat. By the way, when I told E*****t (banned) about this, he grew suspicious and wondered if the purpose of my wife and I was to have s*x with them. No dirty minds, please.
     
  8. JBZ

    JBZ Senior member

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    I like KP's lists. In fact, I can't think of a post he's written that I have found interesting.

    Presumably, you meant to say "haven't" here. I never said I didn't find the post interesting. I just said that I disagree with the majority of it. I also didn't mean to come across as harshly as I may have (and I admit that I made a couple of snarky comments in the text of my posts). I may disagree with the opinions. This doesn't mean that I necessarily find the person who holds them to be disagreeable or uninteresting.
     
  9. Tokyo Slim

    Tokyo Slim Senior member

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    [​IMG]
     
  10. globetrotter

    globetrotter Senior member

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    [​IMG]


    I find that this is one way for the waitress to get forgiveness for pretty much any trangression - as long as it isn't calling me "folks"[​IMG]
     
  11. kennethpollock

    kennethpollock Senior member

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    [​IMG]


    I just e-mailed this topic to E*****t (banned) and got this response:
    "when someone invits you to dinner in PAris it is for sex"

    "that's why me and Katia came in your room the first time but we were desappointed to see you only showed us old ties and moth-eated vest !"
     
  12. Concordia

    Concordia Senior member Dubiously Honored

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    Dunno what the problem is with the cork on the table. 99 times out of 100 it means nothing, but if you have an older bottle or need to confirm your worst fears about the juice in question, it doesn't hurt to find out whether the cork was shattered, has dried out, smells musty or whatever. Thankfully, we're past the point of needing to see that the brand on the cork matches the label. Just don't stand around expecting me to sniff the thing if I have better things to do.

    The only really egregious service mannerism I can remember off the top of my head was in a Florida restaurant where a young-ish waiter decided to explain how to dip the bread in the dish of olive oil, complete with pantomime. This must have been a hit with the old ladies who frequented the place. To his credit, he got the message pretty quickly from our expressions, and after a bit of slinking around was efficient and unobtrusive for the rest of the meal.

    Thinking on that theme, there is a restaurant in Boston so good and expensive that it tends to be something of a destination for big dates, bonus celebrations, and the like. There must be regulars who eat there, but there are a lot of diners for whom this is a big step up from the usual. So the staff often go overboard with the chatter, to loosen things up and make people feel a little less excluded. "This is [names what's on the plate.] It is an amuse bouche [umm.. OK]. It means 'to amuse the mouth' and is our offering between courses to cleanse the palate [SHUT UP NOW!]." This is clearly a case of management policy, however, and not rude or inattentive service.
     
  13. AlanC

    AlanC Senior member

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    The only really egregious service mannerism I can remember off the top of my head was in a Florida restaurant where a young-ish waiter decided to explain how to dip the bread in the dish of olive oil, complete with pantomime.
    I've had that happen more than once. I don't know if I just look like I've never eaten bread, or what. There is also a fairly decent Italian restaurant my wife and I used to go to where not only did they do that, but they also would sometimes go into long discussions about their own olive groves in Italy...blah...blah--I don't care! On a positive note, my wife and I also had our best waitress ever there. We joked about hiring her and taking her with us when we went out to eat: "Hello, my name is Alan, and this will be my server."
     
  14. Concordia

    Concordia Senior member Dubiously Honored

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    I've not yet got into olive oil in a big way, but I wouldn't mind hearing a little about it from someone who knows.

    Of course, knowing when to zip it is a valuable trait in any service person. I don't mean that in a hostile way, but there is a time and a place for conversation.
     
  15. ATM

    ATM Senior member

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    Waiter Rant is a pretty entertaining blog written by a NYC waiter if you want to see things from the other side.
     
  16. matadorpoeta

    matadorpoeta 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")
    i used to manage a restaurant, and i agree with a couple of things in kp's post. i'm assuming we're discussing real restaurants, not denny's. (a) you should call your waiter, "waiter." it is a professional relationship and he is there to serve you. (b) why do people say 'guys' when there are women in the group? i find this annoying and not just from waiters. i know it's common, but that doesn't make it right. (h) this is just plain bad service. many corporate places do this to get you to leave sooner than you otherwise would. on a related note: a previous poster claims that saying 'you guys' is okay because it's the same as saying 'you all'. well, isn't 'you all' slang and incorrect? i believe that in english, the plural form of 'you' is still 'you'. it doesn't matter whether you're speaking to one person or a thousand. of course, in the south people say, "y'all come back now ya hear," but that's not correct english is it?
     
  17. Fabienne

    Fabienne Senior member

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    I've not yet got into olive oil in a big way, but I wouldn't mind hearing a little about it from someone who knows.

    Of course, knowing when to zip it is a valuable trait in any service person. I don't mean that in a hostile way, but there is a time and a place for conversation.


    FYI: the dipping bread in olive oil thing is not done in Italy, unless perhaps you're at a place where they make oil, to let you taste it. I have an Italian friend who teaches culture and language classes in the US, and this is part of her list of misconceptions about Italians and Italy.

    It may be an American take on the rustic Italian bruschetta (roast slice of bread, rub garlic clove over it, dispense olive oil by holding the piece of bread straight up and letting olive oil drizzle on the bread, sprinkle with a little salt and eat still warm.
     
  18. Fabienne

    Fabienne Senior member

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    I just e-mailed this topic to E*****t (banned) and got this response:
    "when someone invits you to dinner in PAris it is for sex"

    "that's why me and Katia came in your room the first time but we were desappointed to see you only showed us old ties and moth-eated vest !"


    I suppose we all miss Ernest's humor.
     
  19. Fabienne

    Fabienne Senior member

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    .

    Thinking on that theme, there is a restaurant in Boston so good and expensive that it tends to be something of a destination for big dates, bonus celebrations, and the like. There must be regulars who eat there, but there are a lot of diners for whom this is a big step up from the usual. So the staff often go overboard with the chatter, to loosen things up and make people feel a little less excluded. "This is [names what's on the plate.] It is an amuse bouche [umm.. OK]. It means 'to amuse the mouth' and is our offering between courses to cleanse the palate [SHUT UP NOW!]." This is clearly a case of management policy, however, and not rude or inattentive service.



    Before they start educating the public on what an "Amuse-bouche" might be, they ought to do a little research on this euphemism's actual purpose. I think it's all mixed up in their heads with a trou normand in there somewhere, somehow.
     
  20. Matt

    Matt Senior member

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    i dont like when waiters come to my table, and, unsure if i have any beer left, pick it up and swish it around a little, determine there is still an inch or so left and put it down.

    its like "it used to be 'i only have a little beer left' but now its 'i only have a little beer left and its a little flatter too'"

    other than that, meh, im pretty easy.
     

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