My Post College Life

Random thoughts from a recent grad. Consists mostly of misplaced hostility manifested as sarcastic smack-downs on people I don't personally know.

Monday, August 28, 2006

Dining Etiquette

As a recently retired waitress, I have seen my fair share of social misbehavior in the restaurant environment. I got into the industry during my college years to pay for various luxuries such as roach traps and toilet paper. During my four year tenure I was trained in various styles and themes of dining and cocktailing. Although lucrative at times, the money was often a pittance for the physical and mental stress associated with serving assholes. I think four solid years in the industry allows me a little room to pick at you bastards. To be nice I’ll proceed from easy to difficult on the crap scale.

Ordering While On A Cell Phone
Ok, I know you’re a busy person, hell I’m busy too, which is precisely why I don’t have time to stand at your table waiting for you to complete your phone call. Why even flag me over before you’ve finished the call? You’re in a rush? Oh, well, that makes it perfectly fine then. You know what, I’m in a rush too, I have to finish this shift so I can run off to the library to finish a twenty page paper due in three hours. In light of this information, you can take your own order, get it from the kitchen, and then bus your own table because frankly sir, I am much too busy to give you my full attention.

I propose a no cell phone policy for restaurants. If you try to hold up a member of the staff because you are on the phone, they have the right to ignore you and walk away. Also, there will be no loud, annoying twenty minute phone conversations with your “business associate” (read: mom) about how important you are.

Forgetting What You Ordered
Fifteen minutes. Yes Fifteen minutes is all it takes for some people to completely zone out of reality and forget what took them twenty minutes to order in the first place. I don’t know about you, but I absolutely adore standing around with a hot, heavy plate in each hand while you reach back into that crap pile you call a brain and try to recollect. Now for a table of six or less, I make it a point to remember what dish goes where. However, this is not a four star dining establishment and I’d rather get your food out faster than sit around and map out your seventeen person table. It’s green curry chicken. Not hard. Couldn’t you waste just one little brain cell on your server and remember the color? Oh, you recall it was a chicken dish? That’s great, so are ten of the others, Einstein would be so proud. Keeping my opinions neatly tucked away, I would often just sit the dishes in the center of the table and let you, the stupid diner, figure it out for yourself. On top of that, I think I’d rather donate my left ovary than teach you how to pronounce “pad see-ew” one more God damn time.

Blowing Your Nose At The Table
I won’t keep it a secret that spicy food makes my nose run like a Mexican at the border, but there are better ways to handle such an occurrence than shooting out snot rockets in front of friends and family. Don’t you ever pause and think about how unappetizing that sound can be to other people? Are you aware that wait staff make better tips when customers have an enjoyable dining experience in all aspects? You’re not in a wheel chair, so get up and walk your lazy ass to the restroom thirty feet away and save yourself some face.

In some cultures blowing your nose while eating is a serious offense; often inciting comments of disgust, “you should know betters,” and smacks upside the head from the old women around you. I especially abhor this behavior in front of young children, as you are now showing them that it’s perfectly acceptable. Jesus, why don’t you just let one rip while you’re at it, I mean since it’s in the same bodily function territory. If you really can’t drag yourself from the table, just discreetly dab at your nose with a paper, not cloth, napkin. Save the trumpet show for a more private location.

Being A Wine Snob
So you’ve decided to break out your wine-snob alter ego in a cheap Thai restaurant. I suppose I could continue to grin and bear it, but I’d rather tell you how much of a douche you are. No I don’t know whether the $4 glass of house merlot was aged in an oak barrel or not, and surprisingly neither does the manager. Yes I’m shocked and appalled as well, what is the world coming to?

Image courtesy of

I’ve discovered that wine snobs have a much lower tolerance for that ubiquitous answer “I don’t know,” than the average diner. As if the entire population of wait staff should be as compulsively well versed in fermented grapes as they. I was trained to open the bottle, and to serve it in a professional manner. I understand, though, you want to impress your superficial friends with your expertise in oenology, and knocking my skills makes you look better in comparison. Bravo, may I suggest that next time you show off by bringing your own bottle of obscure pinot noir from your, obviously, extensive private collection instead of berating our crappy house version.

Talking Down To Your Server
If I truly was an idiot, or if I resembled the adjectives ‘slacker,’ or ‘lazy’ while on duty, then maybe I wouldn’t mind if you spoke to me as you would your whipping boy or small child. If you murmur, stutter, or whisper your order to me and expect me to glean it from the wall you spoke to, don’t get snotty with me when I ask you politely to repeat yourself. Also, it does not reflect poorly on my intelligence that I don’t know what a “seven and seven” is, I’m twenty years old and last time I checked this wasn’t a country club you old codger. So I’m sorry I’m not catering to your every whim enough for you to treat me like a person. I’m also quite apologetic that I’m not physically stylish or gorgeous enough for you to keep that critical eye of yours off my required uniform. My bad.

You would do well to remember that this is a college town you’re dining in, and if you’d look around you’d notice that none of the employees in this eatery are over the age of twenty four. You’re right though, why should you care that the bus boy will be operating on your decrepit heart in ten or twenty years? It’s also perfectly acceptable to be an ass to that the guy who brought you your drinks. So what if he’ll be taking your case when that future ex-wife next to you tries to take you for everything you’ve got?
*Bonus advice: we handle your food you twat, be nice.

Being A Lazy Parent
I’m doing my best here, it’s the Friday dinner rush and every table is full. I’m running around to take care of my twelve tables and trying not to trip over myself, when I stumble upon a small, squealing child sitting in the middle of the floor. I recall that I saw this child at one of my tables, but it couldn’t be the same one. No, that just wouldn’t be possible because that table is twenty feet across the room from here. So I set down my heavy tray, pick up the escapee and carry it back to you, the parent. On my way I give you the benefit of the doubt, maybe you’ve got Cysticercosis or something and you can’t physically pay attention to your kid. However, that dirty look you shoot me as I deposit your child into the empty chair next to you clues me in that you probably don’t have a rare tapeworm in your gut; you’re just a lazy parent.

I’m pretty sure that “caring for wandering children of customer,” wasn’t listed in my job description. I also don’t take kindly to apologizing to other diners because your screaming 2 year old is ruining their meal. Next time I think I’ll just ask you to do it, since you’ve got all that free time to spare from neglecting your kids. Are you really so oblivious to your surroundings that you don’t hear that infuriating, high pitched wail next to you or see the dirty looks you’re garnering from the other clientele? Maybe you like the negative attention because it’s the only kind you can get, no wait, that’s what my school counselor told me when I was 8. Sorry, what I really meant to say to you is if you plan on taking a screaming, messy child into a restaurant, there are two rules to follow.

One: children under the age of 4 should not be in a sit-down restaurant with you, if you’re really too cheap or pressed to find a babysitter, bring a muzzle.

Two: don’t leave that pile of food your ingrate of a child threw on the floor for the server/bus boy to clean up unless you’re planning to use that saved babysitter money for a fat tip. Also, ponder how letting your child make a mess on the floor at a restaurant with no punitive action will lead to or support said child fucking up the floor in your home.

On a side note, the subject of poor tipping was specifically left out of this list to avoid an aneurism on my part. It should be noted that this lapse in decorum infuriates people to different degrees, but will invariably piss them off nonetheless. Also, I apologize if I’ve missed any potential subjects of rant other members of the service industry may have. Alas, I can only bitch so much in one sitting.


Blogger omaha said...

I would only add to your frustrations those cosmopolitan sipping, fish and pasta eating, midlife, queen bitches of snobbery. You order a cosmo at my bar, you are my bitch. Forget about dinner, forget about timely service, I hate you, we are out of cosmos and no we do not have merlot.

11:00 PM  

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