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In The Weeds: Why Hast Thou Forsaken Me?

January 26, 2010

This is how it felt.

So there I sat minding my own business on Friday afternoon at my new job.  It was close to the end of the day, and I was finishing up some projects and trying to get out of there a few minutes early to spend time with my son who had just returned from a week at Disney World.  For his birthday, my dad and step-mom generously took him on the trip of a (five-year-old) lifetime.  When I heard the chime from my Outlook inbox alerting me to a new message, I took a quick look to see if it was anything that needed handling before the weekend.  Relieved that it wasn’t, I saw that it was an email from my dad.  “Oh good!”, I thought, “Disney pictures!”

If only.  Apparently my busy executive, golf-playing, Cabernet/Scotch-sipping, ESPN-watching father didn’t have enough of the aforementioned things to get back to after a week in Florida.  No, he wasn’t sending me photos or videos like a proud grandfather should, he had somehow found the time between Thunder Mountain and four flight connections to compose and send and email that he entitled “Thoughts on Servers.”

Always an avid reader and supporter of this blog (who am I kidding?…for months he was the ONLY avid reader and supporter), my father has stuck by me from my firing . . . “Corporate America does not appreciate your opinions in writing, but I do” …to my public food fights “you know, it’s brutal but you’re right about the whole food allergy thing.”  So when I read his missive, I could only whisper, “Et tu Brute?”

Here it is.  Go on.  Read it.  He really gets into it towards the end.  Is he thinking of starting his own blog?

Dear Daughter,

Did not want to post on your blog but since your last one about not handing things to the server, here are a few we thought you should consider from the customer’s point of view:

Mine (Dad’s)

1. My water glass does not need to be refilled after every drink. You can wait until it is empty or almost empty. You are interrupting our conversation by coming by every 2 minutes to fill the water glass. Gotten to the point I don’t drink water anymore and still they come by and ask.

2. What is the with the sweeping of the table for bread, cracker, crumbs, whatever? Do you plan to use the table cloth again for the next seating? I put the damn things there so it isn’t bothering me, you neat freak.

3. The “Hover Craft”. Maybe we dine too early, but for goodness sake, do not watch over us like a parent wanting to make sure we eat our veggies.

4. The “Hearty Pourer.” This is the waiter that pours half of the wine bottle into two glasses. I know you don’t want to have to come back and refill. Hey, maybe you can get the water pitcher guy to do it for you. He seems to be always around. Each bottle of wine should contain 6 pours. Of course, when I order by the glass, I expect it to be poured up to the brim. As if !!

5. We are done eating. Where did you go? It never fails, after stopping by about 12 times to refill the water glass and about 5 times to sweep off the mess I have made, you disappear when I want to leave. We have finished the meal, after being upsold to after dinner drinks (don’t you know I am driving?) and dessert.  We are done. The napkins are beside the plate (not on it…I learned) as we gaze about looking for the AWOL server, none can be found. Where do you guys go when we are ready for the check? My ass has gone numb waiting for some servers to appear with the check.

Her’s (my step-mom’s)

6. I shouldn’t have to watch my waiter clean up every single item from my table while trying to hold a conversation.  It’s obvious that the conversation has come to a screeching halt, and the waiter should take this as their cue to split.  I know it makes it easier to turn the table when we leave, but that’s not my problem.
7. I don’t care for the non-writing waiter.  In all of our years of eating out, 90% of the waiter’s that don’t write it down, get it wrong.  I shouldn’t have to be part of the test audience when my waiter is testing his/her mental acuity.  When you approach my table without your pad, I smile knowing you’ll most likely get it wrong.
8. The ding bat hostess that seats us near the kitchen door when 80% of the tables are empty, then rolls her eyes when we ask for another table. We are then left to stand in the middle of the restaurant while the hostess informs us, “I’ll be right back.”   We have a reservation, and we come in with smiles on our face, so the least you can do is show some common sense and seat us at a decent table.
9. The hurried, non-smiling waiter.  Look, I’m sorry that you have an ass for a boss, and he’s given you 5 tables or whatever, but that isn’t my fault.  I’m coming into this high end restaurant hoping to have a wonderful evening, so smile and suck it up.
10. The restaurant that doesn’t update their wine list daily.  The smile quickly leaves our face when we are informed that our 3rd and 4th choices are not available.
11. Please, someone explain to Jose in the kitchen that a medium steak shouldn’t be rare!  Because then I have to meekly inform my waiter that it needs to be sent back, and we all know what that means.

Love always,

p.s.  These pet peeves apply to high end restaurants…We have a whole other set for “family restaurants.”

Don’t you love that?  Love always!  Confronted by my father’s seemingly shifting allegiance, I was reduced to my 16-year-old self and was all like “What. Ever. Duh!”  Of course he is right on in his observations, but still, I think I’ll respond with my own e-mail entitled “Thoughts On Corporate Executives.”  There’s plenty of list-making material there, don’t you think?


10 Responses to “ In The Weeds: Why Hast Thou Forsaken Me? ”

  1. Sara on January 26, 2010 at 8:38 am

    My eight year server-highness thinks your Father is awesome.

  2. Mr. Smarty Pants on January 26, 2010 at 9:04 am

    Dads rock!

  3. Pancake on January 26, 2010 at 9:38 am

    It would appear that the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree, my Lovely!!! Fantastic!

  4. nativenapkin on January 26, 2010 at 10:37 am

    Looks like Pops gave you the Smack-Down.

  5. Laura on January 26, 2010 at 2:34 pm

    I LOVE that your dad says “as if”. HAHAHAHA! This was great, and a lot of what has come to my mind reading your blog. :) You know, if I ever were to venture to a high-end restaurant! As if!

  6. TalKal on January 26, 2010 at 11:50 pm

    K, though a loyal reader, I never respond to your blogs. There’s nothing I haven’t read here that I haven’t already thought, said or experienced in my comparitively short stint as a waitress. But this is about the 3rd person I’ve heard complaining about the waiter not writing down orders. I’ve worked in 3 separate restaurants, 2 as a waitress. After the first 2 months in both establishments, I ditched the pen and paper. I still have a backup just in case I get anything over a 5 top but other then that, I know my menu backwards and forwards and have only made one…and I mean ONE mistake, due to my not writing it down. In fact, most of the waiters I know or have been served by do the same and I’ve never gotten a wrong order. So, I would like to know your opinion? Does this practice only apply to the corp chain/family restaurant type establishment I work at, or just a customer pet peeve they should get over as long as all their food gets there on time and as they wanted it?

    Nice work btw, please keep it up. ;)

  7. bigcrockofgold on February 2, 2010 at 12:09 pm

    Your Dad’s and Mom’s view demonstrate exactly why our industry sucks balls. His views are a complete 180 from what 99.99% of guests in a high end restaurant expect. Our job is to anticipate a thousand mental expectations and a psychology degree is not even a requirement.

    I bet your Dad is the kind of patron/guest that puts his credit card hidden inside the check presenter and ignores you on five visits to “refill his water” as an excuse to see if he has put payment out yet, and then, THEN, finally exposes a corner of the card and looks at you like “I’m trying to get out of here! I am driving!”

    And YES every server should write their SHIZNIT down on paper. Use your mental skills when you get back to the computer to put in the order and leave the book in your pocket. But seriously the next time my order is completely screwed because my waiter was trying to be Shawn from PSYCHE I’m gonna go all TDM and have a meltdown.

  8. Dad on February 2, 2010 at 2:38 pm

    Well I must respond to bigcrockofgold…if and when the server does deliver the check presenter I place the card on top. When the server does go AWOL or MIA I usually put the credit card on the table hoping they see it.
    Of course I run the risk of anyone coming by and remembering the numbers for a future ID theft issue.
    I do not buy the “180 from 99.99%” just as my observations only covered less than 10% of the servers we have encountered in our dining experience. Of course if all them were as good as CJ (love you alway, daughter) I would not have written anything

  9. bigcrockofgold on February 6, 2010 at 10:47 am

    Touché Dad, touché…until next time.

  10. AiXeLsyD13 on February 17, 2010 at 10:57 am

    Wow, that’s hilarious. This kind of stuff makes for great reading. Please, encourage the set for “family restaurants”! Ha ha ha.