Food & Wine Magazine recently re-posted a caustic essay from www.purewow.com that laid out The 13 ways we’re all driving waiters crazy. From tipping in pennies to hogging a table all night – there’s little doubt that most are true, but I feel it’s only fair to retaliate with a point of view from the opposite corner.
Slowly but surely, reservationists, busboys, waiters and maître d’s have started a litany of fishy behaviors that are now considered as normal and acceptable as an overcooked sole. And the really sad part is that we (the bill-paying public) have come to tolerate and forgive them. I’m not just talking about being served a Côte du Rhone in a Riesling glass, or having your sparkling water topped up with flat, or never being provided with real fish silverware. It’s the big things that have bludgeoned the romance out of dining out.
Here’s my list of worst offenders:
- Still not being able to get an 8:00pm table – even when calling 30 days out at 9:59:59:59:59 am.
- Having to wait 45+ minutes for your table – even though the restaurant will only wait 15 minutes for you.
- Not being seated until your entire party has arrived (or being asked if you are all there!)
- Ordering drinks first – but only receiving them after the appetizers.
- When a waiter can neither pronounce any of the items on the menu, nor understand them when you can.
- Being asked how everything tastes – before anything has arrived.
- Realizing (that when the couple at the table next to you who arrived after you and are now paying the check before you’ve even eaten) that the waiter forgot to put your order in.
- When the waiter pretends that #7 wasn’t the case, and refocuses the blame on the “backup” in the kitchen (or that the chef was arrested or some such calamity.)
- When the busboy clears your appetizer plates, but resets your crumb-speckled knife and fork on the table to be used a second time around. (What’s next: being expected to drink coffee from your wine glass?)
- When everyone’s food arrives, but one of your guests is still missing a fork, and neither a blast from a fog-horn nor a targeted anti-aircraft artillery missile strike can summon the waiter’s attention.
- When the kitchen reinvents the distinction between a steak that’s well done, and one that looks like a good veterinarian could still save it.
I know. I know. Real-world problems.