Monday, September 29, 2008

Mind if I Rant?

I'm known here at DallasEats as Classy&Sassy, and for the most part my class keeps the sass in line.  Sometimes though, even this cool cupcake gets her frosting in a froth.  

Case in point:  Over the past few days, I've eaten out more than in.  It was a restaurant-intensive weekend, even by this dedicated diner's standards.  And while each experience was largely positive (great food, great company), I was reminded on several occasions of one or more of my top service pet peeves.  

You'll see in a moment why these are not matters which can be discussed with a manager or easily remedied once they've occurred.  These peeves are subtle, yet often hair-raisingly annoying.  So, if you'll pardon the phrase, do you mind if I vent?  I sure hope not.  And I'd love to hear some of your own pet peeves as well - letting off a little steam is always better than boiling over.

Peeve #1:  "Still workin' on that?"

This phrase never fails to bring a trickle of sweat down the back of my neck as I try with all my might to restrain myself from shouting a Julia Sugarbaker-style Southern slap-down speech in which I remind my sweet server that I was not, in fact, taking a pop quiz in American History class or filling out the Previous Diseases/Current Symptoms questionnaire at my internist's office.  It's not work - it's a meal.  And if the consumption of my plate of food is ever likened to the 9-to-5 grind again, you can bet that I will reply, "Yes, and what a pile of work it was!  Next time you should pay *me* to eat here."

Peeve #2:  The premature drop.

I enjoyed a meal the other day on a shady patio with one of my dearest friends.  It was a day of the week known for leisurely dining, and we were totally into taking it easy.  You can imagine my irk, then, when not three minutes after delivering the food, our server returned with the check, which he propped smack between us (mid-sentence I might add), standing upright like a book on display at Borders.  

So as not to derail the conversation, I simply slided the offending sleeve out of sight.  But inside, I was seething.  Nothing casts a pall on a good meal like the premature check drop.  It's expected and understood at peak times and at certain places, but it seems to be happening more often the rest of the time as well.  And so, my official position:  Checks should come at the end of the meal.  Save the time crunch lunch service for those diners who request it.

Peeve #3:  Going once, going twice...

I'm not sure what the rest of the world calls this practice, but when I was a server it was called "plate auctioning" - and it was a big no-no.  I'm referring to the uncomfortable cattle-call that occurs when a waiter has failed to retain or make written note of the entree each of his diners ordered, and instead calls aloud the name of each dish ("Southwest Cobb - extra beans!") as he lifts it from the tray, waiting with food poised mid-air until signaled by a girl or guy (sheepishly) raising a hand at the table.  Now, I understand that in some restaurants this is part of the charm - say, a roadside diner or that bar in the movie Cocktail - but short of that, let's leave the auctions to Ebay.

*Phew*  Well, thanks for listening.  I certainly feel much better now!

9 comments:

Donna said...

I feel ya on all those complaints, particularly the "still working on that?" What, do they want you to not like it and not finish?

JR said...

Well, I have many restaurant peeves being the delicate diner that I am. Those of you who know me may think that a tumbler full of nothing but ice and void of any vodka and trace there of would be at the top of my list....and ohhhhh, dont think its not up there....if I had a dime for everytime I have to lick the ice cubes from my vodka tonic, I tell ya.....but today's rant will focus more on the meal itself, and yes sometimes that vodka tonic is "the meal" but today we stick to the chewable food. Now for those of you who are "Big Boned" like me you are probably no stranger to the ways of the dieting world...and have probably tried everything that I have....Atkins, Weight Watchers, South Beach, Chew and Spit, cigarette and diet coke, etc...so being that I am on a constant diet....except for the occasional Jalapeno Cheeseburger with fries at 3am in the hotel room while in vegas...but I gotta have a life ya know...anywho, I often have to modify my order when I eat out....to mutilate the chefs creations into something that the current diet agenda will allow...So when I make it a point to say, "Can I have extra salad and no potatoes" and you nod your head in a realitive manner that suggests you understand the language I am speaking then I expect when my dinner comes that the spuds missed the plate....but oh no, there they are....golden, and crispy, course salt gently resting on each stalk like dew drops on a fall mighty red oak...can you now see why I have a love affair with food? Anyway, what pisses me off about the whole thing is when they are like " Oh sorry, its OK you can go ahead and keep them"....oh well thank you your graciousness for offering to let me keep something that I obviously detested enough to ask for it not to even be put on my plate...I will covet this gift accordingly....I swear, next time that happens I am going to grab them up in my hand and fling them at the server in a way only paralleled by BoBo the poo-flinging-Zoo-Monkey. Cause what inevidibly happens is that I do not have the will power to say no, or I obviously wouldnt be in a situation where I need to be dieting, so I end up eating just the tip of one...and then its all downhill from there until there is half a bottle of ketchup missing and I have had a weeks worth of carbs....only to be followed by the guilt for slipping on my diet....so I blame you Flo.....you are the one who forces me to have this spare tire.....YOU....I Buh-Laaaaaaame YOU! *says the carb addict through a tear stained face* aaaaaaand scene

Jim said...

I'm a 20% tipper and your numbers 2 and 3 are worth a 5% reduction each, as is at any point in the meal having an empty water or tea glass.

Victoria is only a wee bit crazy said...

Last Thursday at Stephen Pyles at lunch. I asked for a lemonaid, twice. It never came. I gave in and drank water. The bill came, lemonaid was on it. Not to be picky, but I had them take it off. Yes, its a lemonaid and really only $2, but its the principle.

Anonymous said...

On the other hand...the C-man and I often have dinner at The Dream Cafe before going to Theatre Three. We always tell our server that we have plenty of time, open our Dallas Observers, and enjoy a leisurely meal. Drinks arrive promptly (refills, too, for C's iced tea), then appetizers. And our server asks us to let him/her know when to put in our dinner order. It's always a lovely meal, never rushed. You should check it out!
Mom

Food Czar said...

C&S, was that really your Mom who made that last comment? She sounds so cool!! I totally love her idea for a leisurely repast. By the way, you can tell her that I did five (I think) shows at Theatre Three back in the day when I was an actor. In fact, Jac Alder was my first acting coach!!!

Classy&Sassy said...

Yep, that was indeed my Mom and she is, indeed, cool :)

luniz said...

I dunno, I don't let meaningless little details like that bother me. Why stress? OTOH I was at the Tavern in Austin Saturday night...took an hour to get hamburgers, we literally had to chase the waitress down every time we got something...what's up with the refusal to acknowledge your presence? Is it really that hard to say "it's coming" or "I forgot to put your order in"? Thank god there were 3 football games on..

The Other Robin said...

My pet peeve is when the appetizers and entree are delivered to your table nearly on top of each other. I really hate that; it destroys the experience for those of us trying to sip our wine and savor the experience. There should be a law or something.