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!