01 March 2009

"I miss you when I am away" --Scorpions

Hello darlings,

It is a crazy time. I am heading to Florida to make a presentation that I shouldn't be making. I an not the person to speak at this conference but, here I am, speaking at this conference. You understand?

It's not like anyone says "Gee, LA is the most well-versed person on this topic" or even "Gee, LA is such a terrific speaker it doesn't matter what we throw at her." No. We are five of us heading to this conference and everyone else is kicking back and enjoying a trip to Florida. Everyone except me.

Because in my case, they say, "Man, I don't want to do this and you don't want to do this and yet we have to have somebody do this. Do you suppose we could get LA to do this?"

And so they ask.

And I say "What the hell, I'll give it a shot" and I do it. Not because I should but because I'm willing. It doesn't bode well.

And meanwhile, I'm thinking that it's been over two weeks since I've had a normal night's sleep. By normal, that is to say, two weeks since I haven't woken up in a blind panic or spent 4 out of 8 hours lying awake with my brain churning. Crazy. Maybe more than two weeks. Who can keep track?

What I've really wanted to write about, but haven't managed to defrag my brain enough to write about, is that I am troubled by a few different trends in waitstaff behavior.

First, why is writing down stuff a bad thing? No, really, tell me why!

Remember when a waitstaff type person would write down your order and you'd get what you wanted and everyone would be happy? No, really... remember? Don't toy with me. It happened. I remember it. Fondly.

Yet these days, it seems any decent restaurant has a waitstaff person that would rather slit their own throat than write down your order. No, they'll just memorize it. Unless they can't. In which case, if you're lucky, they'll come by to ask "Did you have the filet of sole or the grouper?" because they just flippin' can't remember. Or they'll just bring you the wrong thing and hope that's okay. Why? WHY?? Why can't they write it down??!?!

And, as long as we're at it, what is this trend where waitstaff feel compelled to tell you what they like? This has happened a LOT lately.

Me: Mmm, I think I'll have the Shrimp Fra Diavolo.

Waitress: Ooo, good choice! That's one of my favorites! I love that!!

Um, okay. Why is that important? Why do I care if that's the waitress' favorite? It's one thing to point out what's a popular dish among patrons or the chef's specialty but I have had a waiter go through the menu pointing out every single thing he, personally, liked. As if this, in some way, will correlate with what I like. Oh, I was going to get the calamari but since you didn't list it among your favorites, that's right out now.


fiona said...

LOL I thunk tey onbly higher the dyslectics...sometimes ones with bad recall!
wv - Phartyl - invitation to a dyslectic party! ( GO WV! LOL)

LBluca77 said...

You know that bothers me too when they don't write it down. Especially when they have the pen and paper ready. Um ok why do you have it out like you are going to write down my order then you don't?

Celia said...

They spend more time around this food than customers do, so they know how its prepared, if the ingredients are fresh, etc...

Plus waitstaff are constantly asked by customers "what is good" on the menu.
"What have you had? Is _____ good?"

And it happens more than not that they ask you your preference between two items, and then go with the one you didn't choose.

At least she was perky and not soul crushed.

Fearless in Toronto said...

Although I am sure you don't need it...good luck at the conference! Public speaking is a personal phobia of my own, and I find it commendable when anyone is able to overcome that fear and just go for it.

Matt said...

I think your lack of sleep is making you cranky toward waiters.

Im just happy so long as they dont spit in my food.

f.B said...

Good luck.

And memorizing what I want doesn't usually impress; unless there are a bunch of us at a table.

repliderium.com said...

have a couple of whiskeys before your conference.

Mike said...

So that's what the comment was all about at 2am this morning.

Wv - conneti - A very small part of Connecticut.

Barbara said...

I don't think literacy is still a criterion for being a waiter/waitress these days. English is sometimes overlooked as well.

lacochran said...

Fiona: I wonder if they're allowed to write things down or what...

LBluca77: So confusing.

Celia: Actually, the way I relayed it here, she did nothing wrong. She was just pleasant. I'm a little out of it.

Fearless in Toronto: Send me good vibes on Wednesday afternoon. I'll need it.

Matt: Good point. Not just toward waiters. I am a crankapalooza these days.

f.B: Thanks. I'd much rather be impressed with getting what we ordered than that the waitstaff remembered what we said.

Repliderium.com: It just makes good sense.

Mike: Was I at least witty? Who knows.

Barbara: Sometimes that sounds more appealing. Not so much into the chatty Cathys and Carls.

LiLu said...

I had no shame about writing things down when I was a server. I've always been a proponent of saving my brain space for much more important things. Like how to sneak booze from the bartender.

Titania said...

I have a problem with the non-writing waiters too... probably because I am a bit difficult and usually ask for some "variation" on the selected dish such as no onion and/or dressing on the side or to change the blue cheese for something a bit less smelly... Thus, in most cases they will mess up something, in addition to the bill, which will show up with stuff I did not order of something of the sort... really, is writing the order such a challenging and difficult task? Or is the lack of writing a new high adrenaline sport I did not know about?

Anyways, have a great trip and good luck in that conference!

Alex said...

People often ask waitstaff whether they like a specific dish. I wonder about this question -- will most waiters really tell a customer not to get something?

I do recall, though, ordering a meal at Fado and the bartender saying (without me even asking) "I think that tastes like sh**."

Anyway, if I get a recommendation from staff, I sometimes will heed it for the reasons Celia cites. If I sense that it's sincere and informed, and not just a hollow marketing attempt.

Good luck on the presentation, just imagine they're all in their underwear :D

emma said...

Even when I wrote things down, I screwed up orders. I'm just happy now when the food is edible, the credit card doesn't bounce, and I don't find myself puking through my nose two hours later. One more reason to hire a personal chef and never leave the house.

fiona said...

Ok it's been 5 days! 5 days since you posted! I'm suffering withdrawal symptoms here...come back soon??
Oh btw, glad the "evil twin" managed to keep up with her reading :-)

lacochran said...

Lilu: Because you have good priorities!

Titania: I prefer "delightfully eccentric" to "a bit difficult". And, thanks! I survived it.

Alex: Good points. I got through the presentation. Not stellar but they didn't fire me, either. So, that's something. AND, while I was there we went out to dinner, and the waiter immediately volunteered what his favorite thing on the menu was. :)

Emma: You've puked through your nose? That's talent.

Fiona: You're so sweet to miss me! I've been decompressing since the trip. I'll try to get my brain together enough to post something. Back in the saddle, and all that...

Mike said...

Your comment have been stuck at 13 forever. I was go to put another one here just to change the count. All of a sudden 16! Soon to be 17.

If I can sit here and avoid life to comment, you can post. Start with all the meeting you attended.

Wv- pardo - IT'S DON!