DO YOU LIKE to eat in restaurants? Personally, I would rather eat in a restaurant than eat in my house, except for snacks, that would be a giant pain in the ass, to have to get it together and go out to the Snackstaurant, you know? Also, if it hasn’t been invented yet, I invented Snackstaurant™ and Snackstaurant© and SNAXTAURANT™© if you don’t know how to spell. Anyway, I enjoy restaurants.
My one grandmother—I had two, as far as I know— never ate in a restaurant even one time in her whole life, ever. She used to grow her own vegetables and bake her own bread and make her own ice cream, even, so I think she mighta been a certain-type Control Freak, but as much as I enjoy restaurants, I never had a bad meal at her house, respect.
Restaurants, however! My favorite place in the whole United States of America, Inc. to eat in a restaurant is New York City. They have all kinds of restaurants and here’s the thing, they have people who work in restaurants, who wait on you at your table, and they do it as their Career. Adult Waiters! These heroes are professionals at what they do. The finest Adult Waiters don’t talk to you a lot when you meet them for the first time, they know the answers to your questions about the food, they get your fucking order right, and they don’t bother you at your table with stupid fucking questions like “You still working on that?” They take an empty dish away without asking, they top off the water glass, they don’t bring the goddamn courses out too fast and give you the bumrush while you’re just getting started on your Old Fashioned. They know, because they Observe you from across the room. They are dialed-in to when your head comes up from chowing down on your meal and you’re looking around for another cocktail or more bread or something.
The Adult Waiter has a very chill vibe. They are not out to impress you, and they are not worried about any aspect of you and your personality and your life outside of what you would like to eat and drink. They are Focused on their task. It is not their Mission in Life to wait on you, it is their Job, and they are Professionals. They don’t give a shit about you, they care about The Job.
One of the few times I saw an Adult Waiter lose it was at a large Beach Community restaurant, one of those semi-fancy places where the dress code is like NO TANK TOPS and that’s about it. People wearing blazers and nice dresses and stuff. Captains hats, you know. We were walking in getting ready to think about food and talk about food and have some food, and a party of affluently dressed Beach Community types were walking out, and by Beach Community types I mean they looked like they had a buncha dough and owned a beach residence, as opposed to people like me who rent. It’s pretty much like that movie Summer Rental starring the late John Candy, and, as the Bad Guy, the late Richard Crenna, who was the guy in First Blood (the first Rambo movie) who told Rambo (portrayed by Sylvester Stallone) that it was over, Johnny. Then Sylvester Stallone did a bunch of actoring, whoof. Anyway, this party of Owners was strolling out into the parking lot, and then from around the back of the restaurant, an Adult Waiter, wearing a waiter jacket, hurried out and caught up with them and verbally tore them a new one for a shitty tip. The Adult Waiter said they had been Adult Waitering for 15 years and never had they been disrespected in this manner, to receive such a miniscule tip for attending to them for hours (emphasis the Adult Waiter who was speaking—not even hollering or even really much of a loud voice other than a certain level of emotion), and this is how they make their living and the job is for tips, not wages, and they said they weren’t even worried about getting a decent tip at this point, they just wanted to say that this is not how you treat people who take care of you.
I know, that’s how rich people get rich, they fuck people over, but I never forgot that person standing out there in that parking lot lecturing a buncha cheap fucks and the mostly even-tempered way they stated their disappointment and I figured they didn’t care about getting fired or anything, this was a self-respect thing, nobody who takes their Profession seriously is gonna take shit like that, and if they get fired, no biggie, they got skills and they’ll find another place.
So they are the best, the Adult Waiters, and they are why everybody complains about Fast Food, because most of the time at a Fast Foodery, you are not getting a waiter, you are getting a clerk, a teenager, who is not focused. They are mad at their job and by extension they are mad at you, the customer, because the job does not pay well, and they have no reason to be good with customers, like, to maybe get tips, so they are just doing their time, and their head is anywhere but in a place concerned with courtesy or even paying attention. I keep hearing about Quiet Quitting and stuff, but, like where are the Quiet quitting? I bet it’s at places that don’t pay well and don’t have good health care and benefits and stuff, not just shitty burger factories.
Meanwhile, as crappy as most of these Youths are at caring about your food service, they are not responsible for the food part, so consider tipping the next time you are at a Fast Food, just to surprise somebody, and really, c’mon, you knew what you were getting into when you decided to get food that is presented as a buncha numbers instead of food names. Never order a Number Two!
The MR. WRONG COLUMN is a general-interest column appearing weekly wherever it can appear. No refunds. Write Wrong: firstname.lastname@example.org
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