Friday, August 15, 2003

NOT TO PISS OFF the Waitstaff American Community or anything, but just how much drama can you inject into the act of carrying a plate from one place to another?

I'm watching "The Restaurant," the NBC reality series about the launch of chef Rocco DiSpirito's Italian place in New York. I'm seeing waiters and waitresses refuse to follow simple directions or use common sense and then wonder why they're being fired or reassigned. I saw one employee complain that being nice to people just wasn't her style -- but she should be gainfully employed in the service industry anyway.

I'm not saying that waiting tables is an easy job, but it is a simple job. There's a difference. A lot of highly technical jobs are easy for those who know how to do them -- but far from simple, so few people have such knowledge. Rolling massive boulders uphill? Simple! Not easy. I put waiting tables in that category. I don't have any desire to do it, but I'd do it if I had to, and I'd do it well. I'd write down what people order and then bring it to them. None of this "I can remember" crap. I'd suppress my own ego and not fall into the drama-queen trap of taking everything personally; being nice to problem patrons isn't my style either, but it would be my job.

(And, for the record, I'm anything but a problem patron.)

NOT TO SUCK UP to the Waitstaff American Community or anything, but I do think a tip for a nice dinner at a sit-down restaurant should generally be more than two bucks. In fact, I think a tip at the kind of restaurant where one leaves tips should be at least $2, even if the check is only $6 or $7.

The Food Network's "40 a Day" is predicated on cheapness, but I can't believe the lengths to which host Rachael "Mmmmmmmm" Ray takes this when it comes to tips. She basically tips 10 percent, no rounding up, no matter what the tab is. At Jaleo, the D.C. tapas bar, she ordered a couple of dishes (no drink -- another thing that bugs me about the show) that came to something like $16, and her tip was something like $1.60. For dinner!

(By the way, Rachaaaaaaaeeeeyl, I know you're not the only one with parents who can't spell, but the name pronounced "Rachel" is spelled "Rachel.")

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