So, I admittedly went mental with my last blog post, and it ended up being more of it’s own entity than a tangent or aside… but I think it may give you a little background of what’s going through my head in addition to the regular shock & horror that’s surely intended by the writers/submitters/vloggers of the matters that I’d like to discuss here. Maybe it’s a part in a series. I never know exactly where this will go. Now that you know about my allergy and how it affects me mentally, we can get on with the rest of the issues at hand.
I have had several discussions with friends who have worked in the food industry (as I have not) about kitchen cleanliness issues, server attitudes, and just service in general. I have a site 90% or so ready to go called Fast Food Fail that I eventually hope to get up n’ running… to point out service issues that I seem to think should not be accepted. I have been told it’s ridiculous because it’s “only fast food” and that “people working there don’t care” or “don’t make enough money to care.” Fair enough. But, I feel this is laziness. It’s laziness on the part of the food preparer & servers, and laziness on the part of the consumer that just sits back & takes it. I wanted to focus on fast food because it fits my price range, schedule, and it’s easy to avoid shellfish there… but these articles seem to go from fast food to diners to sit down chains all the way up to the high end places.
Before I go on, a bit of a disclaimer: It’s been pointed out to me by a few that some of the statements I’m about to quote may be exaggerated for comedic effect shock value, and what-not…. and that this “doesn’t really happen” anywhere. Okay. Opinions noted. I’m sure my opinions will swing just as far the other way. A few of my dining pet peeves may even jump out here.
Okay… as I was saying… Sunday night, I sit down to check my email and I get a link to a Yahoo! news article from their home page that makes me wretch in disgust. It’s called 20 Secrets Your Waiter Will Never Tell You. After reading, and clicking through several links around the various sites (you know how it goes), I found 30 Secrets Your Waiter Will Never Tell You — Which seems to be an earlier longer version of the same article by Michelle Crouch. I’m just going to quote then rant.
Here, from a group that clears a median $8.01 an hour in wages and tips, a few revelations that aren’t on any menu.
Am I to feel sorry because these people make $8.01 per hour? I have always done the job I was hired to do to the best of my ability no matter what the pay. It’s the set rate accepted by you the minute you took the job for the services rendered. If you feel that your time and effort deserve more compensation, then move on. Don’t give me the “it’s the only job I ca get” crap either… because i it is, then suck it up, and do it to the best of your ability so you’ll be in that mode when something more worth of you comes along. And, I haven’t worked food service… but I have done construction demolition & labor, cleaned offices for extra cash, and worked on an assembly line… all “menial” and labor-intensive tasks.
2. On Christmas Day, when people ask why I’m there, I might say, “My sister’s been in the hospital,” or, “My brother’s off to war, so we’re celebrating when he gets back.” Then I rake in the tips.
—Chris, a New York City waiter and the founder of bitterwaitress.com
Thanks, you just made me less inclined to believe any back story of any servery anywhere. I’m sure they’ll all thank you for that. (Just like the geniuses that say they have a food allergy when they really don’t… but I might get to those people later.)
4. If someone orders a frozen drink that’s annoying to make, I’ll say, “Oh, we’re out. Sorry!” when really I just don’t want to make it. But if you order water instead of another drink, suddenly we do have what you originally wanted because I don’t want to lose your drink on the bill.
—Waitress at a casual Mexican restaurant in Manhattan
Annoying to make? How about you DO YOUR JOB? I don’t go to work and lie to customers because they’re annoying or it’s annoying to do what they’re calling to ask me to do… I DO IT, because it’s why I’m there. You should pick up this attitude too. If I’m at a restaurant, and it’s on the menu, I damn well better be able to order it. (This is the standard with Milkshakes at McDonald’s I think. I can’t remember the last time I had one. The McDonald’s shake machine repair man must be more elusive than bigfoot riding a unicorn.) If you’re out or it.s broken or something, there better be a preemptive note in the menu or a verbal notice when I sit down.
5. When I was at one bakery restaurant, they used to make this really yummy peach cobbler in a big tray. A lot of times, servers don’t have time to eat. So we all kept a fork in our aprons, and as we cruised through the kitchen, we’d stick our fork in the cobbler and take a bite. We’d use the same fork each time.
7. I’ve seen some horrible things done to people’s food: steaks dropped on the floor, butter dipped in the dishwater.
—Waiter at a casual restaurant in the Chicago area
I hope this is the shock value/comedic effect stuff that people are telling me is entirely fictional. Where would this be acceptable? Now, you see why I worry about cross contamination so much.
6. If you make a big fuss about sending your soup back because it’s not hot enough, we like to take your spoon and run it under really hot water, so when you put the hot spoon in your mouth, you’re going to get the impression—often the very painful impression—that your soup is indeed hot.
Thanks for giving the idea to like minded individuals out there, Chris. I’ll remember to hold on to my spoon if I ever have the need to send soup back. I’m generally afraid to ever send anythign back… urban legends like this, and the movies Waiting… and Road Trip “French Toast” scene are why.
10. Oh, you needed more water so badly, you had to snap or tap or whistle? I’ll be right back … in ten minutes.
Good point, that’s just stupid behavior. I have no idea why anyone anywhere would find this to be acceptable.
13. Sometimes, if you’ve been especially nice to me, I’ll tell the bartender, “Give me a frozen margarita, and don’t put it in.” That totally gyps the company, but it helps me because you’ll give it back to me in tips, and the management won’t know the difference.
—Waitress at a casual Mexican restaurant in Manhattan
Used to get free soup at Eat ‘n Park this way when I worked night shift nearby. I always tipped the value of the soup plus some.
19. Trust your waitress. Say something like “Hey, it’s our first time in. We want you to create an experience for us. Here’s our budget.” Your server will go crazy for you.
— Charity Ohlund
After reading all the rest of this stuff, I’m supposed to trust the waitress?
22. When you say, “I’ll have the pasta Alfredo,” it tells me two things: You aren’t interested in trying new things, and you don’t eat out much. Restaurants put this dish on their menus because it’s “safe,” it sells, and it’s cheap to make.
Or you’re me at an Olive Garden where the Pasta Alfredo is the only thing besides the salad, breadsticks, and pizza that isn’t a possible cross-contamination induced death by anaphylaxis.
28. If you’re worried about cleanliness, check out the bathroom. If the bathroom is gross, you can be sure the kitchen is much worse.
—Waitress at a well-known pizza chain
6. If you have a food allergy, you will talk about it in great detail and then each time I set a new plate in front of you, you will ask me if I remembered your food allergy.
Offense taken. I get, this list was to be cute & funny… but I make the waitress aware of my allergy once, or sometimes my wife even does it because she knows I’m already on edge, and we never feel the need to mention it a second time. Sometimes the manager comes out, sometimes the waitress is very understanding and reassuring. I hope they’re not pulling the wool over my eyes just to get a bigger tip. And, if it could kill you, you might be a little on edge about it too! And… even if you have an epi pen… it’s not a life saver, its’s a time buyer… it gives you a good 20 maybe 30 minutes for the EMT’s to arrive & give you another dose until they can get you to the hospital.
That aside, poking around that site more & more, it is entertaining and well written… and I don’t get a malicious feel behind any of the posts. I guess everyone needs to vent, but in that spirit, I feel free to vent back.
Wow all that in response to just the one article. I think this just because a series… because I have other pet peeves involved with dining out including tips and closing times… and I came accross many more disturbing revelations in some of the articles/links. Maybe I’ll pop them all into the next one.