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Obnoxious Restaurant Behavior: Not Just Kids


ingridsf
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I'm usually able to get by with just a meaningful look, but in a busy informal place the "air check" seems to be a universal gesture.

Nothing worse than waiting-for-the-check jail. No one should ever feel obligated to wave to get a waiters attention, the waiter should be attentively gauging the progress of his tables.

But who hasn't been left to molder for a half hour or more after the end of a meal, waiting for someone to appear.

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To lighten the mood in this thread a little, another experience I had in this business.

Some of the most obnoxious people I have met are politicians.

You would think that being in a public position and having to get your job through what amounts to a popularity contest, they would act better.

I was working an oyster bar in Toronto in the early 90's when a well known cabinet minister and his date came in for dinner.

The place was packed with people and we had about 10 people waiting for tables, not uncommon at a place that only seats about 40 people.

I was working the door and making sure the people waiting had a drink and I dropped off some marinated mussels for them to snack on while waiting.

The cabinet minister grabs my arm as soon as I walk up to him and starts to demand that he and his date be seated as soon as possible as they are going to a show and are in a hurry.

I replied that a couple of people ahead of him were in the same boat and that we would do our best to look after everyone.

The he asks me the question that I love the best, "Do you know who I am?"

He whips out his business card and literally throws it at me.

I looked at it while I tried to think of a way to respond to this asshole that didn't involve police, lawyers and jail time.

I composed myself and then said, "Oh, my apologies, sir. I didn't recognize you."

"So, you're the minister in charge of Consumer Affairs and what you are telling me is that you want to get in front of all these other tax paying consumers because you're the minister?"

I did happen to say it loud enough for the rest of the line to hear me.

He start to sputter and turn red and before he could say another word, I kicked the front door open and told him that I was missing him already.

"I'm going to call the owner and get you fired!" He screamed in my face.

I calmly gave him the owner's home phone number and wrote it down and my name for him and then asked him again to leave.

He finally left and the rest of the people actually started clapping and slapping me on the back, thanking me.

The owner, upon receiving his call thought he was getting an obscene phone call and hung up on him.

He also congratulated me on handling the situation the way he would have.

"Why then, the world is mine oyster, which I with sword, shall open."

William Shakespeare-The Merry Wives of Windsor

"An oyster is a French Kiss that goes all the way." Rodney Clark

"Oyster shuckers are the rock stars of the shellfish industry." Jason Woodside

"Obviously, if you don't love life, you can't enjoy an oyster."

Eleanor Clark

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They key to pulling it off with aplomb is to 1) meet the server's eye casually but directly as you would if you were asking them to come to the table and 2) do it with a minimum of flourish -- you're asking for the check, not conducting Wagner or making a statement.

I've always found a pleasant smile helps as well. :biggrin:

Could this be a cultural thing? I feel like I picked this up in Europe, where people are more likely to linger at tables. It never occurred to me that it's rude, but I guess in some circles it is.

Todd A. Price aka "TAPrice"

Homepage and writings; A Frolic of My Own (personal blog)

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But who hasn't been left to molder for a half hour or more after the end of a meal, waiting for someone to appear.

The obnoxious behavior was our own.

Met some friends with their kids for breakfast at a diner.

We finished the meal and were waiting for the check, getting impatient, waiting for the check, getting madder by the minute. The struggle to keep the kids from wandering around the restaurant from boredom was becoming fierce.

We finally got the attention of our waitress and asked her for the check.

She leaned forward and, like a magician, plucked the check up from the middle of the table where it'd been sitting for the last hour or so. Granted, it was propped up between the condiments and the jelly holder, but we still felt foolish to say the least. No one in our party saw her place it there.

We left a big tip for taking up her table for such a long time waiting for a check that was already there.

 

“Peter: Oh my god, Brian, there's a message in my Alphabits. It says, 'Oooooo.'

Brian: Peter, those are Cheerios.”

– From Fox TV’s “Family Guy”

 

Tim Oliver

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But who hasn't been left to molder for a half hour or more after the end of a meal, waiting for someone to appear.

The obnoxious behavior was our own.

Met some friends with their kids for breakfast at a diner.

We finished the meal and were waiting for the check, getting impatient, waiting for the check, getting madder by the minute. The struggle to keep the kids from wandering around the restaurant from boredom was becoming fierce.

We finally got the attention of our waitress and asked her for the check.

She leaned forward and, like a magician, plucked the check up from the middle of the table where it'd been sitting for the last hour or so. Granted, it was propped up between the condiments and the jelly holder, but we still felt foolish to say the least. No one in our party saw her place it there.

We left a big tip for taking up her table for such a long time waiting for a check that was already there.

Goes to show that not all obnoxious behavior is on purpose! :laugh:

John Sconzo, M.D. aka "docsconz"

"Remember that a very good sardine is always preferable to a not that good lobster."

- Ferran Adria on eGullet 12/16/2004.

Docsconz - Musings on Food and Life

Slow Food Saratoga Region - Co-Founder

Twitter - @docsconz

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I guess I still have this pet peeve from my table waiting days, but it bugs the crap out of me when someone does not order a drink (lemonade in this case) and then proceeds to make their own by ordering a LOT of lemon with their 'water' and extra Sweet and Low. Customers have asked me for bowl after bowl of lemons for their 'water'. Sheesh...buy a damn lemonade!
lemonaid is likely filled with high fructose corn syrup and no lemon. quite different than water with lemon juice and sweet and low. sounds like a good idea actually.

Right. My father is on a sugar-restricted diet, but doesn´t like the various artificial sugars. He´s tried lemonade in every restaurant we go to, and it´s always too thick, way too sweet, too heavy, too cloying, too syrupy. Not to mention that most of it tastes like it´s got "lemon flavoring," instead of real lemon juice. He likes a very light lemonade, more like what the Mexicans call an "agua fresca," very light on the lemon, and very light on the sugar.

He´d be happy to order this type of lemonade and pay for it if any restaurants offered it. Which none that I´m familiar with do.

So he makes his own. One or two wedges of lemon, one packet of sugar.

Good for him, I say.

I don't understand why rappers have to hunch over while they stomp around the stage hollering.  It hurts my back to watch them. On the other hand, I've been thinking that perhaps I should start a rap group here at the Old Folks' Home.  Most of us already walk like that.

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Two comments I'll add.

I understand that people have medical conditions that cause them to gasp, snort sputter, hack and even fart.

I would not suggest that they not be allowed to dine out.

On the other hand, why should people who go to a nice place be expected to simply sit by and have their meal disrupted.

If it were me with the condition, I would ask to be seated in a quieter part of the restaurant, so as not to offend nearby diners, and not take the attitude that its a medical condition, so deal with it.

The next happened just last week..

I'm busy in the kitchen and this young server comes back and askes if we can make an egg white omelet. (Ordinarily we do not, offering Egg Beaters instead).

The server informs the customer, who in turn tells her , and I qoute..

"You WILL make me the omelet, I want two egg whites and one whole egg, and do not make it dry"!

The server comes back nearly in tears, not wanting to offend the customer and lose a potential tip.

I relent and tell her, okay I'll make it.

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Giving the diner exactly what they request if at all possible is what is done in private clubs and some very high-end restaurants. So maybe tolerance depends on cash flow.

:smile:

(Duh. Hadn't had my coffee yet when posting that. Almost forgot that joke about the short man who became so much more attractive when he stood upon his over-stuffed wallet. :laugh: )

Edited by Carrot Top (log)
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Two comments I'll add.

I understand that people have medical conditions that cause them to gasp, snort sputter, hack and even fart.

I would not suggest that they not be allowed to dine out.

On the other hand, why should people who go to a nice place be expected to simply sit by and have their meal disrupted.

If it were me with the condition, I would ask to be seated in a quieter part of the restaurant, so as not to offend nearby diners, and not take the attitude that its a medical condition, so deal with it.

The next happened just last week..

I'm busy in the kitchen and this young server comes back and askes if we can make an egg white omelet. (Ordinarily we do not, offering Egg Beaters instead).

The server informs the customer, who in turn tells her , and I qoute..

"You WILL make me the omelet, I want two egg whites and one whole egg, and do not make it dry"!

The server comes back nearly in tears, not wanting to offend the customer and lose a potential tip.

I relent and tell her, okay I'll make it.

When shit like this happens where I work I start fantasizing about working in a place that would throw someone out if they behaved like that.

A special request is fine. If I've got the materials and the means to make it for them, fine. When the start making demands is when I wish I could draw the line with some people.

Although, I do find it kind of strange when someone comes into my restaurant knowing what to expect and wants something that flat out not on the menu. I accept that I'm a servant but if they wanted a pesto pasta with lobster then why the hell didn't they go to an Italian restaurant? Polynesian's aren't exactly known for their pesto.

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Last night I was having dinner when the woman at the table next to me decided to "freshen" her perfume. Not only was if overpowering, but it didn't even smell that good. It absolutely ruined any taste the wine I was drinking had. Thank goodness I had finished my food by then.

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Two comments I'll add.

I understand that people have medical conditions that cause them to gasp, snort sputter, hack and even fart.

I would not suggest that they not be allowed to dine out.

On the other hand, why should people who go to a nice place be expected to simply sit by and have their meal disrupted.

If it were me with the condition, I would ask to be seated in a quieter part of the restaurant, so as not to offend nearby diners, and not take the attitude that its a medical condition, so deal with it.

The next happened just last week..

I'm busy in the kitchen and this young server comes back and askes if we can make an egg white omelet. (Ordinarily we do not, offering Egg Beaters instead).

The server informs the customer, who in turn tells her , and I qoute..

"You WILL make me the omelet, I want two egg whites and one whole egg, and do not make it dry"!

The server comes back nearly in tears, not wanting to offend the customer and lose a potential tip.

I relent and tell her, okay I'll make it.

When shit like this happens where I work I start fantasizing about working in a place that would throw someone out if they behaved like that.

A special request is fine. If I've got the materials and the means to make it for them, fine. When the start making demands is when I wish I could draw the line with some people.

Although, I do find it kind of strange when someone comes into my restaurant knowing what to expect and wants something that flat out not on the menu. I accept that I'm a servant but if they wanted a pesto pasta with lobster then why the hell didn't they go to an Italian restaurant? Polynesian's aren't exactly known for their pesto.

I agree, even though I know it's petty of me, but I do try to accommodate reasonable requests where possible, but when they start turning into demands... well that's when my hackles rise.

There are way too many people out there with the impression that we've got Wolfgang Puck sitting on a milk crate out back just waiting for them to show up.

Edited by The Apostate (log)

I'm so awesome I don't even need a sig...Oh wait...SON OF A...

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To those of you for whom compassion trumps self-absorption, my thanks for your benificent presence in the world.

To those of you who imagine that unpleasant and potentially offensive health problems will never affect you and those you love, well, you're in for a rude awakening. You may be a perfectly charming restaurant-goer today and drooling tomorrow. Life's like that.

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I'd feel out of place waving for the check.

I always signal when I've caught their eye by signing my hand, they don't have to come over and I get my check quicker. If I couldn't catch their eye, say it was busy, and I was in a rush I'd go and ask for one.

Time flies like an arrow, fruit flies like a banana.

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To those of you for whom compassion trumps self-absorption, my thanks for your benificent presence in the world. 

To those of you who imagine that unpleasant and potentially offensive health problems will never affect you and those you love, well, you're in for a rude awakening.  You may be a perfectly charming restaurant-goer today and drooling tomorrow.  Life's like that.

How sweet of you to wish that on us! You're a darling.

Tell me, how is my desire to eat a nice meal without constant snorting, coughing, and body-noise making a lack of compassion? I'm not denying these people anything. Look at things from the other angle. If somebody were to do something offensive while YOU were eating, would you enjoy it? I find loud body noises offensive. Just because the person is sick doesn't make it any less annoying. And, forcing me to listen to it (not to mention the very real potential for spreading germs, thanks) is just plain rude. It has nothing to do with compassion.

And how dare you call me self-absorbed. We all look out for our self interests, some of us are honest enough to admit it. I would never tell a sick person to leave, but I don't have to enjoy their ill snorting. If you find that sort of thing enjoyable, more power to you, but I am sure there is something that would annoy you during a meal. Simply because that thing isn't "a sick person" doesn't imply that you have more compassion than me. It just means you are bothered by different things than me.

"It's better to burn out than to fade away"-Neil Young

"I think I hear a dingo eating your baby"-Bart Simpson

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To those of you for whom compassion trumps self-absorption, my thanks for your benificent presence in the world. 

To those of you who imagine that unpleasant and potentially offensive health problems will never affect you and those you love, well, you're in for a rude awakening.  You may be a perfectly charming restaurant-goer today and drooling tomorrow.  Life's like that.

How sweet of you to wish that on us! You're a darling.

I know Abra is perfectly capable of defending herslef, but you need to read her post again. NOWHERE did she wish any of that upon you or anyone else. She merely pointed out that none of us could possibly know what the future has in store for us. Who knows when we or our loved ones will get sick? Do you know you and your dearest will be in perfect health forever?

We all look out for our self interests, some of us are honest enough to admit it. I would never tell a sick person to leave, but I don't have to enjoy their ill snorting. If you find that sort of thing enjoyable, more power to you, but I am sure there is something that would annoy you during a meal. Simply because that thing isn't "a sick person" doesn't imply that you have more compassion than me.

Actually, it means exactly that. People who are sick aren't sick to annoy people, or because they think it's a fun thing to be, or because they want to make the rest of the world revolve around themselves.

No, you don't have to enjoy the effects of someone's illness--NO ONE has said that you do. But you don't have to complain about them, either, nor do you have to think of the person as an "annoyance". By doing either of those things, yes, it does indicate that you lack compassion.

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To those of you for whom compassion trumps self-absorption, my thanks for your benificent presence in the world. 

To those of you who imagine that unpleasant and potentially offensive health problems will never affect you and those you love, well, you're in for a rude awakening.  You may be a perfectly charming restaurant-goer today and drooling tomorrow.  Life's like that.

How sweet of you to wish that on us! You're a darling.

I know Abra is perfectly capable of defending herslef, but you need to read her post again. NOWHERE did she wish any of that upon you or anyone else. She merely pointed out that none of us could possibly know what the future has in store for us. Who knows when we or our loved ones will get sick? Do you know you and your dearest will be in perfect health forever?

We all look out for our self interests, some of us are honest enough to admit it. I would never tell a sick person to leave, but I don't have to enjoy their ill snorting. If you find that sort of thing enjoyable, more power to you, but I am sure there is something that would annoy you during a meal. Simply because that thing isn't "a sick person" doesn't imply that you have more compassion than me.

Actually, it means exactly that. People who are sick aren't sick to annoy people, or because they think it's a fun thing to be, or because they want to make the rest of the world revolve around themselves.

No, you don't have to enjoy the effects of someone's illness--NO ONE has said that you do. But you don't have to complain about them, either, nor do you have to think of the person as an "annoyance". By doing either of those things, yes, it does indicate that you lack compassion.

Rona: thank you so very much for saying exactly what I would have liked to say if I had more time. There, but for the grace of God, go I.

Cheers,

Carolyn

"If more of us valued food and cheer and song above hoarded gold, it would be a merrier world."

J.R.R. Tolkien

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This thread is becoming personal, unpleasant and off-topic. I'm sending it to its corner for a standing eight count and revisiting in the morning.

I'm on the pavement

Thinking about the government.

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