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Rosie

Restaurant/Bar Annoyances

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Yes. It is *all* about the attitude of the parents. I was taken out to eat, at everything from diners to white-linen establishments, from the time I was old enough to walk. If I misbehaved, I was taken outside and given a chance to think about my behavior. If it persisted, WE ALL LEFT. All of us, my parents and me (I'm sure the servers/kitchen were compensated well for the early exits.....). It (dining out, even at Mickey D's) was presented to me as a treat, and a privilege, but it was also understood there was a code of acceptable behavior that went along with that privilege. If I didn't choose to comply, I didn't get the benefits. I was a smart kid. I learned quick. I liked the service, and I liked good food, and I liked the change from routine that restaurants of any kind offered, and so I learned to reign it in while in polite company. A whole load of parents these days just don't get that.


--Roberta--

"Let's slip out of these wet clothes, and into a dry Martini" - Robert Benchley

Pierogi's eG Foodblog

My *outside* blog, "A Pound Of Yeast"

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Pierogi, that's spot-on! We have a 10-month old who I hope will go through this process in due course. It's exactly how I was raised, and I also learned quickly that if I wanted the treat I had to keep up my side of the bargain. The only problem now is that so many parents have ruined it, you may not be allowed into the restaurant in the first place.

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Yes. It is *all* about the attitude of the parents. I was taken out to eat, at everything from diners to white-linen establishments, from the time I was old enough to walk. If I misbehaved, I was taken outside and given a chance to think about my behavior.

That's pretty much exactly the way it worked when I was growing up. Replace "think about my behavior" with "wait for my butt to stop stinging enough to be able to sit down again" and it would be spot on. We were a fairly large family (Dad had 2 kids, stepmom had 3 when they got together. Almost a Brady Bunch. :biggrin: ) with not a lot of money. Eating out wasn't treated as a privilege, it was a privilege and a very rare privilege at that. Local inexpensive Chinese, Korean or Mexican restaurants were about as high-end as it got and good behavior was 100% non-optional.


It's kinda like wrestling a gorilla... you don't stop when you're tired, you stop when the gorilla is tired.

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Staff who haven't even tried the food and fall over themselves to admit it. I still remember a time over 15 years ago at a casual steakhouse, asking about an item on the menu. The waitress said, with no prompting at all, that she was a vegetarian and had not tried anything except the one lone vegy entree.

I, too, am a vegetarian and used to work at a steak house. I admitted that I hadn't tried any of the meat dishes there and the whole table burst out laughing - they were really great customers. I will always give this answer as I find it worse to lie and pretend I've tried something when I haven't.


Massive fan of Italian cuisine!

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Wow, this is quite the list of pet peeves!

It drives me nuts when the local bartender gal, the only front-of-house person, literally sits with her back to the whole bar/restaurant and plays card games on the computer for fifteen minutes, without turning around even once to check on anyone in the restaurant. Needless to say, at that point we carry on drinking at home where no one ever sits with an empty beer. The worst part is, its a very small town with only one half-way decent bar so we have to tip well, 'cuz we'll definitely be back.

Other than that, I really don't care (or even notice) if the server asks "How is everything?" or "Are you still working on that?" or "How ya doin, hon?" etc. I don't care if they ask if its my first time there, or attempt a bit of humor, or try to guide me around the menu. Just not that fussy, I guess. I'm basically happy if the food arrives in a reasonable amount of time and I more or less always have a beer to drink, and the server is at least somewhat genuinely friendly.

I give servers the benefit of the doubt a lot, because as anyone who's been a server (or bartender, or cook...) knows, quite often the staff are swamped and running their a**es off trying to do a hundred things at once while putting up with a fair share of snobby/ignorant customers/annoying kids etc... while trying to maintain composure and project calm. (By 'ignorant', for example, I mean customers who don't realize that they are totally monopolizing the server/wasting their time while other tables are waiting.)

I also don't care if someone at the table (often me) asks for a recommendation, or an opinion between dish A and dish B. A savvy customer can read through the server's response to see whether the server is simply pushing the most expensive dish or the aging fish, or whether the server is trying to slip in an insider's tip without the boss hearing - AKA they've been told to push the mushy salmon but in the goodness of their heart they know you'd have a better meal going for the chicken.

And as for the complaint that "the server doesn't know what I like so how can they give me a recommendation?"... this reminds me of something from An Economist Gets Lunch: if you're at a really good restaurant, order something you'd never usually order. The rationale is, everything on the menu should be good at a really good restaurant, or else why would they put in on the menu in place of something else?

Perhaps a lot of servers deserve a bit of a break?

I also give servers the benefit of the doubt, because quite often, they're just not trained up to the high standards many eGulleters expect - and that is the management's fault, not the server's. When I became a waitress, I wasn't trained to not say "are you working on that?" etc, or on how to handle wine, or how to mix martinis or any other cocktail (part of the job), or to take orders by seating position, or to only clear tables after everyone was done... and on and on. And this was a restaurant where the average check for 2 was $100+. If I wanted to try anything from the menu, or any of the wines, I had to PAY FOR IT MYSELF! So, it was a bit hard to recommend which wine to have with a particular fish or steak dish based on experience. I pretty much just had to bluff. I myself would be more endeared to a server who is honest enough to admit they haven't tried something rather than lie blatantly and say "oh yes, it's very good!" and then when asked what's in the dish, read the description off the menu to you.

A couple minor pet peeves though:

1. Hipster bartenders or servers.... ok, all hipsters! Especially ones who think they have superior taste because they drink obscure cocktails with chamomile and incense instead of pleb drinks. I would like my bartender to bring me a drink, not make me feel low-brow or un-hip or whatever.

2. Similarly... walking around Portland for ages on a hot day, trying to find a place where I can get some decent food AND a low-brow beer. (I'm sure they exist, but when I visited I was not having any luck finding them!) After a few too many pitchers of fancy-pants beer at the microbrewery the night before, sometimes you just want a good old Corona with your burger, not another apricot ale or whatever.

3. Speaking of Portland and too many craft beers the night before... I went out for a bloody mary around noon. First one was great. I was starting to come right. I ordered another, and no kidding, the bartender put 5-6 shots of vodka in it. Now, I'm a young chick on my own in an unknown city walking around tanked at noon, and it took me the next two days to recover from my hangover helper. I think he just made my drink that strong because I was hanging out with the regulars, a bunch of strange dudes, and they wanted to see what would happened if I got boozed. A bit cheeky for a bartender, I reckon!

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Yes. It is *all* about the attitude of the parents. I was taken out to eat, at everything from diners to white-linen establishments, from the time I was old enough to walk. If I misbehaved, I was taken outside and given a chance to think about my behavior. If it persisted, WE ALL LEFT. All of us, my parents and me (I'm sure the servers/kitchen were compensated well for the early exits.....). It (dining out, even at Mickey D's) was presented to me as a treat, and a privilege, but it was also understood there was a code of acceptable behavior that went along with that privilege. If I didn't choose to comply, I didn't get the benefits. I was a smart kid. I learned quick. I liked the service, and I liked good food, and I liked the change from routine that restaurants of any kind offered, and so I learned to reign it in while in polite company. A whole load of parents these days just don't get that.

We did this with our kids and they were quickly civilized.

Sent from my DROID RAZR using Tapatalk 2

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(I realise that this is a bit OT, sorry )Do parents, teachers, authority figures in general, ever explain to kids that they have an "inside voice" as well as an "outside voice" and that the inside voice is approiate for inside almost everywhere? I more or less live in motels, and for some reason, kids seem to feel that if there is a lot of room, its outside, and they are free to run and scream. ARRRRRGH! :angry::wacko:

(close rant)


"Commit random acts of senseless kindness"

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I'm in China and last night I went out alone for a late supper in my local restaurant.

I arrived and was ignored by the staff, but chose an empty window table. Eating alone can be boring, so it's nice to watch the world go by.

After a few minutes an impeccably dressed young man asked me "Would you like a menu?"

ANSWER I SHOULD HAVE GIVEN

"No. I much prefer to guess what you have and throw random suggestions at you until some modicum of recognition comes over your visage."

ANSWER I GAVE

"Yes. please".

He went to a desk and returned with three menus which he delicately placed before me.

"Are you ready to order?

ANSWER I SHOULD HAVE GIVEN

"Order what? I haven't even opened the frigging menus.You've gone back to the guess what we have tactic again!"

ANSWER I GAVE

"Give me five minutes to look at the menu."

He said, "Certainly sir" then didn't move a muscle for the next five minutes, standing over me waiting for me to decide. (At least he didn't do what they often do in Chinese restaurants in China. Stand there intimidating you into ordering by randomly pointing at menu items which they have never eaten and suggesting them. I called one out once, closed the menu and said what did you just recommend? She hadn't a clue.)

Finally, I order my modest repast and request a cold beer to wash it down.

Off he goes. Very soon the beer arrives. I feel the bottle. It is warm. I don' t mean slightly warm. It is the sort of temperature new parents aim for in babies' milk bottles. I tell him to try again.

He comes back with a fairly cold beer, sits it on the table and walks away. No glass, no opener. One of his colleagues notices my look of consternation and sends him back.

"Would you like me to open your beer?

ANSWER I SHOULD HAVE GIVEN

"No! I only ordered to to admire the classic design of the bottle."

ANSWER I GAVE

"Yes, please"

Very quickly, suspiciously quickly, my food arrives. One dish is wrong. I query it.

"Oh, we don't have what you ordered"

ANSWER I SHOULD HAVE GIVEN

"So, you just substituted some random dish?"

ANSWER I GAVE

"I don't want this."

So he took it away. No suggestion of a sensible alternative and no apology. But it didn't show up on the final tally.

I ate what they had managed to get right and it was OK. Not stupendous, but I wasn't expecting stupendous - just an OK supper after a long day.

I sat for a while watching the world outside my window and eventually the young man came back and said,

"Would you like the bill?

ANSWER I SHOULD HAVE GIVEN

Well, actually no. I would much prefer free food. It tastes so much better, don't you think?"

ANSWER I GAVE

"Er, yes please"

I pay and leave.


Edited by liuzhou (log)

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Man, that personal space thing, 'I'll stand over you until you order', is a pet hate. I'd rather wave you over. Generate smoke signals by setting a chair alight. Actually approach the counter. But seriously ... and maybe especially so given I have a social disability ... It's one of few things in life that truly angers me.


Chris Taylor

Host, eG Forums - ctaylor@egstaff.org

 

I've never met an animal I didn't enjoy with salt and pepper.

Melbourne
Harare, Victoria Falls and some places in between

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"Oh, we don't have what you ordered"

This is another pet annoyance of mine - when something on the menu is not available. I am quite fussy about desserts as I prefer a low sugar option. If something is not available, then I expect to be told when given the menu, not after I have made my choice.

I now have a rule of not having anything at all if I am told my first choice is not available after I have made a decision when it is dessert.


http://www.thecriticalcouple.co.uk

Latest blog post - Oh my - someone needs a spell checker

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This isn't exactly a pet peeve, because I've never seen it before, but I went out last night to a pretty classy little Italian restaurant where apparently the maitre d' was also the waiter was also the chef was also the dishwasher. He was wearing a filthy t-shirt, grubby pants and sneakers. This wouldn't bother me in a diner, for example, but the decor at least had pretensions of something nicer than that. It was a bit off-putting. Also, the restaurant apparently adjoined a none-too-clean greengrocer, and there were fruit flies buzzing around constantly. More than a little off-putting.

The food was very good though.

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I'm in China and last night I went out alone for a late supper in my local restaurant.

I arrived and was ignored by the staff, but chose an empty window table. Eating alone can be boring, so it's nice to watch the world go by.

After a few minutes an impeccably dressed young man asked me "Would you like a menu?"

ANSWER I SHOULD HAVE GIVEN

"No. I much prefer to guess what you have and throw random suggestions at you until some modicum of recognition comes over your visage."

ANSWER I GAVE

"Yes. please".

He went to a desk and returned with three menus which he delicately placed before me.

"Are you ready to order?

ANSWER I SHOULD HAVE GIVEN

"Order what? I haven't even opened the frigging menus.You've gone back to the guess what we have tactic again!"

ANSWER I GAVE

"Give me five minutes to look at the menu."

He said, "Certainly sir" then didn't move a muscle for the next five minutes, standing over me waiting for me to decide. (At least he didn't do what they often do in Chinese restaurants in China. Stand there intimidating you into ordering by randomly pointing at menu items which they have never eaten and suggesting them. I called one out once, closed the menu and said what did you just recommend? She hadn't a clue.)

Finally, I order my modest repast and request a cold beer to wash it down.

Off he goes. Very soon the beer arrives. I feel the bottle. It is warm. I don' t mean slightly warm. It is the sort of temperature new parents aim for in babies' milk bottles. I tell him to try again.

He comes back with a fairly cold beer, sits it on the table and walks away. No glass, no opener. One of his colleagues notices my look of consternation and sends him back.

"Would you like me to open your beer?

ANSWER I SHOULD HAVE GIVEN

"No! I only ordered to to admire the classic design of the bottle."

ANSWER I GAVE

"Yes, please"

Very quickly, suspiciously quickly, my food arrives. One dish is wrong. I query it.

"Oh, we don't have what you ordered"

ANSWER I SHOULD HAVE GIVEN

"So, you just substituted some random dish?"

ANSWER I GAVE

"I don't want this."

So he took it away. No suggestion of a sensible alternative and no apology. But it didn't show up on the final tally.

I ate what they had managed to get right and it was OK. Not stupendous, but I wasn't expecting stupendous - just an OK supper after a long day.

I sat for a while watching the world outside my window and eventually the young man came back and said,

"Would you like the bill?

ANSWER I SHOULD HAVE GIVEN

Well, actually no. I would much prefer free food. It tastes so much better, don't you think?"

ANSWER I GAVE

"Er, yes please"

I pay and leave.

I would have pointed to each menu item and asked what was in it, how it was prepared, what the name translated to, who named it, why was it named that, etc.........that's what you SHOULD have done...

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I would have pointed to each menu item and asked what was in it, how it was prepared, what the name translated to, who named it, why was it named that, etc.........that's what you SHOULD have done..

If I had done that I'd still be waiting for my dinner three days later.

Here is one of the three menus.


Edited by liuzhou (log)

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"French Chardonnays often dissapoint me...would you recommend the Macon-Villages?"

"It's a screwtop; it can't possibly be faulty!"

Are just a couple of the amusing statements that crop up every so often. Also people put up their hand to stop you topping up their wine, this is pretty rude and out-dated behaviour.


Sommelier at The Three Chimneys, Isle of Skye, UK :: www.oscarjmalek.com

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"French Chardonnays often dissapoint me...would you recommend the Macon-Villages?"

"It's a screwtop; it can't possibly be faulty!"

Are just a couple of the amusing statements that crop up every so often. Also people put up their hand to stop you topping up their wine, this is pretty rude and out-dated behaviour.

What would you prefer they do?

How about wine/wait persons constantly topping off one's glass in the hopes of selling more wine?


Mitch Weinstein aka "weinoo"

mweinstein@eGstaff.org

Tasty Travails - My Blog

My eGullet FoodBog - A Tale of Two Boroughs

Was it you baby...or just a Brilliant Disguise?

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We don't constantly top up in the hope of selling more, in fact we leave it pretty low and watch like a hawk until the last moment before topping up. A little eye contact and a "that's enough for me" would be curteous...hand gestures are not.


Sommelier at The Three Chimneys, Isle of Skye, UK :: www.oscarjmalek.com

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Hand gestures are not courteous? You watch me like a hawk?

I don't go to restaurants to strike up conversations with the staff or be watched. Simple, courteous, unobtrusive service wins every time

I don't come to flatter you. What is it with wine waiters that they sneer at and deride anyone who may not know as much as they think they do? It is just utter arrogance. Get over yourself.

You strike me as a very good reason not to visit your restaurant.


Edited by liuzhou (log)

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Since I dont get to choose when the waiter chooses to top up my glass, I may well be midsentence, either listening, or speaking, and not want to interrupt to say "no thanks", so, a hand gesture. It seems a reasonable behaviour to me. I could rest my spoon across the top of the glass, I suppose.

(Yes, I've resorted to this with my coffee cup, when the refills were coming so fast that declining them was interfering with actually eating my breakfast).


"You dont know everything in the world! You just know how to read!" -an ah-hah! moment for 6-yr old Miss O.

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I apologise, of course you're right.


Sommelier at The Three Chimneys, Isle of Skye, UK :: www.oscarjmalek.com

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I once got terribly plastered because my wine glass kept getting refilled and I didn't notice. "I'm only on my second glass " I thought. Lol. By the time I realized it was too late.

Keep my water glass full but leave the wine to me.

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I apologise, of course you're right.

Well played sir :)

The thread is digressing into nitpicking.

Actually, that's how it started. After all, what are annoyances other than nitpicking?


Mitch Weinstein aka "weinoo"

mweinstein@eGstaff.org

Tasty Travails - My Blog

My eGullet FoodBog - A Tale of Two Boroughs

Was it you baby...or just a Brilliant Disguise?

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