"I'm not mad, I'm just disappointed." That's a phrase parents have long used to make their children feel awful, and it's also something I want to tell my customers from time to time. Some days, multiple times.
Guests are well-versed in the art of pissing me off (go ahead, take both of the credit-card receipts, I'll just read your mind from miles away and get the tip), but far more often they'll simply baffle me. The things supposed adults do make me think they've never been in public before. I'll try to be courteous and patient, but what I really want to do is look at the diner and ask, "You're serious?"
Here are the top five things that make me say, "Really?"
5. Putting ketchup on a steak Leave the restaurant right now and go see a doctor, because there is something horribly, horribly wrong with your taste buds. You probably don't have any. I would rather throw the steak away than watch you ruin it. If you're going to destroy a piece of meat by covering it with the worst condiment ever created, then pick up a cut past its expiration date from the "it might kill you, but it's only twenty cents a pound" section of the grocery store. 4. Adults who leave a kid-like mess behind It's okay, sir, go ahead and finish chewing before you order another drink. I'll wait. It will be more pleasant for everyone involved and I won't have to clean up chunks of your partially chewed food. A few crumbs are expected, but large pieces of food, globs of sauce and half a beverage are really unacceptable for anyone over twelve. If you're really having that much trouble getting food into your mouth, I'm frightened for what happens when you're driving a car and someone else in the car asks a question.3. Mispronunciations
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By all means, please try new foods and don't be embarrassed when pronouncing foreign words for the first time. But some items have been in our culinary vocabulary far too long to be butchered as often as they are. Filet has a silent "t" (ditto for Pinot) and mignon is not the same as a minion. There is no "r" after the "f" in fajitas, the "j" is pronounced like an "h" -- and it does not rhyme with vaginas. Quesadilla is a consistent train wreck of amazing proportions, and if you don't pronounce the "e" at the end of guacamole I will assume you want a large rodent on the side. If there's an "x" anywhere in your espresso order, I am using every ounce of my willpower not to punch your voice box. And if you and your friends think it's cute to mispronounce words on purpose and have a little giggle, it doesn't mean you're funny. It means you're dumb.
2. Becoming excessively confused by meat temperatures When a guest orders a steak, I ask how they would like it cooked and they look at me as if I asked them to explain in detail the financial implications of World War I on lower-to-middle class women. This scenario happens multiple times a week, every week, and it kind of makes me afraid for the children of these people. What's that? You want it grilled? Well, isn't that a clever little joke? We already established that it's grilled because it's in the fucking menu description. Let's just go with medium and you can use that as a basis for the next time you have a steak -- you know, like you should have learned at age ten. 1. Asking me to enter a tip for them when I run their card What I will say: "I'm sorry, I can't enter a tip when you pay, only after you write it down and sign the receipt." What I want to say: "Have you ever paid with your card in a restaurant or bar before? When has that ever been an option? Do you really think it's a good idea to allow servers and bartenders to enter a tip before you have a chance to sign for the payment?" If you want to give me that power, fine. Just know I have a tendency to round up by a dollar or 22 when calculating percentages.