Welcome to In the Weeds. Kyle will be right with you -- most likely to complain about something. Usually he is pleasant, but this is his place to blow off some steam. Don't take it personally; he just needs to vent because he's been doing this for about thirteen years. Enjoy your meal.
I've made it. At least, that's the consolation our web editor offered when he found out there's a Facebook group dedicated to ending this column. I'm not sure this is what my parents had in mind for me, or that I should go back to my alma mater and talk to aspiring journalists about how to be publicly despised, but I guess I'll take it.
I'd rather my writing be disliked than be irrelevant. Besides, I didn't expect to write a column talking shit about the people who pay my bills without taking plenty of shit myself.
Annoying restaurant habits are not the sole property of patrons. Restaurant employees do plenty to earn those 10 percent tips every day -- and I've been a restaurant employee for a good portion of my life. So in the spirit of serving those good folks at "Stop 'In The Weeds'" more useful material, here are some of my habits that irritate me -- and probably my guests.
"Guys:" As in, "How are you guys today?" when the group contains women. Really, the only time addressing a group as "guys" is appropriate is if it's a bunch of teenage boys. I always say "gentlemen" when speaking to men, never "guys." But whatever freakish version of Tourette's I have surfaces every once in a while when I'm talking to a mixed-gender group.
Considering I have a small conniption every time "then" and "than" are mixed up in print, one would think I would pay better attention to my grammar when speaking to a table, but sometimes it just comes out. Sorry, guys.
Mumbling: It's a life-long struggle. Maybe that's why I chose print media rather than audio-visual.
I used to be in denial: "Listen more closely," would be my response when a friend told me I was mumbling. Now I like to think I'm in mumbling recovery. In normal conversation I do fine, but if I'm describing a wine and "tannin" sounds like "tranny" or "Malbec" comes out as "towel rack," just poke me with a fork and I should be fine.
When you were telling me you wanted cream and sugar, I was thinking about baseball: That clicking sound right after I asked you if you take cream or sugar with your coffee was my brain momentarily switching from "receiving information" mode to "what the fuck was I doing?" mode.
For whatever reason, I just don't process the cream or sugar request, even if I'm no more than a foot from your face. Because it's better than a 50 percent chance that I'll get back to the server station and say, "What the hell did she say?" How about this? Anyone sitting in my section gets free cream and sugar with purchase of coffee. Hell, I'll even hook up the hot tea drinkers, too.
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