Is it me, or has the restaurant industry really started to slide in professionalism? I go out to a classy place, order a nice little steak, give the waitress a couple of slaps on the ass to get her moving, and all of a sudden I'm an f–ing a–hole and a motherf–ing jerk who should go to hell. Is this what I'm paying good money for?
Has our culture sunk so low that profanity has replaced common courtesy in dining out?
I'd like to shrug it off, but it's so prevalent these days I just can't ignore it.
I love to eat out. It relaxes me to look over the menu for an hour, hour and a half, asking specific, pointed questions about every ingredient of every dish. I feel discerning when sending back bottle after bottle of wine, spitting out my merlot in disgust, only to settle on the first one they brought to the table and ask why they bothered with that other swill in the first place. It's all part of the fine-dining experience.
What I don't like is the trend of waitresses talking like longshoremen, usually about a half hour into my meal. I snap my fingers, whistle as loud as I can, or, if that doesn't work, shout "Yo!" a dozen or so times just to get a properly folded napkin, and, once again, the cursing begins.
The thing that gets me is that they always start off sweet as pie, like you knew them your whole life. Greeting me warmly, asking if I would like a drink, what have you. But soon enough they stop chuckling at my witty remarks about their cleavage. They no longer smile when I keep asking them if they think it's funny that "faggot" means "cigarette" in Australia. And if they're black, forget about it! It's as if those people never heard a joke in their life.
Look, I can see a little foul language maybe at a Wendy's, but I hold a restaurant with real plants to a higher standard. When I express my displeasure with a dish by slowly letting it all fall out of my mouth into a large chewed-up mass on the table, I expect a little understanding and humility, not huffing and puffing and remarks about my questionable parentage.
I understand they're only human, and humans, especially women, make mistakes. But you know what? They have no right to take their personal hang-ups out on me. As professionals, and more important, in the name of common courtesy, they should leave their anger behind those swinging doors—and I tell them that.
You'd think a little reality check would put things in perspective for them, but no: When the main course arrives, they slam the plates down on my table and hot-foot it back to the kitchen. Then I have to go back to the kitchen myself to point out the five things I already found wrong with my entrée.
Then, invariably, their managers, the ones who are supposed to be setting an example, threaten to ban me with a profanity or two thrown in for good measure. It's unbelievable! I didn't make the mistake. I try to break the ice with a lighthearted quip, such as "Maybe a butter knife up your ass would change your mind. You're probably used to having things in there anyway."
But even these efforts at communication on my part are rarely successful. Apparently, in today's world, a civil tongue has gone the same way as respect for the customer.