Wednesday, February 26, 2014

1297 Table Talk

Time was, waiting tables was both respectable and a profession. Today it’s students and the occasional out of work actor.

And rather than calling someone a waiter or waitress, they’re all “servers.”  I dislike the word. It implies servitude.

But in the age of gender neutrality, why not just call them all “waiters.”  Very few people identify with “poetess” or even “actress.”  They’re poets and actors.

But I digress.

In restaurant world, everyone follows a script. Good practice for those out of work actors.

It starts when you enter.  The person who greets you will ask something like “just two tonight?”

Usually, you mumble yes.  But sometimes, aren’t you tempted to say “no, we’re a party of 41.  The other 38 are outside trying to help the bus driver squeeze into one of your microscopic parking spaces.”

Once at the table, “Amanda” or “Bob” will announce that she or he is Amanda or Bob and “I’ll be helping you tonight.”

You order your drinks.  The answer, right out the script is “no problem.”  You nod or mumble.  But you wonder what WOULD be a problem.

Eventually the drinks come.  Undoubtedly the ice is melting in the ginger ale and the beer has lost its head, the coffee is either scalding hot or -- even worse -- luke warm.

But that’s … NO PROBLEM.  I’ll just freshen that up for you.  

Drink half the coffee and you’ll be asked “can I warm that up for you?” Which means “Do you want me to pour a little more in the cup so it’s not quite so tepid?”

Next, it’s time to order your meal.  The waiter wants to know what kind of dressing you want on your salad.  Bleu cheese?  No problem.

Then after the meal arrives, the waiter counts to 50 while thumbing through the book of secret lingo and returns to your table to ask “everything okay?”  You say “yes,” and he or she disappears.  Or if there is a problem, it’ll get solved with a happy “no problem.”

When the main course is over, the waiter is required by both state and federal law to say “may I get that out of your way?”

Yes! Get it out of our way so we can put up the ping pong net and have a quick game before we leave.

Open the book to the last chapter where you find another important phrase:  Anyone thinking about dessert?

You pay the check. The waiter wishes you a good night and you answer “no problem.


--A huge, private apartment complex called “The Stonehenge” on 97th near Amsterdam recently spent about $5 million to build an on site health club but won’t let residents in rent stabilized apartments held over from the old Mitchell-Lama moderate income days use it. The tenants’ association is taking them to court with the blessing of Public Advocate Letitia James, saying it violates New York City’s income discrimination law.  Sixty percent of the residents are affected by the ban.


-Should you want to give the owner, Stonehenge Partners, a piece of your mind, the company’s business address is 888 7th Avenue 10106, near Carnegie Hall, their phone number is 212 750 0707 and the CEO’s name is Ofer Yardini.

I’m Wes Richards.  My opinions are my own but you’re welcome to them. ®
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© WJR 2014

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