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Are you being rude and dismissive without even knowing it?
We spend a lot of time in restaurants, and, lately, I’ve been observing how my meal-mates treat “the help” — that’s loosely defined as all the people who serve a table, whether seating you, filling the water glasses, taking the order, removing crumbs from the tablecloth, taking your coat, whatever.
This was occasioned by a lunch I had the other day with a journalist who hails from Mexico. She brought my attention to the fact that most of us don’t “see” all the Hispanics who are making our lunch an enjoyable experience (and we were at an Italian restaurant). She was right … I hadn’t even noticed all those fellows (they were all guys) waiting to be at-our-service.
Now you might respond, “Well, you’re not supposed to ‘see’ them … a restaurant is a little like going to a theatrical event where the people who put on the show are in the background. There’s good truth to that. But, then again, how would you feel if no one ever acknowledged your existence or good work? How would it impact your ego and pride?
This question brings up a related penchant that really gets in my craw — how rude and dismissive people can be to restaurant servers just trying to do their job — regardless of what their race, nationality or makeup tend to be.
For starters, there’s the mind-boggling decision of which table is right, so there might be some moving around with an accompanying “attitude” towards the offending seater. Then (given diet preferences), the order-taker is grilled — sometimes not so nicely — as though responsible for the life-altering menu they’ve proffered. And, ohmag-d, if something is wrong, the server is treated as though he selected the faulty fish and prepared it himself. I could go on … but here’s the point …
Put yourself in their place. How much effort does it take to be pleasant, ask nicely and treat people with a bit of respect. Plus, just in case you could care less, I’ll offer you a story of more than psychic rewards when you care more ...
Awhile ago friends were in town and, since we were standing outside, we decided to try to get a table at one of those restaurants where you have to reserve weeks in advance. The place was packed but I was in a great mood, transferring my cheerfulness to the two people at the reception desk who I joked with about how ridiculous it seemed to even try to get in. The response: “You’re being so nice and most people are usually so demanding, we’re happy to have you and are going to jump your party ahead of everyone else.”
No, I didn’t secretly slip something “under the table”. And, yes, we had a great meal (with great service)!
Next time, you’re in a restaurant, think about it.
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