When did waiters start asking, “How is everything tasting?”
They used to ask a general, “How is everything?”
You could reply to this question in lots of different ways:
- “This fork is dirty.” or
- “The vichyssoise is just like Mama used to make.” or
- “Stifle that screaming 2-year-old in the corner before I choke him.”
Now they don’t want to know about everything – just the taste. Are we supposed to focus on the yumminess and, if it tastes ok, stop complaining?
I find this annoying. I don’t know why, except that it is so obviously scripted. A market research firm determined that asking the dining customer how the food tastes will elicit some desired response. Now, all the waiters at chain restaurants are trained to ask this. I don’t like feeling manipulated.
Another thing, why do waiters say, “How are we doing?”
I never know how to answer this:
- “I’m not sure how YOU are doing, but WE are fine.” or
- “Is that the royal we?”
I don’t mean to sound elitist, but there is no “we” here. This is a clear-cut case of “us” the patrons, and “him” the waiter. And the queen is the only person who gets to refer to herself in the plural.
Anyway, we took the kids to Red Lobster the other night for dinner. Everyone was doing fine and the food tasted great.
I distinctly remember going to an Italian restaurant a few years ago and the manager came over and asked how everything was. It was fine and so I said, “fine.” That wasn’t good enough for him and he kept pushing, obviously wanting me to rave about the food. I finally told him the food just wasn’t as good as another Italian restaurant down the street. He wasn’t happy and brought us free desserts that we didn’t even want. Didn’t go back.
I guess he didn’t really want honesty, just compliments. I can relate to that.
Best closing line ever. We ate out last week and I tipped this girl a fortune because she left us alone. Totally, blissfully alone. I was thirsty most of the time, but the uninterrupted conversation was priceless!
It’s easy to get terrific service when you lower your standards to the point that all you want is the Marlene Dietrich treatment.
I don’t like feeling manipulated.
Likewise! Hearing things like “flame-broiled” burgers from BK and seeing “We source locally!” signs at Whole Foods fill me with a rage likely disproportionate to the discretion. Things that are partially or totally untrue and/or tailored to manipulate another person into perceiving something distorted (it’s “just marketing,” after all *grumble*) drive me bonkers.
In a way, I wish my last boyfriend hadn’t pointed out “scripts” to me. I started seeing how much of interaction happens without genuine connection–those in places of business, and even sometimes those with acquaintances or friends! Since I’ve started seeing these patterns, I’ve tried to make sure I’m saying something that is really me rather than saying something just to say something. I’m not a robot. (Really! I know you’ve been wondering . . . )
Like Tori, I think I’d tip very generously if just left alone to enjoy a meal. 😀
You have a good point about saying something that is really you, and not scripted.
I was talking about this last night w/hubby & 2 daughters, age 19 and 21. We went out to dinner at Applebees (where the waiter, AGAIN, asked how everything was tasting…obviously a chain restaurant phenomenon) and when the manager stopped by our table, the oldest told him that our waiter was doing a great job. We discussed that it’s a great idea to take the opportunity to pay compliments as they occur, but that if you do it all the time, it loses the spontaneity and genuine feel.
First of all, a long overdue compliment on your “illustrations.” Living in Maine, I particularly like today’s picture (although I am not sure Her Majesty has ever visited Maine, let alone eaten a lobster [or served one] wearing white gloves)! I do like the option of answering, “How are we doing?” with “Is that the royal ‘we’? I suspect that would cause them to stop and ponder for an extraordinary period of time while they try to figure out what you just said.”
I agree with all responders that caring and courtesy can’t be scripted or synthetic. The idea is worthy, the delivery needs to be genuine.
I suspect the typical Red Lobster waiter would not understand the “royal we” reference. But maybe I’m a snob.
Thanks for the kind words on the pictures. The only kind of graphics program I have mastered is the elementary paint program that came with this old computer, so necessity is the mother of picture invention.
Why is any picture of Queen Elizabeth funny? This post about the Royal “We” is great. You’re like Seinfeld–picking up on the small quirks of everyday life and blowing them up to show how silly we all are. I love what you do and how you do it.
Thanks so much, Lorna! Queen Elizabeth is funny because she’s so proper and she wears lots of weird hats.
Here’s the one that makes steam come out of my ears like Popeye:
Who replaced “You’re welcome” with “No Problem”?
I *know* there’s no problem. Why would you insinuate that there possibly *was* a problem? That whatever little service I just thanked you for went above and beyond your job description and taxed your reserves so severely that it became a problem?
Off with their heads!
You’re right! That’s terrible! (slinking off and vowing not to say “no problem” anymore.)
I like to be left alone, as long as they keep my water refilled. I don’t order drinks, so sometimes the servers forget my water when they are granting refills.
I think “no problem” can be appropriate depending on the context and tone. In response to a thank you, I agree it is not proper. However, if something special is asked, the “no problem” response makes sense. “My pleasure” would be ideal if a server can pull it off sincerely.
I am an unconcious “no problemer”, but I’m resolving not to say it so much. Sue isn’t the only one who finds that annoying – my husband does to. I’m with you on being left alone, as long as the coffee and water are kept coming.