Wednesday, 30 September 2009
Keep The Customer Satisfied
I don’t eat out in restaurants very often, rarely more than once a day, but there is one thing about them which really grates my cheese. It’s this; you’ve half-way through your meal, in the middle of conversation, often in the middle of a joke or an anecdote, sometimes even in the middle of a sentence...
...and the waiter interrupts to ask you if you’re enjoying your meal.
So then you have to mumble, yes we are enjoying our meal thank you very much, everything is alright, now would you kindly please F the F off and not come back.
It’s the insincerity of it that adds insult to injury. The blatant angling-for-a-tip-later-on-ness. The attempt to appear helpful and attentive without actually being helpful or attentive.
Because they’re never around just when you’re starting your meal, when you might actually be in the process of finding fault. Oh no. They always wait until you’ve munched your way half-way through the lasagne. Or – even more annoying – they will ask you after you’ve cleaned your plate, as though you will reply, ‘No, I found the meal revolting, but being a total pig I decided to consume it regardless.’
I’d say, paradoxically, the best way for a waiter to deserve a tip is by being invisible. By shimmering, Jeeves-like, into existence whenever the customer wants something and leaving them to get on with it the rest of the time.
And of course, there’s always that little restaurant game we play when the wine is served. Will the waiter serve it to the gentleman or the lady? Are they making sexist assumptions about who wears the wine-tasting trousers in the relationship? And then you’re supposed to gauge whether a wine is okay or not based on one sip – so that one millisecond later the waiter can have filled your companion’s glass up to the brim, as though to say ‘Well, it’s too late to change your mind now’.
Dear reader, to help you out in this situation I hereby present the Jonathan Morris guide to wine tasting. It’s quite simple. You take the glass and raise it to your nose, swirl the wine and give it a sniff, then taste, swill and swallow with one thought in your mind. The thought being;
Could I drink a whole pint of this in one go?
If the answer is ‘yes’ then the wine is a good wine. If the answer is ‘no then it has been corked. Either that you’re drinking at a certain pub in West London known for Doctor Who fan gatherings.