Wednesday, December 14, 2005

I love people

The Ashlee binge is over.

Arun admits he would do her.

All is well in the world.

Shife is my last remaining convert, but he is unswayable.

Goodbye Ashlee, you will be missed.


For lunch yesterday, I went to some little bistro to get a sandwich and a salad. The setup of the shop was as follows: You approach a counter from the front and place your order. If you order a salad, a lady working at the counter throws all the components of the salad in a bowl, drizzles a little dressing on top, then hands the bowl to a guy behind her. This guys is in charge of tossing the salad, and transferring the salad to the plastic container in which you take it home. Got the mental picture?

Obviously, the salad tosser uses tongs. As a courtesy to other customers, in between tosses, he places the tongs in a large bucket of water, much as they treat a scoop in an ice cream store. This procedure serves the purpose of rinsing off the extra dressing on the tongs, so that the person ordering a side salad with italian doesn't end up getting a hint of the other person's caesar. Obviously, the bucket of water gets a little murky, but it's still a dang good idea.

I went down to grub sort of after the lunch rush, which was why I had time to observe these things. Usually, you feel such a suffocating pressure from the masses behind you to order and get the hell out of the way, but I'll save that story for my "herd theory of consumption" post.

So anyway, it's just me and another lady at the counter, both getting salads. The dude tossed mine first. I see all the behind the scenes goings on and think nothing of it. I could tell the lady next to me was getting a little squeamish, though. Sure enough, after he boxed up mine and just as he was pulling his tongs out of the water, she chimed in - "Excuse me, could you get a new set of tongs. Those are dirty." I took my salad and sandwich and walked away before I allowed myself to hear another word.

Seriously. It was just diluted salad dressing. VERY diluted. Who the hell actually pipes up about that kind of thing?? Lady, you just paid 2 bucks for lettuce and a couple tomatoes. Get over it.

The only thing I could think about on the walk back to my office was that I felt sorry for her family. I was saddened by the high likelihood that she was raising an entire litter of little pussies, who would themselves one day carry the burden of her displaced obsessionism. I cringed for her husband, whom I imagined for years has been forced to sit through entire meals with her in which she nitpicks the waiter, demands new, hotter bowls of soup, and cleaner forks.

These type of people themselves sadden me. "Have it your way" becomes not so much their slogan as their mantra, their life directive. The service industry is there for a reason, they think, the humanity of workers be damned. They WILL have things their way, no matter how cheaply they are getting them in return. After all, just who's the center of the universe around here? It sure isn't that wetback behind the counter.

My buddy told me a pertinent story just the other day. He lives in a loft here downtown, and they have a valet service. When he first moved in, they wouldn't mind parking a few of your friends' cars, either. Very cool. Well, inevitably, people started having people over either all the time, or in large numbers in short periods of time. In short, they took advantage of the system. End result: no more free valet for ANYBODY's friends.

Which leads us, I suppose, to the point of the story. People in the service industry are not your personal servants. They offer a service, almost always clearly defined and made known to you up front, before you pay. If they choose to go above and beyond and cater to your every whim, that is their prerogative. BUT, it should never, in any way, be expected.

Your dollar is worth no more than the next guy's, but when you treat it as such and expect people to bend over backward for you, it fucks up things for everyone. Workers may get pissed at the world and become generally unhappy and unpleasant, or, as in my friend's case, certain courtesies may be retracted. So now we receive WORSE overall service and get less for our dollar. Way to go, boneheads.

Here's my advice to everyone, in approaching any service: order with a smile, thank them for their time, and then shut the hell up. The world will be a much happier place.

By the way, God bless Texas.


At 9:09 AM, December 14, 2005, Blogger GIZMO said...

Good Post. It's the classic tragedy of the commons in the case of the valets. That always pisses me off big time, but is an inevitable part of life. Thats what causes communism to fail. As for the lady and the tongs (sounds like a greek morality tale), I also bet that she is the type that, due to her assertiveness and inability/unwillingness to worry about how other people feel about her own happiness, was promoted very quickly, to a high position in her job, and makes loads of money. Thats why she still eats at that bistro, because it's cheap. It sucks how that works, how the crappy qualities of a person are often the most desireable in the business world. Fuck that. Thats why I quit.

At 9:14 AM, December 14, 2005, Blogger angel, jr. said...

God Bless Texas and all of the U.S.
I also tend to believe that the way a person treats a waiter/waitress is the way they treat the rest of the world. I was told once that although a person may be nice to you, watch the way they treat a waitress/waiter. It's really the way you'll be treated once your relationship developes beyond the getting to know you curtesy.

At 11:49 AM, December 14, 2005, Anonymous bass said...

12 peices of flare?
What do say about people who only the the bare minimum?
Dont you want to express yourself?

At 1:09 PM, December 14, 2005, Anonymous Maegan said...

I completey disagree with everything you are saying. We are paying customers. If I'm going to spend $10, $5, or even $1 on a meal I want it prepard the right way. If it is not brought to the server's attention that they are doing a half ass job then each job thereafter will become more halfass and before you know it we'll be eating on dirty plates with dirty silverware because we shouldn't complain. Be Real. Those people know they are doing a half ass job and they are doing it because they dont give a crap about their job or about you. Make them care.

At 1:27 PM, December 14, 2005, Anonymous Audra said...

I don't mind getting my salad tossed with a dirty pair of tongs.
Of course, this coming from the kid who drops unwrapped candy on the Central High School parking lot and eats it anyway...well passed the alotted time frame for the 10-second rule.

What doesn't kill you will just make you stronger.

At 2:27 PM, December 14, 2005, Anonymous Arun said...

Wait a second. All you wanted from me was the acknowledgment that I would have sex with Ms. Simpson? We could have ended this weeks ago then.

I only have two criteria; opposable thumbs and a vagina. Sure I'd fuck Ashlee Simpson, but according to those criteria I'd also fuck a chimp so that might not be the best way to judge attrectiveness.

At 3:13 PM, December 14, 2005, Blogger mrshife said...

All this talk about salad tossing, and it is only Wednesday.

At 3:14 PM, December 14, 2005, Anonymous frankiefirefox said...

I'm with you Vince. Great post. It is people like Maegan who get their food spit in. NEVER tell someone in the service industry that they are doing a shitty job WHILE they are serving you. Tell them after by NOT TIPPING, if they were in fact that shitty. Maeg is right about one thing, one needs to be specific while ordering. But don't be an asshole about it, or you may find a piece of lung in your salad.

And just for the record, Arun should have acknowledged the hottness MUCH earlier.

At 10:31 PM, December 14, 2005, Blogger Vince said...

giz - communism fails because it is a godless, dehumanizing system of oppression. but everything else you said is awesome.

angel - i think i a living counter-example to your adage. i am nice as hell to waiters, but, as a general rule, treat women like shit.

bass - you know, the nazis had pieces of flair that they made the jews wear.

maegan - you are disagreeing with me? what is the world coming to?

audra - that is disgusting.

arun - i only have one criteria: a vagina. that's how i got away with banging that quadriplegic chick.

shife - what can i say? i have yet to grow out of my anal-fixation.

francis - if i fall in the ice, will you jump in and save me?

At 10:33 PM, December 14, 2005, Blogger angel, jr. said...

stopped by again for one last look at Ashlee.

At 10:34 PM, December 14, 2005, Anonymous bass said...

if you want to correct the service industry feel free but realize your getting extra sauce or your cars engine ragged out every time you turn your back.

At 10:51 PM, December 14, 2005, Anonymous maegan said...

everyone seems to think you have to be an asshole to have something corrected. i'm talking about asking politely, not throwing it back at them and yelling at them to correct it....geez


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