I received this mail recently:
I understand that you experience a larger than normal amount of servers in your unusual line of business; however, you must stop condemning them as "waitrons." The very definition is clearly stating the term as dehumanizing. Many of my friends have won the "award" of waitron of the week, and none were proud of said award. I, and a great deal of my friends serve because we are of service in our hearts, and it is better than sitting in front of a computer all day. As a public figure I could call you all sorts of things. I choose to call you respectable.Please conduct yourself as such.
Thank you sir,
I think this is probably a valid point, although it doesn't seem to be aware of history. "Waitron" was a word commonly used by servers themselves 20-plus years ago to describe their robotic treatment by restaurant owners and patrons. I adopted the phrase as irony which I thought was obvious, since the "Waitron of the Week" award always went to good servers.
More important, the term also poked fun at another controversy back then whether to call people "waiters" regardless of gender. Use of the term "server" was not common then. So "waitron" emerged as a gender-neutral term.
I actually use "waitron" infrequently now. I do find the writer's claim curious, since, when I've met them outside of restaurants, countless servers over the years have asked me how they can qualify for the designation.
In any case, I'm happy to drop use of the term. God knows, my 20-plus years of reviewing have increased my respect for servers many times over.
Oh well. They still use the term in South Africa: The Waitron.
(Graphic from xingolati.com)
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