Thursday, November 26, 2009

'Are you still working on that?'

Posted By on Thu, Nov 26, 2009 at 4:25 PM

New York Times columnist Stanley Fish recently wrote a column on expressions that particularly annoy him. Readers, hundreds of them, replied with their own. I've culled a few replies that pertain to restaurants:

In a restaurant, while having a good, and perhaps intimate, conversation, a waiter comes over and says, “Is everything all right?” The correct answer would be, “Yes, it was, until we were interrupted.” Of course, that would lead to an apology, which would further delay our conversation. [Why do restaurant owners require waiters to infuriate their customers with that inane question?]— Posted by Ken

The phrase at the top of my “most annoying” list at the moment is anything done “to perfection.” Grilled to perfection … broiled to perfection … pan-seared to perfection. This construction is so terribly overdone (as opposed to rare, or even medium rare) by those who write menus and otherwise promote restaurants that it might actually be pushing me away from the items described. Just do what you have to do to my food (I must trust you, or I would have gone elsewhere to eat) and be done with it. And please don’t stop aspiring to perfection, but also cease trying to convince us that you’ve reached it. — Posted by Fr. Laird MacGregor

“My name’s Chuck and I’ll be your server tonight.”

Would someone PLEASE tell the Chucks of the world that we’re aware of what his function in the restaurant is and that it doesn’t include intruding on our evening by imposing his acquaintance on us — as though we’d come to the establishment to make friends rather than have dinner.

If we needed Chuck’s help at some point when he is absent from our table, it would be easy to summon him if we knew his name from a name tag or a button that had “23? on it. Are we forever doomed to the phony-egalitarian bonhomie of the You-can-call-me-Chuck, who will doubtless ask someone “Are you still working on that?!?” during the meal, or can we perhaps have a dinner we’re paying for (and paying him to serve) in relaxed anonymity?— Posted by Titov0

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