Monday, July 17, 2006

say it with muffins

My schedule (or, as the British say "schedule") recently has been really busy and one of the side-effects of that is a shunning of the grocery store. Manda and I end up not meal planning because we don't know when I'll be home. When we don't meal plan, we find ourselves eating out a lot more. And eating out more brings us into contact with some special people.

Recently, we've been having some interesting experiences with servers and hostesses at local San Mateo restaurants. A couple of weeks ago, we went to our local BJ's Brewhouse for the first time. When we walked in, I met the world's most sarcastic, apathetic, and grumpy hostess ever. This lady was awesome, just plain awesome. She was this 20-something Asian chick who looked like she thought she was chronically hipper-than-thou. Luckily, she went out of her way to prove that I was right about that first impression.

When I walked up to her and asked for a table for two, she smirked at me and handed me one of those restaurant pagers that vibrates to let you know the table's ready. While we waited to be seated, I watched some guy walk up to her hostess podium. She waited until he was right in front of her and making eye contact before she turned around and walked away. When my pager-thing went off a few minutes later, I walked up to her, handed her the pager, and she just looked at it. Then she looked at me and said "Whoopeeee ..." with the most sarcastic tone the word "whoopeeee" has ever received. As she seated Amanda and I, she said "Not that you asked, but I'm at work right now when I shouldn't be. You get to eat dinner and I don't." then handed us menus and walked away. Our jaws dropped and we laughed our asses off to each other. I then watched her seat table after table and tell every customer that she was jealous that they got to eat while she had to work. She was awesome and undoubtedly the worst/best hostess I've ever seen.

Last night, Manda and I went to Mimi's Cafe in Foster City. Our waitress seemed like a recent graduate of the Mimi's University for English As A Second Language, although I doubt she was valedictorian. She did her best with some broken English to take our orders and then wandered off. No problems. Food arrived. No problems. She took my soda glass to refill it. Pretty much the rest of the meal went by with out my soda returning. I didn't care much, but Amanda noticed and flagged the woman down who instantly ran off to refill the soda.

What was odd is that she then returned with two sodas "to make apologies." It might not sound odd, but it's kinda' weird to have someone give you two drinks and then feel like you're obligated to drink them both. I just sat there scratching my head and laughing about it with Amanda for a bit. Strangely, she then returned a minute or two later with a styrofoam food container in her hands. She was talking quietly as she opened it and said "For my apologies," showed us a spice muffin, and then placed it on the table, bowed, and left.

?? I don't know where this lady grew up, but apparently food duplicates is how you say "sorry." Anyway, I'd recommend dining in Foster City. It's apparently always an adventure.


EmoRiot said...

As a former waiter, I can't understand how this helps salvage a tip. I think I'd just write it off to sucking and figure I deserve less tip.

What drove me nuts was the times I busted my balls and did everything right and got a soup-bowl full of pennies by some socially distburbed jerk... or when a woman came in, ordered an 89 cent cup of tea, took out a book and her PACKED LUNCH, and sat reading for 3.5 hours of my 4 hour shift. I was essentially one table down for the entire shift which cost me many bucks and then when she paid for the bill she left a buck on the table. Not a dollar tip. A dollar, accounting 89 cents for the tea and 11 cents as my tip.

I think she owes me a spicy muffin.

Bug said...

They did a thing on this on "This American Life" once, I think. They had waitresses who were notoriously nice to people act like jerks and found that it wasn't the waitress that detirmined the tip. Apparently, it's just the pre-detirmined nature of the person being served. Some people overtip, some undertip. It doesn't seem to matter much what the waitress does.

Me? I'm an over tipper. I tend to always tip 20% unless the waitress/waiter totally suxorz. Then I tip 15%.

rooni said...

I tip 20% as a rule, but only 15% if the waitstaff was mostly not around. If they were flat out rude, I dip to 10%, but that takes a lot.