Yesterday Kish and I went out for lunch. When we were getting ready to place our order, the waitress pulled out an order pad — and I breathed a sigh of relief.
Why? Because lately I’ve been bedeviled by wait staff who don’t write down what I’ve requested, and my orders have inevitably been screwed up as a result.
It’s kind of maddening, really. The waiters stand there, listen as I tell them, for example, that I want only a slice of onion on my cheeseburger and specifically say that I don’t want lettuce or tomato or pickles. They nod reassuringly and then march off to the kitchen, and I groan inwardly, knowing that there is a better than a 50-50 chance that, when the order comes back, I’ll be scraping tomato and lettuce and pickle debris from my cheeseburger bun. But what’s a patron supposed to do? Hand the waiter a pen and piece of paper and plead with them to please, please, write down the order so there’s hope it will be correctly prepared and delivered . . . and thereby look like a jerk? Or wait until the order comes back and pleasantly point out that it’s wrong, so that the waiter has to trot back to the kitchen and bring out a new, correct order — and thereby further delay the meal? Or just accept that the order is wrong, eat it anyway so you’re not waiting even longer, and grumble at the injustice of it all?
Why, exactly, has it the no-write-down approach swept through the waiting world like a cold winter wind? Do waiters think that not writing down the order reflects their professionalism, or that we’ll be impressed at their memory capabilities and give them a bigger tip? Don’t they realize that, when most patrons see that the waiter or waitress isn’t writing down the order, their hopes for a pleasant meal take a tumble?
The waiting world works for tips, so here’s one: write it down, already!