Tuesday, June 20, 2006

Would you act your age?

One of the plagues on my generation, and even more so ones younger than me, is the unwillingness of some people to act their age. We as wait staff regularly interact with people in the mid to late 20's and early 30's who it would be tough to argue that developmentally they are advanced beyond a 12 year old socially. What's worse is that certain sub-sections of our culture seem to almost encourage this. It ranges from the impoliteness, the interruptions, the foul language used in public (it's a restaurant dumb-ass, nobody else cares how F'ed up your ho was...) to the talking on cell phones and the list goes on.

I've been using the stare and the finger (no, not the middle one, though that is tempting...) to communicate to rude guests for years. I'm mulling over switching tactics and treating these adults like the children they behave like. Condescending voice and all. It would be more fun for me, and honestly it wouldn't hurt my tips any. When you are talking to a table, and the neighboring table begins to yell, wave, snap fingers or even walks over to you and it's not a life-threatening injury they are alerting you to, there is a 95% chance that you will be getting a tip in the suck to zilch range. So I might as well have fun I figure.

Restaurants need to have banned lists like places used to have for people who wrote bad checks. You'd stick their picture up on the wall next to the offense, kinda like a Miracle Network balloon. And when they would come in you would give them a warning, and if they didn't behave then they would be moved to the permanently banned list. We could institute a system of application for restatement after 3 years. After these people were banned from every restaurant in the region they might wake up what kind of social midgets they are. And if not, we could still all dine without having to hear some lady's phone ring 50 Cent over and over and over and over and over...

I'm stealing the following from Karen Ruby's blog:

Ever wish you could just tell that rude person on their cell phone to shut the hell up? You don't have to return rudeness with rudeness - you can simply hand them over one of these nifty little "Dear Cell Phone User" cards telling them exactly what you think.

Here's a sample:

SHHH, the Society for Handheld Hushing (link) has created these funny and unique cards that you can print out and give to those obnoxious (and oblivious to everyone else) cell phone users.

You can print out the cards found here (in pdf format) from Coudal Partners.

Make sure you have plenty on hand. I suggest cutting out several different versions and carrying them in your purse or wallet so that you'll be ready the next time you're forced to hear about the 'wild risque party' or 'annoying health problem' or 'dire financial condition' the person next to you is yabbering on about on their cell phone.

Just be careful that it's not you receiving one of the cards.

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Duckie said...

I love the card idea! Nothing is more rude than to yabber on a phone to someone while still expecting service.

Whyme said...

Bus Uncle in Hong Kong should have been given on of these.... :)


Psychobabble said...

Ugh, don't you hate that? I never know what to do. I was taught not to interupt someone on the phone, but you don't want to wait twenty minutes to get their order, b/c then they'll still be pissed, kwim?

Lobster Boy said...

I know all to well what you mean. It's a loose/loose situation as a waiter.

Lobster Boy

Duckie said...

I work at a gaming store and at the till we offer different things such as "game guarantees" and to sign up for a card that gives you a discount.. how can yo offer these if they're on the phone? It also sucks if they come back later mad that you didnt offer it to them in the first place.. puhlease!!

Jessica said...

I work in the mobile phone business and am amazed daily at the people who walk into my store. They ask questions galore and while you're answering they start talking on their cell phones.

I didn't realise I was invisible and mute. Thanks asshats.

I love the cards. I'm going to start filling them out and posting them on the wall in our breakroom.

Caryn said...

These are priceless! Thanks for the link.

Katy said...

Hahaha!! Funny....I am a server also at Red Lobster and I read your blogs and laugh my ass off!! I think that we have the worst managers though...have to tell you some stories

Jules said...

At my restaurant/bar (an independant) as this trend started getting out of control, I had no problem with telling the offender(or other members of their party) "I will be back when you/he/she has completed their conversation." I still do it in retail today.

Only once have I been called on it- and it was a group of 21 year old "princesses" and their dates the females of which each took phone calls intermittently for a solid 20+ minutes before they finally had a break while the boyfriends sat there bored stiff. Everyone in the area was looking at them with the "Who raised you?" stare as they yakked on and on about nothing. When one of them finally put her phone down long enough to figure out that some of the others had drinks, she threw a fit. I looked the ringleader in the eye and told her "I don't know how YOU were raised, but my momma raised me not to interrupt while someone is on the phone. She also raised me that it is rude to take phone calls while I have guests and to disturb everyone around me when I AM on the phone" and walked away. The male members at the table made sure I was well tipped and even though the ringleader pouted all night- she didn't have her phone to her ear again when I was around.