Wednesday, April 14, 2010

I'm Not Really Looking for Anything Serious Right Now...Except Maybe the Check

Most restaurants are good to me. They usually don't give me chlorine gas poisoning, for starters.

However, I have a weird jinx with waiters. I always get the over-familiar, kind of creepy ones who practically invite themselves to pull up a chair and join in on the fun.

A week or two back, I was dining with my friend J. at what could be generously deemed the Highly Honored Window Seat, but was more likely to be the Put These Two Weirdos in the Farthest Corner Table Before They Infect Us with the Crazy Section.

The waiter was a piece of work. I wonder if he hadn't been hugged enough as a child, or if his inner rainbow needed a tuneup. Or perhaps his restaurant's training program had included extensive rebirthing and isolation therapy, and he was desperate for human contact.

Hey, the food was great, and I was happy. I'll take a side of creepy with a good meal anytime. (How else would I have survived multiple decades of dating?)

Eventually, it was time for dessert. J had let slip that he had never had a McFlurry, so we made plans to head over to McDonald's after dinner. When our waiter asked us if we wanted dessert, we demurred because, 1. we wanted McFlurries, and 2. We were worried "dessert" might be a thinly veiled reference to the waiter engaging in a sex act with today's gelato.

At that point, J made a fatal error. He told the waiter we wanted McFlurries.

I think we would have gotten out faster if J had said, "No thanks on dessert, we have a Sarah Palin/Dick Cheney striptease to attend. I've emptied my life savings to properly tip them."

The waiter took our McFlurry craving rather personally. He mock-harangued, then real-harangued me over not ordering the restaurant's dessert. Then, he informed me that McDonald's is a chain and if I had the proper community spirit I would at the very least pay an astronomical amount for a trendy gourmet cupcake.

Nothing would dissuade him. We skulked out of the restaurant, ashamed of our pedestrian taste in sweets.

Afterwards, I wondered about the motivations for his behavior.

Theory 1: The waiter had read about pickup artists and was "negging" his way to an upsell.

Theory 2: The waiter was prescient, and was warning me of an upcoming Sugar Apocalypse.

Theory 3: The waiter was kind of an over-familiar douche.

I'm gonna go with Door Number Three.

In the comments, tell me about a waiter who just wanted to be friends.


lacochran said...

Too many to mention.

OOooo, I hate pushy waitstaff.

"So can I get you something more to drink? Or maybe something to nibble on? Some Pizza Shooters, Shrimp Poppers, or Extreme Fajitas?"

Brando said...

This is the problem with the "tipping based on amount of bill" convention--turns wait staff into hard core salespersons! Notice that at McDonalds (where they aren't tipped) they wouldn't yell at you for forgoing the McFlurry in order to get a cupcake next door. Maybe tipping should instead be based solely on the quality of service and the hardship (how many plates to carry, how many trips back to refill, etc.). After all, should two plates be treated differently for tipping purposes when they weigh the same but one is far more expensive?

And as an aside, what's this anti-chain nonsense? Are the employees at your local McDonalds residents of some foreign land that travel thousands of miles to work every day? And are the owners of the local cupcake shop hard working residents of that very neighborhood rather that some faceless cupcake corporation?

I refuse to give in to Big Cupcake.

Shannon said...

lacochran - Is it just me, or do Pizza Shooters actually sound kind of tasty?

Brando - In all fairness, some McDonalds workers DID travel thousands of miles to get to their jobs.

Gilahi said...

WRT Brando's comment, I would have dropped the waiter's tip from my normal (usually pretty high) percentage quite precipitously once that started. The longer it went, the more the percentage would decrease. I might have even complained to management. I hope you didn't leave the guy a generous tip.

Lemon Gloria said...

Oh, this makes me mad. I hate pushy servers, too. And seriously, who doesn't want a McFlurry?

J said...

The McFlurry was delicious. Thanks Shannon :)

I think he was just trying to be 'folksy', but clearly it didn't work out..

Shannon said...

Gilahi - I tipped somewhere around 15...I usually tip 20-25%.

LG - If more restaurants sold McFlurries, we wouldn't have this problem!

J - Folksy? Or friendly? Whatever it was, it backfired. Ick.

Shannon said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Brando said...

Hell, if restaurants are going to start carrying McDonalds products I'd hope they'd start with Big Mac Sliders and their unbeatable fries.

FoggyDew said...

El doucho would have gotten a goose egg tip from me for being rude and, with that in mind: Can we please, please, please pretty please go there some time and get the same waiter? I could have soooo much fun torturing this guy. First I'd open with an order of bottled water. Then, in the midgame, I'd compare the food to my most recent trip to Applebees and I'd wind up with the classic McFlurry gambit.

It'd be fun just to watch.

And what do you mean, "some McD" employees? The only english speaking McD employees I see these days are the ones on the commercials.

J said...

By the way, our seat was most definitely the worst in the house, despite claims to the contrary from the hostess..

Shannon said...

Brando - If restaurants starting carrying McD's, I would hope they'd start with sausage McMuffins.

Foggy - It is ON. But only if you skeeve out the waiter by inviting him to a postdinner donkey show.

J - Yeah, I would think that if you're seating two people behind a concrete pillar, in a remote corner, you are either 1. worried about contagion 2. anticipating they will make out with one another. As 2 is unlikely, we'll go with 1.

Dmbosstone said...

Definitely a douche.