In talking with my friends in the restaurant industry, and in talking with my friend in the medical field, and in talking with guests, there’s a thread running through our whole daily mess right now that I think we could all do with.
Last night we we had no expediter, nor a prep cook. We were short a food runner and a dining room manager. And to those of you who joined us for dinner last night, I offer all of you an apology and a humble thanks for your patience. And for those of you who had none, likely none of whom are on this email list, I wish you the ability to glance, even momentarily, into someone’s perspective as they serve you, in whatever capacity that may be.
Before you demand to know why this particular marrow bone was shallower than it should have been, question yourself as to whether your server had control over the saw cut through the marrow bone. Before you upbraid the nurse for your two-hour wait in the emergency room, ask yourself how likely it was that he or she was lounging casually while you suffered, or whether it had something to do with the thirty people who arrived before you did, or the six who called in sick with no one available to replace them.
By a longshot, I consistently consider us fortunate that the vast majority of our regulars are kind and caring people who regard us as, well, kind and caring people. But daily, I find myself resentful that a seventy-year-old is behaving like a petulant child over a decidedly first-world problem. Mistakes will doubtless be made, everywhere, and by everyone, but each night I find myself inching ever closer to a moment where I clink a fork against a glass and beg the attention of the entire dining room so I can lecture an adult about how it’s okay to behave when things aren’t going your way.
We get enough indignant reviews on Yelp and TripAdvisor that I don’t need to further contribute to my own reputation of being a thin-skinned complainer who doesn’t understand that the customer is always right, so I don’t do it. Nonetheless, the deeper we get into this pandemic, the more none of us is right. Our patience has worn thin, whichever side of the equation we’re on, but it would appear, nearly two years in, that we might be close enough to call this the home stretch, and it wouldn’t do any of us any harm to pause and think for a moment before we say or do what we’re all caught up in saying or doing.
I do encourage people to complain- we can’t read anyone’s mind, and if you don’t tell us there’s a problem with your meal, we likely won’t make a move to fix it, as we have no idea there’s a problem, but a little patience and kindness go a long way. The person who discusses a problem like an adult, with a simple acknowledgement that people are all presumably making their best effort, but a straightforward explanation of the problem and the hope that it’s rectified will likely find the problem resolved. The person who begins an interaction with the phrase, “I never complain, but…” is either not being honest with you, or not being honest with him- or herself, and is unceremoniously dumping blame at the feet of a person who is probably not the reason for the issue.
I do complain. A lot. But I’d like to think I do it respectfully most of the time, and it pains me to feel the need to do it here, but when I get an alleged grownup behaving like a child with me, I want to find something like this and present it to them:
You teach people how to treat you, and I’m ready to take a break from acting like unreasonable behavior is okay because you’re putting down a credit card at the end of the evening. I’ll treat you like a grownup if you behave like one.
In the meanwhile, it’s nearly time for today’s wine tasting,
so I’m sending you the login information:
Doug Levy is inviting you to a scheduled Zoom meeting.
Topic: Old friends, new vintages
Time: Jan 29, 2022 02:00 PM Arizona
Join Zoom Meeting
Meeting ID: 819 3541 5392
I’m also sending a link to tomorrow’s tasting in case you’d like to join us for that one as well- we have room for maybe half a dozen more if you’re so inclined (and yes, I’ll get the pricing posted today, I promise. We’ve been scrambling to cover shifts and I haven’t had a chance. And if you’re going to make a fuss about it, I refer you to the Sesame Street link above.)
I’ll look forward to seeing you at one of the tastings or another, and to your kind and gentle interaction with a thin-skinned complainer who’s every bit as tired of all this as you are.