Friday, March 24, 2006

The Annoying Waiter Olympics

Today I spent my morning sitting at my desk being very well-behaved and therfore very hungry. I was counting the minutes until lunch when I went to a restaurant around the corner from my office that is attached to a hotel. I continue to frequent this place despite the obsequious Eastern European waiters because they have a grilled chicken sandwhich with pesto that I really like. G4 put a moratorium on going to this restaurant after the infamous Gauner incident, which I wrote about here.

Today when I arrived, I was seated too close to another table right by the door so it was very cold and drafty. Very bad start. My waiter was the King of Obsequious Eastern European waiters, and I was giving him the cold shoulder so he'd get the idea to leave me alone. After he brought my food and ran through a list of possible items I might additionally require he returned five minutes later while I was eating and asked in a heavy accent, "Is this your first day in New York?"

"What?" What? It took me a minute to even understand him, then I puzzled over the question. "No."

"What state are you from?"

"I live here!" I said in my how-dare-you-mistake-me-for-a-tourist voice. I was able to frighten him away. Later I heard him ask this question to the two old women sitting behind me. I fear that the hotel chain that owns this restaurant put these poor young people through a "Welcome to your Exciting Career in Food Service" course where they told them that friendly chatter with out-of-towners would be great for their tips.

After I finished my meal, he came to take my plate and said, "May I interest you in any dessert?". Now, I had seen him work his dessert menu patter with the guys sitting next to me and I wanted to party of this, so I firmly said no. "Let me get the dessert tray to show you," he said.


"Would you like some chocolate cake? Some carrot cake?"

"No thank you."

"Some apple pie? Apple pie with ice cream? Vanilla ice cream, chocolate ice cream, strawberry ice cream?"


"Would you like some cheese cake? Some creamy New York cheese cake?"

"No!" I was frantically waiving my hands, I couldn't believe this was happening to me.

"Would you like some fresh fruit and yogurt? Some cottage cheese?" He dumped the dessert tray.

I was just looking at him with my mouth open.

"No, how about some coffe. Fresh coffee. Would like an espresso, a cappucino, a cafe latte?"


"No, of course. Would you like some hot tea? Earl Gray, herbal teas? No, you just want the check?"

"Yes, just the check!" I said, trying to refrain from screaming and falling off of my chair.

"Okay," he said, finally producing my bill. "Please pay at the cashier."

I mean, how do you tip a person like that? I followed the advice of the guys sitting next to me who said, "What do you think? Should we give him a big tip? He's obviously paying for English lessons." Then I walked out and vowed never to eat there again.

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