Dining out can be both a rewarding and frustrating experience.
Mostly, I like casual places but on occasion it’s great to go out for a really good meal at a nice restaurant.
The problem with the latter is that they are often staffed by waiters who speak with a thick accent that nobody whom is not from that country can understand. This is fine when you’re in that country – it’s to be expected and is part of the cultural experience of traveling – but I hate it when it’s in my home country of the good ‘ol USA.
The reason is that the waiters know you can’t speak that language and seem to talk down to you. They want to upsell you on things you don’t understand and I’m sure they go back to the kitchen and say “this idiot has no idea what he has ordered!” This is magnified if you have a date with you.
To further attempt to manipulate you and force you to order the most expensive things on the menu, along with appetizers, the highest-priced drinks and who knows what else, they speak so softly it would be difficult to understand them even if they spoke perfect English.
THIS DRIVES ME CRAZY!
Things I Feel Like Telling The Waiter – But Don’t
I feel like looking up at them, putting the menu down in a slow and methodical manner, and reminding them that I am the one who is sitting down.
But I don’t do this, of course. I hate controversy and am certainly not one to cause a scene – especially while on a date – so I always take the high road. If I don’t like the place then I won’t go back to it and I won’t recommend it on PubClub.com; mostly I just ignore it in restaurant reviews.
Instead, I simply say, “I’m sorry, I don’t understand.” Most of the time they jump back into that thick accent but I again say, “I’m sorry, I don’t understand. Can you please speak more slowly?”
More often than not, this works. If not, I make it clear that I only want the main meal, a beer and whatever the girl wants to drink. They are usually cordial to the girl because they are more scared of her than the guy!
THIS DRIVE ME CRAZY!
Why I’m Not Intimated By Snotty Waiters
I am the customer, therefore I am not intimidated by snotty waiters. I stand firm but am also friendly. I say things with a smile and a laugh.
I do this because it’s my nature to be that way and also I know I have one benefit in my back pocket: the manager. I can request to see him and – very quietly without causing a scene but also very pointed in my complaint – tell him of my displeasure with the waiter. I will explain that I will finish my dinner but won’t go back to the place or recommend it to any friends. This is the best way to get their attention.
The waiter knows this well and he will often back down and become more friendly. Heck in one case I even had a laugh with one. With a smile I said “I’m sorry, I really can’t understand your accent” and he replied, “well, we to sell the food, you know!”
We had a good laugh about it.
By the way, I have never experienced this with a female server. It has only been with male waiters.
Okay, I’m through complaining. For this column, anyway.
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