Sociology of Education is a class in my program that sparked much discussion and debate. Some of the points made by my classmates I agreed with, others filled me with uncertainty, and then there are times when I was like, “No. Just no.” Then when I just can’t with some of the foolishness stated, I would give the side eye. I remember one day, a particular classmate who I consider a friend, came in ranting about a food preparer who made her sandwich improperly, despite her clear instructions. I forgot how many times the sandwich had to be remade and I am uncertain as to whether my friend even got the sandwich in a manner that was enjoyable to her. All I know is that proper sandwich-making became a huge topic of discussion in that our education system has successfully destroyed students’ ability to have deductive reasoning skills and understand simple instructions. I could not help but to agree as I had already witnessed my own son’s fight against the destruction of his creativity in that he thought breaking his crayons and shoving them into the crevices between his desk in protest, would be better than being subjected to coloring some two-dimensional picture against his will. I digress though, because I actually don’t want to discuss the many and continuing flaws in our education system. I do that all year long and I’m tired. I am still thinking a lot about my friend with the bad sandwich right now as I am realizing that the number of my experiences with poor quality restaurant service continues to rise. While I agree with the points made about the current education system contributing to food preparers who cannot fix a simple sandwich, I believe that this deficit goes beyond that. I say that the system has killed a sense of pride in one’s work. With a system that discourages failure and real consequences, is there any wonder that this has all filtered into the workforce as well? I don’t know the answer to that, but I have been encountering some people who act as if they won’t ever be fired for incompetence and that there is a job around every corner.
I can’t talk about my recent restaurant fails without talking about the fact that having a two-year-old is hard without the whole, “I don’t need this job” attitude. Anyone who has had to dine with children under the age of five knows that certain things need to happen so that parents and the rest of the guests can have somewhat of a pleasant outing:
1. Get the high chair/booster seat ready (And can you clean these things because you wouldn’t believe what children actually do in them…)
2. Please seat us in some out of the way place, especially if there are options.
3. Bring out the requested crackers/bread/fruit cup like we ask before taking our drink order. No, I mean it. Put the pen and pad down and go get this baby’s order. Please.
4. Do not place drinks/hot plates/dipping sauces directly in front of little hands.
5. Don’t just stand there looking at us all crazy when the above requests are made.
Then there are the other dining issues that go way beyond the inability to make a sandwich.
1. The Reluctant Hostess – Aren’t you guys supposed to be friendly and accommodating? So United States vs. Ghana World Cup Soccer coverage is on all of the televisions in the restaurant. Therefore, the hostess should know that when we request seating near a television in a near empty restaurant, we are there for the purpose of watching the match. So why seat us the furthest from the television as possible? Was this to be purposely irritating? So much for friendly and accommodating.
2. The Channel Changer – I’m recently understanding why my husband gets really frustrated with these particular people as I am getting more into watching soccer. We’re glued to the television, loudly cheering for the US attacker who is headed for the goal, which is a clear indication that we’re watching the game. Why has the channel suddenly been changed to horse racing? Really? What ever happened to asking first?
3. The Free Refills Hoarder – Our drinks have been sitting on empty a while and our server has been to the table twice. Why hasn’t a pitcher been brought or a filled glass during these visits? Or better yet, just take the empty cups. And why do you hurry away before we can even make the request for a refill? What is so urgent? And why does it seem when you do get around to replenishing our drinks, mine gets left out? This brings me to number four:
4. The Woman Hater – This is the waitress who always makes sure that my husband’s glass is full but I have to practically submit a bill to the Congressional Committee before this chick will even come near my glass. I mean, wow.
5. The Condiments Keeper – “Can you bring some A-1 Sauce, please?” “Sure,” comes the reply. Seconds, minutes, hours, the next day passes and the juicy steak that once looked appetizing is now cold. When the server returns, it is sands A-1 sauce. But my husband’s glass gets refilled for the 8th time. Really? At this point, I give up and start eating because I’m hungry.
6. The Fry Scrimper – Why does my 9-year-old have more fries on his plate than I do, like he’s the one paying the bill and leaving the tip? Meanwhile, I have barely enough to feed myself, let alone enough to be snatched up by little fingers who cares not to know the meaning of any kind of patience. I can’t help but wonder if my fries are being eaten between the kitchen and our table…
7. The Third Time Still Ain’t the Charm Server – My actual order is a grilled chicken salad with no egg. What I get is a small salad, which requires me to do something that I hate – send my order back to the kitchen. The right sized bowl returns. With egg. Back to the kitchen it goes. The Bowl gets set down before me a third time. I see the place where the egg has been scraped off. Really? So it doesn’t matter if I happen to be allergic? I’m not, but there are principalities involved in this! So with a sigh, I box everything up to eat later at home because at this point, I just…can’t. I can no longer. I’m done.
8. The One who Gives Not One Tinker’s Darn About the Dirty Dishes – I don’t actually know who Tinker is, but I do know he didn’t care and neither do these dishwashers, table setters, or servers. Do they even see the big ol’, dried up, sticky nasty crumb stuck to the plate? And can we have a replacement within this decade? And why are we given the side eye when we request our food to be placed on dishes that are clean?
9. Mayonnaise Goes With Everything Philosopher – I hate mayonnaise. I mean really. If you put mayonnaise on my food, I will make you take it back and you better be lucky I do not make you burn the plate as well. But the mayonnaise will leave me with an attitude big time, which is why I really, really need you to hear me and pay attention when I say, “No mayo.”
10. I Don’t Know What’s On My Own Menu Server – Hey, I don’t mind that you don’t know that you have Root Beer. Just do not tell me with all certainty that you don’t have Root Beer, when I know that you do. K? Thanks.
What is really sad is that I have encountered most of these incidents within the last couple of days. I am certain that my luck is not that bad. So the only conclusion I can draw is that people aren’t willing to go that extra mile anymore. Some are not even willing to do the basics. Believe it or not, you can find that “I don’t need this job” worker in my latest book in Destination Wedding, which goes to show that art truly does imitate life.
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