October 16, 2019   1:06pm

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Are you being rude and dismissive?

Are you being rude and dismissive without even knowing it?

We spend a lot of time in restaurants, and, lately, I’ve been observing how my meal-mates treat “the help” — that’s loosely defined as all the people who serve a table, whether seating you, filling the water glasses, taking the order, removing crumbs from the tablecloth, taking your coat, whatever.

This was occasioned by a lunch I had the other day with a journalist who hails from Mexico. She brought my attention to the fact that most of us don’t “see” all the Hispanics who are making our lunch an enjoyable experience (and we were at an Italian restaurant). She was right … I hadn’t even noticed all those fellows (they were all guys) waiting to be at-our-service.

Now you might respond, “Well, you’re not supposed to ‘see’ them … a restaurant is a little like going to a theatrical event where the people who put on the show are in the background. There’s good truth to that. But, then again, how would you feel if no one ever acknowledged your existence or good work? How would it impact your ego and pride?

This question brings up a related penchant that really gets in my craw — how rude and dismissive people can be to restaurant servers just trying to do their job — regardless of what their race, nationality or makeup tend to be.

For starters, there’s the mind-boggling decision of which table is right, so there might be some moving around with an accompanying “attitude” towards the offending seater. Then (given diet preferences), the order-taker is grilled — sometimes not so nicely — as though responsible for the life-altering menu they’ve proffered. And, ohmag-d, if something is wrong, the server is treated as though he selected the faulty fish and prepared it himself. I could go on … but here’s the point …

Put yourself in their place. How much effort does it take to be pleasant, ask nicely and treat people with a bit of respect. Plus, just in case you could care less, I’ll offer you a story of more than psychic rewards when you care more ...

Awhile ago friends were in town and, since we were standing outside, we decided to try to get a table at one of those restaurants where you have to reserve weeks in advance. The place was packed but I was in a great mood, transferring my cheerfulness to the two people at the reception desk who I joked with about how ridiculous it seemed to even try to get in. The response: “You’re being so nice and most people are usually so demanding, we’re happy to have you and are going to jump your party ahead of everyone else.”

No, I didn’t secretly slip something “under the table”. And, yes, we had a great meal (with great service)!

Next time, you’re in a restaurant, think about it.

Snoety symbol
Sarah says: June 29th, 2008 at 4:01 pm

You know, a great piece of advice I got as a young woman–I’m sure it must have been from my mother–was to watch how a date treated the people who waited on us in restaurants. It says a lot about who a person is, and about how you can expect them to treat you once the early-dating-shine has worn off. It was great advice, and I saved myself a lot of bad second dates by turning down anyone who had been rude to the waiter on the first.

Wendy says: June 29th, 2008 at 4:33 pm

OMG! I am an interior designer and I am constantly amazed at how rude people treat me. Someone should write a book on email etiquette (not that these people would read it!). I receive so many emails from clients were their intent is clearly to belittle or hurt you, they send rude emails with demands and don’t address you at all – no hello and end without a goodbye, sincerely etc or even signing their name. Also venders that we buy from are full of rude people from the owners of the company down to the receptionist they clearly have forgotten that I am a customer giving them money (not the enemy!). It seems that people have forgotten that being rude or hurting someone for no reason is not productive and bad karma and very few people will continue to deal with that so in the end rudeness loses.

Sidney says: June 29th, 2008 at 4:33 pm

This is rather dear…… I was going to respond to this essay by saying that you can tell a lot about a person by how they treat people who attend them in restaurants, but I see that my daughter Sarah has already given the response.

I think I will just sit here a minute and smile………

Sarah’s mother, Sidney

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