Waiter, Write It Down

Dear Waiter,

How are you? I am fine. I really enjoyed your service last night at the Dosa Hut. Lisa did too. We admired your knowledge of the menu. For example, when I said: “Which bread is most like naan?” you quickly pointed us in the right direction. You refilled our water glasses with impressive regularity. You brought the check in a timely manner. You did a very nice job in all these departments.

Here’s the thing. When you took our order, you stared at us nervously. I said, “I’ll have #51.” (I forget the name of it–I think it was chickpeas and spinach. In fact I know it was.) Lisa said, “I’ll have #50.” (And hers was eggplant and onions and tomatoes and such.) I ordered a mango lassi. We also ordered bread. You began to sweat. You tried to repeat it back to us. You got it wrong. We corrected you. You scampered off and miraculously got our order right.

But now a question. Why did you do this? Why didn’t you write it down? Seriously: why didn’t you write it down?

I’m not mad. I’m genuinely curious. I mean, paper isn’t expensive, is it? Pencils cost a penny, right? A few pennies, fine. But certainly there are pencils lying around.

Is it a pride thing? Are you trying to expand your brain by memorizing people’s orders? Might you not do this in another way? Perhaps a game of Simon?

If it was to win our favor, I don’t think memorizing orders wins anyone’s favor. I think most people are at the point now where the novelty isn’t so much a novelty as it is an irritant. It means, there’s a good chance you won’t get our order right. There have been times when memorizing waiters haven’t gotten our orders right. This drives us crazy and perhaps we’re taking our anger out on you. If that’s the case, we apologize. But not whole-heartedly.

In the future, then, please, just write it down. No one gets hurt. You have it on the paper, we’ll feel better, you’ll feel better and the order will come out right. Food won’t be wasted. Chefs won’t yell at you. If you are sued later, you’ll have a document of what we ate. If you keep a journal, you can write all about what your customers had for dinner. The possibilities are endless. Writing orders down is fun.

Ok, waiter? I hope this letter wasn’t rude or belittling or obnoxious. Again, we really admired your work. Just write it down in the future, ok? Ok?

Thanks, waiter. You’re the best.


The Amateur Gourmet

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