February 10th, 2006

Wedding day

How not to earn a tip:

I just got back from having a late lunch at Red Robin with a couple of coworkers.

The place was fairly busy, and we were seated next to a table with a couple of women and their kids. While we were waiting for our food, the staff came out and wished one of the women a happy 21st birthday.

Sometime within the last six years or so, each family dining establishment drafted its very own birthday chant. Frankly, I think this is a very good idea. First of all, they're less likely to be sued by AOL Time Warner. Mostly, I've never been to a restaurant where the waitstaff had been hired on their ability to carry a tune (though I'd like to check out the Miles Away Café sometime).

Anyway, the waitress came over after the birthday chant was over and was making small talk with the birthday girl.

"So how old is your eldest?" said the waitress.

"He's six."

"So you had him when you were like, fourteen? Fifteen?"

This reminds me of an exchange about the destruction of the planet Earth from The Restaurant at the End of the Universe by Douglas Adams:
"We have a thing on Earth..." began Arthur.

"Had," corrected Zaphod.

"...called tact."
Then again, everything reminds me of something by Douglas Adams. I don't know if the waitress got a tip, but I'm guessing she didn't. Situations like this are great for paying with plastic because you can write a small bit of advice on the tip line. I couldn't tell you how many receipts I've seen that have tips like "don't blow-dry your hair while bathing" or "check up on your customers once in awhile" or (my favorite) "Please apologize to the person who got my bill. This one's cheaper."

In other news, apparently it freaks people out that I eat everything with a knife and fork.
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