What's Eating You: The Over-Attentive Waiter
Posted: March 9, 2012
By Anna Moore
Photo by Samuel Mink
“Hello, my name is Annoying, and I will be taking care of you today. May I start you off with something to drink? Would you like to see our wine list? Have you tried our new appetizers? What’s your favorite color? Can I get you anything? Oh, just checking in. Can I grate some cheese- pepper- anything? More bread? Dessert? Water? Yes? No?“
There is nothing lovelier than going out to eat with good company. Dining at a restaurant should be a relaxing retreat from the stresses of your own kitchen. Whether a business lunch, first date, or a lavish anniversary dinner, nothing spoils a meal like an all-too-attentive waiter.
You know the type — over-the-top enthusiasm, a gleaming fake toothy smile, and tireless determination to get a good tip.
Tell me if any of these scenarios ring a bell:
1. You take one sip of water and BAM, like a magical water genie, the waiter is already reaching over the table to top off your almost full glass.
2. Maybe you are deep in a conversation with your dinner date, usually something heartfelt and personal. It is obvious that neither of you need anything other than some privacy, but instead of waiting until a better moment, the waiter decides to stand obtrusively close and wait for you to feel their presence. Once you turn to them to see what they could possibly get you in the middle of your meal, they whip out a three-foot wooden grinder and ask, “Pepper?”
3. You close your mouth around a large piece of steak. This becomes a perfect time to see if you need more wine. Chew. Chew. Still chewing. “Ommno, I am Mgood.”
4. After your table erupts in laughter the waiter joins in with a phony giggle, and asks if you are still working on your meal. Since when has eating become “work”?
5. When a waiter wants you to leave and their subtle hints turn into full on table stalking as they pace and repeatedly inquire about the check.
Now don’t get me wrong, waiters are just doing their job. Persistence can be a wonderful thing, and most of the time, dutiful waiters are fantastic. However, there is a difference between great service and grating service.
So what should you do when you get a waiter that just can’t wait? Stay polite, and, with a smile, kindly let them know that they are doing a great job, but you won’t need anything else. Emphasize that you will call them if that changes.
Anna Moore is known for her rants on palate peeves that can ruin any meal: wince-worthy quirks that we have all experienced.