Would you like fries with that?


When I was at University I was in a Theatre Arts Program.  I was often told that studying drama was setting me up to be a great server. Those friends who were not in my program were convinced that my only skill would be asking customers at MacDonald’s if they wanted fries with that. Hunh!

Now I have the greatest respect for good servers, waitresses, waiters. Whatever the current label happens to be. A restaurant with mediocre food can be saved by great service. I like good food but I love great service.

I have received great service, good service and really, really bad service. The former will have me returning to the restaurant and recommending it. The latter will have me telling everybody I know and making very sure the information is passed on. I have been known to call the restaurant in question and respectfully voice my concerns. That of course means I can never return, no matter how good the food is. Sigh.

And of course good service is not only to be found in the culinary world. It is found on the phone, in the malls, even on the highway. You might say that good service is a direct result of good manners. I like both. I have reached an age where I expect both. Honey, I’ve done the good service routine, now I expect it in return.

After 30 years as a civilian with a police department, I have dealt with a lot people on the phone who were irate at their interactions with police officers. The fact that they broke the law and endangered others was immaterial. Those calls could sometimes be quite fun. I do have a twisted sense of humour.

More often than not it was simply a case of someone not understanding the system of law-enforcement. Their fears and concerns we’re at the root of their animosity. Taking the time to explain everything to them usually turned things around. And that was my job. I felt a great deal of satisfaction when I could allay someone’s fears.

It’s exactly the same in the world of service. I like to see people who take great pride in what they do and they do it well. I have seen some fabulous servers at McDonald’s. Just because someone else is turning their nose down at you should not diminish the pride you feel in doing a job well.

And then there are those who seem to take great pride in ruining my meal. I don’t want some obsequious dandy hovering about my table wringing their hands. I want a little pleasant banter or at least polite conversation. Keep your eye on my table in case my hand goes up. Don’t neglect me but don’t check every two minutes to find out of my meal is satisfactory. Especially when I have a mouthful of food. If you treat me well, I will tip you well. I’m that kind of patron.

I once went into a very high-end restaurant for lunch with a friend. We were out on auditions and feeling very full of ourselves. When we calculated how much money we had to pay for lunch we forgot the tip. (neither of us had a credit card) We just had enough to cover the bill. We were embarrassed so we snuck out. No, no! We left the money on the bill and then left. Unfortunately my friend realized he had left his book that he had just purchased on the table. Tail tucked between our legs we went back. Could we be anymore humiliated? Apparently we could. We explained the situation and hoped would get out without any fuss but the maître d’ summoned our waiter. We had to go through it all again. Hands wringing, eyes tearing, we apologized. Humbled, humiliated and deflated. We got his book back and we were told not to worry it was an honest mistake. Lesson learned.

Did I mention we were studying acting?

19 thoughts on “Would you like fries with that?

  1. scifihammy

    I totally agree on the service. It is an art to be good at waiting on table.
    Sadly these days good manners seem to be in short supply; at the tables or on the phone.
    Very embarrassing to have to go back in that restaurant! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Murphy's Law

    Amen sister! Good manners, common courtesy, consideration for others, and good old common sense seem to be in short supply these days. How sad for all of us….those who never share it and those who never receive it.

    It’s always blamed on busy lives. Wait! What? People are rude and thoughtless because they’re too busy?! I think it takes more time and effort to be inconsiderate than it does to be polite and thoughtful. You don’t even need a college degree.

    And I don’t know which is worse, the waiter who ignores you or the waiter who watches every forkful go into your mouth in case they might have to run over and wipe your chin for you.

    Where you summoned up the courage to go back into that restaurant is a mystery! Lol. Perhaps it can be chalked up to youth. But, as you said, lesson learned, and clearly not forgotten.

    So PLEASE have a wonderful day and THANK YOU for a terrific post.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Dan Antion

    Good manners, good service – if you didn’t learn the former, don’t take a job where the latter impacts the amount of money you take home. The places I frequent are places where good service comes with the meal. Fun story at the end – of course it’s the day your friend forgot his book.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Sheryl

    I enjoyed reading this post. I especially liked the sentence about how fears and concerns are often at the root of animosity. And, the story at the end about having to go back after not leaving a tip was so much fun.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. John W. Howell

    Having worked my way through college as a server, I definitely know good service when I see it. I’m starting to believe that the idea of good service is only grasped by those who care about what they do. They are not between jobs or careers. They are dedicated to the here and now. Doing a good job can prove to be very profitable. I used to earn twice as much as my fellow workers by believing in treating others the way I wanted to be treated and acting out this belief every time I faced a customer. When folks ask to be seated in your area when they make a reservation you know you are doing something right. Excellent post, Pam.

    Liked by 1 person

      1. Mark Lanesbury

        I worked in a grocery supermarket in my first job, and wow, didn’t that test your mettle just starting out. The boss said ‘they’ are never wrong, find a way to please them and just keep smiling. I swear some days I put a steel brace to keep my smile fixed in place 😀

        Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.