Write it Down!

I’ve never been a fan of waiters/waitresses who take your order without pen and paper. It has always struck me as arrogant. Like a mechanic telling you he’s going to work on your car with only his right hand or a landscaper showing up at your house with his shoes tied together, these servers give off the aura that they are so good at their job, they can handicap themselves and still excel.

Because of this, I’m always secretly hoping that one of these “memorizers” slips up, because if/when they do, everyone will know that they have made an unwise choice. Is it really that hard to carry around a pad to write on?

To me, servers trying to memorize your order is a step backwards in the evolution of food service. Seems to me a few hundred years ago servers had to memorize orders because pens hadn’t been invented yet and chiseling out someone’s order on a piece of rock made a real mess of the dinnerware. The invention of pens and paper made it easier for servers to record the orders of their patrons, and thus, get the orders right.

Last night at dinner we had a one-armed mechanic taking our orders. She almost got the drink orders right for our party of seven, but she failed to remember that the mango margarita was supposed to be sans sugar. A minor detail, for sure, but something the bartender would not have missed had the order been written down. When it came to dinner, we had a similar minor issue, with the server failing to bring out jalapenos for the chimichangas. Again, not an earth-shattering miscue, but something that a pen and paper could have remedied.

I’ve been told that certain establishments require their servers to use only their brains. To me this is silly. Like asking umpires to keep track of balls and strikes without one of those counters. One of the umpires main functions is to keep track of balls, strikes, and outs. It only makes sense to give him a tool that helps him do his job. Similarly, a server’s main job is to be the go-between between me and the kitchen. I tell him/her what i want, they let the kitchen know. Why wouldn’t you want that person to use all the tools available to them to do their job better?

The good news is, some day soon all menus will probably be interactive, and all servers have to do is bring out the food and drink that I’ve custom ordered on my touch screen menu.You know that we’re only years away from that type of thing happening.

And when that day comes, and servers are only asked to bring food and clear plates, I’m sure the ones who are intent on showing off will create some way to handicap themselves in an attempt to stand out. Whether it’s serving food on pogo sticks or balancing dirty dishes on their tip of their noses, they’ll find a way…they always do.

So to all you memorizing servers out there, you better be real careful with my order. I’m a good tipper, but you’re not going to get more from me just because you eschew the ink and tablet. And if you screw my order up because your brain forget the extra side of cheese, I’m gonna dock you a few cents. Call it a common sense tax. It’s not that I want to take money out of your pocket, it’s just that someone has to keep you accountable.

Did you get all that? If not, you might want to write it down.