After many years in this business, I have a few rules to live by. It’s a blessing and a curse:
I don’t eat out on St. Valentine’s Day
The reasons seem somewhat obvious to me, but to those who are not in the business, there is no way to know what you are potentially getting in to. Fortunately, my wife is often on the same page as me (it took me years to train her–if you didn’t before, I’m sure you feel sorry for her now).
Big crowds, not just big crowds, but as those working in the restaurant like to call it: Amateur Night. A lot of diners who eat out only once a year and try to act like they know everything to cover up their insecurities of not actually knowing a thing. Suddenly, they have completely forgotten how to say please and thank you.
Now, before you dismiss me as being just another crabby cynic, hear me out. Don’t get me wrong, everyone has the right to eat out whenever and wherever they want. However, those ‘amateurs’, as the servers like to call them, can make it tough on other patrons. I have had many a dining experience ruined because my server was too busy coddling other customers to give my table the time of day. Plus it often puts servers in a foul mood.
I don’t eat brunch out on Easter or Mother’s Day
Sorry Mom. Look at all of my reasons described above. In addition, I usually find that these places (owners) like to be busy, but they don’t like to pay for the extra labor associated with being busy, leading to long waits for more water or even longer waits for food that is often lukewarm at best–not to mention overpriced for the occasion.
I don’t go out to restaurants or bars on New Year’s Eve
Drunks. People acting drunk and stupid, trying to cram an entire year’s partying in to one night. I just assume do that at home where no one can see me acting like an idiot. Not to mention trying to get home safely.
I don’t go out to dinner with a group of more than six people
Of all of my ‘rules’, this can be the most difficult one to follow. Gatherings with friends and family when out of town challenges this one. If we are in Portland, I would pretty much insist that they just come over to my house for dinner. I would rather have the inconvenience and expense of hosting people myself, than to go out and sit at a huge table where I only get the chance to visit with the two people sitting next to me.
I was in Los Angeles a while back and found myself out to dinner with a large group of friends. My wife wasn’t with me to protect (save) me, and I just couldn’t get out of this particular event (it happens).
When it was getting to be time to leave, I watched as 12 people all starting waving their credit cards at the server, suggesting now that the check be split 12 ways. “I had a glass of chardonnay and the Caesar salad.” “Oh, that’s right, I had the key lime pie, too.” “Actually, now that I think of it, I had two glasses of chardonnay….” Ugh.
Just bring me the check
Doesn’t anyone carry cash anymore? Again, I would rather just eat the expense of the meal than watch that poor server have to deal with that mess. So, if you can get me to go out with a large group (you can’t), odds are I will pay for you. It can be difficult going out with a large group when, by the end of the meal, I am really doing my best to convince the server that I don’t know anyone at the table.
Well, there you have it. Like I said, it’s a blessing and a curse. Take from this what you will. I mentioned that it is hard being me. Try being my wife.