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Waitstaff: Suggestions From a Patron’s Viewpoint

TablesDaily Prompt: Eighth Cardinal Sin, Thou shalt not disappear after bringing my food! You often come across articles about how to be a good restaurant, bar or cafe customer, usually written from the point of view of waitstaff – as waiters and waitresses are now referred to. Invariably one of the focal points will be the absolute need to tip and what constitutes an appropriate tip; the proper way to get your wait-staffer’s attention and so on.

Tipping used to be done on the QT, a little backhander, some palm grease, a bit of a cash bonus tactfully passed from customer to waiter, doorman or cabbie, all in an effort To Insure Promptness, hence Tip.

Let me start by stating unequivocally that I am an exceptionally polite person, and I have been told on numerous occasions that I am an above average tipper, even if I dislike the current system where I, the restaurant patron, have to directly pay, via tips, a significant portion of wait staff salaries because restaurant owners can employ them at below average minimum wage.

Tipping used to be done on the QT, a little backhander, some palm grease, a bit of a cash bonus tactfully passed from customer to waiter, doorman or cabbie, all in an effort To Insure Promptness – hence Tip. Now not only is it right out there, but it is expected, in fact in many establishments it is already calculated into your bill. While I don’t like the system, and would prefer one whereby restaurant owners paid waitstaff a decent wage to begin with, and tips were relegated to their old role as bonuses, I would never hold that against a waiter or waitress by withholding their tip. I understand they work very hard and rely on tips, and they didn’t create the system.

But enough about tipping, let’s take a look at things from the opposite end of the telescope. Now that we know how to be good patrons, here are some ideas, I won’t say tips, on how to be an even better waiter or waitress.

MenuPlease, there’s no need to introduce yourself.

“Hi! I’m Becky/Sam, and I’ll be your waiter/waitress tonight.” Becky/Sam, I don’t want to be mean, but we’re not going to be friends – and if we already are, I know your name. I’m going to politely order food, you’re going to professionally bring it, I’m going to enjoy it and pay. We can accomplish all of this without knowing each others name.

With all due respect, I don’t care what you like.

Please don’t say things such as “What I really like is the pork chop with basil stuffing”. That’s fine, why don’t you go have one. I’m not in the least interested in what you like or how you like it. In a similar vein, when I inform you of my selection, please don’t say “Good choice” as though I were a child having just mastered shoelace tying.

Did I mention I am polite?

As a polite person, during the course of our interaction I will, no doubt on several occasions, say ‘Thank you’. There are but a few proper replies, among them ‘you’re welcome’ and ‘my pleasure’. ‘Un-huh’, ‘Sure’, ‘Not a problem’,  and ‘okie dokie’ should be avoided!

How you choose to divvy up the tables and chores is entirely your business. As far as we are concerned, all wait staff should be attentive to all customers. It will all work out in the end.

Please don’t impose the inner workings of the restaurant on me

While the phrase “It’s not my section” has become a joke, there are still some waitstaff who don’t get it. When we customers enter a restaurant, we enter the entire monolithic establishment, not one or another section thereof. How you choose to divvy up the tables and chores is entirely your business. As far as we patrons are concerned, all wait staff should be attentive to all customers. It will work out in the end.

Please don’t impose the inner workings of the restaurant on me – part two

Every now and then I like to drop in for a beer or two on my way home from work. Sometimes the waiter or waitress will, mere moments after bringing me my beer, reappear with an unrequested bill and payment machine. Have I been thrown out, am I barred, cut off, did I take a nap on the bar?  They inform me that they have finished their shift and are leaving. So? Have a nice evening. Oh, I get it, you want me to pay and tip you for the beer(s) you brought me, then your replacement will start another tab. Why don’t you just let the bill run, I’ll pay your replacement when I leave, and you can get your portion of the tip from him or her next time you see them? But I guess it’s easier to download this bit of payroll administration to the customer.

As a polite person, during the course of our interaction I will, no doubt on several occasions, say ‘Thank you’. There are but a few proper replies, among them ‘you’re welcome’ and ‘my pleasure’. ‘Un-huh’, ‘Sure’, ‘Not a problem’,  and ‘okie dokie’ should be avoided!

Please don’t hover, but don’t disappear either

Once things have arrived, within a few moments the customary check to see if everything is fine is much appreciated. Assuming all is well, there’s no need for you to hover, but by the same token, please don’t disappear, as I will no doubt need your services again. Strike a balance between being available and leaving me alone.

Now that the meal is done

When it comes time to remove the plates from my table, if someone appears to still be eating, please don’t a) remove all the other plates and utensils, this just makes the remaining diner feel uncomfortable and rushed, when they should be enjoying their meal. And, b) should you not be certain if someone has finished their meal, never, ever, ask “Are you still working on this?”. I don’t know where this comes from, but I have heard it several times. We aren’t working, we are dining. If it entailed work to get through the meal, we wouldn’t be eating in your restaurant. I imagine a chef would not like to think his meals had to be worked on.

These few suggestions will make this restaurant patron happy, which will probably result in an above average tip.

Photo credits: ; hsojhsoj on Pixabay

 

Me DCMontreal – Deegan Charles Stubbs – is a Montreal writer born and raised who likes to establish balance and juxtapositions; a bit of this and a bit of that, a dash of Yin and a soupçon of Yang, some Peaks and an occasional Frean and maybe a bit of a sting in the tail! Please follow DC on Twitter @DCMontreal and on Facebook, and add him on Google+
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Dear McDonald’s Canada: Line-Ups and Closed Cashes

… a store should never have a line up AND closed check-outs

Dear McDonald’s Canada,

I’ve got a bone to pick with you, and yes I do realize that may be an alien concept to you given nothing you sell, not even your spareribs, has bones. But this isn’t about food quality or even nutrition. The fact is, and I open myself up to criticism with this admission, I enjoy your food. I’m not saying I want to eat it everyday, but the occasional Trio does serve nicely as my lunch.

No, my gripe is of an organizational nature, call it management for lack of a better term. Picture this: It’s Grand Prix weekend in Montreal, there are 62 bazillion tourists in town, in addition the temperature and humidity are on the rise. Last evening I fancied a milkshake; you make fine milkshakes, not quite Dairy Queen fine, but then have you ever had a DQ burger? I rest my case. Go with your strength.

So last night at your Place Alexis Nihon store in Montreal I popped-in and took my place at the back of one of two very long lines – did I mention it was Grand Prix weekend? After inching closer during a significant wait, I was near enough to overhear a woman four spots ahead of me place her order for an ice-cream cone, only to be told that the ice-cream machine was not functioning. The woman was irate; not merely at being denied her cone, but because she had to wait in line for so long, only to be disappointed. She suggested in future a sign, hand-written, simple and free to produce, should be placed on the counter so that those looking for a cold treat will not waste their time in line.

Getting out of line I approached the Group Leader at the cash to get confirmation that I was also out of luck in my quest for a milkshake, which she provided. It was at this point that it struck me. Why were there merely two extensive lines, yet four closed cashes? I pointed out that it seemed ridiculous to have two very long lines and only two people taking orders, while four cashes sat idle. She politely, I think, asked me what she could do about that, open those cashes? At which I shook my head and walked away.

I think we all understand that “Fast” Food no longer exists at McDonald’s. Not too long ago a customer placed their order and by the time they had paid for it, it was on the tray and ready to go. The only people asked to step aside and wait were those with a special request. Now everyone has to step aside and wait in cramped conditions, ideal for pick-pockets.

So McDonald’s Canada, while I look forward to enjoying your products in the future, I do hope I can look forward to better customer care and store conditions. I would suggest that the old retail shoppers axiom, that a store should never have a line up AND closed check-outs, needs to be applied to your stores, particularly during very busy events.

Thanks.

Me DCMontreal is a Montreal writer born and raised who likes to establish balance and juxtapositions; a bit of this and a bit of that, a dash of Yin and a soupçon of Yang, some Peaks and Freans and maybe a bit of a sting in the tail! Please follow DC on Twitter @DCMontreal and on Facebook, and add him on Google+
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Montreal’s Innovative Speed Limit Signs

As the song says, “Money’s too tight to mention”. Whether people or countries, provinces or states, even cities, with but a few exceptions, there never seems to be enough cash to do all the things required or wanted.

The woman suggested that rather than change thousands of existing signs, a method of adapting them to fit the new speed limits would save much time and expense.

I’m pleased to be able to write that while my city, Montreal, like many others, is in a financial bind, efforts are being made to cut costs. Not just by raising taxes, or cutting back on services, but by means of good old fashioned innovation.

Many North American cities are discovering that the system of speed limits being determined by certain zones is no longer useful, and that even within a relatively small area two or three different speed limits would be more apt, depending on schools, parks, number of children, etc.

To adapt to these new speed limit requirements, a study was undertaken and the various areas of the city were examined street-by-street to determine what best suited each particular district. The findings were reported to City Council late last year. With this report in hand the city was now faced with the daunting task of changing a large number of the existing speed limits, and of course the speed limit postings.

Speed Limit

CBC

Here comes the innovative part. A woman in the city’s accounting department brought forth a suggestion that made its way through the proper channels – no mean feat in most civic administrations – and will be implemented starting this spring. The woman suggested that rather than change thousands of existing signs, a method of adapting them to fit the new speed limits would save much time and expense. Her idea was to crimp the corner(s) of speed limit signs as needed. For each crimped corner the posted speed limit is reduced by 2.5 kilometers an hour. For instance, a sign indicating a speed limit of 40 kilometers per hour (k/ph) with two crimped corners would now mean a limit of 35 k/ph; that’s 40 – (2.5 x 2) = 35. The photograph above shows a sign that was originally posting a 30 k/ph limit but with all four corners crimped is now a 20 k/ph zone, owing to a large school and park on the street.

For instance, a sign indicating a speed limit of 40 kilometers per hour with two crimped corners would now mean a limit of 35 k/ph; that’s 40 – (2.5 x 2) = 35.

A recent CBC item had a comment from an unnamed city official explaining that students will be hired this summer to undertake the crimping “… by using a special tool that is a cross between a long-handled tree pruner and a pair of vise-grips”.

During the late summer return-to-school period the city will launch a media campaign explaining the new signage and how it works.

In a time of foolish often frivolous government spending I am pleased to say that my city is at least trying to use its head when it comes to cutting costs. Although I am sure in the first stages of the roll-out many motorists will be fooled by this crimping of signs, this will just plunk more cash in the city coffers via speeding tickets! The full details of the CBC story can be seen here.

Daily

Me DCMontreal is a Montreal writer born and raised who likes to establish balance and juxtapositions; a bit of this and a bit of that, a dash of Yin and a soupçon of Yang, some Peaks and Freans and maybe a bit of a sting in the tail! Please follow DC on Twitter @DCMontreal and on Facebook, and add him on Google+
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Conservative Party of Canada “Attack” Ad Spreads Trudeau’s Legalize Pot Message

Justin Trudeau Sean Kilpatrick / THE CANADIAN PRESS

Justin Trudeau
Sean Kilpatrick / THE CANADIAN PRESS

While flipping through the channels a few evenings ago I came upon an ad run by the Conservative Party of Canada (CPC) on CityTV from Toronto. I think the ad was supposed to be an attack on Liberal Party of Canada (LPC) leader Justin Trudeau, but I wonder if it might not just backfire. Having seen the ad I couldn’t help but think how the CPC could have figured this would aid their cause.

The ad, an early salvo in the yet to be announced 2015 election campaign, featured Trudeau claiming that if elected not only would he consider decriminalizing marijuana, he would legalize it. Now I get it that this may be an issue for some conservative voters of a certain age, but I think this may be just the thing to get young voters involved and casting ballots, but for Trudeau, not CPC leader Prime Minister Stephen Harper. In a recent poll 55% of Americans were in favor of legalizing marijuana, and I have always found Canadians on the whole to be somewhat left of our neighbors to the south. So if the majority of Americans don’t have a problem with legalized pot, I have to assume the number is even higher (pun fully intended) in Canada.

So if the majority of Americans don’t have a problem with legalized pot, I have to assume the number is even higher (pun fully intended) in Canada.

Although eligible young voters may outnumber older voters, they have a tendency not to bother voting. According to Elections Canada, in 2011, turnout steadily increased with age from 38.8% for ages 18–24 to 75% for ages 65–74 and then declined to 60% for those 75 and older.

But my contention is that those lackadaisical younger voters may well turn-out to cast a ballot if they feel connected to the issues. Arguably they should already feel a connection to the economy and many social issues, but the idea of legal pot may just be the one that does it. Far from being a successful attack ad, the LPC should be thanking the CPC for its promotion of Mr.Trudeau’s position on legalization.

The note below is a work of pure fiction, but it sure does seem to fit!

JT_Memo

MeDCMontreal is a Montreal writer born and raised who likes to establish balance and juxtapositions; a bit of this and a bit of that, a dash of Yin and a soupçon of Yang, some Peaks and Freans and maybe a bit of a sting in the tail! Please follow DC on Twitter @DCMontreal and on Facebook, and add him on Google+
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International Women’s Day: Women as Peacemakers. Just One Day?

 By having a ‘Day’ do we not run the risk of trivializing these concerns, given that the marketing world has made all days a ‘Something Day’ – Ice-Cream Day, National Pizza Day, Pogo-Stick Day?

Today, March 8, is International Women’s Day. To coincide with the centennial of World War One this year, the theme is “Women as Peacemakers” According to Wikipedia, historically the focus of the celebrations ranges from general celebration of respect, appreciation and love towards women to a celebration for women’s economic, political, and social achievements. It is also an opportunity to illustrate many double-standards that exist regarding employment and pay, as well as zeroing-in on violence against women.

IWDIt is sad that we have to have a ‘Day” to bring these issues to light, but we do have to make them known because evidently the message isn’t getting through.

My only concern is that shouldn’t every day be one in which these topics are  front and center? By having a ‘Day’ do we not run the risk of trivializing these concerns, given that the marketing world has made all days a ‘Something Day’ – Ice-Cream Day, National Pizza Day, Pogo-Stick Day?

MeDCMontreal is a Montreal writer born and raised who likes to establish balance and juxtapositions; a bit of this and a bit of that, a dash of Yin and a soupçon of Yang, some Peaks and Freans and maybe a bit of a sting in the tail! Please follow DC on Twitter @DCMontreal and on Facebook, and add him on Google+
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Tax Season: H&R Block’s Get Your Billion Back Campaign

One’s tax bill should be determined by tax rates, not the skills of one’s tax preparer.

With the Superbowl on the horizon can tax season be far off? Lately the retail tax-preparation giant H&R Block has been running an ad campaign called Get Your Billion Back in which they illustrate in various ways what a billion dollars looks like. The amount refers to unclaimed tax credits; according to Block, one billion dollars in tax credits go unclaimed each year, hence the campaign title.

The government wants us to be open and honest when it comes to declaring our taxable income. Fine; but that should work both ways. How about a little openness when it comes to credits and deductions?

As I’ve mentioned before, I find this most irksome. Two people with exactly the same conditions – income, expenses, deductions, etc. – should pay exactly the same tax. One’s tax bill should be determined by tax rates, not the skills of one’s tax preparer. The government wants us to be open and honest when it comes to declaring our taxable income. Fine; but that should work both ways. How about a little openness when it comes to credits and deductions?

By making personal income tax filing simple, with no loopholes or tricks, a level playing field if you will, there would be no fodder for ads such as Block’s.

MeDCMontreal is a Montreal writer born and raised who likes to establish balance and juxtapositions; a bit of this and a bit of that, a dash of Yin and a soupçon of Yang, some Peaks and Freans and maybe a bit of a sting in the tail! Please follow DC on Twitter @DCMontreal and on Facebook, and add him on Google+
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McDonald’s “Two Can Dine” TV ad is confusing, at least to me …

Now it might just be me, that is entirely possible, but I find the current McDonald’s “Two Can Dine” television ads a bit confusing. On the ad they show a Big Mac and a McChicken, behind which appears to be to be one order of fries and one soft drink. The voice over stresses that the deal is valid for Big Mac OR McChicken. To me OR means not BOTH.

This gives me the impression that for $9.98 I can get a Big Mac OR a McChicken, one order of fries and one soft drink. Can I have two straws?

This gives me the impression that for $9.98 I can get a Big Mac OR a McChicken, one order of fries and one soft drink. Can I have two straws? Isn’t that a lot of money for a Trio that usually costs on average worldwide $6.40? I think what they want to say is that for $9.98 you can have one of each, or two of one Big Mac or McChicken. But that doesn’t solve the fries and drink issue.

I’m sure it’s just me misunderstanding the advertisement but if I did, I have to wonder how many other folks had the same thought. As I said at the outset, it could just be me!

McDo2_1

Then again maybe this is a big advertising agency error that has thrown thousands, no, millions of McDonald’s customers into a frenzy and, having brought this to their attention, McDonald’s will engage my services as a highly witty copywriter… or maybe a one-time cash award … or a gift certificate for a Big Mac?!?

MeDCMontreal is a Montreal writer born and raised who likes to establish balance and juxtapositions; a bit of this and a bit of that, a dash of Yin and a soupçon of Yang, some Peaks and Freans and maybe a bit of a sting in the tail! Please follow DC on Twitter @DCMontreal and on Facebook, and add him on Google+
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Joe Boxer “Jingle Balls” ad illustrates gender double standard

With less than 20 shopping days until Christmas the seasonal advertising has been ratcheted up to maximum. Some are old tried and true – and a bit tired as well –  while others are making their first appearance. Among the newbies is an ad for Joe Boxer underwear that features a row of men in tuxedo tops and boxer shorts of various holiday colours. The lads shift their hips about, one assumes causing their testes to sway, resulting in a bell sound that one is lead to believe comes from their nether regions, their choir buttons, their ‘nads, their … well you get the idea. The bell sounds play Jingle Bells or perhaps Jingle Balls! (Thankfully they aren’t playing Jingle Bell Rock or God knows what they’d be shaking!)

Boxer

Click on the photo to see the ad

A group of guys playing Jingle Bells with their nuts is fine, but can you imagine the hue and cry if the bell were on another body part, say a woman’s breast?

The ad is cute. The viewer is given the impression that the bell sounds are coming from the men’s shaken bollocks that are free to sway about in the boxers. These musical cojones are not offensive nor likely to attract any serious number of complaints. A group of guys playing Jingle Bells with their nuts is fine, but can you imagine the hue and cry if the bell were on another body part,  say a woman’s breast?

What if a tee-shirt company had a group of braless women, allowing for similar movement of “instruments”, allegedly playing Jingle Bells by moving the corresponding muscles so that their breasts moved much like the men’s testicles? Or maybe Once In Royal David’s Titty. A group of women playing Jingle Bells thus would have never made it to air, and if it did the uproar would be immediate and vociferous.

Bit of a double standard, no?

MeDCMontreal is a Montreal writer born and raised who likes to establish balance and juxtapositions; a bit of this and a bit of that, a dash of Yin and a soupçon of Yang, some Peaks and Freans and maybe a bit of a sting in the tail! Please follow DC on Twitter @DCMontreal and on Facebook, and add him on Google+
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Offensive snack food logos then and now: Aboriginal boys and Banditos

The Yum Yum brand of potato chips has decided to go retro and bring back the logo it used for years, starting in 1959 when the company began operations. The problem is the logo features a cartoon drawing of an aboriginal boy in a feathered hat. Some find this offensive, other are not bothered, but it has given the company some exposure in the media.

The company argues that the cartoon is not derogatory, while those opposed say just having the cartoon is in poor taste. What I don’t get is why the company has decided to bring back the logo for the holidays; it seems to me a cartoon of an aboriginal boy has little to do with Christmas, Hanukkah, or Kwanzaa!

CTV.CA

CTV.CA

Now if you’re looking for a truly offensive logo, the old Fritos character, the Frito Bandito, sure fits the bill. It would seem the Frito-Lay folks thought the stereotypical Mexican was a bandit. After pressure from various organizations the bandit was retired in 1971.
Wikipedia

Wikipedia

MeDCMontreal is a Montreal writer born and raised who likes to establish balance and juxtapositions; a bit of this and a bit of that, a dash of Yin and a soupçon of Yang, some Peaks and Freans and maybe a bit of a sting in the tail! Please follow DC on Twitter @DCMontreal and on Facebook, and add him on Google+
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Live on CNN! Toronto’s City Hall Circus Continues

So the fact that Ford has been successful in keeping down taxes seems to be enough for some folks to claim he’s doing a great job, regardless of the circles in which he moves and the videos in which he stars.

As I write this CNN is monitoring what can only be described as a circus in Toronto City Hall regarding the future of mayor Rob Ford. One can almost imagine the Tourism Toronto staffers being talked in from the ledge as the city’s reputation takes another bashing.

In a recent poll, 72% of  respondents said the troubled  mayor should at least take some time off if not actually resign.  Perhaps they are genuinely concerned for Ford’s well-being, or maybe they are just fed up with him making a laughing-stock of the city. Yet simple arithmetic would lead one to believe that 28% are fine with the job he’s doing and with him staying right where he is.

FordToronto has long been seen as a bastion of the Protestant Work Ethic. All things boil down to money; as the old joke goes, in Toronto they say ‘Thank God it’s Monday’. So the fact that Ford has been successful in keeping down taxes seems to be enough for some folks to claim he’s doing a great job, regardless of the circles in which he moves and the videos in which he stars.

Let him carry on fighting the unions, they say; God forbid a few labor leaders should have an impact on municipal affairs. Would Ford’s alleged underworld contacts make a better impact?

Toronto has long been seen as a bastion of the Protestant Work Ethic (…) as the old joke goes, in Toronto they say ‘Thank God it’s Monday’.

Some seem to be able to put the whole Ford fiasco aside and see only the bottom-line: their taxes. While the rest of those who care enough to express an opinion are either taking pity on Ford or are rubbing Toronto’s face in it on late night television.

Ford’s base is in the suburbs, it’s these people who are tax-driven and vow to support the beleaguered mayor as long as he keeps down taxes. This juxtaposes with those who understand the damage Ford’s antics are doing to the city. For citizens who spend a whole lot of time pointing out that Toronto is a ‘World Class City’ – world-class cities don’t have to tell people they’re world-class – this whole episode is a blot on the city’s copybook.

MeDCMontreal is a Montreal writer born and raised who likes to establish balance and juxtapositions; a bit of this and a bit of that, a dash of Yin and a soupçon of Yang, some Peaks and Freans and maybe a bit of a sting in the tail! Please follow DC on Twitter @DCMontreal and on Facebook, and add him on Google+
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