One of my current favorite commercials is for an insurance company, I think. A man is sitting at a restaurant table looking at a large sandwich. He looks up at the waitress and says softly, “I said no mayo.” She takes the top piece of bread, scrapes it across the table edge, and plops it back on the sandwich.
It reminds me of some waiters and waitresses we have encountered through the years.
Bill and I went out for breakfast at a little hometown restaurant in a nearby village one morning.
I ordered bacon and whole wheat toast. When the waitress brought our order she set the toast in front of me, smiled, and as she set the bacon down, it slipped right off the plate and landed on the table she had just wiped off with a much used rag.
As I just looked at the bacon, she reached down quickly, picked up both pieces of bacon with her fingers, slapped them back on the plate and said, “There you go!” I didn’t dare look at Bill because I knew I’d lose it and laugh out loud.
A few days later I was having breakfast with a friend in a famous family restaurant in another city. Again I ordered whole wheat toast and bacon. As we waited for the order I told my friend about the bacon being slapped back on the plate.
We were still laughing about it when our breakfast arrived. Again the toast made it to the table on the plate, but the bacon slid right off onto the table. The waitress looked embarrassed as she scooped up the bacon, placed it back on the plate and said, “I’ll take this back to the kitchen.”
I watched her enter the kitchen, and after just enough time to turn around, she came back out and delivered the bacon successfully on the plate. My friend and I agreed this was indeed a high-class joint. Not only was it more expensive, but they let you believe they changed the bacon.
Then there was another little restaurant I liked, but Bill really wasn’t too fond of it. The first time we went there we encountered a really elderly lady who apparently was the waitress.
She took our order for drinks. He asked for regular Coke, and I ordered iced tea. She wrote it down and then looked at him and said, “You oughta of ordered what she did. It’d be better for you.”
On another memorable visit there, as the same waitress took our order she kept watching a fly which was zooming around our booth. She went to the kitchen with our order and reappeared with a fly swatter. Without a word she stood by our table, fly swatter poised for attack.
The fly landed on Bill’s head. Fortunately it took off right away. Finally it landed on the table and she swatted it, brushed it off the table onto the floor and stomped on it. Still without a word she stepped away from the table and marched back to the kitchen like a soldier who had completed her mission.
One night out with friends we stopped at another restaurant for a snack. It took the waitress a long time to get around to waiting on us, so by the time she got to our table the guys were not in a very good mood.
As she was taking our order she dropped her pencil and chased it across the floor with her fingers as it rolled away. Then did she wash her hands? Of course not. She hadn’t gone to the restroom. The guys now refer to the restaurant as the place where you to watch the waitress dive for pencils.
Now just in case you might think any of these events happened in Greenville, I need to tell you we always get great service from the restaurant employees in our own hometown.
That’s my story and I’m going to stick to it. I still plan to eat out a lot.
Editor’s Note: This column was first published in the Greenville Advocate June 7, 2000.