- A scene from the movie "Five Easy Pieces" with Jack Nicholson as Dupea:
- Dupea: I'd like a plain omelette, no potatoes, tomatoes instead, a cup of coffee, and wheat toast.
- Waitress: No substitutions.
- Dupea: What do you mean? You don't have any tomatoes?
- Waitress: Only what's on the menu. You can have a number two - a plain omelette. It comes with cottage fries and rolls.
- Dupea: Yeah, I know what it comes with. But it's not what I want.
- Waitress: Well, I'll come back when you make up your mind.
- Dupea: Wait a minute. I have made up my mind. I'd like a plain omelette, no potatoes on the plate, a cup of coffee, and a side order of wheat toast.
- Waitress: I'm sorry, we don't have any side orders of toast...an English muffin or a coffee roll.
- Dupea: What do you mean you don't make side orders of toast? You make sandwiches, don't you?
- Waitress: Would you like to talk to the manager?
- Dupea: ...You've got bread and a toaster of some kind?
- Waitress: I don't make the rules.
- Dupea: OK, I'll make it as easy for you as I can. I'd like an omelette, plain, and a chicken salad sandwich on wheat toast, no mayonnaise, no butter, no lettuce. And a cup of coffee.
- Waitress: A number two, chicken sal san, hold the butter, the lettuce and the mayonnaise. And a cup of coffee. Anything else?
- Dupea: Yeah. Now all you have to do is hold the chicken, bring me the toast, give me a check for the chicken salad sandwich, and you haven't broken any rules.
- Waitress: You want me to hold the chicken, huh?
- Dupea: I want you to hold it between your knees.
- Waitress: Do you see that sign, sir? Yes, you'll all have to leave. I'm not taking any more of your smartness and sarcasm.
- Dupea: You see this sign? [He sweeps all the water glasses and menus off the table]
Is it just me, or does restaurant service seem to be deteriorating? Perhaps this is just a Los Angeles phenomenon.
I'm not a particularly picky person. Just because I rival Meg Ryan in When "Harry Met Sally" when it comes to ordering on the side, doesn't mean I'm picky...just means I know what I like and I'm not afraid to ask for it.
I remember having my own little "Five Easy Pieces" scene in a restaurant many years ago. I was with a group of friends in a coffee shop, late one night, to get some dessert. One of the men ordered a hot fudge sundae, with the fudge on the the side.
The waitress informed him that the only way she could bring a hot fudge sundae was with the fudge on the sundae.
He again repeated that he wanted the fudge on the side. She again repeated that she could only bring it on the sundae.
This went back and forth several times, until someone screamed out: "Does the fudge already come on the sundae, or does it come in a bottle on the side, and if so, why not just put the fudge in a bowl on the side, rather than on the sundae?"
She offered to bring over a manager. The manager came over and informed us that...Yep, you guessed it...the fudge could only come on the sundae.
We were all quite sure that we had just fallen into the movie Five Easy Pieces... except this was no movie...this was REAL!!!
A few weeks ago, while dining in a Los Angeles restaurant with two friends, one of them ordered chicken parmigiana. When our order arrived, the waiter sat down a plate of something entirely different in front of this friend. When she inquired, the waiter told her that they were no longer serving the dish she ordered, and just brought out something else he thought she might like.
HUH?...you don't inform the customer that the dish she ordered is gone, and give her another choice? Another in our party found saran wrap in his food, another's was cold, and the waiter never came back to see if we wanted anything else.
Another restaurant I frequent, brought out half a salad rather than the whole one (okay, so maybe this was the restaurants subtle hint to me to lose a couple pounds off my J.Lo derriere) that I ordered. I really didn't want to be charged for a whole one without reaping the benefits of stuffing myself with a full salad.
Well, that's two restaurants off my list.
Now, when dining at my favorite restaurant, In and Out Burger, I don't expect a romantic ambience. Therefore, little children screaming, is perhaps a bit annoying, but to be expected.
BUT, if I go to a fancier restaurant, ready to spend a bit more than the $3.00 for a full In and Out meal, I kind of expect a more subdued atmosphere.
But what seems to have erupted from this generation is complete entitlement. That means that little children rule the restaurant world. Apparently, it is no longer the obligation of parents to make sure their children behave in a manner appropriate to a "nice" restaurant.
Personally, I do not think it's the children's fault. First of all, why do parent's insist on taking small children to restaurants with white tablecloths and a chalkboard stating the specials of the evening?
When our children were young, we stuck to "family" restaurants, where if a kid acted up a bit, it wasn't unexpected. (When our kids began acting up, one of us would walk out of the restaurant with them until they calmed down, thereby not subjecting the other patrons to tantrums of my children...bad enough I had to hear it!).
And the owners of the restaurants are stuck between a rock and a hard place. If they ask the parent's to corral in their children...the parent's will most likely:
leave in huff and be sure to spread the word about this "unaccepting restaurant",
do absolutely nothing,
or allow the children to step up the behavior. (yes, I've seen this happen...the parent's actually urge their children to run around the table a little faster, and scream a little louder).
So while the rest of the patrons watch in sheer horror, these families take over the restaurant, and essentially win.
But, what do they win? Tell us Don Pardo...
These parents win children that are spoiled, obnoxious, and argumentative. They win children that won't understand why no ones wants to date them, and why bosses want to fire them.
Sounds like I'm picky? Well then, you try taking your well deserved time out on a Saturday night, spending your hard earned money, only to have small children running through the restaurant while screaming right next to you.
When I was a kid, going out to dinner was mainly reserved for special occasions. And we would go out to some pretty fancy restaurants. Otto's Pink Pig was reserved for anniversaries and special birthdays. What a nice Jewish family was doing at Ottos Pink Pig, is beyond me...but, hey, who was I to question a free meal.
We would dress in our best clothes, and knew to act polite and quiet. If not, I wouldn't be able to order a Shirley Temple. I knew my limits.
My only question today is this...
Do you think the lack of restaurant service I seem to be receiving these days has anything to do with the fact that whenever we went out for one of those fancy dinners, my brother and cousins, and I would sit (but very quietly, mind you) and make "concoctions" with our drinks?
You know...pouring all the salt, pepper, sugar, ketchup, mustard, and anything else we could find, into our drinks...and then asking one of our poor, unsuspecting parents to take a sip?