Tuesday, October 31, 2006 by Ospite.

Lunch rush was pretty much done when a middle aged black couple walked in. The rest of the 4 servers closing out the lunch shift kind of fled. The shift was almost over and stereotypes abound. Seeing that we had no host on (as we often don't in the middle of the afternoon) I took the liberty of seating them in my section. In my eyes, a customer is a spending customer, and anything helps...especially when lunch has been slow.

They were starving. Antipasti, entrée, drinks. The man was busy chewing, so I asked the wife:

"So how does everything taste?"

"Off the chain!"

"That's what I like to hear."

"I gotta tell you. This, is Italian food. I'm particular you know. If I eat bagels, I want 'em cooked by Jews. Pizza, by Italians. Enchiladas, by Mexicans. Chinese food, by Chinese. Sweet potato pie...she better damn be my grandmother! I. Am. That kinda person. And let me tell you, my sister, who thinks she's Italian, is comin in here. Hell, I'm bringin all the kids and everybody!"

"You do that. Bring them in, and we'll show them how Italian is done. I'll grab your check and you make sure you come back. I'm holding you to it." ...flashing my waiter smile.

"Oh, you better believe it!"

As I got the check, I decided not to tell her that none of our chefs are Italian. In fact, one's Mexican, and he makes some pretty unbelievable pork chops. As they walked out, I noticed the signed check and picked it up. 50% tip. A nice generous helping of sweet potato pie and my day would have been perfect.


Blogger Brad&Lisa said...

Nice! Keep posting! I love to check out your blog often! Keep up the good work!

7:32 AM  
Blogger Brad #1 said...

Nice. Well, all you can hope for is for them to bring you a slice of that authentic sweet potato pie the next time that they do come in.

11:53 AM  
Blogger Aarwenn said...

Long time lurker, but first time commenter. I loved this story in particular. Some activists point to integration as the best way to push color-blindness on society (a worthwhile goal) but the restaurant business is forced integration at its best, and yet those damn stereotypes are everywhere! Sometimes I think that forced interaction with all ethnic groups can occasionally forward stereotypes, not erase them! At the same time, though, we all become more casual about each others differences, and while that can lead to lack of respect, I think it also tears down barriers. And THAT is a very good thing.

And now for my obligatory stereotype stories: When I was first starting out, I waited on a huge after-church party one Sunday. All black, all dressed up, about 7 or 8 of them, and they ran me ragged and tipped me five dollars on an 83 dollar tab. And I thought, Wow, that sucks, I'm sorry that they suck and I'm sorry they just perpetuated that stereotype. And then I became a cocktail waitress, and waited on a ton of black guys (and every other color) all dressed up for a night on the town, and they tipped me like crazy, no more or less than any other flashy guy at the club. After a lot more years waiting tables, I've learned that color really doesn't matter. The real moral of this story: CHURCHGOERS NEVER TIP. The end.

11:00 AM  

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At your service, Ospite

I am not in the restaurant business, I am in the people business. I use every opportunity to people watch, because to me, even the most mundane is fascinating.

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