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Today's word on journalism

January 13, 2009


"I get the feeling that the 24-hour news networks are like the bus in the movie 'Speed.' If they stop talking for a second, they think they'll blow up."

--Jon Stewart, The Daily Show, 2008 (Thanks to alert WORDster Ross Martin)

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Feedback and suggestions --printable and otherwise --always welcome. "There are no false opinions."

If you treat your waiter like an idiot, you'll be the obvious jerk

By Seth Bracken

December 12, 2008 | It's my turn. I am sick to death of hearing the horrible, uneducated opinions of the random customers who come into the restaurant where I work.

For example, one night last week about 45 minutes before we were going to close, a table of three came in to order hot chocolate. Which is fine, but I didn't realize that they wanted to also delay me from shutting everything down or helping any other customer so that they could literally talk non-stop for 30 minutes about nonsense.

You see, because I am a waiter, many people immediately assume that they are more intelligent, more informed and just better than I am. Trust me, I have seen it so many times, the way they snap their fingers, the way they complain about how their hot chocolate is too watery or how their eggs are not done right. Rather than treating me like a fellow human being, they act like they are God for a day and command, complain and talk down to me like I am not worthy to be in their presence.

These people were no different. They began by telling me how much more difficult school was for them when they were at Utah State 10 years ago.

"Now, when I was at Utah State, an education meant something. Now it's just a waste! Anyone can get a degree!" The mother of the group seemed especially keen to make me feel like a bug.

"I think that my classes are pretty tough," I responded sheepishly, thinking how I had just spent the last six hours writing an 11-page paper on the way that presidential elections are run, and the trends that have held true in the 2008 election.

"Bullshit!" she continued. "When I went to school, we had finals! We didn't have e-mail to ask our professors questions! We didn't have no Blackboard! We had to work hard to graduate. Now, anyone can finish school, willy-nilly!" She was yelling in my face, as I was trying to sneak away.

You see, because the customer is always right, I couldn't challenge her. I couldn't tell her that she was full of crap, that she had no idea what she was talking about and that she had no business treating me the way she was. It's the same reason that when people complain over things like their eggs being too runny or their toast being to hard, or their plate being too cold, or their fruit being too soggy, I can't tell them to quit whining and eat their food. I have to apologize and grovel, because if not, they might not leave me a tip, and the customer is always right.

I just want to tell all of you that if you treat your waiter like a misbehaving 2-year-old that you are the one that comes across as the fool. Your service will not improve, you just show the entire world that you have no class.

There is no excuse for being a jerk to your waiter and you are no better than we are. We are just trying to do our job, and a little bit of courtesy from the customers goes a long way. If I treated a waiter the way that many adults treat me and my mother saw it, she would smack me upside the head and tell me to learn some manners. Seeing how many of your mothers didn't do that for you, I am trying to help you realize the importance of being polite, even to those who fetch you drinks.


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