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Now I'm no waiter, never have been one, yet I do have empathy for those plying the fine trade of waiting. And, as always, I'm here to help. Hence, Stuart's Easy School of Good Waiting for the low, low price of three $39.99 installments . Order now and you'll receive a free doily.
Waiters, kindly remember these rules:
1) Hairnets. If you have hair like the lunch-lady of my nightmares, hairnets are appreciated. Soup served with croutons and curly black hairs is simply not an option.
2) For God's sake, give me time to take a bite! Overzealous behavior doesn't suit the art of waiting well. Sometimes, before I've even jammed a fork in my mouth, a tip-starved waiter will ask how everything is. And keep coming back. Again and again. It's a weird time-space conundrum. Can't comment until the food's in me. Just...no.
3) Waiters, please don't chortle at a customer's menu selection. It doesn't exactly instill culinary confidence.
4) And do we really need to know your grandmother just passed away? When the waiter starts crying, my appetite starts dying.
5) When I ask what's good, don't respond with a generic shrug and say, "everything." I don't believe you. On the other hand, when a waiter says, "I eat next door," the honesty is appreciated, but gives me pause.
6) Don't be the invisible waiter, the guy who takes an order and vanishes into the Bermuda Triangle. When a different waiter brings out a milk carton with my waiter's visage on it, I know I'm in for an even longer wait.
7) Know your customers. Do I REALLY look like a guy who wants to eat the Kale platter?
8) "Oh, I see someone's hungry." Well. When a waiter says that, I fire back, "I see someone's hungry for a tip." Puh-leaze.
9) If you're gonna' serve up witty patter, make sure it's at least borderline amusing. And don't deliver your patter like a robot. Bring your material to life. When you bury your face in the order pad, reciting lines like "you say tomat-oh, I say ta-mah-to (and I know you've recited it a kazillion times before)," it makes me wanna' use the steak knife for other purposes. Bad jail-bound purposes.
10) Finally, don't overdo it. When a waiter sits down at my table, drops an arm over my shoulder, jabs a toothpick between his teeth, and says, "You know, I'm not really a waiter...," dessert is definitely off the table.
Gang, the next time you go out to eat, recite these rules upfront to your waiter. Trust me. I'm sure they'll appreciate the advice. Absolutely positive.
What does "waiting" have to do with writing, I hear you ask? Quite a bit, actually. A waiter has to guide his/her customer through an entire meal before any kind of feedback is given (and hopefully a tip). A writer is in the same sort of unknowing vacuum until reviews come out (and hopefully sales).
There will be a test later.
Speaking of waiters, my dunderheaded protagonist of the Zach and Zora comic mystery series isn't exactly a waiter (and maybe the world's a better place for it). No, no, Zach has chosen to study and practice the fine art of "male entertainment dancing." Just, whatever you do, don't call him a "stripper." So gauche.
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