Tuesday, July 17, 2012

The Scene In Which We Don't Drink The Water

Having worked in a restaurant for a few years in college, I'm well aware of how a restaurant kitchen looks.

If you currently live under a blissful cloud where every restaurant has stainless steel everything, employees with runny noses don't ever come to work, everyone wears gloves, and spotless glass bins sporting carefully lettered signs hold food supplies, well, then.....stop reading. You'll never eat out again if you do.

So, yes. I get it. Occasionally in my own kitchen a random fruit fly might alight on a syrupy drink and get stuck. The dishwasher doesn't always get every item perfectly clean and I don't always catch it before I put it away. 99% of restaurant mistakes are just simple things, multiplied in chance by the number of people served every day.


There are things that, as a restaurant, you can do to ensure your dining guests have a great experience and maintain the mental image of your kitchen as a Martha Stewart-esque lair.

The following? Is not one of them.

I had been seated at a local restaurant waiting for a friend of mine to arrive to join me when the waiter came and asked if I'd like something to drink. Not knowing if my friend would want to join me in an adult beverage or not, and not knowing what I planned to order yet, I asked for a glass of water.

Sip of water.

A minute or so later, my waiter casually walked up to the open-window serving area about 10 feet away from my table. There were only 3 or so tables full in the restaurant, so it wasn't exceptionally loud, and as I wasn't currently talking with anyone around me the conversation floated my way.

Sip of water.

General joking about food service, and then

Waiter: "And you know why you NEVER order water at a restaurant? Because guaranteed, it's *lowers voice* mumble mumble mumble."

Kitchen Staff: "BWAHAHAHAHAHA!"

Me (mentally): ohmigod.

My friend chose that moment to walk in, and pleasantries for exchanged for about twenty seconds before he realized something was not entirely right with me, and that was because at that point, I still wasn't sure I wasn't going to puke because WHAT DID I JUST DRINK.

I explain.

And then I get mad. Because REALLY?!

And then we debate what I'm going to do about it because...I mean....I have to say something, right?! Right. But then again...this person is now responsible for my food for the whole night.

The waiter returns with a diet coke for my friend.

"Excuse me," I say. "I think I'd like something, um, other than water to drink."

"Um.....sure." says the waiter, looking mildly concerned by what is probably a green pallor on my face. "What can I get you?"

"A Coke would be fine," I reply, then sweetly add, "Unless there's a really good reason not to order one of THOSE at a restaurant, too."

I'm pretty sure if his eyes could have gotten wider, they'd have popped out.

So there you have it, folks. Don't drink the water. Dave Matthews knew it, and now you do too.

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