I have an unfortunate tendency to go out to eat. I have an undeserving and unearned tenderness for the restaurant industry. The industry never pays me back. I always have this strange desire to get what I pay for and I think that I am paying for a good meal. What I invariably get is either a completely taste neutral or downright vile concoction that wouldn’t pass muster in the first semester of culinary community college in
As if insult needed to be added to injury, the service is even worse than the food. You arrive with the false expectation of service from people who are supposedly in a service profession (except that they are not in the profession, they are too good for it and are just biding their time before they make it in there real career of acting, singing, dancing, synchronized swimming, or going on the pro yodeling circuit) but what you get, at best, is tacit acknowledgment of your very presence. (At worst they just ignore you. I have gotten up and left without so much as an acknowledgment after 20 minutes) The service when and if it comes is grudging and performed with the rankest of slack-jawed indifference. The miscreant youth who kill time waiting tables or working the counter at fast food joints are too haughty and too drugged out to be able to actually serve the customer.
I can’t help but think that at the heart of the problem is that American society has raised an entire generation or two that think that service is beneath them. We have an economy now that is based heavily on service sector jobs but no one wants to actually perform service. Everyone want to be served and pampered and be given free pedicures with their order but they don’t want to do the same for anyone else.
I know that this slack-assed nature reaches into every industry but I see it most often and most glaringly in the food services. So far gone is the concept or even glimmer of excellence in performing one’s job that it is hard to even find a hamburger that is assembled correctly. How hard is it to grasp the concept of bun, meat, condiments, bun and to line them up? Not too hard. A chimp can be trained to do it, but then a chimp doesn’t think it’s entitled to the treat its trainer gives it. It is just grateful to get it.