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April 17, 2008 at 7:15 AM

Waiters, write it down! (Redux)

Marcia T. e-mailed, with this important question:

I’ve always wanted to ask what you thought about one of my pet peeves: waiters/waitresses who do not write down orders. While it looks impressive to take orders for groups and individuals without writing the order down, I don’t enjoy them having to return to confirm what we ordered, or bring a dish that is incorrect. Such errors can ruin a great dinner.

Over the last several years I’ve noticed this happening more and more often, regardless of type and class of restaurant. I would say the majority of times our orders are correct, but very often we’ve had to return the dish, or swallow the disappointment and eat something we did not request. If there is an error, there’s no proof of where it occured, and we’ve had to deal with some indignent waiters who insist they took the correct order when they didn’t. I also find that I can’t really enjoy conversations until the food comes, worried about something going wrong in the back of my mind. Am I being too nitpicky? Has this happened to you?”

Has this happened to me? Does Thierry Rautureau wear a hat? Can you get coffee at Starbucks? Yes, Marcia, It happens all the time, and I’ve been complaining about it for years — though my complaints fall on deaf ears. I’ve even written an entire column devoted to the subject, noting that as a waitress, I, too, used to think it was impressive to “remember” my patrons’ orders. Not! So I’ll say it once again, for me, for you, and for everyone who goes out to eat: Waiters, write it down!

Comments, anyone? Are we right or are we right?

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