Manners Monday - Part II of the Cocktail Party Suite
Finger-snapper, How do I Hate Thee? Let me count the ways.
Part Two of the Cocktail Party series has to do with the way patrons treat servers in a passed hors-d’oeuvres setting. I suspect that a lot of us commit the crimes outlined below without even realizing that we do, so as obvious as they seem, they might be worth a quick look-through.
Picture this: It’s busy, noisy, you’ve had a long day and your hunger is ringing all over your body. But are you actually starving? Have you not seen food in over two days? No? Then there is absolutely NO reason to do any of the following:
1. Stalk servers carrying your favourite canapé: How would you like it if some drooling person with a crazed look in their eye followed you around everywhere while you’re trying to do your job? Which, by the way, is to get food to a horde of people with as much right as you to be fed.
2. Ask a server who has just come out with an enormous, over-crowded platter, for anything at all. They have just jumped into a sea of hungry people. You seriously want them to drop what they are doing to attend to your personal needs? Unless it’s an emergency, be a dear and find someone else to ask.
3. Loudly berate a server for the food not being good. In no world, human or alien, is a server responsible for the quality of the food in your mouth. Also, if you happen not to like it, that doesn’t necessarily mean that it’s “bad”. Politely leave the undesirable canapé aside and don’t make a fuss. If something is actually wrong with the food, you can discretely mention it to the staff (not the guy holding the giant tray – See point 2). That shows that you’re both mindful and gracious, and that you don’t need your ego inflated by humiliating someone publicly.
Last and most definitely not least:
4. Call serving staff over (provided that walking over to them is feasible for you) with anything more than a discrete, attention-grabbing hand gesture. Finger snapping, elaborate waving and voice-raising says, even if you don’t mean to, that you’re thinking: “Come here, mere servant, and serve me, as I am Queen/King of the world, and don’t need to show a lowly person such as yourself any respect”. Service is one of the most honourable professions out there. And even if it weren’t, the person behind the job is still a person and deserves your respect. How about: “Excuse me, Jimmy (if you happen to learn their name), I’d love one of those kebabs. Thank you!”
If you’re not going to treat servers kindly or respectfully because you know they deserve it, then be practical and do it because they are the main vehicle between you and your food. And remember: A lack of class will always bite you in the… behind.