Tales from the Restaurant

Tales from the Restaurant
Where you'll find all the restaurant dirt you'll ever need.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

The Urgency of "When you get a minute."

After a while in the service business, certain phrases will begin to tick you off. Eventually, repetition of these phrases might even start to make your blood boil. Enough of this, and you might even become a hypocrite and start using these phrases yourself whenever you go out to eat, making you into the very thing you've grown to hate.

Describing it like this, one phrase in particular comes to mind;

"...when you get a minute."

At face value, it's intended to be a considerate and relatively polite way of saying "As soon as possible."

Underneath that, whenever someone actually says it, it means something entirely different.

I understand that it means "immediately" because I have often made the mistake of interpreting a request like that as "when you get a minute." It wasn't taken too well when I came back with an extra spoon after three or four minutes.

When someone asks you for something, that request should actually jump right to the top of your queue of things that need to get done.

The sad thing is, I find myself saying it all the time whenever I go out to eat. By the time it comes tumbling out of my mouth, it's usually too late to explain to my server that I don't mean that I need a straw or whatever it is immediately, but truly at his or her leisure. I know that my server is usually thinking the exact same thing I do when he or she hears 'when you get a minute,' and it explains why I get what I asked for almost immediately.

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