What a South End waitress wishes every South End mommy knew

The Undercover Blonde works in a South End restaurant. The Globe's South End mommy-brigade story has her a bit riled up, especially the quote from the mother saying how nice it is that servers don't mind their children leaving Cheerios under the table:

... We DO MIND, no matter how polite we may be, no matter how plastered on our happy faces are. It's annoying. It's messy. It's presumptuous. We just can't SAY anything about it because we're in the service industry and, well, that would be rude. ... PLEASE show some humility when your child decimates a dining room. ...

Earlier:
South End under attack by rich white people having babies.

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Tip Generously

We used to make at least a pretense of being willing to clean up Toddler Food War Zones. The staff would smilingly stop us.

Then we would leave them a 25-30% tip for the trouble.

Does this approach work for servers?

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Of course it does!

That's actually quite a hefty percentage, SwirlyGrrl, I'm impressed! Truth be told if the kid is cute and the parents are gracious, I don't care so much when babies make a mess. I have adorable & difficult nephews and nieces and someday I hope to pop out a few babies myself, so I empathize. I can barely get myself fed & out the door in the morning, much less myself plus several babies. Rock on with your modern take on motherhood!

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Worth the Money

At home, I'd have had to clean it up myself! How can anyone who has had to do the day in-day out mucking not appreciate that?

I'm glad they aren't toddlers any more.

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Would you like some Whine with your meal?

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1)Parents can't really control small children's eating messyness level. If she had friends with children, she'd understand that.

2)Waitresses don't clean up under/over the tables. The bussers do. The chances of the Undercover Blond being a busser are slim to none. In fact, in several restaurants I've been to, the waitresses collect the order, ask if everything is "ok", and drop off the check. No carrying dishes, and *certainly* no wiping down tables.

3)Even if she is on Cleanup Patrol, does she expect some sort of medal for having to grab the push-sweeper? Christ, gimme a break. It's not a glamorous job, and nobody ever told you it would be.

4)Let's not hear any complaining about acting, when a waitress's primary job is to pretend she likes you for the 20 seconds it takes to order. The different in friendlyness level between when I eat alone and eat on a date is absolutely stunning- across the board, waitresses turn on the charm when I'm eating alone.

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Toddlers

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Parents can't really control small children's eating messyness level.

True, but in that case, the parents should really only be bringing their toddlers to restaurants where such behavior is either expected or easy to deal with (basically, the sorts of places that give out crayons, oh, and, of course, McDonald's) - or they should wait until the end of a long, long day when the kid can be either held by one parent as she falls asleep or there's enough room in a safe place near the table to put down a small mat and blanket (basically, faded-glory restaurants like Ken's or Anthony's Pier 4 - where some of the booth seats would work just as well).

Or, horrors, they should just break down and find a babysitter.

Just sign me,

Only a few years removed from being the father of a (fortunately, mostly well behaved) toddler.

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Can't control entitlement level, either?

1)Parents can't really control small children's eating messyness level. If she had friends with children, she'd understand that.

When my kids were 3 and 1 we both had good jobs and (being busy) we ate out somewhat frequently. There is a lot that can be done toward containment of kid mess. Maybe my years of working with preventing chemical/biological/radiological laboratory accidents paid off?

One big thing is to bring or ask for small plates or bowls so we could give them less food directly in front of them to work with/throw/spill. I also carried sippy cups in case the restaurant didn't have them. As at home, food hitting floor on purpose = food taken away.

Waitstaff often share their tips with bussers. Waitstaff in smaller establishments ARE the bussers. I felt that if my kids were doubling somebody's workload, the least I could do is reward that. It got us good service in places we went to often.

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1. the undercover blonde's first job was as a busser...

...and at Toro we work as a team and everybody gets messy.

2. The reason waitresses are nicer to you when you're alone is because they feel bad for you.

3. Patient, capable waitstaff the world over deserve medals for dealing with demanding people and difficult attitudes day in & day out. You've obviously never been behind the apron. I reckon you'd be shocked at how people behave when they go out to eat. I'm just saying...

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Mandatory retail service.

I think there should be some kind of conscription where everyone is required to have a job working in a traditionally looked down upon position: a clerk at a middle of the road retail establishment (Gap/Old Navy/BR) or a middle of the road eatery (An actual restaurant with waitstaff that don't sell $250 bottles of wine).

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Bitter much?

So what you're saying is, people with a little money should be punished for not having to work retail? For not being disadvantaged? Or just because their is the assumption that all well off people are asses? I may be an ass at times on blogs, but I always tip well, and don't expect waitstaff to act as my servants or obey my every whim (that's what getting married is for. ;) )

I have to say, as a father, I agree with AdamG - don't take your toddlers out to Ikarus or med to high end places. The waitstaff don't want your child making a mess, and I don't want to hear you get sauced on merlot while the kid screams.

Now that our son is seven, we take him to most places (unless we want to be alone) because we have the luxury of family to watch him. Guess what we did when we didn't have someone to watch him? We got takeout if we didn't want to cook.

Everyone assumes their kids are well behaved, even when they are not. Not everyone wants to have their nice meal interrupted by a wailing baby, or some jackass on his cellphone either. People don't think enough about other people, and I don't care what your race or income level is. Some of the most 'entitled' feeling people are those on governement assistance. if you don't believe me, go into any pharmacy and ask about the people on Mass Health.

Suffice to say - it is a privilege to eat out, not a right, and yes we can malign waitstaff all you want, but being a jerk (loud baby, yapping on the cell phone, getting drunk and harassing them) is something that should maybahps make you think twice about going out, and the restaurant think twice about letting you back in.

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So working in retail is punishment?

I'm not trying to punish anyone. I just want to people to get some perspective and to learn how to deal with and interact with other people. I did my stint at Gap,Old Navy & Banana Republic during high school and college. As a result I know the vast amounts of bullshit that they have to go through and I can imagine the bullshit that waitstaff have to go through too. And when I partake of their services, I do my best to not make their jobs unnecessarily difficult unless they make my shopping/dining experience unnecessarily difficult. In which case, they get all that they deserve and probably a bit more.

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retail

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Not a bad idea. I once had a (former) boss tell me that he didn't think I could handle coordinating a bunch of volunteers for an expo were were putting on. He said I couldn't handle it. I asked if he'd ever worked retail. He said he hadn't. I told him that if he ever worked retail on Xmas Eve, the 200 volunteers would be a piece of cake. And they were.

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Back in my day…

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Things are different nowadays, but when I was a young boy, if either my sister or I were acting up in any way, our parents would cart our asses outta there. It didn't matter if it were a supermarket, department store or restaurant. If we misbehaved, one parent settled the check while the other hauled us to the car. Such cases were quite infrequent, because we learned quickly to behave… or ELSE.

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Ditto!

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I can't recall a time from my childhood when both my sister and I didn't get "The Talk" before venturing out into Publicland. That included church (no squirming or kibbitzing in Mass) or making a scene in the grocery store. If it did happen, we got "the look". If we still were at it then the gloves were off. Literally. It might have had to wait until we were in the semi-privacy of the car or worse, at home, but a can of whoop-ass would be seriously opened. Now, obviously this doesn't pertain to a 2-3 year old who is going through the whole, "I am the ruler of the world-listen to me!" phase, but if it's a child old enough to go to Kindergarten then it's time.

Here's something I have a hard time understanding: is this purely an American phenomenon? In the times I've been overseas and have seen small children with their parents in public, particularly in restaurants and cafes, there have been no scenes, no meltdowns. They're eating what the grownups are eating and there's no issue. What gives?

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this totally sounds.......

like a personal attack against mothers and should not be allowed on this page. Sure, she didn't call her a douchebag, but it was certainly implied...

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The nice thing about

The nice thing about 02129resident is that he/she posts under a logged in account instead of anonymous. I have nothing but respect for a troll with conviction.

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Interesting...

...that you would bring up the douchebag thing in correlation with something the Undercover Blonde wrote. Clearly you didn't read my entire post if you misinterpreted this as a maligning attack against mothers. Maybe you should click thru to read the whole thing?

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WTF?

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When I ate at Clio (special occasion, of course), someone brought a kid to dinner there. A loud, whiny kids, who clearly didn't want to be there. Does Clio even serve kiddie meals?

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I loved the undercover blonde's letting out the dirty lil secret

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... that just because one works in the service industry, this does not give you the right to treat one like your own personal maid.

Of course servers mind cleaning up after kids. Of course an extra consideration in the tip helps to make up for it. Of course the ones who read this and are outraged don't recognize they are part of the problem.

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