Tag Archives: Going out

House Rules: Servers and Bartenders, Put Away Your Cell Phones.

We don’t usually embrace curmudgeonly rants on this blog. Even though we’ve got a category for rants, only a couple of those entries could actually properly qualify as one, and even so they’re not the sort of rants that are full of expletives and exclamations.

It is Baltimore Restaurant Week though, and while we were talking about restaurants yesterday it got us to thinking. We have just one simple idea to impart to you today: waiters and waitresses need to put away their goddamn cell phones while they’re on shift.

OMG! It's my BFF on BBM!

We understand that servers are people, and that most people are assholes about their phones. Since we bought a Blackberry we’re on it all the time. We also understand that servers are not defined by their jobs and that they have more interesting things to do than to bring us extra mayo and a free refill. We get it. We know that there’s some pretty cool parties going on tonight, and that you’re only doing this shit until you get a break in your field and that degree starts paying out like a slot machine. Besides, it only takes a second to look at your phone so what’s the big deal, right? Yes we know that. But we also know this:

“Whatever you are, be a good one.” -Abraham Lincoln

It’s hard to argue with Honest Abe’s logic, and whether you’re in a white tablecloth Michelin starred restaurant or a greasy diner, a certain amount of professionalism is called for. If you came to the table to take our order and we brought out a cell phone and checked our email, that would be pretty rude, and there aren’t many servers that we know of who would bear it with a smile.

We’ve even noticed a rash of phone-checking by servers in restaurants whose policies forbid cell phone use by patrons.

Every time we’re eating or drinking and we see a server at the waitstand, cash register, or end of the bar checking his or her phone, it’s just, to us anyway, a great reminder that our table is not really a priority, and that that person would much rather be somewhere else doing something else with someone else.

Just as most restaurant employees are relegated to smoke outside the back door, kind of near the dumpster, so should the nasty habits of twitter, facebook, and IM be relegated to out-of-sight areas of the building, or simply discontinued entirely. A server who’s not preoccupied with phone messages is a more efficient and better-tipped server.

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House Rules: Who Should Pay on the Last Date

You know, the discussion of who should pay on a first date is a pretty old, circular and tired argument. There are tens of thousands of opinions on the question in books and magazines and all over the internet, including our own sage advice on the matter. It’s the kind of question that most people ask simply because they want their own opinions reinforced, and most answers, whether foolish or wise, fall on deaf ears anyway.

We’re here today though to answer a question which is just as important, yet seldom ever discussed; namely, who should pay on the last date.

'It's not you... it's on me.'

We’ve got the answer, but before we give it to you we’ve got to figure out if a last date is even necessary. It can be a tough thing to end a relationship with someone. We’re not even talking about serious relationships here either. We mean Dumping someone, with a capital D. You don’t ‘Dump’ your long term significant other, and even if you did we wouldn’t have much advice to give you.

No, we’re talking about those sorts of relationships that get past that crucial third date, and may go all the way up to boyfriend or girlfriend status, but definitely stop short of “in love”. So, 99% of most peoples’ relationships.

Sometimes things just don’t work out, and if you’re not Dumping someone for a specific reason (like cheating, an argument, etc), you may think the most gentle and forthright way to go about it is over dinner, or at least over drinks or coffee or something. The Chop subscribed to this logic for many years, but plenty of very bitter experience (on both ends) has convinced us otherwise. It’s a sort of juvenile, emo record, life-as-romantic-comedy sort of idea that backfires more often than not.

The truth is that if you’re about to Dump someone you’re not in love with, you sometimes have very little idea how they might react. They might become angry or withdrawn or resentful or confused. They might even be indifferent. At any rate, Dumping someone halfway through a dinner is a sure-fire guarantee that the rest of the meal will be excruciatingly awkward and uncomfortable. The only thing worse than getting dumped is getting dumped in public.

Another strategy that some people pursue is to schedule a date, but then meet up and say “Oh, let’s not have dinner after all. We need to talk…” This is not any better, as it’s basically the equivalent of standing someone up one last time. If you arrange a date, a date should happen. Although this tactic is slightly preferable to calling the person you’re seeing on the phone and saying “We need to talk…” and then refusing to say anything else until you see them again. For the love of God, don’t do that!

We truly believe that in most cases a face-to-face Dumping is not necessary. On the rare occasions when you feel it is an obligation, the best way is to go over to someone’s house and be matter of fact about it. Any pretense of dinner or anything else will all come to nothing in the end.

But supposing you absolutely feel you simply must meet someone out in public for a pre-scheduled Dumping, because you “owe them that much at least” or whatever, the least you can do is pay the goddamn bill. That’s right. We’re calling it right now. It’s a new rule. From now on it will be a point of etiquette carved in stone: The person doing the dumping pays the bill. It doesn’t matter if you’re gay or straight, man or woman. It doesn’t matter if you’re dumping them over beers at the Dizz, coffee at the Grind, or a Feast at 4 East. if you’re dumping, you’re paying.

It’s the least you can do. You owe them that much.

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