(Pixabay photo)

Rickter Scale: Service with just a smile

The Rickter Scale is a weekly column in the Goldstream News Gazette

Rick Stiebel/Columnist

If I could wave a magic menu and change dining out forever, I would start by eliminating the three words that leave me mentally mutilating my napkin: “How’s everything tasting?”

Nothing irks me more than sitting with my newspaper open in mid slurp of a first spoonful of soup or having a mouthful of meatball with a piece of pasta precariously perched on my chin and having some server swoop in to ask how everything is.

Staff at Rick’s Diner or Rico’s Bistro would be trained to wait a few minutes at least before disturbing someone’s meal.

They would instead approach the table discreetly and simply pause long enough to make eye contact with a sincere, silent smile.

That provides diners with the opportunity to address any concerns without intruding on the mood or interrupting the flow of conversation.

READ MORE: Rickter Scale

Although this may come as a surprise to the new wave of servers, not everyone eating out wants to share the moment with you or respond to your rehearsed robotic banter.

Circumstances can cause people to have to plan a funeral, close a business deal or deliver the news about a messy breakup over a meal. Whatever the reason they chose your establishment, there’s a plausible probability they’re not there to chatter with the hired help. Unless, perhaps, they’re a regular customer seeking your service because of a relationship forged over previous repasts.

Back in the ‘60s I worked on the Jersey Shore at a restaurant that catered to Legionnaires who hated hippies on general principle with a head topped by what most Americans considered horribly long hair.

Whenever I had to trade in my cook’s apron to wait on tables, my silent treatment and polite smile approach out-tipped my colleagues, a collection of college students who couldn’t wait to tell their customers where they went to school and what they were studying.

If you you’re in agreement so far, here’s another bone of contention I’d like to toss your way.

When did it become common practice to pile two pounds of potatoes translated into French fries as a side on every plate?

Next time you’re on your way out of a place that serves the humble spud in that preferred fashion, take a look at the amount of fries left behind.

Instead of wasting acres of crops and freighters full of fryer oil, cutting back or offering refills would save money and might even promote healthier eating by addressing the ballooning problem of obesity that is expanding waste lines across the country.

Let those who insist on overindulging fill their boots, but spare the rest of us from the canola-coated carnage.

Finally, although this may sound like an old nit nattering away at a much younger gnat, can someone please explain why “No problem” has officially replaced “You’re welcome” as the go-to response de jour in the service industry?

Rick Stiebel is a semi-retired local journalist.


Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Just Posted

Jurors talk about trial of U.S. man convicted in 1987 murders of Saanich couple

Three jurors offer a window into deliberations during the trial

Premier John Horgan hints at daylight saving changes after record-breaking survey response

B.C.’s largest public consultation saw more than 220,000 residents respond to time change survey

Opposition to gravel quarry in Highlands gains traction

Impact on drinking water a major concern

Years of ‘horrific, violent accidents’ at Thetis Lake prompt plea to public

View Royal fire chief asks for an end to alcohol consumption at busy park

Greater Victoria sees crime severity index rise

Fraud cases rise 31 per cent over previous year

3 dead, 2 missing in northern B.C: Here’s what we know so far

Lucas Fowler, 23, and his girlfriend, Chynna Deese, were shot and killed on July 14 or 15

Coroner investigating after body recovered from Okanagan Lake

Penticton fire department assisted the RCMP with the recovery of a body Saturday

Overdoses overwhelming in B.C. Interior

Part two: Who’s affected by the current opioid crisis

Kelowna cab driver charged with sexual assault

RCMP received a report May 28 alleging a taxi passenger had been sexually assaulted by a cab driver

Tubing world record broken on Vancouver Island

But record for length of tubes linked together still has to be confirmed

The Beaverton’s sharp satire thrives in polarized political climate

Canadian TV series’ third season to air Tuesday on CTV after “The Amazing Race Canada”

VIDEO: Young couple found dead in northern B.C. had been shot, police say

Chynna Noelle Deese of the U.S. and Lucas Robertson Fowler of Australia were found along Highway 97

VIDEO: Man found dead near B.C. teens’ truck could be linked to a double homicide

RCMP said they are looking for Kam McLeod, 19, and Bryer Schmegelsky, 18, of Port Alberni

Okanagan Air Cadet challenges gender-exclusive haircut policy

Haircut regulation inspires challenge around gender identity

Most Read