Susie Rushton: I asked for ketchup – not judgement

Urban Notebook

Share
Related Topics

As if their hours, terrible pay and throbbing feet weren't enough, an American restaurant owner has now published a rather bossy list of 100 "don'ts" for waiters and waitresses. It has been to the taste of many diners; seafood restaurateur Bruce Buschel's commandments remained near the top of NYT.com's "most emailed" charts last week. Plenty of his suggestions hit the target. For instance: "6. Do not lead the witness with, 'Bottled water or just tap?' Both are fine. Remain neutral." Or: "73. Do not bring soup without a spoon. Few things are more frustrating than a bowl of hot soup with no spoon." And definitely: "94. Do not play an entire CD of any artist. If someone doesn't like Frightened Rabbit or Michael Bublé, you have just ruined a meal." Many of Buschel's gripes only apply on his side of the Atlantic, such as "10. Do not inject your personal favourites when explaining the specials." Also only in America: "41. Saying, 'No problem' is a problem. It has a tone of insincerity or sarcasm."

But the list has whipped up a fury among waiting staff on the net. Under the headline "Does Buying a $14 Pasta Dish Make You The King of the Universe?", blogger and ex-waitress Lauren Ban takes Buschel to task for rules that she sees as obvious ("33. Do not bang into chairs or tables when passing by." Or "49. Never mention the tip, unless asked.") No minimum wage job, she argues, should ever require such a list.

Writing as an ex-waitress, I think most of his rules could and should apply to London establishments. Last Friday in a very cool Soho restaurant I experienced the truth of number 58, "Do not bring judgement with the ketchup. Or mustard. Or hot sauce. Or whatever condiment is requested." There was a policy not to serve Dijon mustard, I was told; only English or wholegrain cut it. "This is a British restaurant," I was told by the waitress, who'd just poured me a glass of unarguably French wine.

I don't relate this tale simply to nitpick: the point is, a lovely restaurant meal can be badly spoiled by a slight mis-step, as Buschel tries to explain. And I'm a very tolerant diner. One male friend recently told me that "there's nothing more disappointing than a disappointing meal", to which I suggested that one could be let down badly between the sheets. "No such thing for me," he says. I'm sure there's a list in that.

Taken for a ride

Do you have a cyclist colleague? And does he/she remain in his cycle gear until lunchtime? It's not that they're too cool to change, apparently. It's to give the sweat time to evaporate from their gear before changing into dry civvies. Now a new fashion line from a company called Bspoke makes Teflon-treated sweaters, trousers and jackets for the commuter that can be worn on and off the bike. Crucially, the clothes aren't day-glo or technical-looking or insouciantly nonconformist. It'll never catch on.

React Now

Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Austen Lloyd: Private Client Solicitor - Oxford

Excellent Salary : Austen Lloyd: OXFORD - REGIONAL FIRM - An excellent opportu...

Austen Lloyd: Clinical Negligence Associate / Partner - Bristol

Super Package: Austen Lloyd: BRISTOL - SENIOR CLINICAL NEGLIGENCE - An outstan...

Recruitment Genius: Sales Consultant - Solar Energy - OTE £50,000

£15000 - £50000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Fantastic opportunities are ava...

Recruitment Genius: Compute Engineer

Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: A Compute Engineer is required to join a globa...

Day In a Page

Read Next
Syrian refugee 'Nora' with her two month-old daughter. She was one of the first Syrians to come to the UK when the Government agreed to resettle 100 people from the country  

Open letter to David Cameron on Syrian refugees: 'Several hundred people' isn't good enough

Independent Voices
Amjad Bashir said Ukip had become a 'party of ruthless self-interest'  

Could Ukip turncoat Amjad Bashir be the Churchill of his day?

Matthew Norman
Iraq invasion 2003: The bloody warnings six wise men gave to Tony Blair as he prepared to launch poorly planned campaign

What the six wise men told Tony Blair

Months before the invasion of Iraq in 2003, experts sought to warn the PM about his plans. Here, four of them recall that day
25 years of The Independent on Sunday: The stories, the writers and the changes over the last quarter of a century

25 years of The Independent on Sunday

The stories, the writers and the changes over the last quarter of a century
Homeless Veterans appeal: 'Really caring is a dangerous emotion in this kind of work'

Homeless Veterans appeal

As head of The Soldiers' Charity, Martin Rutledge has to temper compassion with realism. He tells Chris Green how his Army career prepared him
Wu-Tang Clan and The Sexual Objects offer fans a chance to own the only copies of their latest albums

Smash hit go under the hammer

It's nice to pick up a new record once in a while, but the purchasers of two latest releases can go a step further - by buying the only copy
Geeks who rocked the world: Documentary looks back at origins of the computer-games industry

The geeks who rocked the world

A new documentary looks back at origins of the computer-games industry
Belle & Sebastian interview: Stuart Murdoch reveals how the band is taking a new direction

Belle & Sebastian is taking a new direction

Twenty years ago, Belle & Sebastian was a fey indie band from Glasgow. It still is – except today, as prime mover Stuart Murdoch admits, it has a global cult following, from Hollywood to South Korea
America: Land of the free, home of the political dynasty

America: Land of the free, home of the political dynasty

These days in the US things are pretty much stuck where they are, both in politics and society at large, says Rupert Cornwell
A graphic history of US civil rights – in comic book form

A graphic history of US civil rights – in comic book form

A veteran of the Fifties campaigns is inspiring a new generation of activists
Winston Churchill: the enigma of a British hero

Winston Churchill: the enigma of a British hero

A C Benson called him 'a horrid little fellow', George Orwell would have shot him, but what a giant he seems now, says DJ Taylor
Growing mussels: Precious freshwater shellfish are thriving in a unique green project

Growing mussels

Precious freshwater shellfish are thriving in a unique green project
Diana Krall: The jazz singer on being friends with Elton John, outer space and skiing in Dubai

Diana Krall interview

The jazz singer on being friends with Elton John, outer space and skiing in Dubai
Pinstriped for action: A glimpse of what the very rich man will be wearing this winter

Pinstriped for action

A glimpse of what the very rich man will be wearing this winter
Russell T Davies & Ben Cook: 'Our friendship flourished online. You can share some very revelatory moments at four in the morning…'

Russell T Davies & Ben Cook: How we met

'Our friendship flourished online. You can share some very revelatory moments at four in the morning…'
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef serves up his favourite Japanese dishes

Bill Granger's Japanese recipes

Stock up on mirin, soy and miso and you have the makings of everyday Japanese cuisine
Michael Calvin: How we need more Eric Cantonas to knock some sense into us

Michael Calvin's Last Word

How we need more Eric Cantonas to knock some sense into us