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

Selby Jennings: VP/SVP Credit Quant- NY- Investment Bank

Not specified: Selby Jennings: VP/SVP Credit Quant Top tier investment bank i...

Ashdown Group: Senior Marketing Executive- City of London, Old Street

£40000 - £43000 per annum + benefits: Ashdown Group: Senior Marketing Executiv...

Ashdown Group: Marketing Manager

£40000 - £43000 per annum + benefits: Ashdown Group: An international organisa...

Ashdown Group: Internal Recruiter -Rugby, Warwickshire

£25000 - £30000 per annum: Ashdown Group: Internal Recruiter -Rugby, Warwicksh...

Day In a Page

Read Next
“I just wanted some chicken wings,” Tan Shen told the assembled media. “But once I got in there ... I decided I needed time to think.”  

Introducing my anti-heroes of 2014

Ellen E Jones
Gwyneth Paltrow and Coldplay's Chris Martin “consciously uncoupled” in March  

My best and worst stories of 2014

Simmy Richman
War with Isis: The West needs more than a White Knight

The West needs more than a White Knight

Despite billions spent on weapons, the US has not been able to counter Isis's gruesome tactics, says Patrick Cockburn
Return to Helmand: Private Davey Graham recalls the day he was shot by the Taliban

'The day I was shot by the Taliban'

Private Davey Graham was shot five times during an ambush in 2007 - it was the first, controversial photograph to show the dangers our soldiers faced in Helmand province
Revealed: the best and worst airlines for delays

Revealed: the best and worst airlines for delays

Many flyers are failing to claim compensation to which they are entitled, a new survey has found
The stories that defined 2014: From the Scottish independence referendum to the Ice Bucket Challenge, our writers voice their opinions

The stories that defined 2014

From the Scottish independence referendum to the Ice Bucket Challenge, our writers voice their opinions
Stoke-on-Trent becomes first British city to be classified as 'disaster resilient' by the United Nations

Disaster looming? Now you know where to head...

Which British city has become the first to be awarded special 'resilience' status by the UN?
Finally, a diet that works: Californian pastor's wildly popular Daniel Plan has seen his congregation greatly reduced

Finally, a diet that works

Californian pastor's wildly popular Daniel Plan has seen his congregation greatly reduced
Say it with... lyrics: The power of song was never greater, according to our internet searches

Say it with... lyrics

The power of song was never greater, according to our internet searches
Professor Danielle George: On a mission to bring back the art of 'thinkering'

The joys of 'thinkering'

Professor Danielle George on why we have to nurture tomorrow's scientists today
Monique Roffey: The author on father figures, the nation's narcissism and New Year reflections

Monique Roffey interview

The author on father figures, the nation's narcissism and New Year reflections
Introducing my anti-heroes of 2014

Introducing my anti-heroes of 2014

Their outrageousness and originality makes the world a bit more interesting, says Ellen E Jones
DJ Taylor: Good taste? It's all a matter of timing...

Good taste? It's all a matter of timing...

It has been hard to form generally accepted cultural standards since the middle of the 19th century – and the disintegration is only going to accelerate, says DJ Taylor
Olivia Jacobs & Ben Caplan: 'Ben thought the play was called 'Christian Love'. It was 'Christie in Love' - about a necrophiliac serial killer'

How we met

Olivia Jacobs and Ben Caplan
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef's breakfasts will revitalise you in time for the New Year

Bill Granger's healthy breakfasts

Our chef's healthy recipes are perfect if you've overindulged during the festive season
Transfer guide: From Arsenal to West Ham - what does your club need in the January transfer window?

Who does your club need in the transfer window?

Most Premier League sides are after a striker, but here's a full run down of the ins and outs that could happen over the next month
The Last Word: From aliens at FA to yak’s milk in the Tour, here’s to 2015

Michael Calvin's Last Word

From aliens at FA to yak’s milk in the Tour, here’s to 2015