I know a little something about restaurants. I eat out a lot, have my regular haunts but also enjoy new places. It’s always been my nature.
There’re a bunch of new ones at varying stages of construction in Jacksonville and I look forward to checking them out after their opening rush settles down. Burp.
Naturally, my wife Ann and I have personal favorites we frequent depending upon our “menu mood.” By that I mean we decide what we want to eat and then decide where we’ll get it.
Which brings me to a specific lunch. A few days ago we had some errands to do so pulled into one of our favorites.
Apparently everybody else in the world had the same idea at the same time. The parking lot was packed, which we knew meant a long wait.
Since it was no big deal, we trooped on to choice number two, which was also a favorite of ours. We were seated and checking out the menus when our server came to the table for our drink order.
Holy hardware! This otherwise attractive young girl had a hook contraption running through her nose from nostril to nostril with both ends hanging out.
Immediately the “Lone Ranger” popped into my mind and then popped right back out. This image of silver boogers scared him away.
I was dumbfounded; not that a young person decided to have a free-will spasm involving self-mutilation. There’s a lot of that going around nowadays.
What surprised me was that the management of that restaurant allowed the business to be a venue of such circus act decorations. I don’t want to blow it out of proportion, but I found it a bit gross.
Now, I’d be lying if I said it spoiled my appetite. I pretty much cleaned my plate, and as is normal, nibbled off Ann’s. But at the very least I felt it violated basic business logic.
Restaurants typically require staff to wear certain items such as hairnets and rubber gloves. And I know some won’t allow wait staff to exhibit facial decorations because I can see empty piercing dots where stuff hangs when they’re off work.
So if it seems a breach of decorum to older people like me, it makes good sense not to allow employees who routinely deal face to face with the public to push boundaries of normalcy.
I’m not denigrating this waitress one little bit. We come from different worlds, even different planets, so I don’t expect her to share my value system.
I’m a huge fan of waiters and waitresses and consider good ones to be hugely talented and probably superior in marketable skills to most of those they serve. And I admire this young lady for working. I just don’t think her bosses are setting the right tone.
I think restaurants should insist their floor workers leave metal thing-a-ma-jiggers in their tackle boxes until they’re off, and then they can rig up to their heart’s content. Just a suggestion from an old guy who tips very well.
Otis Gardner’s column appears here weekly. He can be reached at email@example.com.