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August 16, 2013 6:02 PM   Subscribe

Certain Doctor Who Phrases and how Olive Garden Customers React: An Experiment Done by a Server
posted by ChurchHatesTucker (102 comments total) 26 users marked this as a favorite

 
Times have certainly changed, I never got a number based on my knowledge of Doctor Who.
posted by arcticseal at 6:08 PM on August 16, 2013 [11 favorites]


I'm glad he made out with the tips, but...oof. This is my personal definition of try-hard.
posted by orrnyereg at 6:10 PM on August 16, 2013 [20 favorites]


oh man I'm so glad tumblr didn't exist when I was 17
posted by theodolite at 6:11 PM on August 16, 2013 [14 favorites]


GODDD THE EMBARRASSMENT WAVES COMING OFF OF FUTURE-HIM ARE MAKING PRESENT-ME CRINGE.
posted by thsmchnekllsfascists at 6:13 PM on August 16, 2013 [57 favorites]


Insufferable. Why do people think other people care about their fandom?
posted by thylacine at 6:14 PM on August 16, 2013 [22 favorites]


I do the same thing, but with the film Father of the Bride Part 2. And I'm not a waiter. Nobody has picked up on my references. Many people have restraining orders against me. Nobody thinks what I do is fun. It's as if the world is saying, every party has a pooper, that's why we invited you! Party pooper! Party pooper! Every party has a pooper, that's why we invited you, Sticherbeast!
posted by Sticherbeast at 6:14 PM on August 16, 2013 [24 favorites]


Put me in mind of this, really.
posted by George_Spiggott at 6:15 PM on August 16, 2013 [6 favorites]


You get the feeling he's been doing this for 2 weeks, hoping someone would put a viral of it on YT but since that hasn't happened, he was forced to blog it himself.
posted by DU at 6:16 PM on August 16, 2013 [13 favorites]


Can confirm, I was the endless breadsticks.
posted by overthrow at 6:16 PM on August 16, 2013 [4 favorites]


thsmchnekllsfascists: "GODDD THE EMBARRASSMENT WAVES COMING OFF OF FUTURE-HIM ARE MAKING PRESENT-ME CRINGE."

You're not wrong, Walter.
posted by notsnot at 6:16 PM on August 16, 2013 [4 favorites]


There's an Olive Garden manager who needs to experiment with some discipline.
posted by davebush at 6:17 PM on August 16, 2013 [3 favorites]


I want to watch an episode of Doctor Who that takes place entirely inside an Olive Garden now.

No wait..I want to write it.....
posted by The Whelk at 6:19 PM on August 16, 2013 [16 favorites]


I think the power of the performance is that for a moment he allows them to forget they're at the Olive Garden with their parents.
posted by George_Spiggott at 6:19 PM on August 16, 2013 [49 favorites]


( one side effect of upending your entire life so you can lose 30 pounds and fit into a Halloween costume is that this bleeds into your daily life, I've dropped so many more " Yes sits" " Ma'am" and " pardon me"'s then before I got all broke on the inside.)
posted by The Whelk at 6:22 PM on August 16, 2013 [1 favorite]


Endless breadsticks bother me because they break the laws of Thermodynamics
posted by hellojed at 6:26 PM on August 16, 2013 [29 favorites]


I want to watch an episode of Doctor Who that takes place entirely inside an Olive Garden now.

No wait..I want to write it.....


It turns out it's truly endless soup, salad and breadsticks. They're actually on a sliding time loop, and disappear after being eaten to reappear back in the kitchen in time for the next order.
posted by jason_steakums at 6:26 PM on August 16, 2013 [17 favorites]


What's the daily speical?

Whatever comes on the pangalatic dumb waiter. Last time it was nothing but hallugenic moss.

Oh?

Makes for a good broth base.
posted by The Whelk at 6:28 PM on August 16, 2013 [4 favorites]


thylacine: "Insufferable. Why do people think other people care about their fandom?"

Why did you click the link?
posted by symbioid at 6:31 PM on August 16, 2013 [18 favorites]


Also, WRT Olive Garden.

Can we be sure Greg Nog isn't a Time Lord?

Cause I've met him and it just raises more questions.
posted by The Whelk at 6:31 PM on August 16, 2013 [14 favorites]


I'm sure I don't need to point out the similarity between this story and the plot of The Day the Clown Cried.
posted by George_Spiggott at 6:32 PM on August 16, 2013 [12 favorites]


Long ago I was at a late-night French restaurant in midtown, large table, the server was reading the desserts and ended with, "Strawberry tart". At the table a friend responded in his best Monty Python accent, "Strawberry tart?"

Without missing a beat she said, "Well, it has got some rat in it."

True story.
posted by Walleye at 6:33 PM on August 16, 2013 [95 favorites]


jason_steakums: "It turns out it's truly endless soup, salad and breadsticks. They're actually on a sliding time loop, and disappear after being eaten to reappear back in the kitchen in time for the next order."

Kind of like this?
posted by symbioid at 6:34 PM on August 16, 2013 [1 favorite]


I do this with Dr. Octagon, and I've never had some hot girl from Zeta Reticuli 9 offer her number to me...
posted by symbioid at 6:35 PM on August 16, 2013 [3 favorites]


"Allons-y"

Man, who can forget that classic Doctor Who line?

Monty Python accent

Is this a thing?
posted by ODiV at 6:36 PM on August 16, 2013 [1 favorite]


I can probably do this with Mystery Science Theater 3000.

Wait, I already do this with Mystery Science Theater 3000! Like, constantly, so many of my mannerisms and injokes date ultimately to that show.
posted by JHarris at 6:37 PM on August 16, 2013 [6 favorites]


Insufferable. Why do people think other people care about their fandom?

Dude, I'm like thisclose to sending a link to Steve Moffatt and David Tennant because they are part of the fandom as well as doing the show, and they would be all over this shit.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 6:39 PM on August 16, 2013 [3 favorites]


Yes, I know David Tennant isn't on the show any more but he is just that big a Who fanboy still and he's married to one of the previous Doctors' daughters so he's kind of like got fanboy Emeritus status by now.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 6:40 PM on August 16, 2013 [3 favorites]


I was on the receiving end of something like this once, only it was lines from Taxi Driver in a Wendy's. Probably didn't go over as successfully I'd guess.
posted by novelgazer at 6:40 PM on August 16, 2013 [22 favorites]


To be fair, Empress, I don't think that's why he married her. (At least I hope it isn't!).
posted by orrnyereg at 6:41 PM on August 16, 2013


Service jobs are crappy, hard work for not nearly enough pay. At least this kid is having fun with it and is making some money. I'd rather he wait on me than someone who is as miserable as I was back when I was serving tables.

Allons-y!
posted by Space Kitty at 6:41 PM on August 16, 2013 [21 favorites]


davebush: "There's an Olive Garden manager who needs to experiment with some discipline."

Is he not already in Hell? What difference the color of the flame?
posted by jquinby at 6:43 PM on August 16, 2013 [45 favorites]


Did he end up getting the girl's number?
posted by snofoam at 6:44 PM on August 16, 2013 [9 favorites]


I don't think that's why he married her. (At least I hope it isn't!).

Oh I know, but he's historically been that big a fanboy that you know that his inner child is squeeing every time he goes to visit the in-laws.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 6:48 PM on August 16, 2013 [7 favorites]


Aren't there hours and hours of this show? Are these quotes ones that are repeated and more well known than others? Some of these seem pretty specific, so I imagine it'd be tough to know it's from the show unless it was on a recent episode maybe.
posted by ODiV at 6:53 PM on August 16, 2013


Did he end up getting the girl's number?

Yes, although she requested he pick her up in a TARDIS.
posted by ChurchHatesTucker at 6:58 PM on August 16, 2013


Unfortunately, its chameleon circuit is broken, leaving it stuck in the shape of a 1990 Honda Civic.
posted by ODiV at 7:08 PM on August 16, 2013 [58 favorites]


This MUST somehow be related: before he was the Fifth Doctor, Peter Davison was the Dish of the Day...
posted by oneswellfoop at 7:09 PM on August 16, 2013 [2 favorites]


"Allons-y"

Really?

Otherwise, though, I thought this was pretty cool. I mostly worked fine dining but did wait tables at a much more casual, very small, seafood cafe. I might have done something like this. One night when I was working alone, a table requested that I sing Happy Birthday. Knowing that I sing terribly, I decided to make the best of it and sang the song as if I were a really hammy lounge singer. There were only a few tables of customers in the restaurant, but everyone laughed and applauded.

With the fine dining thing, I tended much more to the uptight, polite and invisible and efficient mode and was critical of my coworkers who were overly casual and joking — but one of the secrets of waiting tables, even at the high end, is reading the table correctly and giving them the flavor of service they desire. Sometimes, that's a waitperson who is entertaining. And often, it's not. I worked with people who didn't understand this and I've suffered as a customer with waiters that were smarmy and talkative and intrusive.

But, again, customers vary and some of them sometimes enjoy or even expect the waiter to be part of the entertainment in some fashion. It can be a really fun part of the job.
posted by Ivan Fyodorovich at 7:23 PM on August 16, 2013 [3 favorites]


I call shenanigans. Try-hard wish fulfillment fantasy.
posted by peep at 7:37 PM on August 16, 2013 [6 favorites]


It turns out it's truly endless soup, salad and breadsticks. They're actually on a sliding time loop, and disappear after being eaten to reappear back in the kitchen in time for the next order.

A truly endless breadstick is possible if it is perfectly constant in diameter and density and placed in an otherwise empty universe. A breadstick that is merely a few light years long would in time undergo gravitational collapse. The resulting black hole would be a good place to dispose of the endless soup, because restaurant Italian wedding soup is often pretty nasty.
posted by justsomebodythatyouusedtoknow at 7:48 PM on August 16, 2013 [7 favorites]


Did he end up getting the girl's number?

Yes, although she requested he pick her up in a TARDIS.
posted by ChurchHatesTucker at 6:58 PM on August 16
[+] [!]


Could be fully working TARDIS disguised as crappy 1990s model car
posted by Bwithh at 7:52 PM on August 16, 2013


A truly endless breadstick is possible if it is perfectly constant in diameter and density and placed in an otherwise empty universe. A breadstick that is merely a few light years long would in time undergo gravitational collapse.

....that theory sounds a bit wibbly-wobbly to me...
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 7:53 PM on August 16, 2013


This is very personal for me, for several reasons.
posted by vrakatar at 7:57 PM on August 16, 2013


I want to watch an episode of Doctor Who that takes place entirely inside an Olive Garden now.

No wait..I want to write it.....


I would watch it.
posted by jb at 8:00 PM on August 16, 2013


One girl who got the reference gave me the biggest smile I’ve ever seen, later I would receive her number.

So of course when he goes out with her, by the 3rd or 4th date it's become gradually clear that she's seriously expecting him to put on this act like this, like, at all times.
posted by Bwithh at 8:01 PM on August 16, 2013 [7 favorites]


One girl who got the reference gave me the biggest smile I’ve ever seen, later I would receive her number.

So of course when he goes out with her, by the 3rd or 4th date it's become gradually clear that she's seriously expecting him to put on this act like this, like, at all times.


And thus, a hero was born.
posted by Going To Maine at 8:08 PM on August 16, 2013 [7 favorites]


Restaurant short starring the next Doctor (and another top dude from The Thick Of It)
posted by Bwithh at 8:08 PM on August 16, 2013 [1 favorite]


Oh, he didn't have a time machine. And occasionally his accent slipped, and his dialogue was constrained to only phrases that had recently appeared on television, which made him dull at parties. And instead of a sonic screwdriver he had a very large screwdriver and an airhorn. But soon he was the terror of all the petty criminals in the tri-state area.
posted by Going To Maine at 8:10 PM on August 16, 2013 [3 favorites]


And instead of a sonic screwdriver he had a very large screwdriver and an airhorn. But soon he was the terror of all the petty criminals in the tri-state area.

I would pay cash money to see a two-parter where the Doctor's stuck on an alternate earth and has to team up with a bunch of the old British superheroes Alan Moore used in Albion (especially Robot Archie who can maybe just continue on as a companion, I'd be totally cool with that).
posted by jason_steakums at 8:23 PM on August 16, 2013


According to this , he claims he intends to do this every Sunday at this Olive Garden in Sherman, Texas. You have to ask for Taylor S. as your server

Maybe this can be one of those Metafilter IRL meetup outings
posted by Bwithh at 8:27 PM on August 16, 2013 [2 favorites]


If breadsticks were truly Endless, wouldn't they have a name starting with D? Like .... Donuts. Or Danishes. Danishes of the Endless.
posted by moonmilk at 8:33 PM on August 16, 2013 [4 favorites]


I am John Lithgow, pointedly removing dollar bills from a pile on the table.
posted by Uther Bentrazor at 8:52 PM on August 16, 2013 [7 favorites]


So of course when he goes out with her, by the 3rd or 4th date it's become gradually clear that she's seriously expecting him to put on this act like this, like, at all times.

This is making me think of the ep of Flight of the Conchords where Jemaine dates the woman who wants him to wear an Art Garfunkel wig while they get romantic.
posted by trunk muffins at 9:13 PM on August 16, 2013 [1 favorite]


Do you think he wears his fedora the whole time or does he have to take it off at work?
posted by Justinian at 9:21 PM on August 16, 2013 [8 favorites]


When you replaces incidents of laughter with descriptions of pained silence this story is MUCH MORE believable.
posted by Tevin at 9:26 PM on August 16, 2013 [4 favorites]


A truly endless breadstick is possible if it is perfectly constant in diameter and density and placed in an otherwise empty universe.

Didn't Frank Tipler extend the result to breadsticks of finite length?
posted by hattifattener at 9:33 PM on August 16, 2013 [3 favorites]


Endless Breadstick? Bagel.
posted by Scientist at 9:50 PM on August 16, 2013 [7 favorites]


On the one hand good for him; on the other hand the expectation that quoting a popular TV series makes you some kind of special seems a bit silly.

That said, the fact that I'm embarrassed how often spouting Monty Python or Hitchhiker's Guide quotes has gotten me social or monetary points (or Metafilter favorites) hasn't stopped me from spouting them at every possible opportunity
posted by Greg_Ace at 9:52 PM on August 16, 2013


I want to watch an episode of Doctor Who that takes place entirely inside an Olive Garden now.

No wait..I want to write it.....


It's been written already. Adams called it "Life, The Universe, And Everything."

Although, in its original Doctor Who and the Krikkitmen incarnation, I would presume they got about by the TARDIS and not the Starship Bistromath.
posted by radwolf76 at 10:38 PM on August 16, 2013 [3 favorites]


Insufferable. Why do people think other people care about their fandom?

Insufferable? Why do you care so much?

Having a good time isn't a zero sum game -- the couple cuddling in the corner or the little kids screaming on the playground or the dorky waiter having fun with his tips schtick doesn't mean you lose Life Points, you know?

Besides, the only truly insufferable item here is Olive Garden's food.
posted by Celsius1414 at 10:38 PM on August 16, 2013 [15 favorites]


Insufferable.

And yet you suffered.
posted by the jam at 10:47 PM on August 16, 2013 [4 favorites]


NO TEARS PLEASE IT'S A WASTE OF GOOD SUFFERIoh sorry wrong interdimensional box.
posted by obiwanwasabi at 12:04 AM on August 17, 2013 [1 favorite]


It would entirely depend on the delivery. Is it a case of Trying To Hard, or someone comfortably and casually throwing out those lines? The reasons those lines work in the show is because they are Fun and full of Whimsy. Which is the exact reason they likely work on a broader audience. Plus, as pointed out, it's the Olive Garden, anything to break from the dreadfully boring experience is going to be welcome.
posted by [insert clever name here] at 12:27 AM on August 17, 2013 [2 favorites]


You might in some other countries get a waiter who behaves as if he's your personal friend; you might even get one who behaves as if he's the star of your party and needs to shut everyone else around the table up for a few minutes while they pay attention to his personality - maybe - but surely only in America would people laugh and approve and give him an even more insanely large tip than usual.
posted by Segundus at 12:48 AM on August 17, 2013


Aren't there hours and hours of this show? Are these quotes ones that are repeated and more well known than others?

You underestimate the heights (or depths) of fandom. I have an eight-year-old daughter who can stand by the TV and recite, as it's spoken, all the dialogue and songs from every episode of My Little Pony. My own high school days staying up late with my roommate reciting Monty Python skits are long past but those were good times.
posted by freecellwizard at 6:05 AM on August 17, 2013 [2 favorites]


>>Monty Python accent

>Is this a thing?

Absolutely. It's the sound made by someone who normally speaks in your local regional accent, suddenly trying to sound like a British person from the '60s who was trying* to sound medieval.


*not trying very hard
posted by randomkeystrike at 7:00 AM on August 17, 2013 [9 favorites]


If you had to parse out all the Simpsons lines, references, and allusions in my daily speech yuou'd be left with a lot of umms and ahhhs and not much else.
posted by The Whelk at 7:07 AM on August 17, 2013 [2 favorites]


Way out of my way but if it was within my sphere of mall restaurant possibilities I'd certainly make that my first (and only) OG dining experience.
posted by sammyo at 7:20 AM on August 17, 2013


Serious Doctor Who fans + Olive Garden patrons + Texas = zero probability.
posted by Brocktoon at 7:40 AM on August 17, 2013 [2 favorites]


I want to watch an episode of Doctor Who that takes place entirely inside an Olive Garden now.

No wait..I want to write it.....
---
It turns out it's truly endless soup, salad and breadsticks. They're actually on a sliding time loop, and disappear after being eaten to reappear back in the kitchen in time for the next order.
---
Whatever comes on the pangalatic dumb waiter.


And for an endless loop involving food and a dumb waiter, we have Breakfast with Mr Švankmajer...
posted by titus-g at 7:46 AM on August 17, 2013 [1 favorite]


One day back when I was really broke, I saved up some money to go buy a cup of coffee at Starbucks. It took me a month just to accumulate $2. So one morning, I was tired and surly, and I went in for my morning coffee, a luxurious premium cup.

When I got there, about 5 or 6 people were in line ahead of me. There was a chubby, bearded male clerk that greeted each customer by loudly bellowing "ARRRRR! Top 'O The Morning to ye!" Oh shit it's talk like a pirate day. But the customers are reacting poorly. He is scaring them. And his banter is stupid, he sounds like it's "Talk Like A Pirate Leprechaun Day" since pirates don't say top o the morning. But he plows ahead, taking orders like "Aye, CapuchinARRRR comin right up matey!" He is yelling, and the customers are fleeing as soon as possible, I saw one run out the door. And as I watch her flee, I notice something: the store is empty. The seats would normally be full of people leisurely relaxing with their coffee, but no, this insane clerk is chasing them all away. Even the other baristas are looking at him like he's insane.

So when I finally get up to purchase the cup of coffee I had saved for so long to buy, the guy bellows at me, "ARRR top of the morning! What'l ye have, matey?" I just glared at him and said, "Excuse me?" He stands there blankly, he doesn't know how to respond. After a moment to let that sink in, I barked out my order. I paid without saying another word, while the idiot continued bantering. I left a tip of one cent. And the coffee was crappy.

I went home, and I was so pissed off, I decided to call Starbucks customer service. When I finally spoke to an agent, I asked him if there were any special holiday promotions going on today. He said no. So I asked, you're not participating officially in Talk Like A Pirate Day? He claimed to not know what that was, but after a little prodding, yeah, he knew. No, Starbucks isn't participating in any pirate talk event. So I told him about what happened at the store. The guy couldn't believe it. I insisted it was true and why would I call up Starbucks with such a stupid story if I was making it up? Some rogue clerk was chasing away customers and I am sure Starbucks didn't condone such stupidity. So the guy said he'd check it out, and offered to send me a $5 prepaid Starbucks card for my troubles. Problem neutralized, if not quite solved. Now it's his problem, not mine.

So I went ahead with my morning, I fired up reddit, oh crap they did their annual TLAP makeover, all the buttons are recoded to say ARRR or some such bullshit. Last year you could turn off custom CSS and the site reverted back to normal. Not this year, it's hardcoded. I tried to turn it off but it was hard to tell what each button actually did, I hit the wrong buttons and almost deleted my account. The FP is flooded with questions about how to turn off the pirate talk. They are downvoted massively after the answer "you can't" appears. TLAP Day is the stupidest day of the year on reddit (which is hard to achieve) so the hell with that, looks like I'll skip reddit for the next 24 hours. I guess the subreddit I moderate will be anarchy for the next day.

I am reminded of an old comedy routine I saw many years ago. The comedian asserted that you should never go to fast food places because they are all staffed by high school kids making minimum wage, and the quality of your food is dependent on the mood of the cranky kid. So your food quality is dependent on whether the guy's date last night went well. If he didn't get laid, your food will be crap.

But now it's even worse. The quality of your service can be dependent on some dopey redditor who is upset he's not at home at the keyboard typing ARRRRR over and over. Do not hit me with that bullshit at 7AM before I have consumed my first cup of coffee. I know you have a shitty job and you're trying to have some fun. But at least you have a job. You might not, tomorrow, after Starbucks Corporate calls your manager, and then you'll be just like me, scrambling to afford the tiniest luxuries like a $2 cup of coffee. Then you won't be in the mood for Talk Like A Pirate Barista either.
posted by charlie don't surf at 8:28 AM on August 17, 2013 [8 favorites]


If he wasn't offering people jelly babies instead of Andes mints then he was no Doctor Who fan.

Of course, the Andes mints are the best part of a meal at Olive Garden...
posted by davros42 at 8:38 AM on August 17, 2013


This is pretty nerdy but also harmless. It would probably work better if instead of speaking solely in Doctor Who quotes, he just talked normally but stole all the best/most accessible jokes. That "$6.99 cake" line is pretty funny.
posted by Solon and Thanks at 9:17 AM on August 17, 2013


"Serious Doctor Who fans + Olive Garden patrons + Texas = zero probability."

That's just dumb. Texas is the second most populous state with 26 million people, 17 million of whom reside in urban areas. Two of the top five most populous US metropolitan areas are in Texas, DFW and Houston, accounting for 13 million people alone; and you can add to that the San Antonio and Austin metropolitan areas, each with about 2 million people.

There is very little reason to believe that "serious Doctor Who fans" and "Olive Garden" patrons are disjunct — inasmuch as US fans of DW skew toward "science-fiction nerd", that "science-fiction nerd" demographic does not have a particularly large overlap with the organic/local/foodie demographic that most eschews Olive Garden by choice. And even where it does, and inasmuch as that demographic is similar to mefites, I'm pretty sure that at least half the people in this thread who have denigrated Olive Garden have actually eaten there at some point, for some reason. Furthermore, that "science-fiction nerd" and PBS/SyFy/BBC America-watching group is less likely to be members of one of the economic classes, the poor, less likely to eat at Olive Garden and it's very possible that "science-fiction nerd" makes up a lower-than-average portion of the upper-class, also less likely to eat at Olive Garden. "Science-fiction nerd" is likely concentrated in the middle-class, which also constitutes the majority of Olive Garden customers.

Finally, there's little reason to believe that "science-fiction nerd" is any less represented among Texas's urban areas than elsewhere in the US (there are seven annual science-fiction conventions in Texas), nor is there any reason to believe that Olive Garden patronage in Texas is any less typically middle-class.

Therefore there's little or no reason to believe that Doctor Who fans are less common in Texas urban areas than elsewhere; and there's good reason to believe that they are at least as likely to be found in an Olive Garden than other mid-range restaurants. So rather than being "zero probability", finding a serious Doctor Who fan in a Texas Olive Garden restaurant is no less likely than average, and probably somewhat more likely than average.
posted by Ivan Fyodorovich at 9:30 AM on August 17, 2013 [14 favorites]


In case everyone hasn't already seen this.
posted by orme at 9:36 AM on August 17, 2013 [1 favorite]


Exterminate.
posted by Decani at 10:20 AM on August 17, 2013 [1 favorite]


I am a Doctor Who nerd, have eaten at an Olive Garden and have lived in Houston. He would have gotten a tip off me for at least not being the hyper chipper annoying server that I've encountered in chain restaurants in the past.
posted by arcticseal at 10:34 AM on August 17, 2013 [1 favorite]


Absolutely. It's the sound made by someone who normally speaks in your local regional accent, suddenly trying to sound like a British person from the '60s who was trying* to sound medieval.

To be fair, there are several character voices one immediately identifies with Monty Python, such as the screeching Pepperpot ladies and the loutish Gumby voices. But yeah, there's just a lot more people who simply try to sound like John Cleese with varying degrees of near-success.
posted by Spatch at 11:22 AM on August 17, 2013 [1 favorite]


But now it's even worse. The quality of your service can be dependent on some dopey redditor who is upset he's not at home at the keyboard typing ARRRRR over and over.

This is pretty nerdy but also harmless.


This thread reminds me of this old one about how Pret A Manger has mystery shoppers come by to make sure that the staff is being polite and upbeat. Just as this thread is full of folks discussing whether or not they'd love or hate being served by someone speaking like the Doctor, that one was full of folks debating whether or not it's corporate fascism to make sure that employees are projecting a generally positive vibe. (I'm not sure whether or not this waiter would get a bad mark from a mystery shopper; he seem to have induced some extreme responses on both ends of the spectrum. It seems like context awareness is key - if your Starbucks is mysteriously empty, you're doing something wrong.)
posted by Going To Maine at 11:36 AM on August 17, 2013


charlie don't surf, I can't tell if you're being satiric or not, but if you are that is spot on.
posted by Therapeutic Amputations at 12:05 PM on August 17, 2013 [2 favorites]


This thread reminds me of this old one about how Pret A Manger has mystery shoppers come by to make sure that the staff is being polite and upbeat.

Hey come to think of it, I got one of my best jobs ever, due to a mystery shopper, of a sort. I applied for a new job at a brand new computer shop that was about to open just down the street from where I worked. The guy interviewing me seemed familiar. He said he recognized me because he had mystery shopped my store and talked to me. He said was already considering calling me and offering me a job because I was one of the only competent and polite people he encountered in any of the stores he shopped.
posted by charlie don't surf at 12:43 PM on August 17, 2013 [2 favorites]


I would have enjoyed this. I haven't eaten at an Olive Garden in a long time but darn I used to love their salad and breadsticks. So I don't agree with most of the people in this thread, oh well. I liked the post, thanks!
posted by onlyconnect at 2:01 PM on August 17, 2013


[When speaking to a baby playfully aka fishing for tips]

Gross.
posted by applemeat at 2:05 PM on August 17, 2013


This could also be accomplished with Lebowski quotes.
posted by SlepnerLaw at 2:36 PM on August 17, 2013


"This is spot on."

No, it's not. If you are that fucking misanthropic, stay home and choke down your own damned coffee. Jezus - trying to get a barista fired because they aren't as miserable a lout as you are.
posted by The Blue Olly at 3:34 PM on August 17, 2013 [11 favorites]


OK, put yourself in his shoes. Go to your regular workplace and bellow at people in a pirate voice until they run away in fear. Then tell me how it felt being that much of an asshole.
posted by charlie don't surf at 4:15 PM on August 17, 2013 [3 favorites]


Though honestly it sounds like the last thing you should have saved up £2 for is caffiene.
posted by DaRiLo at 4:41 PM on August 17, 2013


From time to time I use the Taco Bell drive through. Guilty pleasure.

At least a third of the time the service is awful, or slow, or they mess up my order a bit. And for a brief second I think "I should call the store management because I expect better service."

Then I realize that they are working at a Taco. Bell. Drive-through. What sort of service was I expecting. The food is cheap and the employees make minimum wage. If I got someone fired when the stakes are *that low*, I'd have to punch myself in the face. Hard.
posted by bpm140 at 4:42 PM on August 17, 2013 [7 favorites]


Yarr, ye be havin' a chip 'o' the ol' Blarney Stone on yer shoulder, ChAAARRRRRlie, an' all fer a bit 'o' fun. Maybe ye'd be 'appier if it were a shoiny parrot, begorah.
posted by obiwanwasabi at 5:10 PM on August 17, 2013


I want to watch an episode of Doctor Who a post-apocalyptic horror film that takes place entirely inside an Olive Garden now.

In here, you're family. Out there, you're on your own.
posted by Elsa at 6:07 PM on August 17, 2013 [2 favorites]


Starbucks isn't Taco Bell, their product is expensive and at morning rush hour even a minimum wage employee is making at least $10 an hour in tips, probably far more than that if they aren't completely offending customers. They're making more money than I do now at my temp job that requires a BA and you have to pass a test that proves you can do calculus.

This is a college town and young college kids giving crappy customer service is par for the course. But flagrantly antisocial customer service that is driving customers away is another thing altogether. So excuse me if I just want a fucking cup of coffee without your bullshit. Starbucks Corp made a modest gesture of a coupon for 2 cups of coffee. Take a mulligan, problem solved. I guarantee nobody got fired, although any employee that runs off all your customers certainly would deserve it. He can get a job at Taco Bell for minimum wage and NO tips.

But this is why I rarely go to chain stores like Starbucks. Just last week, I was driving around between my house and the place I was housesitting, I had to grab some stuff at home before going to work, no time to make coffee. So at 7AM, I stopped at a corner Starbucks, for the first time in over a year. There was a line of 20 people, and two people working. The line was moving at a crawl. This was going to take fucking forever so I left and drove across town to the store near my house (the Pirate Talk store). I was decided to clock it on my phone's stopwatch. I drove across town and had a cup of coffee in my hands in about 12 minutes, faster than I would have if I'd have waited in line at the other store that needs 3x the staff to handle the morning rush.

I mean, what is it with baristas lately? Is it really that hard to deliver a simple cup of coffee? I lived in SF in the early 90s when baristas were seriously competing over coffee quality and service. And they had to be good because there was a cafe on every block and you could easily take your business elsewhere. But in my town, nobody has any taste, nor pride in their work, and if you don't like it, you don't really have any choice because there isn't any other place to go. I used to go to my local independent cafe but their service was even worse than Starbucks. I got pretty fed up one day when I ordered their simplest cup, filter cone coffee. It's their fast track, they have a rack of 8 stations, they just set it up and pour water in a few times, and you grab your own cup when it's full. One barista can make 8 cups of coffee at the same time. But after the first pour, the guy never came back to put more water in it. This is especially bad because the grounds get bitter if they just sit there. After about 5 minutes (at which point the inch of coffee in the cup was already getting cold) and with 5 other fuming customers behind me also waiting, I tried to flag the guy down. I told him, "you have to put water in it or it doesn't make coffee." He seemed surprised to see the crowd of customers waiting, obviously he had completely forgotten about us.

I encountered this same idiot employee several times again, and he screwed up my order every time. One winter evening I came in and ordered a hot chocolate. He was the only person working, and there was a line of 10 people waiting at the espresso machine to receive their order. I was willing to cut him some slack since he was obviously incapable of handling the rush. But when he made my cup, he ran it under the steamer for about 2 seconds and delivered a paper cup that was cold to the touch. I stuck my finger in it, the milk was room temperature. I asked the barista to heat it adequately. He said he didn't have time, the microwave is over there, you can heat it yourself. Wut?

So now I am behind the counter, in their kitchen, heating my own fucking hot chocolate. I told the guy, "you know, I can make my own hot chocolate in my microwave at home, and I don't have to pay you $3 for it." After about 30 seconds, BOOSH the cup exploded in the microwave. Oops, this isn't an 1100 watt home microwave, this is an industrial microwave at about 2000 watts. So now I look inside, I have 2 inches of hot chocolate in the cup, and the rest overflowed onto the rotating tray. So now I have to clean that shit up. I take a rag and wipe out the interior of the microwave, which was already disgustingly filthy before my spill. I am appalled that they are serving food out of this filthy box, so now I am cleaning it like their employees should have. Except I'm a customer. Wearing my winter coat. Then I take the tray over to the sink, and start washing it up with the industrial dishwashing sprayer etc. Then I'm rinsing out the rags and cleaning up after myself. The barista isn't seeing any of this, his back is turned, he is too busy serving underheated lattes. But the other impatient customers are seeing this, and they are complaining. Their coffee is cold too, and what they hell did you do to that guy, that he has to make his own hot chocolate after he PAID YOU to do it for him? We've been waiting for a long time, will we have to make our own coffee too? And now he's cleaning your kitchen. In his winter coat. I decided they were right. I took my cup with 2 inches of hot chocolate and said, "every time I come in here, you screw up my order, and I say nothing. This time, I want a refund." He refused, he said he'd make it over again. I said I don't have time for this bullshit, I have to be somewhere in 5 minutes, I expected to be out of here 10 minutes ago, drink in hand. Instead, he gave me a coupon for one free drink. He signed it, with his name, and title, "Manager." Holy shit, this guy isn't the noob minimum wage moron, he's the goddam manager. No wonder this place sucks. I have never gone into their shop again, and I have never redeemed my coupon. They basically stole my $3. Java House, you suck. I don't care if your website claims you were designated one of the top 50 college coffee shops. As far as I'm concerned, that's about as prestigious as being ranked in the top 50 cleanest public toilets. Your coffee isn't as even as good as the disgusting, cockroach infested Horseshoe Cafe that was the closest cafe to my home in Haight Ashbury.

So if you want something done right, you have to do it yourself. So I stepped up my game. I have practiced for a long time, and I make the best damn pour-over coffee that it is possible to make. It takes 4 minutes. It turns out at the same temperature and the same density every time. It is way better than you can buy at any coffee shop in town, at a fifth of the price. And I don't have to put up with some idiot snarling at me in Pirate Leprechaun talk.
posted by charlie don't surf at 6:45 PM on August 17, 2013 [3 favorites]


This is what bad service does to you. I've had exactly the same visceral response as charlie don't surf to criminally bad service. I've worked service jobs, it's not difficult to get right if you just care a little about being professional and taking pride in your work.
posted by arcticseal at 8:02 PM on August 17, 2013 [1 favorite]


I have practiced for a long time, and I make the best damn pour-over coffee that it is possible to make. ... It is way better than you can buy at any coffee shop in town, at a fifth of the price.

The upside of being a cynical bastard and a fucking cheapskate - but with exacting standards - is that I learned to do that long ago, and have thus been able to avoid the whole chain-coffee (and chain-restaurant) thing.

However, I must say that when I'm out on the road on a multi-hour highway trip, almost every Interstate-adjacent McDonalds I've ever been in has had good coffee any time of day.
posted by Greg_Ace at 8:21 PM on August 17, 2013


I just want to let you guys know, if you ever find yourselves in Sherman, Texas, and you want to have a meal served to you by ‘The Doctor’ just walk on in to the Olive Garden, request Taylor S. You will get your wish.

While I'm in the 'more endearing than insufferable' camp (service jobs are the worst, and geeky teenagers are geeky, and if this makes it better for him then more power to him)...I think anyone who shows up specifically to see this kid try to imitate the Doctor is just setting themselves up for disappointment.
posted by Gordafarin at 8:43 PM on August 17, 2013


My dialogue in both real life and in my years-past retail reality is so packed with quotes from books and movies and 1940s radio comedies and song lyrics and Delacorta and the Tao Te Ching and inside jokes I had with late friends and moved-away friends that I'm surprised anyone ever understands me at all.

Upon reflection, most people who know me either get the references or know to roll their eyes and carry on.

To wit, if my ex sees me preparing to butter a baguette, he will swiftly exit my tiny kitchen because he's seen my zen bread buttering routine from Diva so many times that it now serves as a potent irritant and reminder at just how repetitive life with me can get.

"What?"

"Yes, I know. The knife...not too thin...not too thick, agh."

"You know, if I had two white Citroëns, I wouldn't need to do this."

"So you say. Just give me a piece of the damn bread, okay?"

"It's very good. Fresh, but not too fresh."

Huff.
posted by sonascope at 6:17 AM on August 18, 2013 [1 favorite]


I was surprised to read charile don't surf's anecdote because when I've visited Iowa City, everyone I met was really nice.
posted by grouse at 11:28 AM on August 18, 2013 [1 favorite]


Like really, I will not be all crying because you were a cunt. I’ma be all plotting how to get back at you and taking pleasure in your shitty dining experience. You will lose so many nice things you once had. That dress. Aww did I spill raspberry tea on your husband? Sorry, bitch. thems the breaks. oh did you want a salad? Yeah but your entrees are out already imma give you time for that shit. Bitch shut up i aint serving your ass shit.

Charming.
posted by likeatoaster at 11:32 AM on August 18, 2013 [1 favorite]


It's kind of funny that finally, days after the post was made, someone gets around to reading one of this fellow's other entries. Ick.
posted by Going To Maine at 1:31 PM on August 18, 2013


Fedora. Told you.
posted by Justinian at 5:30 PM on August 18, 2013


Well that's unfortunate.
posted by Space Kitty at 11:13 PM on August 18, 2013


I was surprised to read charile don't surf's anecdote because when I've visited Iowa City, everyone I met was really nice.

Maybe Charlie was visiting friends that day.
posted by Sebmojo at 2:24 PM on August 19, 2013 [1 favorite]


I know people who work at Starbux. They don't make much in tips at all (pennies a day), and even at $10/hour (minimum wage in Ontario), they aren't paid enough to deal with the corporate demands (rules up the wazoo) and then the crazy, rapid-fire six million customizations that customers want, and they want it NOW. And your manager just wants you to go faster, faster.

Whenever you meet someone in service work, be nice. After all, there, but for the grace of gods, go you. You never know when your life circumstances will change and you'll find yourself applying to Starbux.
posted by jb at 5:17 AM on August 20, 2013 [1 favorite]


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