Peeve du Jour

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Location: Los Angeles, CA

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Tuesday, July 21, 2009


Waitress Interruptus.

So you're at your table at a popular Pachyderm Eatery, a restaurant chain specializing in Jumbo Burgers, Mammoth Burgers and Woolie Mammoth Burgers (named after a famed Disney animation director), Mastodon Fries, River Horse Fish Sticks and other catchy little appetizers.

You're meeting a few colleagues to go over some business, discuss work-related problems, deadlines, maybe tell a few stories, share a couple of new jokes. There are four of you at the table and you have about one hour to eat, talk, laugh and head back to work.

Your waitress today is Angie. Angie's job is to take your order, bring your food and take care of any of your lunch needs. But Angie thinks you and your friends have all come to listen to her. She walks up the table and starts talking as if you had all been sitting there waiting for her to come to the table and start talking.

Whenever you're about to make a point, deliver a punchline or present a brilliant thought, there's she is, like a Jill-in-the-Box ready to say something totally unrelated to the topic of conversation at the table.


",,, so four days later the flea's back. The travel agent says, 'I don't believe it. What happened?' The flea says, 'Well, every day she was out in the sun by the pool, people were waiting on her hand and foot...' The travel agent says, 'What was wrong?' The flea says...

"Hi, guys. My name is Angie and I'll be your waitress today. Can I get you anything to start? Ice tea, coffee, beer, soda? Our specials today are Minced Moose and Hippo Jerky. Are you ready to order?"

Hint #1 - As you approach a table, check to see if anyone is in the middle of a sentence, about to deliver a hilarious punchline, make an important point or finish a great story. Pause for a moment, let them acknowledge your presence and, if appropriate, say what you have to say. DO NOT walk up to the table and start talking just because you have arrived.

Hint #2 - Don't interrupt to ask who gets what. You took the order, remember who ordered what, and serve it to whoever ordered it.

Hint #3 - Holding a pitcher of water is a silent way of asking if anyone wants more water without asking, "Anybody want more water?" (See Hint #1)

Hint #4 - If there's an obvious break in the conversation at the table, it's all right to ask questions, see if everything's all right, ask if anyone needs anything.

Hint #5 - If someone puts their fork down, that's not your cue to whisk in and remove their plate (usually silently and with great stealth. This is the only time the waitress or the ninja busboy never say anything.)

Sunday, July 19, 2009


Here's one of those ads that drives me crazy.

I bet if I went down to this store to pick up a free ottoman they'd tell me I had to buy the complete microfiber sectional with built-in end tables for $999 first. Well, if I have to spend $999 to get something for free, it ain't free - it costs $999. I think what they meant to say is that the complete microfiber sectional with built-in end tables for $999 also includes an ottoman at no additional cost. Or maybe it's actually a $999 ottoman with a complete microfiber sectional with built-in end tables included. I wonder if the ottoman comes with that FREE sticker attached. You think maybe it's sewn on and you're not supposed to remove it under penalty of law?

And everybody's on to that subliminal psychological hoary trick about pricing something at $999 instead of $1,000 because $999 seems to be nine hundred and ninety-nine dollars instead of the astronomical price of ONE THOUSAND dollars. And in these economic hard times, who can afford a thousand dollars for a couch?

Saturday, July 11, 2009


Pet Peeves. Those small annoyances that you encounter everyday that fester in your brain unless you put them out there and clear your head. Things that get overlooked or tolerated because they're hardly worth the trouble of dealing with on the spot or at the moment. Except that the offending party, the dolt, the oblivious ass goes on about his business without consequence for his conduct. Unless someone points it out to him, he'll continue to behave the same way for the rest of his life until someone reaches the breaking point and his actions become the final straw on a huge stack of little annoyances. This is a potential source of road rage, going postal and hissy fits. The raging, postal hisser wasn't like that until the final straw was dropped and then 30 years of pent up tolerance erupts in a blaze of fender-crunching, stamp-licking, hair-pulling caterwauling.

Unless... you talk about it, share it with fellow raging postal hissers.

In no particular order because there are so many of them, here's


My friend assured me that a certain Yogurt and Ice Cream store in Malibu, California, had the best frozen yogurt, so we stopped to find out if it was true. Now, I realize serving yogurt to Malibu residents at minimum wage may not be the dream job if what you really want to do is DIRECT but if I were a producer, the guy behind the counter would never set foot in a studio.

As we stepped up to place our order the guy leaned forward with half-lidded eyes and a face devoid of expression. My friends says, "We heard you have the best yogurt, so we drove out here to try it." No reaction. "What can I get you?" he asked, without moving his lips. My friend asked something about items on the menu, at which point he turned to the menu and, with all the enthusiasm of a moist napkin, read it while facing the menu. I couldn't hear a thing he said because he was talking to the menu with his back to us. I almost said something but I didn't want to spoil the experience that we had driven 25 miles to have. We paid, stepped out to the patio and enjoyed our yogurts. But all I remember about the place was that guy.

Hint #1: When a customer pays you a compliment, say "Thanks," and smile, whether you mean it or not, whether you own the place or not. You represent the people who made the yogurt, the people who delivered the yogurt and anyone in the supply chain who depends on asses like you to sell the product so they can keep their jobs. And it makes the customer feel good.

Hint #2: When you talk to a customer, face them so they can hear what you're saying. Eye contact helps.