Are you still working on that?

“Are you still working on that?”, is a question heard thousands of times daily in restaurants and cafes all across the US. A rather interesting question at that. At first I didn’t really think too much about the question and I’d normally reply something to the effect that I was indeed still working on it… or I was done and he/she was now free to clear the table. But I was asked this question not more than a couple of hours ago at Tutta Bella, it quickly brought back memories of a story I heard a couple of years back. I can’t remember if this was on NPR or not, and I think it was either a comedian or a food critic but the gist of the article was that this is actually a rather silly and rude question to be asking your dinner guest/patrons. Why? Because it would imply that the meal you are presumably enjoying is more of a chore or a burden than a delight.

For me, this question now starts to conjure up images of some form of physical labor like welding a huge axe and chopping up your steak, or hammering away furiously at your salmon like a blacksmith at a foundry. Maybe it is that they just want to get you on your way so they can turn the table over to the next customer and of course the next tips.

I guess what I am trying to say is that now when I hear that question, it kind of spoils the whole dining experience for me and does not endear me to the restaurant nor the waiter/waitress. Maybe it’s time to start thinking of a better way for inquire of your patrons whether they are done.

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