Thursday, May 10, 2012

Notes From A Regular

As you may have gathered from recent posts, I find huge enjoyment in visiting restaurants on a fairly regular basis.

Actually, there's a little more to it than that. I genuinely enjoy being a regular. It's not just because I'm a creature of habit (although that certainly helps) -- it's also because there's a fantastic level of comfort when you walk into a place and people recognize you.

Thanks to this discovery (which I made at a fairly young age), I've been a regular somewhere in every place I've lived for any length of time -- coffee shops in Rapid City, restaurants in Sioux Falls, breweries in Wausau, bookstores in all of these places. Normally, I'd be giving hints on how to be a good regular (for instance, "Tip well, but not like you're trying to single-handedly put the server's kids through college"), but there are far more authoritative sources on that subject. This time, I'd like to address a different crowd.

To The Staff Of ___*
*If you know me because I frequent your establishment, said establishment's name goes here. No exceptions.

Hi! Your friendly neighborhood patron here. How's it going?

Here's the thing: if you know me by name, it's because I like your place. I enjoy my time there and I want it to continue. Now, as a frequenter of your establishment, I've had the chance to observe ... a lot. A lot of it is good. Some of it is less good. Odds are fair that I tell you about the good most of the time.

But you should know about all of it, if only because I want everyone to enjoy their time there just as I do.

Without further ado, I'd like to make my opinion known.

1.  I'm glad you consider me a friend at this stage, but there needs to be a little bit of a barrier. Unless we a) have known each other since before you worked there (or before I started turning up there), or b) hang out regularly outside your place of work, please treat me as a customer first. After that, we can chat like we always do.

2. I know things don't always go smoothly and I'm there enough to know when you're having one of Those Days. I can also recognize when you're putting on as good a face as you can. You have my sympathy.

3. On a related note, by all means, say what you want in front of me. I understand that you're comfortable with me by this point and I really, truly don't mind hearing it. However, unless I'm the only one there, keep in mind that if I can hear you, someone else probably can, too. Be careful, okay?

4. Managers: #3 doesn't always apply to you. Please, please don't say anything about your employees in front of me unless it's effusive praise. I expect a higher level of professionalism from you and I don't want to hear you complain about other employees. Ever.

5. Truly, I don't mind [and this might just be me, not every regular] if I get the Server/Barista/Whatever-in-Training. Whoever it is, he or she is probably safe with me. And Managing Person? Feel free to ask me what I think before I leave. I know you're looking for feedback.

6. Please don't take my tip for granted. I don't want to leave a crappy tip, but truth be told ... I can't in good conscience leave a good one if the service is terrible. Don't make me do it.

If we can agree to these terms, I will do my best to be a good regular and we can have a long and harmonious friendly-business-type relationship.

Thank you for your time.

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