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Monday, January 14, 2013

The One Where I Discuss The Need for Fast Casual Restaurant Etiquette

So, first, let's discuss the ridiculousness that is the phrase "fast-casual restaurant." For those unfamiliar with this term (apparently I'm an expert on it???), basically this is a restaurant where you place your order at the counter, but then it usually still takes some time to be made and then they call out your name and you get it from the counter or they bring it to your table (IF your little electronic table number thingamadoo works, which sometimes it does NOT - I'm looking at you Panera!). Some examples include:

Chipotle, where the secret ingredient is crack cocaine!*

You can get a Thanksgiving dinner YEAR ROUND. GENIUS.

*God, not really. Jokes, Chipotle, jokes. Don't sue me.

You get the picture. Anyway, saying something is "fast casual" makes it the culinary equivalent of  wearing a polo and jeans. Like, you look fine. Sometimes better than fine. But not amazeballs. And that's fine. Amazeballs on a daily basis is boring. 

Now that we've gotten that out of the way, something else you should know before I continue. I am a planner. Like a constant, never-ending, need-to-be-on-top-of-it-all planner. I just really like planning okay? OKAY!? 

All right! Now that we've got all the background out of the way... So after work today, I zipped over to the gym and worked out with my trainer, Ashley, in preparation for the race my "sole sister" Shelly and I are running on Sunday. (More on that later.) By the time I left the gym, it was 6:30 and I NEEDED TO EAAAATTT. So as I'm driving home I think to myself "Huh. What's the easiest way to undo all the work I just did in one fell swoop? Ah yes. Mexican food. Oh look.... A Wahoo's!"*

Do not be fooled. Nobody in here actually surfs or knows what any of the stickers on the walls mean.
*Yeah, I went in all workout sweaty. No judgies.

So in I go. And while I'm looking at the menu, I decide I'm getting an enchilada PLUS two tacos so I can eat the tacos for lunch tomorrow (this is where you knowing and already accepting that I'm a planner comes in handy). These will come with rice and beans, so this is obviously a pretty decent meal for one person in one sitting, but whatever. This makes total sense to me since I will be spreading it out across two meals.  I order, and the girl behind the register informs me they'll call my name when my order's ready.

So I sit on the small bench across from the end of the counter. My reasons for this are two-fold. One, I needed to sit so I could comfortably do some "information gathering" (some call it stalking, whatevs) on Facebook while waiting and two, the fact that I'm sitting so close to the counter means they do not need to holler my name for the entire restaurant to hear when my order is ready. While waiting, these bros roll in behind me.

Visual representation of bros
These bros are bedecked in sweatpants, carrying mega size cans of Monster energy drink, and they announce to the girl behind the counter she's giving them "too many options" and they say "F$%k it! Halfsies!" when she asks whether they want red or green sauce on their enchiladas. Whilst this is going on, my order is apparently ready. And the assistant manager grabs the bag and yells "NANCY!" like I'm sitting in the parking lot, not four feet in front of him. I stand up and grab the bag and he proceeds to read my entire fatty order back to me at top volume: "SO I GOT TWO TACS, RICE, BEANS, AND ONE ENCHILADA. TWO TACOS, RIGHT?" 

Jesus Christ, man. No need to read the order at all, let alone affirm TWICE that I got two tacos! I quickly mumble "yes", grab the bag, and head out the door, while the bros and everyone else in the restaurant looks at me. This was not one of the times it was my imagination, I got visual confirmation everyone was, in fact, looking at me. 

And that's how Nancy's rules of fast casual restaurant etiquette were born. So far, I have two rules:
1) Refuse to serve bros wearing sweatpants and carrying cans of Monster.
2) When you're giving someone their order, don't read it back to them unless they ask.
And 2a) Read it (only if prompted!) at a normal volume. If you have to yell all the time, that may indicate the need for a trip to the doctor. 

There you have it. Go forth and preach, my friends. And stop drinking Monster. It's bad for you.*

*Again, I am apparently an expert...

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