Featured, Food

Bothered: Restaurants that Ask If You Want a Drink When You Order Take-Out

One of the saddest moments of my time in Australia was when I found out that the Bluestone Bistro, my next-door neighbor for the past two years, had been sold. Bluestone has been the best neighbor that a college student could ever hope for, but the new generation leaves much to be desired on the ins and outs of handling take out orders. Unfortunately, this is a problem that is not exclusive to Bluestone and is a major problem to consumers throughout America.

The typical process for ordering takeout is rather simple. A person calls in an order, travels to said establishment, and picks up the order. If you’re familiar with the staff, a brief exchange of pleasantries is also common. It seems like the perfect system.

It usually works quite well with no problems at all. That is, until the establishment over steps its boundaries and partakes in a little thing called greed. It is apparently nowadays acceptable to ask customers if they want extra things that they didn’t necessarily ask for.

This is where you get take out drinks

I understand why restaurants ask if I want a drink when I pick up take up. They, like most businesses, want to make money. What they fail to understand is that this puts the consumer in an awkward position.

Here’s a conversation I had with the recent wait staff at Bluestone.

Ian: “Hi, I’m here to pick up an order”
Unfriendly waiter: “Hey, small pizza right?”
Ian: “Yes, thanks. How’s it going”
Unfriendly waiter: “Not too bad how about you? Would you like a drink”
Ian: “Uhh No thank you”

The conversation was dead as soon as the waiter assumed he could get an extra three dollars but convincing me to order a soda that I neither wanted nor needed. Had I wanted a soft drink, I would’ve done one of two things. I would have specified the drink as part of the original order, or I would have removed it from the fridge that was two feet away. What I wouldn’t have done is wait to be asked if I wanted the drink. I wasn’t eating at the restaurant; it should not be assumed that the establishment is my only source to quench my thirst.

Is it a big deal? No, but it speaks more about the principle then the action. I don’t want to be treated like a cash cow, I want to be the one who dictates what I purchase from a restaurant. Waiters don’t ask me if I want extra entrees, I don’t see why they think add ons like drinks to a take out order are acceptable. The people should have the power to decide if a drink is an acceptable addition to an order, not the puppets that operate behind the counters of the dysfunctional machine called the American service industry.

One Comment

  1. The Colonel

    Memories, memories: back in the day, I used to go frequently to San Francisco, and always stayed at the Stanford Court both because it was a nice hotel and because it was at the corner of Powell and California so I could go most places on a cable car with my Municipal Railways pass (I’m cheap, and like rail transit – – double winner). On the other hand, I absolutely hated the restaurant at the Stanford Court, and a good part of that hatred was due exactly to what annoys Mr Malone. The several times I went there for breakfast, I ordered my usual: porridge (oatmeal), orange juice and tea. Every time, the smarmy waiter would urge “Wouldn’t you like some nice hickory-smoked bacon with that?” or strive mightily to sell me some other overpriced delicacy. No, Bozo, if I wanted bacon I would order bacon.

    A related annoyance is ersatz bonhommie: “Hi, I’m Filbert – -or Lulabelle or Abdul – – and I’ll be your waiter tonight.” Who cares? I’m here for a meal, and if I’m lucky competent service, not to make a new friend. The same goes for the fifth repetition of “Is everything all right?” Trust me; while I’m not especially demanding, if it isn’t all right you’ll be the second to know.

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