recipes & foodThe Emperor decrees

The Emperor decrees that waiters shall no longer act like guides to the mysteries of the universe

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I have been declared Emperor of the World. Let us not waste time explaining why or how; let’s all simply accept the fact that we are better off, as a result; hence, my next decree:

Emperor’s Decree No. 31-B: What’s with this new trend in restaurants – of the server coming out and introducing himself or herself and then asking, “Have you ever been here before?” as if we are on the precipice of a great leap into the unknown? It’s not physics. It’s not a philosophy seminar. It’s ordering in a restaurant. Restaurant owners: The server  is not raising the perceived value of your food and drinks by acting as the Virgil to our Dante. He really is not, just so you know. The process is quite simple: I tell you what I want; you bring it out to me. I eat it. I pay. I wobble out the door merrily patting the sides of my distended paunch. That’s it. So, quit it with the pretenses.

The Punishment: Minions of the Empire are commanded to order, as usual, upon hearing this ridiculous question, but they are to order soup. Piping hot soup. They are then to pour the soup over the waiter’s head, while apologizing: “Oh! I am sorry. I have never eaten soup here before. Is this not the right way?”

Now, go forth and obey.

The Emperor will grace the world with a new decree each Tuesday morning.

Chris Matarazzo is a writer, composer, musician and teacher of literature and writing on the college and high school levels. His music can be heard on his recent release, Hats and Rabbits, which is currently available. Chris is also the composer of the score to the off-beat independent film Surrender Dorothy and he performs in the Philadelphia area with the King Richard Band. He's also a relatively prolific novelist, even if no one seems to care yet. His blog, also called Hats and Rabbits, is nice, too, if you get a chance...
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5 Responses to “The Emperor decrees that waiters shall no longer act like guides to the mysteries of the universe”

  1. Hahaha sorry Chris. Both I and a friend of mine have worked as waitresses before, and the story is a bit different depending on where you go (although both of these places were at the shore). This requires a bit of an explanation.

    I worked at Mac and Mancos (back when it was still Mac and Mancos) and then at Hula Grill, and both times it was part of the training. If your customer is a mystery diner trying new things, you’re supposed to just lay out the workings of the menu in case they’re unfamiliar with how things work, since a lot of places do things differently. If you get caught not asking that question, you get in trouble, and when I worked at Hula, each time you got in trouble meant you got a smaller share of the tips by the end of the night.

    On the other hand, my friend worked at Bobby Flay, where you can be outright denied access if you’re not wearing the proper attire. There, it’s part of a screening process where, depending on how you look, whether or not you’re famous, how you act, etc., then your answer to “have you been here before” can affect the quality of your dining experience.

    So, in defense of a job I once held, don’t shoot the messenger. Yell at the manager so that they can stop asking that question. Cheers!

  2. It is rare that I, the Emperor, amend things, but I suppose I could slightly change the consequences. We shoud pour the soup over the manager’s head. How would that be?

  3. Your Eminent Crankiness (With all due respect and empathies)

    My flippant answers to this question have led to pre-divorce mediation meetings between my ever-suffering spouse and I. We are currently at “cease fire in place.” She is an angel…

    Answer 1) Yes, I just bought this establishment and I’m bringing in my own staff to run it. Oh, whoops did I just let the cat out of the bag?

    Answer 2) I was here to identify my aunt’s body a few weeks ago. She had the Steak Tartar

    Answer 3) I have and I forgot the free coupon I got after I got food poisoning here last time.

    In all seriousness, God Bless and Protect servers and wait staff. My daughter was a waitress and hostess and she has a wealth of customer horror stories. Blame the script on the owners and managers. If there is a soup to pour over the ignorant wretches, I vote for something with cabbage in a tomato base.

  4. Thank you for your understanding, Your Imperial Majesty.

  5. Alexis — We are, if nothing else, empathetic to the needs of our minions. and when we are not, we simply…neutralize them…

    azchurch — You will go far in the Empire. Cabbage soup will henceforth be the waiter-drenching first choice. Carry on.

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