I’m Not Your “Darling”

I don’t know when I became a “honey,” “dear,” “sweetheart,” or “darling” in the restaurants I frequent, but evidently that’s what I look like to waitresses these days. (Funny thing—this never happens when I am with the Crankee Yankee, and he’s a year older than me!)

I have posted about this phenomenon before. I realize that these young and earnest waitresses are trying to be personable and welcoming. I paid for my last two years of college by waiting tables, and I know how hard it can be. It is a lot of work, and as the customer is king/queen, you do everything and anything to keep them happy. It is a lot of physical work as well as mental (i.e., keeping your temper, maintaining a smile, and being professional).

At the two restaurants I worked in, we were told to speak to customers we knew by name, preferably “Mr. and Mrs. So-and-So.” If we didn’t know the people, we addressed them as “Sir” or “Ma’am” or “Miss” or “folks”). It probably sounds pretty stuffy now, but that’s how it was back then.

In fact, calling customers “you guys” or any term of affection was frowned on as it came off as presumptive or demeaning or too familiar. In many cases, it could lose you your job for being disrespectful.

But fast-forward to the present day when anything goes. I am very fond of a certain Oriental grilled chicken salad served at a certain restaurant chain, and I almost always have it whenever I go there. But always I have to grit my teeth when my waitress addresses me in endearments that do not charm me, but actually make me feel, well—old.

So, for the *second time, I contacted the corporate office. Mind you, calling someone my age “honey,” “dear,” “sweetheart,” or “darling” is hardly a federal crime; it’s just something that wears on my nerves. I still tip my waitress, of course; the service is unfailingly good.

You might be thinking right now, ‘well, why doesn’t she just say something to the waitress about it? If she doesn’t have the gumption to speak up, she deserves what she gets.’ Good point, but I find I can neither speak up nor ignore it. I suppose I should, but I don’t want to hurt the server’s feelings. Plus as a rule I don’t like to tick off anyone who is handling my food.

Perhaps no one else my age and older is bothered by the whole endearment thing but me. In fact, after emailing my thoughts on said endearments to this restaurant’s headquarters, they may decide that I am too much trouble to eat at their restaurant again. I hope not, but if so, I am surely going to miss that Oriental grilled chicken salad…

I won’t, however, miss being called “honey,” “dear,” “sweetheart,” or “darling” as if I am 110 years old.

*The first time I contacted the corporate office was about those annoying table top computers. I get it that it’s convenient and saves time for both server and customer; I just prefer the “old” way. And yes, I AM a stubborn old poop.

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