Wednesday, October 22, 2008
I was three seconds into arriving at the restaurant for the dinner shift when I saw Sarah, who'd been working lunch that afternoon. Before she could even say hello, the first words out of her mouth were Oh boy do I have a blog entry for you!
Knowing how easygoing Sarah is, I thought This is going to be a doozy.
Turns out that aside from a generally hectic service that included parties of people that were really too big for the restaurant all coming at the same time, one party asked for Diet Coke to be put in their children's sippy cups-- you know, those little plastic cups with lids for kids who are too uncoordinated to manage a regular glass.
And if they're too young to manage a glass you might think that they're too young to be drinking diet soda. But apparently not.
The reaction to this request by the staff was one of visceral disgust. One of us was inspired to run to the office to use google.com to research why it's so awful to feed diet soda-- or any soda, actually-- to a small child. (If you think about it, really there is no human being in the whole world who should drink Diet Coke.) Mostly it seemed the staff was aghast at the message that giving a toddler a diet drink gives, and that made us simultaneously angry and sad.
We often (invisibly) raise our eyebrows at odd requests. Ice for a glass of wine, a non-fat (Be sure it's non-fat!) mocha with extra whipped cream. But more than one co-worker called that family's behavior child abuse. And I can only agree to some extent, only if you're sure to include feeding kids McDonald's ever and exposing them to the reactionary, sexist programming that is the Disney Channel, which is to say that there are plenty of questionable moves that could stand some scrutiny. Amongst our food-conscious, source-conscious, and (mostly) health-conscious staff, this Diet Coke incident just really hit a nerve.
Abuse? Eh, probably not. Mind-numbing ignorance? Oh, you betcha.
So what do we servers do when confronted with a request such as this one? We do our jobs: we smile extra big to cover up the horror on our faces that would come bursting through if we didn't, and we follow through, pouring little cups of Diet Coke for children too small to know their taste buds are being ruled by completely artificial flavors that don't even sort-of exist in nature.
And then we lay the story our co-workers as soon as we get a chance.