Is it just ME?
Or are waiters without notepads maddening?
WHEN did waiters stop using notepads? I think it happened some time around the rise of the artisan coffee house, when suddenly it was no longer ‘hip’ to use something as retro as paper and pen.
Whatever the reason, the trend caught on. I have no idea why. And it drives me absolutely barking mad.
You go for dinner with friends, and each of you orders a starter and a main and drinks.
The poor, notepad-less waiter will stand there with a confused expression on his face, attempting to memorise everything.
He gives a small nod every time a new dish is mentioned, but you know it’s not going in. Sweat breaks out on his brow. Sweat breaks out on your brow.
The waiter’s eyes acquire a sheen of panic when you begin ordering side dishes. As you notice his increasing discomfort, you feel guilty for wanting too many things, so you speed up. Once it’s done, he makes a mad dash to the kitchen.
When the order arrives at the table, there will inevitably be mistakes.
That side of creamed spinach? Forget it. The steak? It will be served medium, not rare. The jug of tap water you asked for? Not a chance.
It’s not the waiter’s fault. It’s an impossible task.
I don’t expect the person taking my order to demonstrate impressive feats of memory. I’m not sure why it’s necessary. A lack of a notepad doesn’t add to the ambience.
It serves no obvious purpose and seems simply to have been introduced to make life difficult.
I say bring back notepads for waiters. And bring my tap water while you’re at it.
The Party by elizabeth Day (4th estate, £12.99), out July 13.
That creamed spinach? Forget it. The steak? It’ll be medium not rare. The water? Not a chance.