You still working on that?

New York restaurateur Bruce Buschel
is this week’s hero.

His blog in The New York Times, in which he’s chronicling the planning and opening of his new eatery, does every diner in America a personal favor.

Buschel posted a two-part list titled “100 Things Restaurant Staffers Should Never Do.” True, by the time he gets to the last 40 or so, a reader is wondering where on earth he will find enough qualified servers. But a little overkill is fine with me.

Here’s why: I live in an excellent restaurant town–lots of good places, always new cuisines to try, original interpretations of old favorites, decent prices. And terrible server etiquette.

Servers here have a high need to interrupt table conversation to ask a question, and it is almost always a question that can wait. I have yet to try this, but I am quite confident that if I staged a weeping exchange with my tablemate at almost any restaurant in Portland, the server would still butt in and ask if I needed hot sauce.

Servers also routinely try to take my plate when I’m done, despite the fact that my husband has eaten only one-third of his meal. (Why don’t they just hang a sign around my neck that says SHE EATS TOO FAST?)

They touch the rim of the water glasses. They stack every plate in a towering, precarious pile instead of clearing quietly or using a tray.

There are exceptions, of course. Places with good, professional servers. Interestingly, they are often very modest establishments. (See here and here for two such places.)

I’m tempted to print out the “100 tips” and start slipping it under the other tip…the 20 percent I leave even when the service is rotten.

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