I’d like to take this time to apologize to the entire Austin service industry. Really. To all the undervalued waiters, waitresses, and bartenders in Austin, I’d like to say, “I’m sorry.” I’m sorry your band hasn’t hit number one on the charts. I’m sorry your “spoken word poetry” hasn’t landed you a book deal. I’m sorry your conceptual art paintings haven’t launched a gallery opening. I’m sorry. Okay? Are we all clear on that?
Now, go get my coffee. And be quick about it.
I’ve lived all over the United States and in other countries. I’ve traveled the world. And, yes, I’ve received bad service elsewhere. It’s not unique to Austin. I’m not even sure I would call Austin service bad service – except in a few, exceptional cases. What’s unique here is the sense of absolute, lackadaisical indifference that I haven’t experienced anywhere else.
“I guess I’ll take your request – as long as it’s not an ‘order’ – I don’t do orders – and I’ll get your coffee (or food or beer or whatever) if you really have to have it, but it’s not because it’s my job to serve you. We’re equal partners in the consumption of this coffee. You ought to be happy we provide a place for you to go so you can drink your coffee. Just be happy that I’m handling your request and slopping it down in front of you.
“If you cross me though – any form of complaint, request to go faster, extra napkins – you’ll be lucky to see me again.
“And be sure to thank me and leave a tip. I have to buy some new guitar strings so my band and I can practice our extended jams. You know, I’m just doing this as a favor to you until my big contract comes through. Oh, and you’re welcome.”
If you’re working in the Austin service industry, I’m sorry to have bothered you – although I’m pretty sure you probably don’t care. Anyone else have this experience?