Saturday, August 11, 2012

"The mistake happened in the middle of our meal, during the beet course."

The ultimate first-world problem makes it to (where else?) the NYT lifestyle pages.


Paul Gowder said...

AAAAHHHH!!!! Who thinks like this? Who WRITES like this?

"The server moved the beet directly from the bare counter back onto the plate in front of me, in its originally plated position among the other elements of the dish. Finally, both of our plates were sauced and we were told to enjoy the course. Shocked at what just happened, I felt awkward challenging the server’s professional choice not to replace the course, especially knowing the incident was visible to everyone else in the restaurant."

Plated? "The Incident?"

Paul Fussell was right about the middle class.

"No discounts were given to us on our final bill." Really?

"After much debate, we chose to tip low (15 percent) and write a comment on the card for why the tip was low. We decided to leave a tip because we were not comfortable penalizing the server for one mistake during an otherwise enjoyable meal, and we also complimented the server, who was our favorite among the staff."

Honeychile, your food is so getting spat in next time.

"More than anything, I feel like the beet mistake was a reflection of management not training their staff how to properly handle the situation. My expectation in that caliber of restaurant would be for the fallen beet to have been immediately thrown away, and then both of our plates cleared to be re-served."

"The Beet Mistake." "That Caliber of Restaurant." "cleared to be re-served."

This is possibly the most physically painful thing I've ever read. I can actually see the total stick-up-the-ass douchebag who wrote this. It's some guy (definitely a guy) who tucks his shirt into jeans, never, NEVER jaywalks, speaks with an affected mid-atlantic pronunciation and thinks it makes him sound more professional at his "executive" job (or maybe he's a dentist). Were he not in New York, he'd struggle terribly with the question of whether to drive a Prius or save up for a "classier" car.

When the revolution comes, I hope the NYT has kept its correspondence files so we can track this guy down and put him up against the wall right away.

Phoebe said...

While I don't advocate for physical violence, I do appreciate that you took the time to break down just what was so offensive about this letter, tone as well as content. I started a post doing just that, then realized it would take me maybe 30,000 words to scratch the surface.

jim said...

Two comments:

1. If this had happened in the kitchen, the diner wold have been none the wiser.

2. There's a beet course?

PG said...

Were we expecting the NYT dining column to feature anything but ultimate first-world problems?

Phoebe said...


Yes, to #1 especially. If you're particular about where you food has been, germ-wise, you can't eat out, high-end, low-end, whatever.


We were expecting first-world, but not at "the beet course" level. This exceeded our expectations.

J. Otto Pohl said...

It has occurred to me since the definite collapse of the Second World in 1991 that the term First World is no longer applicable. Especially since what you really seem to mean much of the time is the richer areas of Manhattan.

Phoebe said...

Google "first world problems." I didn't invent this concept. In general, it refers to the non-problems of the comfortable, not to the very rich or Manhattan especially. Things like, oh no, the supermarket doesn't stock my favorite yogurt brand anymore. But for something to be an "ultimate" first-world problem, the cluelessness needs to be extreme, and that kind of milieu helps.