Drafted to Wait Tables?

Diners love to kvetch about waiters: They’re too slow or they serve you so quickly your meal is rushed. They ignore you or they’re overfamiliar. They forget to bring your water, they don’t tell you how much the specials cost, they bring out cold food—the complaints go on and on. But chef and food blogger Shuna Fish Lydon thinks we’d treat our servers more kindly if there were a mandatory food-service draft. If everyone had to serve, how would that change things?

Her Bay Area Bites post on the matter has incited some strong feelings. There are those who think bad waiters should just get their act together, others who point out that every field of work has its own critics, and an excellent comment from a reader who does the math on how many hours of hard work it takes to go and splash out for an upscale meal:

It turns out it took me about 12 hours, hard graft at the office, for me to be able to treat three friends to a meal at [the restaurant where Lydon works] … including more than two hours spent slaving away for the tip alone. … I choose to find my own pleasure over dinner and I don’t think it’s too much to ask to expect good and pleasant service.

There’s a slew of impassioned comments on the post from both diners and food-service folks. I’m staying out of the fray on this one, except to say that my brother, former waiter that he is, is by far the best tipper I know. Perhaps there’s something to the idea after all.