Flag up = I’m ready for the check, need more water, etc. Flag down = Everything’s copacetic.
Apart from enjoying the slightly unnecessary use of a big word, I also enjoyed reading through the various responses. Some themes popped out.
Some diners make use of what they have around them to work with the wait staff:
- "If you place your chopsticks across your bowl/plate they know your ready for the bill and too leave. Likewise if you need more tea you just put the lid of the teapot sideways."
Or, make use of an additional widget to do the same:
- "License plate flippers" [wtf?]
- "If you start to get full or want to pause the onslaught of delicious food you just turn the disc over"
- "The instant you turn your card from red to green, a swarm of tasty-meat-on-spear-waiters starts buzzing around your table"
There were also a few bizarro-techo-gadgety 'solutions' suggested:
- "Problem solved: ESP Systems makes a restaurant wireless so you, the bartender and the kitchen can radio the server when your stuff is ready."
- "Maybe servers should give you their IM name or phone number as soon as they introduce themselves so that you can send them text messages if you need something." [Is that a joke?]
- "The screen should have a status indicator for the meal, as well as an expected wait time. If they have 50 steaks lined up to be cooked and I’m number 49, then I should know that I’m going to be waiting an hour for that item if I choose it."
Can you tell that I like the approach of actually just engaging with the person who's looking after you?
- "I love that cause you have to like watch for the waiter/waitress and that distrupts your meal"
- "It works better than sitting around getting furious at the waiter for not asking if you need anything."
- "Go to a good restaurant, be friendly and behave well and you will enjoy a great service most of the time."
I've had many, many conversations with dining companions about waiters over the years. I remember a Thai place in Adelaide where the food was pretty good, but everyone really loved the place because the Maitre'D was a camp, sarcastic asshole.
"Ah, but who do you ask if you can’t find anybody?" poor Gayle asks.
Gayle, Gayle, Gayle... I could use that word that starts with "R" and rhymes with unguarded. But, The answer is, you look inside your deepest self, and find patience. Not everyone's watches are set to you. Don't you see that if you approach someone saying "Where the hell have you been?", or roll your eyes at them when they approach that they might be a little hesitant to provide you with unadulterated, outstanding service?
I don't want a dining experience that reminds me of a production line, or a trough, or something that I need to fight my way through, defeating the service people in my way. When I eat out, I like to take my time, and sure, if the plates stay around a little too long I might call over a waiter, but really, I'm there for the company, the food, the ambience, and not doing dishes.
That said, of course, there is such a thing as bad service. This type of service would not be helped with a flaggy thingy on your table. It will just be bad service. You don't need to sue anyone. Just don't spend your money on it again.
Enough with the me, me, me. And saying "May I please have" instead of "Can I get" or "I'll take" might be nice as well. So there.
(Note: Make sure you pronounce "May I please have" clearly. It's apparently quite hard to understand.)