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Whingetiquette: Lesson One - Espresso Melbourne

Whingetiquette: Lesson One

We’re all prone to exaggeration every now and then, it’s like linguistic seasoning and should be used in moderation. As a waiter I often come into contact with what I like to call the Over-stater (OS). The OS loves to over-season his/her sentences. For an OS, music at any volume is “deafening”, minutes are relayed as hours and his/her favourite refrain is “there’s nothing worse”. The OS is a hyperbolic-aholic.

The OS feels as though his/her complaint won’t be heard if it’s not colourfully embellished. My most recent encounter with an OS went something like this: upon delivering her flat white, she took a sip and declared, “This coffee is stone cold”. I knew this to be untrue. How can one steam milk backwards in temperature? A Synesso is a pretty impressive machine but even in all its magnific-engineer-ance it can’t make coffee cold.

Baristas are eager little beavers that aim to please and there’s always a method to their geeky madness. The temperature of each coffee is deliberate but if you’re unsatisfied, quote this: “Are you able to remake this latte please, it’s not quite hot enough for me”. Ta-dah! Your waiter will understand, the barista will understand, and you’ll soon be knocking back a hot, hearty latte. Everyone’s a winner! If your waiter gives you attitude, you’re in the wrong café and there are hundreds of others vying to serve you the coffee you desire, exactly the way you like it, so ditch those douche-bags and go elsewhere.

Over-staters thrive in the waiting game. If you wish to query how much longer your food will be (if you feel you’ve been waiting a while) exaggeration is not your friend. Nine times out of ten the kitchen will have a docket that reveals the exact time the order was taken and chefs (docile as they may be) can get all crazy-like if told they need to pick up the pace. If it’s been 20 minutes on a Sunday, don’t tell your waiter it’s been 35, you’ll max them out. If you have somewhere to be, it’s helpful to let your waiter know you’ve got an “out by” time and they should be happy to try and accommodate you within reason.

Steer clear of the overstatement as it often sounds like a criticism/attack, when a lot of the time it’s regarding a little hiccup that’s easily remedied. Stay true to the situation and remember your waiter is there to meet your (reasonable) requests, so don’t phrase yourself like you’re ready for an argument. Doing so runs the risk of frightening the more timid waiter. His trembling little hipster hands may then drop a plate of banana bread on a toddler crawling across the floor, whose mother then threatens to sue him, which provokes the toddler to shriek and draws complaints from other OSers that the shrieks are deafening. The whole café falls into disarray.

Ok so now I’m exaggerating, but you get my drift. Tell it straighty-au-laity.

About author
Liv Fin is a Melbourne-based professional writer with a borderline-dangerous predilection for long blacks, peanut M&Ms and book buying.

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