Some restaurants require the old "Hello, my name is Ashley and I will be your server tonight" routine. I have worked at those places and I hated it. My name is not one that is easily recognized so it was always way more trouble than it was worth.
"Hello, my name is Coby and I'll be your server tonight."
"Oh, hello, Cody."
"Oh, Colby! Like the cheese?"
"No, Coby, like the beef but with a C and a Y. Coby. "Like the electronics company?"
"Oh, Coby! That's an interesting name. Were your parents hippies?"
"Never mind. Hello, my name is David and I will be your server tonight."
I was never a big fan of having to give out my name. (No, Coby is not my real name...) I have found that when you tell customers what your name is, many of them get too comfortable using it and they start asking for too much shit. Thankfully, I never worked at one of those places that puts paper on the tables with crayons for the children and some of the servers write their name onto the table. Once I went to a place where the waitress wrote her name in cursive upside down so that it was facing me. Color me impressed but I still wouldn't want to have to do it. So, no I don't give out my name unless asked.
Since I work at a very small neighborhood restaurant two blocks from my home with mostly regulars, several of my customers do know my name. I suppose I don't mind it too much since I bump into them at the grocery and I'd rather they say hello to me by name than say "Hello, Asshole." But I only tell people when they ask. They always follow it up with their names which I promptly delete from my memory bank. If I remember the names of all of my customers how will I ever remember that episode #109 of The Facts of Life is the one that aired on October 3, 1984 and was called "Slices of Life" and it was the one where Jo began her own pizza making company? Click here to see that episode and go to the 1:40 mark to hear my favorite line delivery in the history of the world.
One regular that comes in thinks my name is Eugene. It is not. It is nowhere close to Eugene. I once played a Eugene in a high school play about Halloween, but that is where my connection with Eugene ends. I have told her my real name many times and she always tells me that I look just like Gene Wilder. Never mind that Gene Wilder is about 40 years older than me, she thinks I am the splitting image of the Candy Man. The next time she came in she had forgotten my name and called me Gene instead. I corrected her. I saw her once outside a bar in our neighborhood and she yelled out to me across the street, "Hello, Gene." I corrected her again. I saw her yet again at another bar and this time she called me Eugene. I imagine that her train of thought went something like this:
"Oh, what is his name again, I know I know it. He looks like Gene Wilder but I know his name isn't Gene. Is it Willy Wonka? No, that's not right. Maybe it's Dr. Frankenstein... Gosh, I dunno. I got it!"
I corrected her yet again. She came into the restaurant last week and greeted us all. She didn't say my name and I thought that least she isn't calling me Eugene. When she left, she gave me a hug and kiss (she'd had three glasses of wine) and slurred out, "S'wonderful to see you again, Eugene." I am done correcting her. I don't care. I don't know her name even though she has told it to me often. The difference is that I don't just make up shit when I see her:
"Dionne Warwick, it's nice to see you! How have you been, Diana Ross? Well listen, Angela Basset, the next time you come in you make sure to sit in my station, okay, Oprah?"
I agree with most people that customers don't care about the names of their servers and servers don't want to give out their names, so can we just make a pact across the land that we will no longer do it? Let's be done with it. Let's accept our situation for what it is: a business transaction that will last for about 45 minutes or so. It should be just like a prostitute and her john; no names, no pleasantries and no emotions. We give each other what we want, and move on. As long as I give good service and I am given a 20% tip and not given crabs, I'm good.
"Hello, my name is none of your fucking business and I will be your server tonight."
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