We need to come with a name for that amount of time that passes from when you ask your server for mayonnaise for your burger and the time that it actually gets to your table. Those few minutes can be maddening.
Here in New York it seems that most people use ketchup on their burger but for many of us who grew up in the south, the only natural thing to smear all over your red meat sandwich is dollop after dollop of rich creamy mayo. When I take an order for someone's burger I don't ask them if they want mayonnaise or mustard with it. I figure they will tell me if they want it and I will get it for them. If they tell me when they order their burger, I always go get it right away so that it is on the table when their food arrives. If they tell me when I serve the food, I get it immediately. It takes precedence over everything else because I don't want their burger to get cold while they wait for condiments. If someone else is waiting for a beverage or needs more bread or wants more water or needs me to snap a picture of them on their anniversary, it all waits until the other customer has their blessed mayo. I practically worship at the House of Mayo so I know how important it is. To be honest, I converted to the House of Mayo after growing up in the Chapel of Miracle Whip.
Last night I took off my apron and was a customer for a change. Sitting at the bar, I order a burger but forget to to say in advance that mayo will be necessary. When the food comes out, I tell the bartender that I would like some.
"Absolutely, right away," he says.
Famous last words.
I watch as he proceeds to make a couple of drinks and greet some other customers. I nibble on a french fry. I see the bartender take care of someone's check. I eat another fry. Finally, I see him tell a busser something and I expect that thirty seconds later he will emerge with my condiments but all I see is the busser come back with a rack of glasses. I try to catch the bartender's eye thinking that maybe he has forgotten my request, but he does not look my way. I continue to eat my french fries as my mouth begins to drool looking at my naked hamburger. I want my fucking mayo and I want it now. I see another server come to the bar and ask for change so now the bartender is counting money out of his drawer. He pours two more beers as my burger dies a slow death. I look at the ramekin of ketchup on my plate and decide that I can use it in a pinch. About five minutes have passed. Giving up all hope, I spread ketchup on my no-longer warm bun but this is when I see the bartender go to the kitchen and return with an industrial size jar of mayo that he opens. He disappears again and returns with two ramekins. As if in slow motion, I watch him spoon out the creamy deliciousness into the ramekins. I have already begun to eat my burger and one third of my fries are gone. When he finally brings my mayo, seven minutes have passed. Seven minutes? Unacceptable.
Usually, I am on the side of the server, but this guy failed me. When customers need something for their meal that they need before they can start eating, it has to be done right away. If someones asks for fresh pepper, you do that immediately. Or at least as soon as you can find the goddamn pepper mill because some asshole co-worker never puts it back where it supposed to go and it's always hidden the fuck away. But you do it quickly. If a customers needs another fork because they dropped theirs onto the floor, you do it right away. Or at least as soon as you can get the goddamn dishwasher to run the silver because you're out of it and you've been asking for him to wash it for ten goddamn minutes. If they ask for more napkins you do it as soon as you can because not having a napkin isn't going to keep them from eating. Do you see the difference?
Those seven minutes I waited for my mayo was a very trying time for me. They were hellish and miserable and I can never get those seven minutes back. C'mon servers, we have to step up our game if we expect decent tips. I still left 20% because I don't know how to do a tip less than that, but plenty of people would have taken that seven minutes as a reason to tip 10% or even less.
So what can we call that time that passes whole waiting for mayo? I guess it all depends on the server. With the guy last night, I would call those seven minutes Mayonnaise: Missing in Action. Had it been in my station and someone asked me for mayo. the time that they would wait for it would be called Miracle: Whipped and Ready.
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