We’ve all heard the saying, “You know what happens when you assume….”; I doubt I need to complete that statement.
I recently took my girlfriend out to dinner at a very nice restaurant. Not “black tie nice”, but not somewhere you’d feel comfortable wearing a muscle shirt and board shorts. Anyways, the restaurant had a decent selection of small batch bourbons, including Pritchard’s Double Barrel Bourbon. The store I work at has had issues keeping Pritchard’s in stock and I hadn’t had a glass of their Double Barrel in over a year, so I went ahead and ordered a glass.
And I assumed.
Our waitress was great. She knew the menu front to back, was very knowledgeable about the wine selection and even recommended a few summer cocktails.
But I still assumed.
When I ordered my bourbon neat, our waitress asked if I’d like anything with it. I assumed she meant a splash of water or maybe a glass of ice on the side, so I simply said “neat”. She said “okay” and walked away. I assumed she knew the difference between neat, a splash of water and on the rocks.
I was wrong.
About 5 minutes later she set a drink in front of me that was filled to the brim with ice. I saw my girlfriend’s face and waved her off, because other than this, our waitress was great. Besides, if I did return the drink it’d just be a waste. I’ve actually seen bartenders throw out drinks that were made improperly. I get it if it’s a cheap drink, but not a glass of bourbon, and definitely not one of Pritchard’s quality. So I chose to drink my bourbon before it was too watered-down. Our waitress came back and asked if I’d like another, but this time I dropped the technical phrasing and simply said, “Yes, but no ice.”
Fast-forward a few weeks and I’m with some friends at T.G.I.Friday’s, and the drinks are flowing. Towards the end of our meal I ordered a round of a certain Tennessee Whiskey (this particular location only had one bourbon in stock and I prefer any Tennessee Whiskey to that brand of bourbon), and to my shock our 18-year old waitress asked if I preferred neat or on the rocks! Without missing a beat my buddy Knox told her she’d earned her tip with that one question.
The moral of this story is simple: don’t assume everyone knows what you know, even when it is something you consider basic. Having worked in the service industry I can tell you that as long as you are polite, waiters, waitresses and bartenders would rather have you be clear and concise as to what you want and how you want it, as opposed to finding out they did it wrong after the fact.