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Date archive for: May 2013

His and Her Take

What actually happened (written by David):

I’m not very accomplished, so I don’t have the right to say particularly snobby things. But that doesn’t stop me.

The crowning achievement of my snobbishness was at a restaurant a number of years ago that served truly horrendous food. It also happened to have pig brain on the menu, which in and of itself isn’t atrocious, but on this occasion it was.

When the woman who was part owner of the restaurant came up and asked how things were, I decided I would tell her what an accomplished eater I was and how terrible her food is. I told her how accomplished I was, so I didn’t seem like a hobo.

“I have eaten at all the worlds most wonderful restaurants, and let me tell you, this was not one of them. And that pig brain dish, I wouldn’t serve that ever again. It was an assault on my palette and a travesty of modern cooking.”

What I thought happened (written by me):

Constructive criticism is the hallmark of every great intellect, and if you could use one phrase to describe me, “great intellect” would not be it. But that doesn’t stop me.

My most regrettable experience providing constructive criticism was at an expensive restaurant a number of years ago that served truly horrendous food. The dessert was some kind of pineapple sponge cake that I would have expected as part of a grade school lunch pack.

When the woman who was part owner of the restaurant came up and asked how things were, my inner altruist emerged as I resolved to help this restaurant improve their troubled ways. “I’m going to give honest feedback,” I whispered to my husband, who shook his head non-supportively.

As an aspiring intellect, I knew that I needed to establish credibility before my words could carry any weight, so I began sharing that I was a worldly eater. “I have eaten at some really amazing restaurants around the world,” I slowly began. She smiled at me. “And this, the flavors here, were very, very far from those flavors.” Seeing her crestfallen face made me realize this was not constructive at all, so I became more specific, delicately discouraging her from offering the pig brain dish to other customers.

She accepted this criticism professionally, but I still felt bad hurting her feelings, so I began my version of softening the blow: “Please remember I have eaten at a lot of good places, so I am biased.”

David’s Perspective Continued:

“Please remember that I am no ordinary hobo who visits the likes of Applebee’s and The Olive Garden. To such a person, perhaps your food might be extraordinary. I wouldn’t know.”

My Perspective Continued:

The part owner thanked me for my words and turned to go. I didn’t share my feelings on the dessert with her because I felt that was enough feedback for one restaurant visit.

David’s Perspective Continued:

“I forgot to tell her about how awful the dessert was,” I said to David. “Should I call her back?” David shook his head again, assuring me I had done enough damage for one day.

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