Ask the Critic: Which is Worse . . .

Keep New Times Free
I Support
  • Local
  • Community
  • Journalism
  • logo

Support the independent voice of Phoenix and help keep the future of New Times free.

A few days ago, I was sitting in a restaurant with my editor, trying to talk about work and Best of Phoenix and life in general, and the setting seemed perfect: a nearly empty restaurant with enough peace and quiet to hear ourselves think.

Except that the staff was overzealous, to say the least.

Were they bored, perhaps? Without a doubt, they were friendly, but I felt like we were getting tag-teamed. Another coffee refill, now that I've taken three sips from my cup? Another interruption of my conversation (like, for the tenth time)? It was wearing really thin after awhile.

But which is worse: oversolicitous or undersolicitous service?

I'd still say undersolicitous. As much as it was distracting and hard to really enjoy the dining experience when I was being asked every three minutes how everything was -- and getting too many water refills and coffee refills and various items in our order that should've all come out right the first time -- I prefer that to getting ignored.

Either way, I think that you do have a tiny bit of control over how things play out at a restaurant. If your server is ignoring you, flag him or her down! Yes, the service might be shitty, but sometimes you just need to get over that, get what you need, and get the hell out of there. Same goes with a pesky, too-chatty waiter -- keep the banter to a minimum, and if it really gets out of hand, ask for a little quiet time to take care of biz.

Keep Phoenix New Times Free... Since we started Phoenix New Times, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Phoenix, and we would like to keep it that way. Offering our readers free access to incisive coverage of local news, food and culture. Producing stories on everything from political scandals to the hottest new bands, with gutsy reporting, stylish writing, and staffers who've won everything from the Society of Professional Journalists' Sigma Delta Chi feature-writing award to the Casey Medal for Meritorious Journalism. But with local journalism's existence under siege and advertising revenue setbacks having a larger impact, it is important now more than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" membership program, allowing us to keep covering Phoenix with no paywalls.

We use cookies to collect and analyze information on site performance and usage, and to enhance and customize content and advertisements. By clicking 'X' or continuing to use the site, you agree to allow cookies to be placed. To find out more, visit our cookies policy and our privacy policy.


Join the New Times community and help support independent local journalism in Phoenix.


Join the New Times community and help support independent local journalism in Phoenix.