What, you were expecting a “How can I help you?”

November 22nd, 2010 · 65 comments

Brian in Boston spotted this aggressively service-y sign at a sandwich shop counter. Says Brian: “The girl working seemed to think that putting this up would be more effective than actually being polite and attentive.” (Further musings re: her state of mind were stymied by a “Whadda YOU lookin’ at??” glare.)

Staring is rude. If you want something, please ASK!! I'll be happy to help you.

related: Service with a snarl

FILED UNDER: "customer service" · Boston

65 responses so far ↓

  • #1   carrie

    Maybe they were staring at your tits

    Nov 22, 2010 at 8:07 pm   rating: 90  small thumbs up

    • #1.1   goose

      Then they should ASK and she will be happy to help them.

      Nov 22, 2010 at 10:06 pm   rating: 90  small thumbs up

    • #1.2   wright1

      Her tits probably aren’t on the menu, but that’s where customers’ eyes seem to be resting, maybe she could put up another sign to make that clear.

      Nov 22, 2010 at 10:37 pm   rating: 90  small thumbs up

    • #1.3   Canthz_B bang

      Breast is a specialty of the house there, but I’m a thigh man myself.

      Nov 22, 2010 at 11:25 pm   rating: 90  small thumbs up

  • #2   Canthz_B bang

    Who says easy girls are hard to find? In Boston they advertise on paper plates.

    Talk about “pussy on a platter”!

    Nov 22, 2010 at 8:22 pm   rating: 90  small thumbs up

  • #3   RedDelicious

    I recommend wearing clothes to work if you don’t want people to stare at you. And not working at “The Naked Deli.”

    Nov 22, 2010 at 8:26 pm   rating: 90  small thumbs up

  • #4   The Grammarphile

    Not sure that’s gonna help her problem of being stared at. If I put up some contraption that was shaped like some sort of ghetto crystal ball, I bet I’d get a few more stares than if I *hadn’t* put up such a sign.

    Also, this is exactly the kind of sign that cries out for a passive-aggressive little smiley face underneath all the text…

    Nov 22, 2010 at 8:39 pm   rating: 90  small thumbs up

    • #4.1   Canthz_B bang

      The smiley face is on the paper cup. Granted, it looks a lot like a Spongebob backdrop, but it’s there, and even it is in tears.

      Nov 22, 2010 at 9:12 pm   rating: 90  small thumbs up

    • #4.2   The Grammarphile

      Ooh, I thought those were just friendly little swirls, not passive-aggressive smileys! Good eye!

      Nov 22, 2010 at 9:14 pm   rating: 90  small thumbs up

  • #5   Canthz_B bang

    The new “Ask and ye shall receive” policy has drastically reduced the number of armed robbery attempts at this sandwich shop.

    Local banks are reportedly studying the concept, meanwhile, the population of Boston is rapidly growing.

    Nov 22, 2010 at 10:21 pm   rating: 90  small thumbs up

  • #6   Flaboy2425

    Hmmmmm, ask for anything? Reallly? Your place or mine?

    Nov 22, 2010 at 10:26 pm   rating: 90  small thumbs up

  • #7   Silence

    I’ve bartended for a long, long, time…and you wouldn’t even believe how many people will just stare at you when they want something. No “Excuse me,” no little waves, not an ounce of body language that indicates that they want attention…just eyeballs burning into you. Are they staring at something on my face? Are they seeing how long they can keep their eyes open before their contacts fall out? Is it some kind of staring contest that I didn’t remember agreeing to?

    When I have a ton of other customers who also want my attention, you have to up your attention-getting game, because I can’t read minds and I’m way more interested in the person who is leaning over with money in their hand and says a polite “Excuse me,” as I walk by.

    There is something to be said for simply asking for what you want, and not just assuming that those in the service industry can perfectly read your subtle-to-nonexistent body language.

    Team Paper-Plate Notewriter.

    Nov 22, 2010 at 10:27 pm   rating: 90  small thumbs up

    • #7.1   Flaboy2425

      Anyone who enters the store is a potential customer. I don’t think it would strain you to ask if you may help them, money in hand or not.

      Nov 22, 2010 at 10:34 pm   rating: 90  small thumbs up

    • #7.2   Hear Me Roar

      You’ve “bartended” or “tended bar” for a long long time?
      I’ve never had the pleasure, but I’d suspect that a customer at the bar with an empty glass or no glass in front of them is looking at me because they’d like to give me money for a drink.
      If I were properly tending my bar I’d make sure I waited on them.

      Nov 22, 2010 at 10:35 pm   rating: 90  small thumbs up

    • #7.3   Canthz_B bang

      Cranky servers…this is why your customers are cranky. :-P

      Nov 23, 2010 at 1:20 am   rating: 90  small thumbs up

    • #7.4   jadefirefly

      Team Bartender on this comment.

      Staring is rude. Period. Your mom told you so, and it hasn’t changed as you got old.

      Nov 23, 2010 at 3:44 am   rating: 90  small thumbs up

    • #7.5   Andi

      I’m actually with the sign on this one. Sometimes you’ll be busy with your back turned to the register and a customer will just sit and stare at you for like 5 minutes while you’re working on something else.
      Hear Me Roar-Yes, clearly you’ve never had the pleasure of tending to a full bar. *rolls eyes*

      Nov 23, 2010 at 4:17 am   rating: 90  small thumbs up

    • #7.6   Mo®

      Having tended bar for just a short time I must still concur that this behaviour happens every single shift. If a glass is empty, almost empty, or whatever if someone is staring at me I ask if they need something.

      Nov 23, 2010 at 9:29 am   rating: 90  small thumbs up

    • #7.7   Woman on the Verge bang

      I’m staring at you, Mo. I need something.

      Nov 23, 2010 at 10:18 am   rating: 90  small thumbs up

    • #7.8   Hear Me Roar

      Andi, they’re at the bar.
      You’re the bartender.
      Do you really need three guesses to figure out what they want you to do?
      You’re a bartender, not a drink-maker. Your job is to tend to the people at the bar, not like them or their behavior. It’s right there in the job title.
      Who the heck expects perfect manners from a bunch of thirsty alcoholics anyway? :roll:

      Nov 23, 2010 at 10:23 am   rating: 90  small thumbs up

    • #7.9   oi

      Sometimes customers are not staring at you. They are politely waiting for their turn and looking if you look little less busy and approachable. So that they do not cut in front of other customers who were there before them. Also some bar tenders would not ever make an eye contact giving an aura of a super busy doctor. If I yell to make you look at me, you would come back complaining that people are so rude yelling in the bar. Can’t they see if I am serving other customers? :roll: I fall back and wait. If you don’t want people to stare at you, you should give some kind of indication that you are aware of their presence. If you keep passing them without ever giving any indication that you know they are waiting. People would look at you continuously to judge when you look little less busy and can be called. Their second option would be yell to get your attention even when you are running like deer at the headlights. I am sure that you would hate that too. The perfect bar tending job would be empty bar when you can watch game in the peace.

      Nov 23, 2010 at 11:08 am   rating: 90  small thumbs up

    • #7.10   lolsuz

      Bullshit sandwiches, Silence. There’s 0% chance that someone standing at your bar and looking at you is just doing it to bother you; they want a fucking drink and you know it. There’s a thousand reasons why they may not feel they should speak up… from the din of the band playing, to not knowing if they’d be cutting in front of someone else in queue, or maybe they wish to interrupt the conversation you’re having with another patron as subtly as possible. All of those reasons are their way to show respect to you, and you thank them by acting like an ass. But the #1 reason why they might not speak up is they shouldn’t fucking have to. You’re there to serve patrons, not give them lessons in assertiveness… and you’re sure as hell not there to engage them in petty contests of will. Count me on team Oi. The whole thing would vanish in a cloud of pleasantness if you’d just acknowledge the person, even if they have to wait a few minutes for you to get to them. The truth is you prefer confrontation to peace; you create the situation because you enjoy it. Which says a lot about you, but hey it’s your prerogative. Just don’t turn around and blame it on your customers, because it’s YOUR baby. It’s also the very definition of passive aggressive.

      Nov 23, 2010 at 11:49 am   rating: 90  small thumbs up

    • #7.11   Canthz_B bang

      Just pour my damned drink. Do it quickly. Make it strong.

      The amount of your tip depends upon you giving me swift and efficient service.

      Team Mo-oi-lolsuz-HMR-Flaboy.

      lolsuz, I hope you don’t mind, but I am so going to steal “bullshit sandwiches”!! :lol:

      Nov 23, 2010 at 11:59 am   rating: 90  small thumbs up

    • #7.12   lolsuz

      Steal away, CB… just remember, if you serve them on rye with kraut and Russian dressing, they’re called Kosher Bullshit Sandwiches.

      Nov 23, 2010 at 12:31 pm   rating: 90  small thumbs up

    • #7.13   Canthz_B bang

      Now you’re just Reuben it in! ;-)

      Nov 23, 2010 at 12:36 pm   rating: 90  small thumbs up

    • #7.14   oi

      “not an ounce of body language that indicates that they want attention…just eyeballs burning into you.”
      Was that suppose to be funnily ironical? I am guessing unintended irony. uhh if they are burning eyes into you then I would think that is the loudest language body can speak without making a sound. Last time check that was the definition of body language. You admit that you do realize that person is looking at you. Now it is your turn to acknowledge them.
      Now if it were me tending the bar and somebody was burning their eyes into me then my first guess would be that they want my attention. The second guess would be they want drink because you know they are at the bar. Yeah I guess that would be hard thing to realize because you know there are hundred other things people want to be doing at the bar like testing their contacts and staring contests. Yeah.

      Nov 23, 2010 at 1:29 pm   rating: 90  small thumbs up

    • #7.15   Canthz_B bang

      Yup, oi. When I sit at the bar, it’s pretty obvious to all that I’m just there to put gas in my car…no, wait…that’s when I’m at a gas station.
      I’m pretty sure I want a drink when I’m sitting at the bar without one.

      Service please!

      Nov 23, 2010 at 1:37 pm   rating: 90  small thumbs up

    • #7.16   oi

      Seriously CB I do not understand people.

      Nov 23, 2010 at 1:55 pm   rating: 90  small thumbs up

    • #7.17   Canthz_B bang

      Me either, oi…or the “attention getting game”. What game? I was here first, we made eye contact…fucking come and take my order!
      This is no game, it’s your job! Just do it.

      Nov 23, 2010 at 3:02 pm   rating: 90  small thumbs up

    • #7.18   goose

      Silence can tend my bar anytime – but I can’t promise my eyeballs won’t be burning into his/her tits.

      Nov 23, 2010 at 4:56 pm   rating: 90  small thumbs up

    • #7.19   Amy

      I’m with Team Bartender on this one…it’s one of my HUGEST pet peeves when at work. If you need help, say excuse me. I don’t always see you standing just outside my field of vision. And turning to find someone creepily staring straight at me is a little creepy.

      Nov 23, 2010 at 10:05 pm   rating: 90  small thumbs up

    • #7.20   Canthz_B bang

      How can you see someone staring at you if they’re outside your field of vision??
      Funny thing about lines of sight/fields of vision…if they can see you, you can see them. Unless they’re like snipers or something.
      If you aren’t facing them, they’re waiting for you to turn around, so of course they’re looking at you…they need to be ready to catch your eye when you turn around.
      It is the customer’s job to gain your attention, it’s your job to pay them some without being irrationally creeped-out by something as harmless as being seen.

      More bullshit sandwiches.

      See I did steal it!! ;-)

      Nov 23, 2010 at 10:52 pm   rating: 90  small thumbs up

    • #7.21   goose

      Snipers, or ninjas. Or ninja snipers.

      Nov 23, 2010 at 11:42 pm   rating: 90  small thumbs up

    • #7.22   Silence

      You dinguses who are calling bullshit DO realize that people will often sit at a bar with an empty glass and not want anything else, right? You do also realize that some people are tetschy and want privacy, and act as if you’ve slapped their mother if you dare to interrupt their conversation by asking if they’d like a refill, right? (But, of course, the second you turn your back, they’re shouting your name, or worse…throwing things at you.)

      I suggest anyone who doesn’t believe me, or thinks that every customer should be fawned upon like a puppy actually take a turn as a bartender, server, or counter help. It will open your eyes to how weird, snippy, uber-PA, and fussy the general public can be. Rational, intelligent adults act like children when they sit down in a place where they are expecting service. I promise you, you will never be nasty to a server again, nor will you assume that the servers of the world should be simply DYING to take your order for a $4 sandwich.

      Patient, polite, friendly customers are lovely and make a server’s week. We remember them. They get free drinks, upgraded meals, secret desserts, etc. Customers who expect mind-reading and ass-wiping are the absolute worst thing ever. By your responses, it’s easy peasy lemon-squeezy to tell which category each one of you falls into.

      Also, little bartender’s secret: if we perceive you as rude, pushy, or otherwise high-maintenance…you WILL wait longer on your next round. I make enough money each night that I’m not too worried about $2 from a complete shit. It’s worth it to not have to deal with you and your entitled attitude. =)

      Nov 24, 2010 at 2:55 am   rating: 90  small thumbs up

    • #7.23   Canthz_B bang

      People who don’t want your attention are very unlikely to be the ones staring at you though, right?
      You’re telling us you can’t tell the difference? The difference between a patron contentedly sitting there and one in need of service? Then you’re not very good at your job.
      No one is asking to have their ass kissed, but no one appreciates being ignored either. Not very hard to understand for a thinking person.

      If it’s so “easy peasy lemon-squeezy to tell which category each one of” us falls into, you very well may just be a mind reader. Or just a bitter SOB.

      Believe it or not, many of us have done our time in the service industries. There is no either you’ve done it or you haven’t. But there is an either you’ve done it well or poorly.

      As far as entitlement, since when is it up to you to determine which patron deserves to be served ( outside of level of intoxication)?
      For your information and edification, paying customers are entitled to service. It’s what they pay for. It’s what pays your salary. It’s why you make enough each night to think you are somebody, you putz.
      They pay good money for their sense of entitlement, and you get paid to fulfill their needs. Otherwise, they’d all buy packaged goods and not pay the mark-up to sit at the bar. Then you’d be fucked.
      You serve drinks. You need people willing to sit at the bar rather than buying their bottle at the store and taking it home much more than they need to sit at your bar…buy a clue any time here, because I refuse to admit anyone could be as stupid as you appear to be.

      People drink for a variety of reasons.
      The nicest guy in the world having a bad day may stop in for a drink, who the fuck are you to decide he’s rude, or pushy or most subjective of all high-maintenance? The guy is just fucking preoccupied with his own thoughts and looking for some solace in a glass, you self-important little prick of a drink jockey!

      Tend your bar. Treat your customers well, all of them. Save the amateur psychoanalysis for after your shift.

      Nov 24, 2010 at 3:20 am   rating: 90  small thumbs up

    • #7.24   oi bang

      Aye CB, would she keep coming back and keep throwing around gems like “not an ounce of body language but just burning eyes into you” and “people would seat with empty glass and do not won’t anything” when the whole debate is about wanting attention and not speaking up but just staring? (which nobody but she started, uh attention game?)

      I am so bummed out that she knows that I, oi, is a rude customer. Now who will serve me drink in this whole internet? oh wait…

      Ok I will clarify because I don’t want an another gem like yeah, I won’t serve you. neener neener. It is an internet. I do not come here for a drink! When I want a drink I go to a bar! zing!

      Even though it doesn’t really matter, we too know what a poor bar tender she is!

      Nov 24, 2010 at 9:54 am   rating: 90  small thumbs up

    • #7.25   anglophile bang

      Next, Silence is going to complain about how all those starers who can’t be bothered to say excuse me are bad tippers.


      Nov 24, 2010 at 10:27 am   rating: 90  small thumbs up

    • #7.26   Canthz_B bang

      Silence needs to look at the handwriting on the wall.

      Nov 24, 2010 at 12:11 pm   rating: 90  small thumbs up

    • #7.27   lolsuz

      Totally awesome, CB…. I have a friend currently working in Tokyo and I’ll see if he can check that place out, if he can find it, etc. I’ll let you know what I find out.

      And yeah, Silence could learn a lot from a monkey.

      Honestly, why do people who are so hostile and judgmental work in the “hospitality” industry at all, when they don’t even vaguely understand the concept of hospitality? People now call it the service industry; maybe that’s part of the problem. Silence refers to the folks on the other side of his bar as customers instead of patrons, and that’s what he likely often gets: one-time customers instead of actual patrons. Who would patronize such a bar “tender”?

      Silence, none of your rationalizations hold water, and could be easily refuted by a child. For starters, what kind of competent bartender doesn’t scan his bar every few minutes to see if anyone needs something? And what kind of bartender stands with his back to the bar long enough to cause a patron to have to wait long enough to be steamed about it? Sure, bartenders have plenty to do besides serve drinks, but one can cast an eye around the place every few minutes… and doesn’t practically every bar have mirrors behind the bottles *specifically for that purpose*?

      Silence, you’ve got zero legit justification for your stance, and you know it. This is just one more of your little battles of will that you enjoy so much… and I shall now stop playing with you. You deserve to sit by yourself in the playground until you can find more appropriate ways to play with the rest of us. Everybody needs attention, but there are better ways of getting it than others.

      Nov 30, 2010 at 9:13 am   rating: 90  small thumbs up

  • #8   Hear Me Roar

    Just ask and it’s yours? This must be Shangri La!!

    Nov 22, 2010 at 10:33 pm   rating: 90  small thumbs up

  • #9   aaa bang

    Well, since I’m a snake, I have no eyelids. I tried speaking, but you just scolded me for waggling my tongue at you. Douche.

    Nov 22, 2010 at 10:42 pm   rating: 90  small thumbs up

    • #9.1   Canthz_B bang

      Can’t you still just asp for what you want?

      Nov 22, 2010 at 10:58 pm   rating: 90  small thumbs up

    • #9.2   ashmeadow

      Most people would rather slither around the problem.

      Nov 23, 2010 at 4:48 am   rating: 90  small thumbs up

    • #9.3   AuntyBron

      I just shake my tail…er.. rattle at them. Works every time.

      Nov 23, 2010 at 10:51 am   rating: 90  small thumbs up

    • #9.4   goose

      Staring at a staff member’s tits by one-eyed snakes is definitely not allowed, unless the staff member is on a break.

      Nov 23, 2010 at 11:44 pm   rating: 90  small thumbs up

  • #10   farcical aquatic ceremony

    Uh-oh, looks like the “bring your fugly relative to work”-day isn’t going so well…

    Nov 22, 2010 at 11:01 pm   rating: 90  small thumbs up

  • #11   Raincheck

    OK, OK… Please may I stare at you? Happy now?

    Nov 22, 2010 at 11:18 pm   rating: 90  small thumbs up

  • #12   Canthz_B bang

    Bet she’s tired as hell of (or from) people asking her to play “Hide-the-Salami” by now, huh?

    I know there’s a grind(h)er joke around here somewhere…

    Nov 22, 2010 at 11:32 pm   rating: 90  small thumbs up

  • #13   North

    If you don’t want people to stare at you, don’t work in public.
    Team where the hell has good customer service gone.

    Nov 23, 2010 at 7:58 am   rating: 90  small thumbs up

  • #14   Woman on the Verge bang

    This is why I work online. Go ahead and stare at my avatar all you like, honey.

    Nov 23, 2010 at 11:56 am   rating: 90  small thumbs up

    • #14.1   beanster bang

      Oh, I do WO. You know I do.

      Nov 23, 2010 at 12:50 pm   rating: 90  small thumbs up

    • #14.2   clumber

      aw shucks… it’s isn’t as much fun when you give permission.

      Nov 23, 2010 at 5:27 pm   rating: 90  small thumbs up

  • #15   JChief

    Okay, I didn’t know I was being rude by quietly waiting my turn.

    From now on, I will immediately shout when I walk in the door:


    Nov 23, 2010 at 12:59 pm   rating: 90  small thumbs up

    • #15.1   Divvitar

      Hmm…sounds like my Dad! May the bar-gods watch over his soul.

      Nov 23, 2010 at 8:44 pm   rating: 90  small thumbs up

  • #16   Melanie

    Well, she’ll have plenty of time to make shitty signs and be happy that people aren’t staring at her once her boss shit-cans her ass.

    Nov 23, 2010 at 1:49 pm   rating: 90  small thumbs up

  • #17   GhostWriter bang

    Agents K and J came in and just looked at her for a while. K kept asking, “Where’s the transmitter, Grundel?” She resisted until J pointed the Noisy Cricket at her- then all of a sudden, the cup-and-paper-plate sign unfolded into a real Zorbian Transmitter with blinking LEDs and even a little bit of smoke.

    Nov 23, 2010 at 1:54 pm   rating: 90  small thumbs up

    • #17.1   Canthz_B bang

      Two for one every Wednesday!…Large adult entertainment section in the back!

      Nov 23, 2010 at 2:52 pm   rating: 90  small thumbs up

  • #18   sasha

    Staring is rude but also an open invitation to ignore someone which is quite fun. Stare away, I DONT SEE YOU….

    Nov 23, 2010 at 4:50 pm   rating: 90  small thumbs up

  • #19   a.s.

    just send the timid starey mcstarersons to china for a while: you can’t get service unless you call for it. granted, if the servers are too busy they’ll just yell “just a moment” and you’ll have to call out again five minutes later, but they usually remember you exist. upon returning they will call out to any and all servers at restaurants and bars. should be fun for everyone!

    Nov 23, 2010 at 10:42 pm   rating: 90  small thumbs up

    • #19.1   sarjo

      In the spirit of pointless bitching, may I mention how very tired I am of the “Whatevery McWhateverton” phraseology?

      Thank you.

      Nov 28, 2010 at 3:41 pm   rating: 90  small thumbs up

  • #20   Sav

    I work in a cafe, alongside serving customers I’m also baking, cleaning, stocking and a million other things, sometimes I need a little hint that there’s someone who needs my assistance. Then on other occasions I’ll approach a silent, standing at the register customer who, when asked “what can I get for you?” replies with a finger in my face and a “I’m still looking”. Hell, I’ll take a half smile as a hint that my assistance is required, but if you’re just going to stand catatonic at my counter, I’m going to do work until you are good and ready, because believe it or not, my job includes much much more than just anticipating your unvoiced desires.

    Nov 26, 2010 at 7:56 pm   rating: 90  small thumbs up

    • #20.1   Canthz_B bang

      Um, yeah. If they aren’t showing any indication they are ready to order, there’s really no reason to go over and ask them what they want.
      In fact, the fact that they are not giving you at least a half-smile or otherwise trying to get your attention (like establishing and holding eye contact, maybe with a head-lift or eyebrow raise), makes it a good bet they’re not ready to order.
      Open menu–still looking, closed menu—ready to order is a pretty good rule of thumb.

      Of the “million” tasks which make up your job, customer service ranks way at the top (no customers, and you wouldn’t have any of the other things to do, right?), so prioritize. Is filling the napkin dispensers at tables no one is waiting for really more important than taking the order of a seated party of four just because you’re doing napkins right now, for example?
      And, while you’re otherwise engaged and realize that a customer needs attention, a simple “I’ll be right with you” goes a long way. Believe it or not, people can see that you are busy, and are willing to wait until you’re free…they can also see when you’re not busy and just making them wait.
      You have to be there all day…they don’t have to be, and do not wish to be.

      Boy, this customer service thing is really complicated!

      Nov 27, 2010 at 1:56 pm   rating: 90  small thumbs up

  • #21   eatthepeach

    I have been a waitress and a cocktail waitress so I know what it’s like to be on the other side of the equation. But if only a busy server would acknowledge me with eye contact I could relax and enjoy my friends’ company and trust there will be service eventually. The servers who refuse to make eye contact clearly resent their customers and then bitch because we don’t know whether to speak up or be quiet. Yes we know you punish us for doing the “wrong” thing, although we never know from cranky server to cranky server whether that will be trying to get their attention or being patient. Get a job you like, if you don’t like customers. It’s a service industry, if you don’t like serving, fair enough but don’t blame your customers.

    Nov 27, 2010 at 2:10 pm   rating: 90  small thumbs up

  • #22   [email protected]

    Boston isn’t known for it’s “friendly service.”

    Nov 28, 2010 at 1:53 pm   rating: 90  small thumbs up

  • #23   Ver

    More than likely, the service person was referring to the people that just stand there looking like idiots, waiting for acknowledgment from the staff. Usually this occurs when said staff is turned around or otherwise occupied doing something else where they wouldn’t necessarily see the person at the counter. I also hate when people do this. SAY something! Don’t just stand there like a jackoff too afraid to say anything. If I am the customer and a similar situation occurs, I am not afraid to say “Excuse me, but can I get XX?” or whatever the situation calls for.

    Don’t be a dumbass.

    Mar 16, 2011 at 8:31 am   rating: 90  small thumbs up