IT came up in conversation recently that a mutual friend had offended the staff at a local restaurant by snapping his fingers to attract the waiter’s attention.
Now this is something I think of as ‘old school’; something that my dad used to do all the time.
My dad however would have already given the Maître d’ a £50 tip whilst shaking hands with him upon entering the door. My dad believed that by tipping the waiters as he walked in would leave no doubt that there would be a nice tip at the end too.
This he hoped would ensure excellent service because the waiters wouldn’t be worrying or wondering all through the meal if the tip would be good or not.
If not for this he probably wouldn’t have got away with snapping his fingers at them either.
In today’s world the word service (the action of helping or doing work for someone) is no longer synonymous with the word servant, a word used less and less over the last 200 years due to its negative connotations.
Providing service does not mean that the person has to be servile, but it should mean that as clients, we be civil at all times, showing gratitude that someone else is dedicating themselves to our comfort.
If we don’t, maybe our comfort will not be their priority and who knows what they could drop in your soup?
I really empathised with my local Spanish friends when I first moved to Marbella in the 80’s.
Nearing the summer months the waiters would start complaining about the imminent onslaught of the ‘Madrileños,’ those from Spain’s capital city who, in their opinion, saved up all year to come to Marbella just to pose and presume to be something they’re not, talking down to the waiters to feel superior themselves.
People make this mistake all the time, thinking perhaps that waiters, civil servants, receptionists or secretaries are not important, not worthy of our time or respect, but it’s these very people on the first rung of the ladder that are all powerful.
It’s uncanny, but it’s these people who are actually in a position to spike your food, put your call through to the boss, or not, or put your file to the bottom of the pile, over and over and over again, if they don’t like you.
I was a very lucky child and was privileged to grow up with all luxuries money could buy, but I understood at an early age that money does not make you a good person; in fact that is something money truly cannot buy.
Over the years I’ve come to appreciate that it’s the things that money can’t buy that I value most and want from and for my life and those around me: love, health, happiness and to help others, in any way I can.
Selfish really as the rewards are infinite, but that’s why it feels so good to be of service, and why Marbella is always at yours.