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Jul 10, 2010 07:42 AM

Picky Orderers: Are YOU One of Them?


Okay, here's the deal. Every time my sister orders a martini, she has to go into all the details about how it is to be made -- and is very serious that she imparts the details so there is NO room for an error. Here we go: "in and out" martini with Grey Goose vodka, two olives, straight up. If the server is not familiar with the "in and out" part, then she explains that technique to the server after expressing incredulity that the server doesn't know THAT. If I order a martini, it is simply, "Please bring me a "Sapphire martini on the rocks with a twist."

Now I love my sister an an awful lot, but her little cocktail ordering routine always makes me just sort of shake my head (invisibly, because she is very nice and I don't want to offend her). I mean, she likes it a certain way, alright?!

To be brutally honest, though, I have to admit that I am very picky when it comes to ordering Pad Kee Mao, because I need to make sure they are using fresh rice noodles ("River Noodles") -- and not dried rice noodles. Then I have to have minced chicken, and I like the noodles with good wok char (wok hai is a different thing, I think). Then I must have as condiment prik naam som (just the sliced chilies in vinegar). It's a bonus and I'm very happy if they have the ground red garlic chilie paste. (Can you tell I like the vinegar?).

What about you? Does any of this ring a bell?

  1. Reminds me of an associate; we would meet most mornings before work for breakfast. His order to the waitress would go something like "Hi Suzy, I would like 2 eggs medium/easy over, crisp but not dark bacon, slightly brown edged rye toast light butter, hash browns lightly done but not soft". The waitress would yell to the cook. "A number 2, over, bacon, rye, hash browns." My friend would get his order, finish every morsel and say, "That was great".
    I guess some people just have a need to hear their own voice.

    2 Replies
    1. re: ospreycove

      "I guess some people just have a need to hear their own voice." True that, ospreycove!

      At least he gobbled it all down and said "That was great"- a lot of the time the rabid order-givers will find that what they so carefully ordered did not meet their standards.

      1. I don't THINK I"m a picky orderer, but I have FELT like one - I was ovo-lacto-vegetarian for ten years in a small midwestern town, so I feel like I spent a lot of time inquiring whether there was meat in (the soup, the quesadillas, the salad, etc). Most of the time it was a simple yes/no (usually yes!), but sometimes it was accompanied by a surprised look, a silent DUH, occasionally "I have to ask," and at least once, lies from the server - which made me feel like a high maintenance ordering diva, for sure! :)

        One of the other comments reminds me of why I always get scrambled eggs in restaurants instead of how I really prefer them, fried: so I won't have to go through the "fried, broken, over hard, cooked through, dry, honestly it's impossible to overcook my fried eggs" routine. Although I will sometimes say "scrambled, well done." It's still faster and safer.

        6 Replies
        1. re: occula

          You sound like my BF.... everytime we order out breakfast I know its gonna be two eggs over realy really really really hard....

          1. re: occula

            My ex was allergic to undercooked egg whites - so much so that he wouldn't eat scrambled eggs. He always ordered his eggs over hard, and it was amazing how often they'd be served under-done.

            1. re: tracylee

              How can one possibly be allergic to undercooked but not overcooked? Not being critical;just asking.

              1. re: c oliver

                Because some of the proteins in eggs change when cooked. Some people react only to these proteins in their raw form.

                  1. re: Sooeygun

                    Thanks, Sooeygun. As I was posting, I was wondering why he even bothered eating cooked eggs at all, but he had so many neuroses, that that was pretty minor.

            2. I really try not to be - I choose something that either I like as described, or that lends itself to customization (thinking of my favorite flatbreads that are ordered topped as you like). In that case, it isn't picky, it is just telling what you want.

              However, I do recognize that I can seem picky about coffee. Not what is in it, as I drink it black, but the fact that I must have decaf. I rarely order coffee when eating out, because I have had bad experiences. I do frequent my local coffee place for a to-go cup, because I have reliably gotten decaf each time from them. On the rare occasions I order coffee from somewhere else, I order a "decaf, black" and then when presented with the coffee, I will always ask "decaf, right?". It may seem annoying to the server, but the heart arrythmia is annoying to me if they get it wrong.

              2 Replies
              1. re: elfcook

                You're not being picky when it comes to your health. I always double check when it comes to ensuring the coffee is decaf.

                1. re: elfcook

                  Heart arrythmia indeed is annoying if not scary, and it can be triggered by caffiene for many people. Just a word of caution, decaffienated coffee still have caffiene in it.

                2. One joint I worked in we had this clown who would have a dry club a couple times a week, he would say (in all seriousness) "Don't make me go back there to make sure they don't put mayo on my sandwich" Yes sir, right away sir, God forbid sir.

                  9 Replies
                  1. re: mrbigshotno.1

                    Sometimes the picky orderer (sic) is NOT a clown, but protecting his/her health.

                    I insist that my sandwich not be cut. I like my sandwich cut, but am allergic to mustard. Too often, the knife used to cut assembled sandwiches before plating is not cleaned between uses, or just wiped.
                    I ended up in an ambulance about 20 years ago after a deli counterperson cut my sandwich with a knife that had mustard on it from the previous sandwich he plated.

                    So, I always stress DO NOT CUT THE SANDWICH!!!
                    If it comes cut, I tell them to make a fresh sandwich, but don't let the waitperson take the cut sandwich until the new one arrives. Some places would simply reassemble the possibly tainted meat on new bread.

                    Other than that, I always inquire if the salad dressing, etc are made with mustard, never order potato salad or crab cakes out (both of which often are made with mustard), and ask that my salad be assembled without olives.

                    I never ask that a new meal be created if I don't like the dish as described, I don't order it.

                    1. re: bagelman01

                      Again, you are not being picky- you're allergic to mustard. I hope you explain this to your waiter when ordering.

                      1. re: NicoleFriedman

                        I do not owe a waitperson an explanation when I order a sandwich not cut. The waitperson is there to serve me.
                        My allergies are my own poersonal medical information and I do not have an obligation to share this with a stranger.

                        If the waitperson inquired why I refused a cut sandwich when I ordered the sandwich NOT to be cut, I might explain, but really have nop obligation to do so.

                        When taking my order the waitperson is free to refuse my request and also lose my business. That is the waitperson's decision not mine.

                        1. re: bagelman01

                          While you are technically correct, a simple explanation is more likely to succeed and thus waste less of your time.

                          Why? Because it's not the waiter who decided whether your sandwich is cut; it's the kitchen. The waiter can give the order to the kitchen. The kitchen may ignore the instruction. If waiter has an explanation of an allergy, the kitchen (1) is less likely to ignore, and (2) less likely to get passive aggressive about a re-do (like, putting the re-do at the end of the queue).

                          So, while you are right, if you provide the allergy explanation, you are less likely to be frustrated. Your choice which is more important.

                          1. re: Karl S

                            Having worked in restaurants, catering and deli, the waitperson who both takes my order and delivers my food is responsible to see that it is delivered as ordered.
                            If I order the sandwich uincut, and the waitperson puts the order in that way, and then the kitchen staff plates a cut sandwich, the waitperson is supposed to tell the kitchen staff the order is wrong, NOT bring it to me and hope I'll accept it.

                            It is the waitperson's obligation to check plates against orders before delivering it to the table.

                            My medical condition/history is really none of the waitperson's or kitchen staff's business, if all I'm doing is ordering a sandwich not cut.

                            I use to have customers who ordered sandwiches cut in quarters or thirds to accomodate children with small mouths. Why it was ordered that way was none of my business, making sure it was served that way was my obligation.

                            1. re: bagelman01

                              I agree with you. I've looked with amazement at times when my soft-poached eggs came out damn near hard boiled. Why did the server serve them to me? Just so I'll send them back - which I do?

                              1. re: c oliver

                                You have restaurants that still poach eggs? I can't begin to tell you how lucky you are.

                                1. re: pikawicca

                                  We went to breakfast in Reno on Saturday. House-made corned beef hash which to me demands poached eggs. Nope. But, yeah, usually no problem.

                          2. re: bagelman01

                            I agree to some extent but there is a difference in that special precautions need to be taken with the allergies. If you orders ice cream with no nuts because you don't like them, they can use the same utensils as ones made w/ nuts. But, with someone with an allergy, they need to wash the utensils. You don't have an obligation to share your medical information but it's useful.

                    2. I'm a picky orderer with steak. It just has to be well well well done. I always say cremate it please you can't overcook it. Then I beg the waiter to tell the kitchen that I really want it right first time so I don't have to sit there eating the sides while my fellow diners are tucking into their food. Most steak houses just can't manage it but I will keep trying!

                      1 Reply
                      1. re: smartie

                        that is all most like going to a Thai resto and asking for traditional heat in a dish,most resto's are always afraid that the dish will be too hot or in your case to burnt for the patron and they will not pay. You might want to frequent one steakhouse and become friendly with the staff and or chef so that they will know what you want or tell them you will pay first if this is there worry.