Halloween has gotten HUGE, and here is how I know--a neighborhood kid went door to door on Saturday, offering a $5 insurance policy against egging and/or TP of the house. He would come and clean it up, should the unfortunate occur.We passed, but several neighbors who lived closer to the war zone (a.k.a. the elementary school) paid up. And I think he made $30. Now, while I think this is TOTAL GENIUS, is it possible that he egged the houses of non-payers as a warning for next year? If so, he is even more of a genius, he is an EVIL GENIUS. Halloween is more than inflatable ghosts and Fun Size packages of M&M's these days. No word on whether any houses were victimized.
I don't know if you have heard, but L.L. Bean is going chic. They have hired a fashion designer named Alex Carleton to funkify the huge wool sweaters and duck boots. This cracks me up. I think there are certain brands that will never be stylish, no matter how hard it tries, and Bean is one. This designer has his own line of Maine-based fashions, and the heritage set in Kennebunkport are huge fans, so Bean is hoping to cash in. I went to LL Bean the other day to find some sheepskin slippers and a new lunchbox, and there was not an item of clothing I would buy with a gun to my head. But LL Bean is of a type--Patagonia, REI--serving a niche: keeping one dry and warm without the bother of having a human shape. I don't fault them for trying to widen their appeal, lord knows, but they have an uphill battle ahead of them, one best undertaken in snow shoes. Because picturing a native Mainer in a shrunken denim suit makes me want to wet my pants.
I saw this amazing piece on the NYTimes.com, called 100 Things Restaurant Staffers Should Never Do (Part 1), in which only 50 were listed. The author, Bruce Buschel, is opening a seafood restaurant and he offers what he calls "a modest list" of rules for his potential employees. I love this so much because I cannot stand what waiting tables has become. I waitressed for quite a while, back in my college days, and it is a difficult job. But Rule #1 of waiting tables is: Do NOT do this job if you hate people. This is a service industry, and you are serving them. If people want to feel like an imposition and a bother, they will stay at work. Or eat at home. This is NOT carte blanche for the customers to snap their fingers or humiliate you for forgetting a napkin, of course not. Everyone needs to be on their best behavior. But still, there are those that are unforgivably surly, and should not walk amongst us, carrying hot plates of anything. The flipside, however, is the overly familiar tone the waitstaff now takes with customers. I cannot tell you how I detest a server coming to the table and saying, "Hi, My name is Bubbles and I will be taking care of you today." Is there an implication that I need to introduce myself? Are we friends now? Can I bellow your name across the restaurant to tell you to bring me another Diet Coke? No? Then don't tell me your name. Buschel also puts on the No-No list my Number 2 complaint--there seems to be some issue around writing down an order. Initially I thought this was only true in fancy schmancy restaurants, where a pen would obviously ruin the line of the waitstaff's uniform, but it is EVERYWHERE. And I absolutely cannot understand it, because the likelihood of a bad dining experience increases exponentially.You know what I want? I want to you to get my order right, even if I am one of those insufferable people who needs everything on the side and no dairy products EVER. And please not then ask me "who ordered the gnocchi?" when you bring it to my table. It is your job to know who ordered what. You know how you remember? You WRITE IT DOWN. You know who nearly always gets the orders right? The waitresses at Friendly's. While they don't have fabulous uniforms, but they have really awesome pens.
Obviously, my meds are wearing off.