Rules of etiquette, why the waitress spit in your food:
Britt McHenry was caught on camera ranting against a polite tow
company clerk, the incident goes viral, she gets suspended, and she may
be fired. Here is what you should do in her situation.
Advanced towing in Arlington, VA (just
across the river from Washington, D.C.) hooked up and removed her car
for a parking violation and when she showed up to pay for the incident
she made a few choice comments caught on tape.
"It makes my skin crawl even being here," McHenry told the clerk. "Maybe if I was missing some teeth they would hire me, huh? Cause they look so stunning."
"I'm on television and you're in a f***ing trailer, honey," she pointed out, forgetting that many famous actors sit around in trailers while waiting to be called on set.
McHenry also gives some fashion and personal development tips, saying, "lose some weight, baby girl."
Now what I want to talk about is just why you should never follow her
example the way she did it, BEFORE she got her car back. After you are
in your car driving away you can pen a nasty note on Facebook where it
As someone who has been in media for decades I would never hire
someone stupid enough to do what McHenry did and not just because she
should have known any such business would routinely video all
interaction with the often unhappy public.
Here are some reasons for not following her example even if you have
no fear of bad publicity and a suggestion for better approach beginning
with a few questions for her starting with a more familiar situation:
First, I would ask if she also routinely berates a waiter or waitress
BEFORE they bring her food? The result can easily be predicted by
anyone who ever worked their way through University in the food service
First the server asks the kitchen staff for any meat which was
dropped under the five second rule - many restaurants hold onto those
for potential use in just this sort of situation. If not, they are
sitting near or on the top of the trash barrel ready to be picked up.
Next, the server you berated excuses themselves for a quick trip to
the bathroom before picking up the new set of utensils which replace the
ones you criticized for having a few water spots.
Finally, if and only if they have a cold a quick expectoration (spit)
into the mashed potatoes finishes the food prep. If not, there is
always someone in the kitchen who has a cold so ask them to help out.
The correct time to criticize that poor server is with the
traditional, yet tacky, penny tip which shows you know enough to leave a
tip but also expresses your feeling about the service.
But here again the timing is critical. If the server sees the penny
BEFORE picking up the check with your credit card you can expect to see a
lot of unexpected online purchases in the next bill.
As for the etiquette at a tow company, remember that they probably
towed the car because of a police order or because you violated
someone's private property so you are always in the wrong.
The result of ranting at the totally innocent clerk BEFORE getting
your vehicle returned often results in a follow up conversation with the
manager along this line ... yes, we did notice you had three flat
tires, it is a good thing we brought it in to a garage isn't it?
The cracked windshield? Of course we feel that should be repaired
before it leaves our facility because it is quite dangerous, not to
mention illegal. Oh yes, did you notice that police car parked down the
Radio? No, I don't see a combination radio and integrated satnav unit
noted on the driver's pickup report but I do see where he noted a large
hole in your dash. You really should be more careful about where you
park, some neighborhoods around here are dangerous. You parked at The
Pentagon? Well, like I said ...
By the way, you really should have those airbags replaced too. I
think we have a set that exactly fits your car if you'd like to buy them
at half the cost your dealer would charge.
If you find yourself in a similar situation what you have to consider
is that the clerk who may make more than you do, and is the sister or
girlfriend of the tow company owner who makes about $100/hour profit
from each of those 10 trucks he owns.
In some neighborhoods you should also remember that there are a lot
of really rugged looking employees just a quick yell away and if the
clerk has any brains at all she buys donuts for them at least once each
So, while it doesn't take much in the way of intelligence for an ESPN
reporter to hold a microphone up to some ballplayer and ask what they
thought of the game, it does require a bit of common sense.
Britt McHenry - good luck in your next career, I hear fast food service has a number of openings.
McCormick is a reporter, /science/medical columnist and finance and
social commentator, with 17,000+ bylined stories. Contact John through
NewsBlaze. You can find more of his so-called humor in his
http://puppybyday.blogspot.com/ featuring his puppies. Read more stories
by John McCormick.