careful what you wish for
which got me thinking about two things...
first off, people tend to prefer not to know how their sausage is made. to wit, they love clearly-plowed streets, but hate to know the dirtier details of the actual process of making them so. (truck drivers tend to swear a little, and myself being father to my particular 16-year-old daughter am reminded of this daily).
secondly, there's a curious divergence between those who value polite service ahead of good service, and those who priorize vice versa. yes, most folks would enjoy a combination of both, but durgin park has made quite a profitable business out of getting food to the table quickly and without undue nicety or flourish, and i think people often mistake the importance of this. i'm put in mind of my favorite waitress in the entire city who never fails to (playfully i'm pretty sure) scowl at me for not ordering fast enough when i see her on wednesday evenings, (and thursday and friday and saturday evenings too, depending), and who also never fails to bring me exactly my favorite beer in exactly my favorite chilled glass despite my being as cantankerously picky as would drive most any other mortal wait-person to their wits end.
let's digress a few moments to rip the jim koch for being the absolute horse's ass that he is: sam adams beer, for all their pretension about their suds, is a pure marketing rip-off of gargantuan proportions, and has always been. the name? other than the founders thinking it would be a highly-marketable one, it has absolutely zero to do with the product. yeah, sam adams was a brewer and a patriot. he has absolutely zilch, zero and nada to do with the outfit that stains his memory with their swill. the beer? the supposedly "best beer in america"? they thought so much about the importance of taste and quality that they contracted out to the pittsburgh brewing company for years (you know, pittsburgh, classically known for its beer, and the pittsburgh brewing company, classically known for its iron city light) and used and continue to use other previously bankrupt and abandoned brewing facilities in classic beer towns like cincinnatti, and excess capacity at various quality-meisters like stroh's, to bring us their flowery over-priced crap. that show-piece in jamaica plain where they conduct their tours? (and, i should mention, produce none of the beer they would have you actually drink in six packs and in bars...) it's the old haffenreffer brewery, and if you, like me, have ever had the classic haffenreffer runs from over-indulging in that particular brand of calamity, you know EXACTLY what you're getting there. (good thing that's not the stuff they sell in the package stores and the bars). these are the people who make useless candy malt concoctions like twisted tea and hardcore cider and prefer you not think about the fact that they are a marketing/brand company first, last and always.
which brings me finally to those ludicrous glasses they make such a fuss about in their tv commercials: did you know that those inane pieces of glassware are the #1 selling item in their brewery shop? (i suppose that's not so remarkable, since why would you bother to buy their beer, but let's not digress from the digression). they feature a "beaded rim" which "creates turbulence" as beer flows into your mouth, which is somehow supposed to make up for the failure of mass-production carbonation to release necessary aromas, and an "outward-turning lip" that is intended (they say) to promote "sweetness detection" and promote beer head by increasing its surface, as if pilsner glasses haven't been around for centuries already. (don't forget the etched ring in the floor of the glass that they call the "nucleation site" for promotion of extra bubbles for even more "aroma release", though no word on any concerns that it just flattens the beer faster...) but the piece de resistance? the glass is purposefully made thinner, not to reduce the cost of making them of course, nor to increase sales of them to bars as they break, but, rather, in order to promote a colder feeling in your hand. right. they purposefully design the glass so your hand can warm it up faster, relying on the illusion that you'll think it's colder if your fingers think so.
i despise those glasses. they give you flatter warmer beer faster than anything else out there, and i don't want one in my hand. and i'm just the cranky old geezer to say so to the bar waitress bringing me my beer. know what mine then did when i first went off like this? she laughed at me, scowled in my face about being such a pain in the ass, and then promptly brought me a pint of harpoon IPA in a perfectly frosted BEER glass instead and we've never spoken of it again. i've never once had to say another word about it. my surly, sweet and beautiful waitress has never failed to dig to the bottom of the frosted glasses in the ice chest to make sure i always have the beer i want in the glass i want without ever having to ask a second time. it would make perfect sense that she'd be dogg's niece, and i would be overjoyed to think so. because, you know what? i don't want sweet. i want my beer in a real beer glass that doesn't break more easily, get flat more quickly, and warm up my beer before i've had a chance to enjoy every last cool, clean drop of it.
and you want to know what else? it wouldn't be nearly as much fun if she were all sweetness and "yes sir" and "if you please sir" about it, and i'd feel like a supreme asshole instead of just the run-of-the-mill asshole i prefer to think myself to be. it's actually a pain in her butt to be fishing for special glassware for just one guy. it's healthy and normal for her to think so and feel so, and even want to say so. i like to think it makes her job more fun to let on without having to edit her opinion in front of me. and i like to think that makes her much more likely to stay on doing the otherwise tedious and trying job of bringing people their beer evening in and evening out for years on end. and i tip her more than i tip anyone else in the city. i know my tips won't be enough to make the complete difference, but i like to think, just a little, they might contribute to keeping her on doing the superior job she does each and every day.
i don't want polite service--i want GOOD service. if you want to make it polite, that's fine. but don't try to sleaze me with sugar while you're selling me vinegar--i like sausage, and i know how its made. i like harpoon IPA in a real beer glass, and i don't mind being called a pain in the ass to ask for it that way. because i like good service. i like dogg.
if only more people could figure it out.