Tuesday, January 25, 2011
Yesterday's post got me thinking about name recognition and reminded me of a mortifying situation I landed in several years ago. Have you ever gotten someone's name wrong, and stuck with the erroneous handle for months without being corrected? For your sakes, Graces, I hope not; it is sheer hell. Here's the story....
We were in the habit of frequenting a local restaurant and generally had the same waiter. We became quite friendly with him over the year and realized too late that we did not know his name. Of course, he knew ours because of our reservation, which made it especially awkward. And the restaurant was small enough that it felt wrong to ask one of his coworkers.
One Friday evening, about 6 months into our love affair with this place, my sister joined us for dinner. I explained the waiter-name situation, and she immediately grasped my dilemma: "You're past the point," she said astutely, "but never fear, GraceSis is here! I'll introduce myself and get his name for you." Which she promptly did when she got up from the table and asked the whereabouts of the loo. She returned, bursting with intel. "Edgar," she said discreetly. Boy, were we relieved. We enjoyed regular Friday evenings at the establishment, and were taken good care of by our fave waiter "Edgar". We were relieved and delighted to be able to greet him by name and we did so with enthusiasm and courtesy, feeling, perhaps that we were making up for the first 6 months of "Hello, great to see you, nice to be back". All was well.
Fast forward to December. The restaurant had decorated for Christmas by hanging personalized stockings for each employee. I searched for Edgar's stocking, thinking that I might put something in it as a thank you for all of his good service throughout the year. Imagine my dismay when I found no "Edgar" stocking. I was pretty sure he celebrated Christmas, because he hailed from a Latin American country that is 99% Catholic. I knew he was still employed there because he was serving our table that very night. And then I saw it. Big as life: HECTOR.
The restaurant has since closed, we have not seen Hector in years, but I still wince at the boo boo. And it wasn't really Sis's fault; the place was lively and loud and "Hector" does sound like "Edgar" in the midst of a hundred festive voices.
Moral of story, like a band-aid or bikini wax, quicker is preferable. Tis far better to suffer a brief embarrassment early on than to endure deep, lasting humiliation later.
And speaking of brief embarrassment or lasting humiliation.....
Posted by Social Grace at 7:00 AM