Nothing puts me off more than corporate mandated friendliness at a store or restaurant. When the sentiment is so clearly phony, it puts me off and makes me less likely to patronize the place, not more. It’s the same reason I can’t stand Rachel Ray. I tried watching her $40 a day show when that first came on, and her ridiculous hamming put me right off. “Ooooh, mmmmmm, it’s sooooo gooooodddd. Mmmmm!” Now seeing her stupid face on a box of Triscuits makes me not want to eat Triscuits.
Last night I had dinner with Nik and Rick at PF Chang’s before the Anti-Flag show. PF Chang’s has this weird “signature” thing where the waiters excitedly mix up your sauce for you before you even order. I usually just lay back and think of General Tso while this is going on, but last night I finally had to say something to the waiter. “One thing I never get about this place if your obsession with the sauce,” I said. “If I get something like dumplings, I might want a sauce like that, but if I don’t it’s just a waste. So, what’s the deal with the sauce and why are you so keen to give it to me?” Our waiter’s response was to leave the soy sauce and take everything else away in a huff. I guess it didn’t occur to him that I might want to use the chili oil or other condiments on my own. “I’m taking my sauce and going home, you bastard!”
He totally had the enforced friendliness thing going on. It made me think, of all things, of porn. No wait, stay with me here. I was watching HBO’s Pornucopia show and they were interviewing this actress named Katie Morgan. She said that when she first got into porn, she didn’t know what to say during the scenes. Then an older pro said, “It’s easy, you just say whatever is being done to you.” If you think about that, it’ll ruin most porn for you. Anyway, our waiter was doing the exact same thing, and he ended every declaration with “guys.” So he’s in the middle of clearing our plates and he says, “I’m just clearing your plates, guys.” Really, I get it, because I’m one foot away from you and I have eyes!
The Anti-Flag show was OK. I guess I just wasn’t feeling it. I mean, I’m glad there are still some earnest bands doing real protest music, but it takes a lot more than raising your fist at a punk show to affect change.