Monday, 15 March 2010

Waitress Voice

If you've worked in the service industry (, not that service industry, you whores, I mean anything involving working with the general public, really...) then you'll have used a "waitress voice". I don't care if you're male. It's a waitress voice, that's what I've named it. As of now... no, wait - ready? ... nnn... now. Now. Waitress voice!

A waitress voice is something we all do. When you're talking to a customer, you put your professional voice on. The waitress voice is approximately 30% posher than we are in our day-to-day lives, and is variable depending on how posh the place you work is.

It makes customers think that we know what we're doing. We usually do know what we're doing, of course, but we need them to believe that as well, hence the voice. Sometimes I realise I'm putting on a voice and try not to, but really it's a habit. It just doesn't feel right to go around dropping one's 'h's like they're hot, when they're pretty much luke-warm*.

At work, you assess the person you're speaking to and adjust the level of the waitress voice. A middle-aged woman in a skirt suit might gain more enunciation than a group of teenage boys. Unless they're drunk, in which case we generally feel free to speak to them how we please.

For example, a group of presentable yuppy type ladies came in the pub the other day, and proceeded to drink about a bottle of wine each over about 2 hours - not too shabby. However, as I'm sure you know wine tends to make people screechy, and they ended up sounding like a pack of twatted hyenas on helium.. Their laughing could be heard all over the (pretty big) pub. So, the waitress voice that was around 30% when they had first came in diminished to around 10% when I walked over to them and (politely but firmly) said, "Ladies, could you keep it down, you're annoying a lot of people... including me." They didn't shut up, and I had to kick them out, but that's another (quite boring) story.

If you're telling someone bad news, such as the kitchen is on fire (such was the other week), then the voice may even increase to a flabberghasting (and exhausting) 50%. Last week a group of men had come in to celebrate one of their 40th birthdays, only to be told after waiting for over an hour that there would be no food, because the kitchen was on fire. Waitress voice to the rescue! I got them a round of free drinks, etc. etc... They were the happiest anyone could be in such a shit situation, because they knew that I knew what I was doing.

So there you go, if you're presented with a particularly nice waitress voice then you should be happy. Anywhere between 15% and 30% is probably average. If there's not one at all then you probably appear smelly, ugly and drunk, and fixing this should really be your priority over dining.

*More on this tomorrow...

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