There's an interesting post over on Chow's "Table Manners" column today. In it, a server writes in because she saw herself mentioned in an online review of the restaurant where she works. The problem: The person writing the review called the server out for smelling like booze. The server in question is insulted! Yes, she was drinking on the job, but isn't that an okay thing to do, at least a little?
Chow advice columnist Helena Echlin responds to the server's letter by saying no, drinking and waiting tables should not be mixed, as the job is too physically demanding: "Just as you wouldn't have a glass of wine before a five-mile run ... you probably shouldn't be drinking to sustain a fast-paced, on-your-feet-for-six-plus-hours job." (This column follows on her earlier expos regarding servers being stoned on the job.)
But in defense of the server, she was nearing the end of the shift, and who isn't cracking open a beer or grabbing a bourbon when that happens? This is an industry that turns a blind eye to such things, given all the booze at hand. (Doing coke on the job? That's another story.)
As another former server responds, regarding the tasting of leftover wine bottles, "Above a certain price, it should be considered wine education, not drinking on the job." Besides, if Ricky Gervais can get away with drinking on the job, shouldn't restaurant industry folk be able to, too?