There is no denying that the Americans know how to give good service. The cliched “have a nice day” has made way for the more ambiguous “you have a god one” (day, life, motion…you chose). Sometimes I’m charmed by this and immediately fall in love with my server and really believe that they care for me. Other times I recognise it for the sham it is. The mouth may be saying “now you have a great day” but the eyes are saying “get out of my establishment you ugly, fat, bad tipping lout of a man”. The bus drivers are the best in my opinion. They are really friendly to idiots like me even when I try and get on the bus the wrong side or in the wrong door. In London they would just kick you off the bus. In SF watching the way that the driver of a 1930’s trolley bus dealt getting 2 of his regular wheel chair using clients into and out of his vehicle was inspiring. However sometimes though their over familiarity borders on the downright bizarre.

Last night we ate at the Spaghetti Factory in the gas lamp area of San Diego. (NB do not be fooled by the name. I was very disappointed to find out that it is not infact a factory and that we had wasted $5 each purchasing Hi Vis Vests for the occasion. You would have thought I would have learnt my lesson when I bought those steel toed boots to go to the Cheesecake Factory in SF, but no). Anyway, our server (whose name I forget, but she did definitely tell us what is , they always do. Let’s call her Beryl for the sake of this story) was as ever polite, informed, friendly and attentive. When Karen’s drink ran dry Beryl came and asked whether she would like a refill. (How I love the Americans and their free refills. Come on UK, follow suit. You are already charging us £2 for a drink that costs 5p to produce. Surely you can afford to take a hit on another 5p can’t you and offer us a refill. Rant over). Nothing unusual there, but it was the way she said it. Her exact words were “would you like a refill dear?”

Dear! dear? Now I know Karen is considerably older than me (ok 14 months, but most people think it’s a lot more) but she is hardly in the “dear” category is she? I was expecting her next to come and say “is it warm enough for you dear?”. “Would you like me to cut that up for you dear?”. “Is this young man your son dear?”. What’s more she didn’t just do it once, she did it the whole of evening! Oh dear.

Still, I think I’d rather be called dear and dealt with politely (however fake) than some of the service we get in the UK. Now if you don’t mind I’m off now “to have a good one”.

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