Thursday, August 25, 2005

not-so-international relations

One of my favorite blogs, Andrea Siegel’s This Afternoon in Drama, recently (somewhat apologetically) made self-proclaimed Seinfeldian comments about doctor’s office scales. I feel compelled to add to the “what’s the deal with…” dialogue by saying: What’s the deal with place-of-origin nametags for waitstaff?

If you’ve been to Vegas recently, you’ve probably noticed that many of the waiters and dealers have nametags that say things like “Svetlana: Ukraine” or “Santiago: Philippines.” It’s a conversation piece, I guess, and it sort of makes sense in a city like Vegas, where almost everyone comes from somewhere else. But Manhattan Beach, where I had dinner with my dad and sister at The Kettle last night, is not such a city. It’s a pleasant little suburb that many people avoid leaving (although I’m proud to say I migrated a full 17 miles northeast), and The Kettle is staffed almost entirely by longtime locals.

Our waitress’ nametag said, “Nicole: Gardena,” and it just didn’t seem like there was much of a conversation to be had about that. “So, uh, do you live near El Camino College? I took half a trig class there once.” So I didn’t say that. I just said, “Can I get some ketchup, please?”

I ask you: What’s the deal?

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