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Fri, Apr. 7th, 2006, 11:35 am
incroyable: How to Open a Pack of Paper

Okay. This one shouldn't be that hard but instead it's positively MESSED UP every time I've ever let someone else do it. And people say I'm anal for nothing. Ha.

How to Open a Pack of Paper (and store it)

1. Take a standard pack of printer/copier/multiuse paper and place it on your desk/table/lap. If you buy in bulk like we do at my office, you'll have to get one pack out of a box of 10.

2. Start the opening a little. Steps 2 and 3 can be combined if the wrapping is paper instead of plastic.

3. Gently pull the wrapping down and around until you remove one half of the wrapper entirely. If the wrapping is plastic, you might need some good nails, a box-cutter, keys, tacks or pushpins, a letter opener, something sharp of some sort to keep the "rip" going across the seam at the back. Be resourceful.

4. Finish the rip and set paper where it is stored! This should hold the stack together nicely and still allow for easy access.

If you have some thing that holds your opened paper for you then you can disregard all of these steps and just take the wrapping off any old way (why are you reading these instructions?), but in most cases I've found that there is no such thing and the paper is left to fend for itself, left in a crazy half-unwrapped package or without a package at all.

Tue, Apr. 4th, 2006, 08:49 am
incroyable: How to (Appropriately) Dine at a Restaurant

Well. This community has very few members but I'm still having fun. Anyway.

Instead of focusing on the negatives, I'm going to try and use "do" statements rather than "don't" ones, but inevitably some of the latter ones will crop up anyway.

How to (Appropriately) Dine at a Restaurant

1. Be considerate of the host/ess, especially if it's a busy rush. I've been a hostess. If the place is especially small, it's likely that the host/ess is seating people, cashing people out, cleaning menus, bussing tables, and maybe even helping the servers run food (if they're short-staffed that day). Trust me - if you have a little patience with him/her, you're likely to get a better table or at the least a little less frazzled service. I realise that there is a limit to how much you should tolerate, but a little patience on your part will make all the difference.

2. For God's sake, be relatively quiet. I do not mean that you have to be hush-hush or silent, but be courteous with your volume. If people across the room can hear every detail of your daughter's last episode with diarrhea, you're being too loud.

3. Don't say you're ready to order when you aren't. The waiter isn't trying to pressure you into buying food, which is unfortunately what most people feel is happening when the waitperson asks, "are you ready to order?" They are trying to give you better service (as opposed to letting you wait for 30 minutes), and if you're not ready, tell them so! They don't care. They'll come back. It is ruder to make him/her stand there for seven minutes while you ummmmmmmmm and uhhhhhhhh all over your menu because you're not really ready.

4. Be aware when your food is brought to your table. The problem, as explained by wanderlusty, is that, "WITHOUT FAIL, people do not respond to their entree's name being said until it is said a SECOND TIME. Sometimes even a third or maybe fourth. They are looking at you blankly." You can avoid this by remembering what you ordered and indicating that the dish is yours when its name is recited by the waitperson by paying attention and saying, "mine!" or raising a hand, etc., when your dish is called.

5. Expect good service. You deserve to be treated well! If you want a refill on your soda/water/coffee, you shouldn't have to flag down a waiter to get it (unless you GULPED down your first serving). That being said, you should not be an ass and demand things of the waitress back and forth. She is not your mother. She cannot remember which side dressing you wanted or that you don't want olives with your burrito if you don't say so. If you're organised and know what you would like (see step 3) and s/he's a half-decent waiter, you'll get what you ordered.

For that matter, if the food is crappy, don't take it out on the waiter. S/He didn't make the food. Ask to speak to chef if you want to confront someone, or the manager, but never the waiter. IT IS NOT THEIR FAULT.

6. Tip well. I'm not going to go into this. For more debate on tipping, though mostly related to coffee, see this post. I have no energy to write about this here.
C'mon. Tip well. I, personally, always tip about 20%. If the service is okay-ish, I tip 15%. If it's truly shitty-shitty-shitty, I might tip 10%. People say that this is excessive; I call it karma.   ;)

Did I leave anything off? This is possible; it's still early.

It is unbelieveable to me how many people are just total assholes at restaruants and who treat the staff like crap. Don't be these people. Follow these five easy steps and you'll be liked more by everyone :P

Mon, Apr. 3rd, 2006, 03:29 pm
incroyable: How to Order Coffee (Espresso)

It's very easy, you see. Well, it's very easy for Seattlites at the least, but even we fail much of the time. As I stand in line for 10 minutes every morning for my double-tall-2%-vanilla-mocha, with whip, I find that at most times, people are half-idiots when they order... or half-asleep.

At any rate, it's not too hard. There's a simple order to it and, if followed, it ensures that, at least from what you've done, the coffee can't be messed up. Unfortunately, everyone seems to make it difficult, even Wiki eHow.

I'm sorry that these sentences are so comma-heavy! It's the mood I'm in, I guess.

How to Order a Coffee (Espresso) Anywhere

The string-name of your coffee goes in this order: The size, the modifiers, the actual drink, and then "for here" or "to-go."

1. The size.
You can go by Starbucks and Starbucks-inspired sizes, meaning Tall, Grande and Venti (or Tully's Viente) because they've become so mainstream the most anyone will know what you're ordering, regardless of whether you're at a Starbucks or not, or you can use the standard sizes: 8 oz (known also as Short - note that Starbucks does not offer 8 ounce portions), 12 oz (Tall), 16 oz, or 20 oz. You can modify this by the amount of shots; all coffee sizes have a standard number of espresso shots in them except for the Tall coffee:

8 oz - Short1 shot
12 oz - Tall1 or 2 shots
16 oz - "Grande"2 shots
20 oz - "Venti"3 shots (iced, I think, is 4)

I find that most places serve an automatic two shots with the tall through my "research."

This means that a "grande" or "16 ounce" coffee will have two shots automatically, whereas a "triple-grande" or "triple-16-ounce" will have three, etc..

You say the cup size first because then they know which cup to pull out, on which (in most cases) they will then write the specifics of your order.

NOTE: If you are having an ICED coffee, this is the time to tell them. That will determine the cup you get and so say it now. A triple-grande becomes a iced-triple-grande. You get the idea. It comes first.

2. The modifiers beyond shot quantity.
Vanilla? Caramel? Ristretto? No whip? Whole milk? Skim? Two percent? Half-calf? Dry (as in a cappuccino)? These are all differences that do matter. Or, at least they do if you care. I'm not going to explain all of these to you because that would take hours and I've alreay worn you out explaining sizes and shots. Anyway. You want a latte? Don't say it yet, say all these things first.

3. The drink.
Mocha? Latte? Breve? Cappuccino? Americano? Etc..

4. Here or to-go.
It is bizarre to me that this would be the last thing you say but it is. Unless you are at a cafe that regularly serves it's coffees in-house, it isn't really necessary to say "to go;" most places assume that it is, and in many cases, it has to be (e.g. at a coffee stand).

Of course, this is all a bit interchangeable. For example, I say "with whip" as an afterthought, because at my morning coffee house puts it on unless you ask for a "no-whip" drink, but I say it anyway, out of habit, mostly.

So, next time you want to order a mocha that is 16 ounces and is only half caffenated (on ice with no whip), with extra chocolate, raspberry syrup and skim milk, please say:

"I would like an iced, 16-ounce, raspberry, extra-chocolate, no-whip, skim, half-caf mocha, please."

You should say it slowly if you're from anywhere that isn't coffee-crazy as you might otherwise just get the 0.o face.

And be on your way :)

Mon, Apr. 3rd, 2006, 03:16 pm
incroyable: Request Post

What do you find people mess up all the time?
How do you think it should be done? How do YOU do it? Why?

Do you want something explained because it perplexes you?

Ask away, my friends! But ask here, please.