I have one significant flaw as a server. Â Well there is more than one, but one that is the standout among the flaws. Â I have no ability to hide an emotion on my face. Â Sure I can pretend to be happy if I am having a bad day, but in the instant you say something stupid to me my facial expression will let you know exactly what I am thinking. Â This may not be the most fatal flaw in the world, but it has gotten me into trouble a time or two.
It seems to translate in manager’s minds to, “he needs to smile more.” Â I have gotten this lecture numerous times. Â The fact is that I don’t smile in my day to day life. Â This doesn’t mean that I am sad or upset. Â My default facial expression is just not a smile. Â In nearly any other business this would not be an issue. Â I can’t imagine accountants getting in trouble for not smiling as they do… ummm whatever it is that accountants do.
I compensate for this using the “Michael Technique.” Â It is named for a restaurant manager I used to work with. Â One day I was discussing with a friend the fact that a mutual friend’s boyfriend had said, “I love you” for the first time. Â Michael happened to be standing behind the bar. Â I asked him if he thought if a guy told a girl he loved her that he had an ulterior motive. Â I will never forget his response:
“I tell my wife I love her maybe once or twice a year. Â I never understood why people just say it all the time. Â I mean when I tell her she starts crying and gets all lovey dovey on me. Â You gotta save that for specialÂ occasions. Â When I say it she knows I mean it.”
This is how I feel about smiling. Â I don’t smile all the time, but I do make it a point to smile at every table. Â When I do it, they know I mean it.