is it a problem?

A quick weekend in Seattle and one that allowed me at least one night out on the town with some cronies, some of whom I do not see often enough. More details on that to follow but one small complaint: is there something about Seattle that makes dealing with customers a problem? I’m just asking because it seems to be a habit in that fair city’s bars and restaurants to respond to a request with the rather inhospitable, “no problem.”

Maybe it’s the Texan coming out of me, but when I was a kid if you didn’t say, “thank you, “yes ma’am” or “sir” or “you’re welcome”, somebody was likely to smack you on your head. That’s how it was as a kid in Texas but then it was a simpler time.

So if I say “thank you” when you drop my drink or my food in front of me, I think it’s pretty lame to respond with, “no problem.” Of course, it’s not a “problem”. If I thought it was a “problem”, I’d go someplace else where, I don’t know, they’re polite and hospitable.

Not that people were rude; well, I did have a very strange experience in a bar that shall remain nameless. My waitress wasn’t familiar with Del Maguey mezcals and I was in need of a shot of tobala. Some of my friends probably needed one too. So I was directed to the bartender, who had a couple of the Del Magueys but not tobala. Did I want Pechuga, he wanted to know. No, not really, but do you have it? No, he replied. Hmm, why did he ask me if I wanted that? Oh, we”re testing each other’s knowledge now, I see.

Well, I was pretty well in my cups so I had little interest in that game. I tried to smile and act dumb (not usually a challenge). Did I want to try some other mezcals, he asked. Sure! He dropped a couple of glasses in front of me. “Cool,” I said, “whose are they?”

I haven’t been yelled at by a bartender in a long time, not since I was working alongside one, I think. Apparently, that was the wrong question. Nice and interesting mezcals, though I regret to say that I didn’t get their names. I went back to talking to friendlier people.