Are they good?
One day last week Mr. Beers and I enjoyed breakfast tacos at Central Market. The lady ordering just before us, pointing and tapping on the deli case, in her sweetest southern accent, asked the breakfast taco lady, "What is that? Is that grits?" "Yes, ma'am," the taco lady replied. "I haven't had grits in a long time. Are they good?" "Yes, ma'am," the taco lady repeated. "I mean are they good today?" the customer probed. For the third time the taco lady said, "Yes, ma'am." "May I try them please?" And again, "Yes, ma'am." The story has a happy ending. The belle eventually bought a small cup of grits, and Mr. Beers and I were able to order our breakfast tacos.
It made me think of the number of times that we have been asked at the deli about a particular cookie or sandwich or soup, "Is that good?" Or, "What's good here?"
Clearly the person asking the question has not really thought this through. What did the woman at Central Market expect the breakfast taco lady to say? "Yes, ma'am, that's grits, but they're not very good." Really? Think about it. What's good here? Everything. We make it all fresh everyday, and it's all good. Order something. Then come back tomorrow and order something else.
Similarly, one of the most common things that happens at the deli is this: a customer happily, eagerly approaches the counter where we have eleven different kinds of cookies on display. A deli employee will offer, "What can I get you today?" The customer will ask, "Which one of these cookies is your favorite?" The employee may say, "The butterscotch and black salt is my favorite." The customer will invariably make a face as if the employee just said, "The fart-flavored cookies are really good." The customer winces and shakes his/her head, and asks further, "Which one is the most popular?" The conscientious and courteous employee will answer, "The coconut cream pie cookie is the most popular." This time the customer will respond with something like, "No," with an expression that leads one to believe he/she may have just thrown up a little bit in his/her mouth. Finally the customer will say, "Just give me a chocolate chip, I guess."
The same thing happens with sandwich, soup, and salad choices. It's interesting, really. It makes me think that people generally already know what they're going to order when they ask a server, "What's good here?" What's good here? Really?
It also reminds me of a friend who used to wait tables on the riverwalk. A family would be seated in her section and would start looking over the menu. The server would start taking the table's food order(s), when someone would ask, "What's on these Super Nachos?" The server would slowly look up from her pad, very deliberately unclick her ballpoint pen, and calmly say, "Let's see." At this point, the server would take the menu from the customer's hands, find Super Nachos on the menu, and read the description aloud. And then - the inevitable. "Are they good?"