Campers and Verbal Tippers

Frank Rich wields a lot of power as th NY Time’s Restaurant critic. A few months ago, he decided to slum it by working as a waiter in Cambridge for a week. He got a taste of the life, from the other side of the table, as he wrote in yesterday’s Times.

“I acquired a new vocabulary. To “verbalize the funny,” is to tell the kitchen about a special request. “Campers” are peole who linger forever at tables. “Verbal tippers” are people who offer extravagant praise in lieu of twenty percent.

The doors open at 5:30 and soon two women are seated at L-3. They interrogate Bryan at great length about the monkfish, which, in changing preparations, will be a special all week long. He delivers a monkfish exegisis; they seem rapt. They order the mahi-mahi and the swordfish. “It’s amazing,” said Bryan, “how unadventurous people are.”

One table’s check is $58 and Bryan sees the man put down a stack of bills. Then, as the man gets up from the table, the woman shakes her head and removes $5. The remaining tip is $4, or about 7 percent.”