I'd be willing to bet a week's worth of good tips that most waiters and waitresses who read Bob Levey's New Year's column are fuming about his complaint about the phrase "I'll take this when you're ready."
The statement is not an attempt to get the customer to "vacate the table" or "leave a hefty tip," as Levey claimed. It simply means:
1) At this particular restaurant, the server makes change.
2) He or she will do so at your convenience.
Never in 15 years of restaurant work have I heard a customer take issue with this expression. In this business we're busy enough making sure your steak is hot, your cole slaw crisp, your beer cold, your silverware shiny and your salt and peppers full. The temperature must be right for you, the music not too loud, the baby next to you quiet and your MasterCard still valid. We don't have nearly enough time or energy for veiled psychological maneuvers to get you to the door.
The world is not out to get Bob Levey. In fact, I'd say he's a lucky guy to be able to use one of the country's most pervasive newspapers to talk about his pet peeves.
Maybe he should check the news wires. He might be shocked to see what's keeping the rest of us up at night. -- Sal Lombardo