So You Want To Be A Waiter

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Daily Archives: November 9, 2010

What accessory is the stylish waiter wearing this season?

No, not multi-colored loincloths.

Microfiber polishing cloths.

Any waiter who has had to polish crystal wine glasses using cloth napkins can attest to the iffy nature of the method. If you were lucky, you got a napkin that didn’t shed any lint. but more often than not, wiping a glass meant getting it clean first and then finding a way to get the last bits of lint off of the glass. There was an additional factor – how moist do you get the cloth? You usually have to keep a part of the napkin dry for preventing streaking because if you get it too wet, you can’t ever get the glass dry.

So this is where the microfiber cloth comes in. It usually doesn’t shed much, if any lint. It’s textured, so it seems to prevent streaking. You still have to manage the moisture, but it’s a lot easier to do. You can get a pack of pocketsized cloths for less than a buck for each cloth. If you buy a pack of ten, you can use a different cloth each day and wash the used ones together once or twice a week.

If you are really sophisticated, you can buy lens-cleaning cloths (you know, the kind that you clean glasses or camera lenses with). Like here:

These cloths are shiny and very smooth. They don’t have any texture to speak of. You can’t get them very wet or they won’t really work. but they won’t shed any lint whatsoever and they don’t streak. They won’t get really gnarly glasses clean – you know, like when the dishwashing machine is acting up and you get all sorts of baked on grit on the glasses. but with just a hair of moisture, they will eliminate those pesky water spots and they actually impart a little shine to the glasses that just can’t be beat.

They are more expensive than the “terry cloth” style microfiber cloths. and you have to make sure that you buy large enough pieces because most are cut very small to be used for glasses or camera lenses. but once you use one of these, you probably won’t ever want to go back to any other type of polishing cloth. But you won’t be unhappy with the first type of polishing cloth either.

Just make sure that you keep any polishing cloths reserved for silverware or glass polishing and don’t ever use them with actua polishing compound (or if you do, only use that cloth when using a chemical). You shouldn’t use them with Windex or anything other than straight water when polishing eating utensels. Don’t detail your car with them and then bring them into the restaurant, even if you wash them. You don’t want the aftertase to a nice glass of wine to be 2-Butoxethanol or silicone emulsions.

In the words of John Hodgman, “You’re welcome”.