The word “Thank you” is one of the nicest, most well received in the English language. A thank you makes one feel appreciated, it makes the person feel rewarded for performing an otherwise mindnumbing ritual, such as dropping off a cup of coffee.
However there is a very small demographic of the population who take “thank you”, and turn it into something a step beyond unsettling.
A long thank you-er drags out the pronunciation of the last syllable for about one second longer than it should be. It sounds like this;
Typically the long thank you-er is a female. Although I have heard it come from the mouths of effeminate males. The problem with the long thank you is that you are never sure if the person is actually thankful, or if they are being sarcastic and letting you know in some subtle way that they are not happy with you. It has that certain passive-aggressive tone to it.
It resonates of resentment. Upon hearing it a server will begin asking themselves questions as to what may have gone wrong.
“Was I too long?
“Am I not being friendly?”
“Did I say something inappropriate?”.
The long thank you lacks any kind of sincerity. It does not sound like the customer is thankful, but more so they think that you are an idiot, and you can’t even do your simple job in an effective manner.
The long thank you has that air of superiority to it. With every long thank you spoken it is like the person is attempting to slowly drive it home that they are a little bit better then you.
The fonzies are not people who wear black leather coats, enter a restaurant with teenage girls on both arms, or hit the jukebox to play a Bill Haley song.
No, the fonzies are a group of people who enjoy giving the thumbs up sign in response to a question or comment… minus the “Aaaaaayyyy”.
Why they choose to give thumbs up is anybody’s guess. Maybe they just prefer non-verbal communication. Like the people who hold up a number of fingers to indicate how many are in their party instead of simply saying a number.
Which on many occasions, I’ve wanted to stick up their ass.
The other day I nearly had a girl take my eye out with the thumbs up. After ordering cocktails, she enthusiastically ordered, “Make them good!”
Jokingly I said “Ah, you don’t have to worry about that, I make the best in town.”
Her response…easily the most powerful thumbs up sign I’ve ever seen. She cocked her elbow about a foot behind her torso until her hand was parallel to her side, and thrust forward until full arm extension was achieved. With four fingers clenched tightly, not unlike a fist, the thumb was pure and straight with perfect upside down “J” form.
My hair was swept back from the resulting blast and I had to blink to keep the dust out of my eyes. Right there I realized, this was not a fonzie to mess around with. So I retreated to the bar, humbled and broken by the power of this unprecedented thumbs up.
I’ll never forget it.
Now, most fonzies do not use the thumbs up so emphatically. In fact, most fonzies use a very calm and relaxed thumbs up as a lazy alternative to actually talking. For example;
Waiter: “Hey guys, how you doing tonight”?
Fonzy: Thumbs Up.
Waiter: “Is everything ok with your food”?
Fonzy: Thumbs Up.
Waiter: “Yes, you can have fries instead of vegetables, no problem.”
Fonzy: Thumbs up.
I think what makes the Fonzie so non genuine is the lack of eye contact when giving the thumbs up. If the fonzie looked into my eyes with some level of sincerity and gave the thumbs up, I’d probably not be writing about this. However, most of the time fonzies give you the thumbs up while looking away from you. As if to indicate that the thumbs up is all the attention you deserve.
There are two situations where the thumbs up is an adequate response or gesture. If I approach the table from behind, just as the guest is putting a baseball size wad of food in thier mouth, and ask how everything is going as they have just stuffed their mouth full of slop, then the thumbs up is ok. The guest has rendered a verbal response impossible. Plus, the guest is doing me a favour as I really don’t want to see what is going on inside their mouth nor do I want chewed up foot spit at me.
Secondly, if a customer uses the thumbs up in conjunction with a smile, vocal response, and eye contact, then it is acceptable.
Otherwise, the thumbs up can be a little disheartening for the sensitive server who likes to make some type of spiritual connection with his guests. For me, fonzies are not a problem.