Surly service: Part of the Portland experience

This is just a PSA for people who come to Portland as vegan tourists, which seems to be getting more and more common. Maybe I should preface this by saying that, in general, yes, Portland is vegan-friendly, but it is also, much like the latest vegan cheese, overhyped.  So yes, there are lots of people here who don’t know what “vegan” means, or hate vegans, and most of our vegan options are not fancy–heavy on the deep-fried stuff, light on the fine dining.  So there’s that.

But you know what people seem to bitch about the most? The service they get in Portland.

And you know what? Deal with it.

Look, your waiter/waitress/barista/bartender probably does not give a shit about you. They are probably very very hip and have better things to do.  Generally, the burden is on you to be incredibly nice and maybe they will be nice back. Maybe. And maybe if you tip really well they’ll remember you next time and crack a smile. But seriously, you should probably just be a big girl or boy and suck it up. If you need more affection in your life, I recommend seeking it from your friends and family, not your server.

With this attitude, you’ll be ridiculously happy anytime someone is friendly to you, which is nice. Just think of hipper-than-thou service as part of the Portland, er, “Vegan Mecca” cultural experience. And if you hang out here long enough maybe you’ll be the friend the barista stops to talk to when there is a line of ten people behind you.


9 responses to “Surly service: Part of the Portland experience

  1. I don’t know, unlike SOME Portlanders, I love the latest vegan cheese! But not the one before that. =)

  2. That is SO funny! I loved the service in P-Town and made a point of noting that in all my reviews. I found 95% of the servers and staff to be helpful, friendly, knowledgeable and kind.

    Maybe it has to do with where people are from and what they’re used to? I’ve lived in horrible service towns-DC, London-so maybe my standards are too low. 🙂

  3. When we were in Portland, we were actually freaked out by how nice people were. I mean, what do they want from us? In my day, my coffee came with a certain amount of apathy and resentment, and we liked it!

  4. You ladies need to tell me where you went so I can start going there and get smiles with my coffee!

  5. Ha! Funny, but pretty true with my experiences there. Most of time I didn’t mind that much. Though one place… We ordered, paid, tipped well, and then waited over 40 min for our raw food. I was a wee bit cranky, but we dealt with it.

    Another seemingly Portland thing is paying/ordering first and putting a number on your table and waiting for delivery. I don’t get it. Are we supposed to tip in this situation? Most of the time you bus your own table, so I would think not…but we were never sure.

    PS – The people at Cyberdog were really friendly, as well as everyone at Sweet Pea!

  6. PPS – Crepe, I just remembered Cyberdog was Seattle. I guess that means only the folks at Sweet Pea were cool enough to be nice.

  7. I don’t drink coffee and didn’t set foot in a single coffehouse in Portland. Perhaps that’s the trick to my good experience!

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