Those of you living outside of Metropolitan Dade County
, when you go into a store or a bar or a fast-food establishment and you want to order, what do you say? Perhaps you start the sentence with “I’d like a #4 with no pickles.” Or maybe you are more polite and say “Can I have two Bud Lights and a Vodka Tonic?” The extremely well-mannered among you might say “Can I please have five beef chalupas with extra cheese?” This is true in nearly every major city I have been to in America
, not just Seattle
or Orange County
, but even some of the “ruder” ones like New York
. And then I forget that Miami
is not part of America
If you want something from someone in any type of establishment in Dade County, the only acceptable way to ask for it is to say “Lemme Get.” As in “Yeah, lemme a six-inch steak and cheese on honey-oat, toasted. And lemme get some onions, a little lettuce, some mayo, oh and lemme get some of those jalapenos too.” I’m not exactly sure why this is, and it is a phenomenon I just recently began to notice. It started when I began working at the bar where I am now employed, and it began to irritate me a little. “Yeah, lemme get two Johnny Black on the rocks, a Vodka Tonic, and two Blue Long Islands. And lemme get a cup of water. No ice. With a lemon. Oh, no, sorry, I mean a lime” Excuse me? “Lemme get?” Yeah, how about lemme get someone else’s order who knows how to ask for something. Or, better yet, lemme get a decent tip before you start ordering me around like your errand boy.
At first I thought this inherent rudeness was exclusive to the gutter trash that patronizes my bar. But apparently this was not the case. Soon I started noticing it when I went to lunch, ate at a restaurant or even just at the Publix Deli Counter. Everyone who asks for anything in English prefaces it with “Lemme Get.” No wonder people think we are so rude.
As I tend to like to do with most problems in Miami, I tried to trace the root of this back to Hispanics. But no such luck. In Spanish, if you want something, generally you preface it with “Da me” which, directly translated, means “give me.” While not exactly wallowing in politeness, it is certainly a lot nicer than “Lemme get.” Similarly, it is not just the Latinos telling people to lettem get stuff. Whites are just as bad, as are blacks as are Asians. Well, if we had Asians. I’m not sure if it’s just contagious like the Miami accent or if it’s just a regional colloquialism or what, but for some reason nobody in this city knows how to ask for anything. The just want to lemme get it. So while I would love to blame this rude phenomenon on my favorite Dade County inhabitants, unfortunately it looks like something or someone else is to blame.
I’ve tried to start going into establishments and telling them to let me get things, but it just isn’t natural. I’m a West Coast native and if you say that out there you are more than likely going to get your food spit in. While I understand a good two-thirds of people taking my order probably don’t even understand exactly what “Lemme Get” means, I still feel like I’m being rude and condescending by allowing it to preface my order. Perhaps that is part of the reason service in Miami is so awful: the customers are awful too. I know I’m not in a hurry to serve anyone who tells me to “Lemme get,” so I’m pretty sure nobody else is either. I catch myself doing it occasionally, usually after work when I’ve heard it 700 times over the course of the night, but I make a concerted effort to stop. Just lemme get a pass on this once and I promise it won’t happen again.
Labels: Bar Etiquette, Hispanics, Miami