Workplace Dishing Reaches New Highs (And Lows)

Jan 9, 2012 12:43pm

If the walls of a plastic surgeon or one of New York’s most expensive restaurants could speak, elite customers around the world would dial their lawyers and run for cover.

But nine professionals in jobs imbued with exclusivity dished for a feature in New York Magazine this week — including a police officer, transsexual escort, Mets baseball player, bikini waxer, high school teacher, and  ”Today” show producer — joining the ranks of workers in the service industry who enjoy anonymous confessions.

One of the interviews is that of a waiter at Per Se, one of only five restaurants in New York City awarded three Michelin stars.

The waiter describes how the restaurant has a list of banned people, including couples who have sex in the bathroom, and his observations.  Most people who complain are trying to get something for free, the waiter says.

He also shares how “there’s nothing more fun than to wait on someone who is genuinely interested in the food,” including a teenager who saved up his allowance to have lunch by himself.

He notes that one woman vomited a tasting menu, which starts around $300.  ”They cleaned it up, and she ‘boot-and-rallied.’ She finished the meal,” he said.

“I think most people like to talk about the latest crazy thing that that their clients or customers did,” Michelle Goodman, workplace columnist for ABCNews.com said.  ”People need a place to vent and share their ‘you wouldn’t believe it!’ war stories. ”

Because workers usually can’t gossip about clients at work without risking their job or losing a customer, they turn to friends, family and anything else that seems safe, she said. Some turn to anonymous web communities like TrueConfessions.com which has a specific subsection for the “office.”

“Besides, that story about how a customer had sex in the dressing room or a patient showed up to his session in his underwear makes for great cocktail party conversation,” she said.

A plastic surgeon reveals that liposuction is an “oversold” procedure and most people would not get a nose job if they saw how bloody the procedure was. He adds that most women in their 20s who have breast augmentation do not know that will need four or five “revision surgeries” later on.

Although most service professionals survive by trust and confidentiality with clients and their situations, Goodman said she has heard plenty of doctors, lawyers and shrinks share their “greatest hits” over dinner or drinks.

“I guess the mentality there is, it’s okay if you don’t name names and you’re in safe company,” she said. “Still, I’d hate to be the patient whose doctor is shares intimate details of his ER visit over Thanksgiving dinner, or the client whose lawyer uses the gory details of her divorce over cocktails with a date.”

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