Friday, August 8, 2014

Brunch? No thanks.

picture courtesy of

I have always had a passionate avoidance to anything brunch-related. I would cringe whenever friends would ask me out for what some view as a perfectly acceptable way to spend a Sunday afternoon. I can think of at least one thing I'd much rather do - like stay home and clip my toe nails, than battle angry, hungry crowds for what usually turns out to be a crappy meal served by (usually) unhappy staff. I apologize for the mental image of clipped toe nails, but it's true. I would and do think of any excuse I can to get out of brunch invitations.

It does seem like a rather angry response, doesn't it, but there's a reason why this topic has even come up in the first place. An excellent book by Shawn Micallef entitled 'The trouble with brunch: Work, Class and the Pursuit of Leisure' (if interested, check it out here) has been released, and it's highly recommended - if you're interested in knowing more about the business of brunch and the people who love (and hate) it.

Mr. Micallef has hit upon an interesting thesis on why and what prompts people to brunch. His premise is that there is definitely a whiff of elitism when it comes to this activity. Not only is there the joy of not having to cook for ourselves on a day where you'd really like to work off that hangover, but even at the restaurant, cafe, etc. where brunch is served, people exhibit hints of masochist behaviour.

Now I'm sure my reader may be shocked and say that can't possibly be true - masochistic behaviour at brunch? Pshaw! Well maybe these scenarios might ring a bell.

"Look at those people standing in line waiting for our table. Ha! Let them wait - another round of mimosas!"

Or maybe this one.

It's very busy at the restaurant, and the wait staff have been quietly taking away the plates and cutlery at your table. The staff are hoping you'd be nice and leave since you and your friends/family/whatever have been lounging for over two hours. What's the response to the request to settle the food bill? "Ha! Screw the restaurant! We aren't going anywhere until we are damned good and ready to."

You see? Brunch brings out the classy in all of us - he says sarcastically.

Now I know that's not everyone who brunches, but it's a good deal more common than you think. And this is the toughest part to swallow. There is a profitable reason as to why restaurants serve brunch and put up with that sort of crap from customers. A slow week can be made up - profits-wise, if a place provides a decent brunch menu. I find that bit of news sad to know - but not surprising, that the one day most servers and cooks would kill to avoid working is the best time to make up for a crappy week. But that's what brunch can do. And it's why brunch is not going anywhere anytime soon.

Personally, I could care less about the link between brunch, and class or elitism. I hate brunch because having worked as a waiter, and having done my time serving breakfasts to not particularly happy morning people, I can't even imagine having to stomach the grossness that is the people who specifically come to dine on a Sunday afternoon. Even the word 'brunch' just makes me mad. It's such a stupid word. And of course because of my vehement dislike of everything brunch-related, I'll bet my next job will be reviewing brunch menus across the country - just wait and see!

Check out the book when you have some reading time to spare. You could be surprised and see a little of yourself in it. And if you don't, congratulate yourself, then come join me at the anti-brunch table.

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