Filed under: Societal Botheration
I worked in restaurants for six years, so I get that being on the giving end of the hospitality industry sucks. People are rude, condescending, prone to outrageous demands, and just plain annoying. That being said, because of my years in the industry, I can’t help but notice and get peeved when service sucks. I’ll be the first person to point out that the food taking too long is the kitchen’s fault, so don’t blame the waiter, and don’t get mad at the host if you walk in on a Saturday evening at 7:30 without a reservation and she tells you there’s no tables available. Your lack of planning is no one’s fault but your own. Place blame where it actually belongs. Overall, I would say I’m pretty sympathetic to the plight of restaurant workers, but I also expect them to do their jobs correctly and be nice about it.
The other night I was out with a group of 3 girls at Rio Grande. It was a Saturday but we got there at 6 so it was getting crowded but it wasn’t crazy yet. I fully admit it took us FOREVER to decide what we wanted to order because we were chatting, and because in my experience, Lauren is a notorious slow-ass when it comes to choosing from menus (love ya!). We sent the waiter away more than once before we finally made our order. Annoying, I’m sure, but we tried to be sweet and apologetic about it.
From that point on, the waiter spiraled into the depths of major suckitude. He never brought the extra napkins I requested (which would have ultimately made his job easier because by ordering them, I was making a sincere effort NOT to leave behind a piggish mess for him to clean up when we left). It was an eternity before I got the water I asked for, and then he pretty much disappeared for a solid 40 minutes. Strike that. We saw him at tables nearby us many times, but it seemed he had made an executive decision that he was done with us. I overheard him having an extensive chat with a lady at the table behind me about the movie Julie and Julia, and he proclaimed that he had no idea there was a movie about Julia Childs out but he would have to see it since this lady said it was great. Please. Just like I had no idea that Kanye West acted like a jackass at the VMAS on Sunday (you know it’s true when Obama says it) because it’s not like that news is being constantly broadcast or anything, just like there weren’t 100 million commercials for Meryl Streep’s latest. Nothing wrong with being personable to try to increase your tip, but believable sincerity would be a better approach. Anyways, the food was good and the company was even better, but we had a movie to go to, so we asked for the check.
Since there were four of us we asked for the checks to be separated. I realize that conventional wisdom is that it’s terrible to ask a waiter to do that because separating the check is complicated and annoying, and that was probably true in 1954, but we live in 2009 and computers are amazingly helpful machines. I know from personal experience that it’s really not difficult to separate the checks, and if you’ve been doing your job correctly right from the start, you would have entered into the computer which person ordered what so that when it was delivered from the kitchen it was served correctly, so splitting the check from there is super easy. We did have two appetizers, but we clearly explained which bill to put them on. So to clarify, he says, “So you want me to split the check four ways?” Now, we didn’t all order the same thing and we had those two appetizers, so no, we didn’t want the check split four ways, we wanted seperate checks, as in, each person pays for what she ordered, plus one person was buying the appetizers. Seems simple enough, no? So we explained to him again what we wanted, and he says, “That’s actually exactly what I just said, so yeah, I’ll do that.” At this point, Lauren and I turned and looked at each other and made faces that looked something like this:
In case acting as if he were correcting his customers wasn’t enough to ruffle our feathers (see what I just did there?), let me just say that the intonation and emphasis he placed on the word “exactly” made his annoyance with us very clear. Perhaps when he said “split” the checks he meant what we meant by “separating,” but we wanted to make sure everyone was on the same page. He didn’t have to be nasty about it, and from a semantics standpoint, we were right and he was wrong. To sum up: he sucked from a service standpoint, and now he was shamelessly emanating attitude. Then he took an eternity to actually bring out the checks, so long that two separate bathroom trips were made before his return and we became seriously concerned about missing our movie.
The thing is, he was only hurting himself. Some people just suck at waitressing but life has handed them that particular set of lemons. If they are honest and apologetic about their mistakes, most customers will be understanding and won’t stiff them on the tip. Giving attitude is not the way to go, especially when the patrons really haven’t been rude to you first. If you think we were annoying, complain about us after we leave. That’s what snarky coworkers and blogging are for.
2 Comments so far
Leave a comment