Tuesday, March 27, 2012

That horrid customer who happens to be in your party

You've all been there.  You took a special someone, a friend, a group of friends, or even your in-laws out to a restaurant.  You sit down at the table and the worst evening of your life starts.

First, that special someone complains that the air conditioning vent is above her chair so she nudges your father-in-law and in a voice that can be heard three tables over, says, "It's too cold here!  Go get them to turn the air down!"  Then, the menu is too small or has finger prints on it.  The coffee mug has imaginary water stains on it and she studies it very carefully, loudly exclaiming that "there better not be a lipstick stain on here."

Then, the server comes by and she spends what seems to be an hour ordering her food.  Everything needs to be explained to her, even the way the restaurant makes their macaroni and cheese.  The salad dressing is very important as well.  When the restaurant has run out of ranch and only has a spicy mushroom sauce, she brings down the hammer and takes a poll from the rest of the guests, whether or not they had ever experienced such shoddy service.  You look at your napkin and pretend not to hear, aching inside for the server.

Then the food comes and it isn't hot enough or it's too hot.  The onions are too raw or the butter flows too quickly on the plate.  The mashed potatoes have chunks in them.  Anything that could go wrong does.  Then, you notice that the server has been given many tables to serve and is having trouble working the shift as efficiently as she wants to.  But your mother-in-law doesn't notice and treats the server as her own personal servant.

More napkins.  Fewer napkins when more are brought.  Please take this plate....oh...and take this fork too, and with a snap of her capable fingers, tries to get the attention of another guest across the table, getting them to pass their unused spoon. 

At the end of the meal, the talk of the tip.  "She doesn't deserve much.  She wasn't quick on her feet and didn't keep track of us at all.  The food was bad, blah, blah, blah..."

I nod in empty agreement as I write a 40% tip in the Tip column of the receipt.  Someone has to pay for their trouble. 

Nobody likes to be treated poorly.  Even if they do a bad job, an encouraging word will turn it around in time.  What if the server had a bad day?  A bad week?  A bad year?  Family problems can wreak havoc on a person.  Financial issues, as well.  We all know servers are rich and have no problems.

Be kind to those who serve you.

I. C.


  1. I like this. I totally understand what you mean

  2. As a waitress for a few years... THANK YOU!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  3. I have 2 friends like this. They are always waiting to pounce on what a server or the person behind the desk is "doing wrong" and they give these people really negative expressions all the time (but seldom positive ones for a worker who's doing a good job). They try to make sure that anyone who is making a choice they don't agree with (be it smoking or accidentally cutting them off on the escalator) can SEE their glare (because presumably glares from a stranger will make you see your wrong rather than just making you defensive and stubborn).

    It's like the entire world is not only obligated to behave THEIR way whenever they are within a thousand mile radius, but the world has to know through clairvoyance what they want AHEAD OF TIME before messing up in the first place.

    Thanks. Apparently I needed to vent.

  4. We want all our kids to work in food service at some time, even if just for a summer, so they'll understand how much work it is. And so that they'll always remember to be gracious and tip well. Certainly worked for us.

  5. My mother is this person. And she has worked in customer service all her life so she has no excuse. I've stopped going to places I like for birthdays with my family because I'm sick of hearing 'well never be coming HERE again'! Then I feel like I have to keep over-complimenting the servers to make up for it.

  6. This is why I don't waitress anymore. It felt like such a thankless job.

  7. This is why I make a point of mentioning it when I get good service. So few people do that. Also, tipping. Tipping adequately to well is vital.

  8. That USED to be my father-in-law... though he has mellowed quite a bit in recent years. There were dinners out when I wanted to slide under the table rather than be there with him. But some sort of change came over him, and now he is reasonable, compliments the wait staff when they've done something well, and complains only when he didn't get what he explicitly asked for (like extra gravy). The only area he hasn't mellowed out about is his stinginess with the tip, so we insist on picking up the tip.