Tuesday, November 08, 2005

Dining Out: A Lesson in What Not to Do, v.1

Okay, so I've worked in a restaurant for 11 years.

Make your jokes now--but meanwhile keep in mind that I make more money than 80% of the people I know who have 'real' jobs, I also go to school full time, and I go on vacation A LOT, which one cannot do so much when one has a real job. Or so I hear.

Anyway, the point is--what is up with people who seriously think that a person working in the service industry = a person who is not really a person?

Pondering this question, I have come to the conclusion that I have no choice but to share the horrible stories that happen to me and my friends in the hopes of teaching the general public how to behave when dining out.
I mean, come on people.
Customer is always right, or no--we are still in charge of the food that you will eat. As in, put in your mouth and chew and swallow.
If you really think that we are The Hugest Idiots In The World, then why would you give us this responsibility?

Consider the woman I waited on last week.

This miserable woman came in with her husband and a small child who was allowed to sit under the table for their entire stay.
Miserable woman ordered fried cheese, and her husband ordered a burger. The child was ordered--nothing.
I think they may have forgot he was under the table.
The husband ordered a burger cooked MEDIUM.
I brought him a burger that was cooked MEDIUM. Because I know how to remember things and then type them into a computer. Because I am very smart.
After I dropped off their food, there was apparently some kind-of uproar because the husband cut the burger in half before taking a bite, and found that it was a little pink in the middle.
Not red, mind you.
Pink. Just like a medium burger should be.
Anyhow, I didn't hear the uproar because I was busy doing other important things like doing a shot with one of my bar regulars. But it just so happened that my boyfriend was cleaning the table behind said table and could hear the miserable woman bitching at her husband that this was not acceptable and don't even think about taking a bite of that burgerand I can't believe she brought you this burger,

(which, really? do people think that we taste the food before we bring it out? because sometimes we want to--because we get hungry, too. Because we actually are people. But, still? We don't do that. Because it is gross. And also, If I would have taken a bite out of the burger before I served it--it still would have been cooked medium, and I still would have served it. Although I would have been concerned that they would notice the bite that was missing)

so, clearly my boyfriend was aware that my table was unhappy and was going to come and let me know.
But when he walked by said table-of-miserableness, the miserable woman grabbed him by the arm and growled go get our waitress.

(it must be noted here that under no circumstances should you Ever Ever Ever touch your wait person. People often make this mistake, and it is so by far not okay. Do Not Do It Ever).

So anyway, my boyfriend comes and gets me and says that my table needs me. He neglects to tell me about the grabbing, the growling, and the general bitchiness that has been ensuing at my table.

I go to the table unprepared, which is fine because I ask if everything is okay, and the nice husband simply says that the burger is a little pinker than he likes it, and asks me to have the cook throw it back on the grill for a minute or two.

This is not a problem.

It is the service industry, after all.

We are totally aware that you are allowed to eat your food the way you want it, and we have no problem doing that.
So I take the burger back to the kitchen, the cook throws it back on the grill, and I take it out to the table after a few minutes.
I drop the burger off and tell the husband I'll refill his soda, and when I come back he can tell me if the burger is okay now, or not.
I walk to the complete other side of the restaurant to refill the soda, and even from there I can hear the miserable woman yelling at her husband she just put the same burger back on the grill and brought it back out here and that is disgusting and she's got another thing coming if she thinks she can get away with that.

So I'm standing at the soda dispenser, frozen, wondering why this miserable woman thinks that I think I'm 'getting away with something.'
I mean, her husband asked me to put the burger back on the grill.
But now she's pissed that the same burger re-appeared at the table.
But isn't that the point of throwing something back on the grill?

Anyway, I walk back to the table and give the husband his refill of Diet Coke. I stand there for a minute waiting to see if bitch-monster-lady is going to say something to my face. But she doesn't. So I turn to the husband and say I'm sorry if I misunderstood you. I thought you wanted me to put your burger back on the grill. Is this burger okay with you, or would you like me to bring you something else?

It should be noted that I can rarely manage to be this nice to ass-hats, but I did feel that the husband was mostly an innocent bystander.

The husband, clearly embarrassed by the wife's antics, murmurs quickly that everything is fine, and proceeds to devour his burger faster than I've ever seen anybody eat anything, though all the while his miserable wife keeps yelling at him to don't eat that because this is ridiculous and disgusting.

She refuses to eat her fried cheese because she would clearly like to be a martyr.
She is Islamic jihad for restaurant diners.
Only, even more misguided.

Frankly, by this time the whole ordeal was wearing a little thin.
Or, a lot thin.

I mean--you come into my restaurant and it's my job to provide you with a nice dining experience. But if you are just plain old crazy and unreasonable?
Well, I'm not trained to help you with that.

So I continue to blow sunshine up the ass of this table--because that's what we do in the service industry, especially when we can tell that we're dealing with a person that will refuse to be happy no matter what. In fact, that's when it's the most fun.

Later, when I drop of the check, I don't even get a full step away when I hear the miserable woman growl to her husband don't tip her.

And I can't help it.
But I seriously turn around and look right at her and start to laugh. Not on purpose, mind you. It was just one of those laughs that couldn't be stifled.

Because, really?
The chances of me going home and feeling somehow punished because I don't have the two dollars that I might have made off that table are pretty minimal.

So, miserable woman? If you're out there, here is your lesson:
If you're at a restaurant where you are only spending $13 on lunch for two people? Then you are not in the kind of place where you have earned yourself the right to be rude to the staff.

And also, if you're getting so upset about a burger that you weren't even going to eat--you might want to work on that.
Because there might be a reason why your very young son is hiding under tables at restaurants.


Blogger Pete said...

AMEN, sister!! as a fellow server/person I feel your pain.

11:37 PM  
Blogger tiffany said...

where are you?
i was still editing my blog when you read it and now i feel bad because there were typo's and whatnot.
and also, you left no way to contact you.
you phantom blogger type person.

but thanks for being the 6th random person to ever read my blog.
warm fuzzy feelings are going on now.

11:55 PM  
Blogger Jinx said...

God, do I know where you're coming from. It's the reason I stopped working in resturants..

3:29 PM  
Blogger Pete said...

sorry that i didn't leave contact info. my blog is onegeekpete... e-mail is wordtopete@hotmail.com.

i'm in DC. i had just read comments on my blog and yours flipped up on the log-in screen. just a random click that was totally worth it.

typos are no big deal. they're part of life.

11:13 PM  
Blogger dferd said...

Heh. Thats awesome. Major props for keeping your mouth shut to that horrible woman! - Just happened upon your blog. I'll definitely be back.

12:31 AM  
Anonymous Erika said...

The martyr part killed me! I'm still giggling.

12:34 PM  

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