Monday, June 8, 2009

Caution: being my customer may provoke violence.

Last Saturday, I had a table of two semi-regulars. They're older and always act like their server is bothering them by asking questions, but they were okay. They ordered a dip for an appetizer and two pasta bowls. The dip involves the cooks plopping it in a dish and toasting some cheese on top; it shouldn't take long. Apparently it did, because they got their appetizer only a minute or two before their dinners.

They were all pissy about it, but wouldn't let me fix it. I offered to take their pasta bowls and bring them brand-new ones when they were ready. The guy snapped at me that that was a waste of food. I said it wouldn't go to waste, but they just weren't having it. Later, they seemed perfectly happy--saying that the dip actually was a really good topping to the pasta.

By the time they were finished, all my other tables had left. They asked me for boxes, so I took them two boxes and the check. The wife promptly told me they weren't big enough and didn't we have bigger boxes. Normally, I tell people we don't and I'd bring her another ... but I'd just walked by them with a much bigger box (which is only supposed to be used for call-in carside orders) as a joke for another table.

So I trot to the back and get these boxes, which are much too big for what they've got--their food would've fit in the smaller boxes just fine. As I was walking up the woman rolled her eyes, I assume thinking I was just too stupid to bring the right size box or something. I explained we were out of any box sizes in between, and she seemed fine and started scraping her leftovers into the boxes. Her husband had disappeared at this point; she said something about he was "really hurting" and they had to get him home.

I cleared a couple of plates from a neighboring table that had left, and then came back. When I picked up their appetizer platter and two dinner plates, she still hadn't opened the book with the check in it. Just as I started to walk away with two armfuls of plates, she reached for it. I made a lap through the kitchen. All I did was drop the plates in the dish area and come back out, but when I came out the kitchen door I saw the woman was standing by the table, staring around. I hustled over there, but her book was gone.

"It disappeared!" I smiled at her, confused.
"I couldn't wait for you," she snapped, just as the manager came up with her card. I was confused--I'd been gone 45-60 seconds, tops. She was just emanating irritation, so I wasn't even expecting a tip. To my surprise, I got 15%, so I assumed she wasn't really that upset.

Oh, but she was. When I got to work today, I found out she'd e-mailed our corporate office. Allegedly, when she was ready to pay I was "nowhere to be found". Apparently, from now on they're only going to come in during lunch, "when the service is much better". And according to the email, they'll "refuse" to be served by me again.

All that's fine; clearly she's over-reacting, and I know that I didn't do anything wrong. What's really hilarious is that in the middle of this email she starts listing things she saw that supposedly mean I'm a bad server--such as the fact that tables around them got their food "out of order", and the fact that the people behind them sent their steaks back because they were under-cooked.

Well, the two tables next to them did get their food "out of order"--64 sat down before 63, but 63 got their food first. Because they had two salads, and 64 had appetizers before their steaks. And the people behind the complaining bitches did send their steaks back--but they weren't even my table. They just flagged me down as I was walking by, that was the extent of the communication I had with them was taking their steaks back to the kitchen.

So my boss had to call these people to "resolve" the issue, or whatever. Apparently, the wife wrote the email, but my boss talked to the husband. He repeated the things his wife said, and added some more idiocy. He said he's "ex-military surveillance" and he was "monitoring" the restaurant. I'm not sure exactly what he said about tables 31 and 32; we did have some issues there, but again, not my tables; and how the hell would he know what was going on when they were across the restaurant from them?

The most hilarious thing, though, is that the guy said that another table was stabbing their to-go box with a knife because they were pissed off! Uh, no; he was stabbing his box with silverware because he was a 23 year old punk. That table was emphatically not unhappy--two of the guys were buzzed, one was totally drunk, and their sober girlfriends were half-amused, half-embarrassed. They were laughing and joking with me the entire time. The guy just decided he didn't want to take the rest of his salad and decided to destroy the box because it was there.

But apparently, Mr. Ex-Military with the busybody wife decided that I was such a terrible waitress another table was stabbing things. Oh yeah. I am that bad.


Steven Nicolle said...

Unfreakin' real! To the extremes people go to to wreck a waiter's day. I hope your boss there backs you up.

G.H. said...

Agreed with Waiter Extraordinaire, management better back you up.

purplegirl said...

Oh, they won't. I bet when I get to work on Thursday there'll be a bunch of stuff posted about "guest perception" and we'll all get a pre-shift lecture about it.

I'm not even pissed about it--I'm mostly just amused that they have so little going on in their own lives they have to report back to a restaurant manager about what they "observed". :)

Steven Nicolle said...

For sure