Monday, February 21, 2011

As supportive as a cupless jock strap.

Most of my Thursday shift was a big blur. I was sick, and I'd gone in to work out of a sense of stubbornness, and also because I thought they'd hear how horrible my voice was, or see how pale and sweaty I was, and send me home. Because they really have been better about that lately. It took a customer writing to corporate saying they were disgusted that such a sick person was working, but they've been better!

But, HotPants sucks, so I ended up staying. I could talk normally in very short bursts, so I could really only tend to one table at a time before having to go to the kitchen and cough up a lung. But I was managing. Oh, I fucked up a couple of times. Once I forgot to mark a burger to go -- would actually would not have been a problem, had my idiot coworker who dropped it off bothered to take it back to the kitchen and box it up when my customer told her it was to go. Instead, she said, "Okay!", dropped the plate on the table, and walked away. Thanks much. That table was fine, though; I apologized and got them a new burger, and got a $7 tip on a $30 bill.

The other table I fucked up on was even cooler about it. They had ordered their two kids' food first, and theirs about ten minutes later. Well, I kept seeing their table number filled in on my screen and registered that as "order in." It took me about twenty minutes to realize I'd hadn't ordered their salads! So I rang them in right away, scurried out, apologized and told them it was my fault, got them soups on the house, and got HotPants. I was cleaning a nearby table and heard the woman tell him, "We were very impressed that our waitress told us it was her mistake and didn't try to blame anyone else. We really appreciate her honesty." Thank you!

I think I made one other little mistake, but basically I held it together pretty well considering how shitty I felt. I asked a friend if I had a fever, and when she touched my forehead she jerked her hand away and said she could feel my head throbbing! I was really miserable late that night, I nearly called my mother to have her take me to the ER. I don't know how high my fever was, just that I was in pajamas, wrapped in a down comforter, with my heater up to 75, and I was shivering so hard my teeth were chattering. I also had such a bad headache I couldn't see at times. Yeeeeeehaw!

Anyway. What really pissed me off during my shift involved a table that didn't even have any problems I knew about. They were a table of four; they weren't terribly friendly, but didn't seem upset or cranky. They sat down and ordered during the middle of our rush; two of them had soups first, one of them ordered two meals, and another ordered well done fajitas. Their food did take a while, but it didn't seem like an extreme wait to me considering the circumstances. I kept walking by, making eye contact, smiling. They continued talking amongst themselves; their drinks were never empty; they seemed content.

Another server delivered their food while I was apologizing to the burger table and ringing that order in. When I went out to the four-top and asked how dinner was, nobody made eye contact. The one man at the table said "Fine" very shortly and stuck a credit card in my face. I made a little joke about "no dessert, huh" trying to feel them out, and he just snapped "No!" and jammed more of those well-done fajitas into his mouth.

Well, last week we all got a lecture about going to the managers whenever anything was wrong, so that's what I did. I stopped at the computer first and checked their ticket time; 36 minutes since I'd entered their order. A little long, but with soups and well-done fajitas? Not worth getting riled up about.

The fun part came with trying to get HotPants to take care of this shit. He was helping cook, so I had to holler across the window at him in my scratchy, sick voice. It took a good three minutes to explain I thought they were upset about the wait, and I already had their credit card. He asked if they had just gotten their food, and I said yes. At which point he swung into action told me to wait a few minutes and walked away! Fuck! I gathered up a couple of things, waiting for him to come back.

"I already have his card," I reminded him. He blinked at me and then walked around the cooks and toward the dining room. Thank god. Then he stood and looked at my table's ticket on the computer, then looked over at them. Then he asked if I'd offered them dessert.

"No," I said as calmly as possible, "I wanted you to talk to them first."

"Okay," he said ... and walked back into the kitchen. I was ready to fucking scream. The guy who had given me his card was looking around, obviously getting more pissed.

I followed Hotpants back in to the kitchen again. "Do you want me to just run his card?"

"No." he stopped and stood there, staring at nothing, then went back into the dining room. He finally headed toward my table, and I started to relax ... until he glanced at them as he walked right by. Then he turned around, walked by without talking to them again, and came back to where I was standing, starting to totally freak.

"Did you take them boxes? They're not eating at all."

"No! They'd just gotten their food and were eating!"

"Okay." he pulled their ticket up on the computer again, stared at it, closed it, and went back to the table. This time he stopped, but didn't really talk to the guy, because he was only there about ten seconds I think he just asked if they wanted boxes, then came back and said, "He's not a very nice guy, is he."

I wanted to snap and scream that of course he wasn't, and he was getting meaner because I'd had his credit card for more than five minutes now while HotPants was dicking around. I think I managed something a little more diplomatic. So HotPants fiddled with their check, printed it out, and started to walk away.

"Wait! I already have their card!"

He took it and tucked it in the book and started walking away. I called him back again, got the ticket closed, and let him take it to them. Again, he didn't really talk to them, just delivered it and walked away unconcerned. I watched them leave, knowing before I even picked up the checkbook that a) I'd been stiffed and b) they'd taken their receipt with the corporate survey and the regional manager's direct number on it. Yep.

I wrote a brief note of the events and have it tucked into my serving book; if I get hauled into the office on a customer complaint about this, you can bet I'll be telling them exactly how unhelpful HotPants was. I am not going to go down in flames because my table was unhappy when I don't even know why! I'm only guessing it was the wait, maybe they found something in their food, or maybe they heard one of my coworkers say something offensive, or maybe they could tell I was sick. Who the hell knows? That was HotPants' job to find out, and he didn't even bother.


SkippyMom said...

I am so terribly sorry you are sick. It sounds heinous. You should not be working.

I am glad the other tables were okay - they obviously realized you were sick. The last guy just hasn't had sex in...forever and is a cranky s.o.b.

Take care and get better soon. Doctor sounds like a good idea if you don't get well soon. [that's the Mom in me.]

Kari said...

When I worked at this little Irish Pub shit was constantly getting fucked up by the kitchen. I realized one day that customers always thought better of me if I told them I screwed up and not the kitchen. They always think if you blame the kitchen you're lying. Never once, in all the times I lied and said it was my fault was I stiffed. People loved that I was so 'honest'. People are so easy.

Elizabeth Singleton said...

Cranky, the blog world is new to me but I need to tell you I LOVE your blog. You are too funny, and I enjoy reading your stories. I am always shocked (yet not surprised at the same time) at how people can treat other people in this world. It makes me sick. I would never put people serving me whether in a restaurant, store etc. through the shit some people do. I've worked in new home customer service for 15 years and boy the stories I could tell about how stupid and rude people are, are endless. People need to learn friggin' respect and common courtesy. Keep the stories coming, and I hope you feel better soon!

DMT said...

I wouldn't worry too much, that table was probably just a random shower of wankers. Some people are just mean for no reason they go around in a bad mood and take it out on everyone around them, I've met my fair share of them.

Ps Get well soon :)

Kara Hoag said...

What a fucking moron. At least the other tables were nice, but good lord your manager could have done better.

visions unto myself

purplegirl said...

SkippyMom, I was off Friday and I called in Saturday. I should've just called in Thursday too, but I'm so afraid of getting fired over something stupid!

Kari, I've noticed the same thing. I don't always claim responsibility (although I always apologize), I try to avoid blaming anyone at all.

Welcome, Elizabeth! I think any job involving customer service has its share of jerks. I'm sure when dealing with something as stressful as home ownership people get even more pissy!

DMT, I'm more worried about HotPants' utter lack of regard for the situation!

Kara, you're exactly right. He sucks!

aneducatedserver said...

I hate that it's always the crappy guests who can't wait to get home and fill out a negative survey (probably hoping that they'll get some kind of discount to come back and give yet another bad report). I wish they would just take their crappy attitude and cook/eat at home.

I'm sorry that you don't feel well. A lot of people at my job have also been sick, so I know how hard it can be to come in when you just don't feel 100%. Get better soon!

Elizabeth Singleton said...

New homeowners are the crankiest customers I've ever dealt with! The thing is, most of the crankiness on their part comes from lack of knowledge of the home buying process and what they are paying for. It amazes me how many of them are making the biggest purchase they'll ever make in their lives and they don't read their warranties. They probably read their toaster warranty more thoroughly!