Monday, May 10, 2010

Rude Waiters/Waitresses

We don’t eat out too often, for a few reasons, but mainly because of these two:

1) We prefer homemade food and there’s only so much restaurant cooking we can handle

and

2) The food budget would be blown quickly because eating out is costly.

That being said, when we do go out to eat, we want to be able to relax and enjoy our meal. And a major contributor to reaching that goal, aside from tasty food, is by receiving courteous and friendly service. Because as many of you know, bad service can end up ruining your dining experience; it causes discomfort, indigestion and frustration.


Fortunately, most of our restaurant experiences over the years have been positive ones. The majority of the servers have been extremely pleasant, efficient and impressively attentive. And while I don’t need a waiter or waitress to hover over me by dropping by every few minutes to ask if everything is okay and constantly interrupting whatever conversation is going on, I also don’t like when they disappear until it’s time to bring you your bill – and collect their tip. And I certainly don’t appreciate an unpleasant or impatient server who is seemingly bothered by your presence because, for whatever reasons, they’ve decided they don’t like you. Or because there are 100 other things they’d rather be doing. Or because they got up on the wrong side of the bed.

And it’s okay if you don’t like the people you’re serving as long as you don’t show them you don’t like them. And it’s also okay to want to be doing 100 other things than serving the public that you may or may not like as long as the public you are serving (that you may or may not like) isn’t blatantly made aware of that. And every one of us has occasionally gotten up on the wrong side of the bed but it’s not someone else’s problem.

Because the bottom line is that if you’re serving people, you should remain objective. Don’t make it personal. It’s a job. And it’s a job that requires you to be courteous and attentive. And if you can’t be courteous and attentive to the public, simply because you’re not the type of person who is capable of being courteous and attentive to anyone, don’t work directly with the public. Find a job that doesn’t require much, if any, contact with people. Especially where serving food is involved. And if you don’t like the people you are serving, who cares? Your personal opinion of them doesn’t mean diddly-squat, and as long as they’re well-mannered and not abusive towards you, provide them with the service they expect – and pay for. They’re not there to be your friends; they’re there to be served in a courteous manner, which, incidentally, is part of your job description.

I am venting because of a recent experience my husband and I had at a popular seafood restaurant that will remain nameless because the majority of our dining experiences there have been positive ones. In fact, they have been so positive that this one negative experience from a server actually stunned us. He was so inhospitable that we felt as if we were bothering him just by being there. I said to my husband at one point “Well, he’s certainly not the warmest cookie in the oven” We chuckled about that but it didn’t take away the fact that throughout most of our meal, we felt uncomfortable, which took away from our being able to relax and enjoy our food.

The problem is that both my husband and I are kind of shy, polite (perhaps a little too much) and somewhat passive, and because of that, we never stopped smiling at this Neanderthal, or stopped thanking him for the little – and boorish - service he did provide. That was very stupid on our part because we didn’t have to put up with this type of treatment, and we certainly didn’t have to thank him for it; as paying customers we should have requested another server or to be moved to a different section of the restaurant where a new server would be assigned to us. But since we don’t enjoy conflict or drawing attention to ourselves or getting someone into trouble, we swallowed that bitter pill. Yes, that was not very smart on our part.

And what’s really funny is that when our meal was pretty much over and we were very close to receiving our bill, Mr. Frigid started being a little more attentive; not enough to make a dent, mind you, but certainly a little more than he showed during the entire evening. I think it would be safe to assume that the motivator for this sliver of courtesy was the upcoming tip he expected us to leave him. Well, he did get tipped the bare minimum (I know, I know, he should have received far less), but we swore that the next time we dined in that restaurant, we would insist on being moved if he was serving us. One evening of indigestion is more than enough.

I’m going to end this post by leaving a message to all the rude waiters and waitresses out there:

If you’re going to serve customers, leave your opinions, problems and negative feelings at home. None of your customers are in the mood to deal with them; they’re not there for that. They’re there to enjoy a pleasant meal in a pleasant environment, and you have no right (or acceptable reason) to impose your bad attitude on them simply because you have something up your *behind* - temporarily or permanently. And if you can’t be decent to the public, do something else for a living.

Damn it.

And that’s all I have to say about that.

6 comments:

  1. He would not of received any tip from me.

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  2. OMG Martha ... what on earth happened and we all know where you ate girl !
    WOW !!! .. I don't think that has ever happened to us yet .. now I will be watching ??? LOL
    Joy
    I know ... John and I ? ... we would not leave a tip .. and in fact, we probably would have said something .. in a few more years, you and George will be more like us ? LOL

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  3. PS ... if we would have been there with you at that time ?
    You guys would have crawled under the table while we hashed out this server's attitude ? LOL

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  4. Gosh, I'm so sorry you and your husband had such a bad experience, Martha. As a shy, polite, somewhat passive person myself, I can relate to your initial reaction. I've done the same myself and kicked myself later. But don't kick yourself too much over it. I hope it never happens to you again, but I'll bet if it does, you and your husband won't put up with that kind of crap again.

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  5. Love this post. And for the perspectives from the other side of the table check out the hilarious and touching www.waiterrant.net.

    And while I'm not a very shy person, I too have been oddly passive a few times in my life when it comes to bad service. Which is okay, I feel free to tip poorly if the service is awful.

    Also it's not too late, you can always send a polite letter to the manager and let them know of the situation. They can't fix a problem they don't know of.

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  6. Crafty gardener, in all honesty, he shouldn't have received a tip at all from us; he certainly didn't deserve one. Live and learn.

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    Joy, I've been to this restaurant (we all know which one I'm talking about) quite a few times and this is the first server I've encountered that was about as lively as pet rock...LOL... He was a sour-faced guy who could barely manage a smile, let alone come by once in awhile to see if we were okay or if we needed something. His service was just lousy.

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    Beth, we tend to do that once in awhile; we're a little too polite for our own good at times. We do have our limits, though. I remember one time we went out with the kids and this woman that served us was so blatantly cold and rude that I was furious by the end of the meal. When we paid the bill, I told my husband not to tip her. I took the bill from him and wrote "No service, no tip". It's rare that I do something like that, so you can just imagine how bad the service was.

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    Tatiana, there are a lot of bad customers too, so I can certainly appreciate the other perspective. But hubby and I are so easygoing and polite that moments like this really upset me. We certainly don't deserve it.

    And you're right; it's never too late to submit a polite complaint so the manager of the place can know what happened.

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