(An old treasure from my days in the apron ♥)
It was a quiet Friday night at work. The weather dictates how busy we’ll be, and it was overcast but warm, so the patio was half full of happy customers. With two tables a piece, the three of us were working hard to avoid hovering over the precious few determining our financial survival for the evening. Our first server was cut for the night and chatted with the rest of us while she did her closing work. My remaining coworker and I were enjoying the peaceful hum of being able to offer our customers our undivided attention to every detail they demand. People love, love, love to be coddled. Especially the people we enjoy the least.
This is where things went wrong.
Our first server sat someone on her way out the door… and neither of us heard her tell us about him. Neither of us noticed him sitting there watching the minutes tick by… and actually had no idea he wasn’t a lingering coworkers last customer, enjoying the last of his drink and the sunset.
Until he stormed out.
Instant confusion as we try to figure out what happened. I followed him to the parking lot and couldn’t find him. We realized after talking to the bussers that he’d been sat and watered, and left.
Horror is the only way to describe how you feel as a server when you realize you just walked by him until he left. We all help each other and communicate with each others’ tables. We are all responsible for making sure each guest has what he/she needs.
We are also human, and completely fallible.
So this abandoned man promptly went and left a nasty comment on Urban Spoon and God Dammit…. It’s completely valid and I feel horrible that he didn’t get helped. He was in a beautiful place, with excellent food and friendly, competent waitstaff.
All he had to do was open his mouth and speak.
While I completely apologize, I also would like to take a moment to make a PSA for how to behave in a restaurant. He is equally responsible for his bad time.
1. For the love of Pete… speak up. We are dying to provide you with everything your heart desires. We’re hellbent to deliver an experience that inspires you to over-tip us. We deal with mumbles, people on cell phones, screaming children, etc. Be a man (or lady) about it, and ask for what you want. His gripe online says he waited 45 minutes and left. Had he said anything, he would have had an amazing time. I would never sit for 45 minutes without asking for a server. 10 minutes, tops. If you haven’t been helped in ten minutes, we do not know you exist. Throw us a bone, speak up.
2. Touch that fucking table and die. This is a collective emotion. Do not rearrange tables unless we ask you to- and we will never ask you to. We know where the invisible section lines run, which tables seat most and the most convenient place to put you. Stop touching without asking.
3. This goes double for touching me. I have to smile through a lot of really awful behavior, rude comments and sexual advances. I can handle it all with grace, until you put your hands on me. I’m a server, not a prostitute. While I will do amazing things for you, none of them will include physical contact between us. Stay in your seat and keep your hands to yourself, please.
4. I have a regular who loves me, unfortunately. He requests me, and I grit my teeth and face it. He would be pleasant, except for the constant waving of his hand in the air at me, snapping his fingers or calling me from across the room. I hate the very sight of him… but he loves me. Sigh. We may be at work to serve and spoil you… but please treat us like human beings. I’m so annoyed by his snapping that I make him wait now. I’m at a loss of what to do other than retrain him or not reward his bad behavior. Like a bad dog.
5. We make a tipped wage, sanctioned by the government. I personally earn $4.50 an hour. Your ten percent tip, insults me. Those twenty five trips I made for your ranch dressing, sides of sauce/etc… mean you’re going to apologize financially and we’re going to be even. More than 20% stuns me and I thank people personally. There are nights I only make enough to pay the babysitter for enjoying my darling baby. I have a repeat offender that I recognize immediately. He spent $126.40 this week and left $130. Lame.
6. Oh Canada… please stay in your own country or educate yourself to the differences in gratuity practices. Running your feet raw for a table of Canucks is pure hell. Trying to casually mention your hourly wage is tacky… so instead we suffer through the 2% tip that after being taxed, basically results in our paying to serve your needy asses.
7. That pretty woman chasing you is our hostess. Get your illiterate ass back behind the large sign that says “PLEASE WAIT TO BE SEATED”. You passed it on your way in. You saw it, you just didn’t think it applied to you. Move it. If you don”t have a reservation, you are not allowed to throw a temper tantrum. Poor planning on your part does not constitute an emergency on our part.
8. If you have a food allergy, expect to wait longer. We think not killing you is important, so we are using clean pans, utensils, dishes, etc. If you are lying about it because you just don’t like an ingredient in something you ordered? You’re the reason we hate people with food allergies. We have no problem leaving something out of your dinner, but don’t make us bend over backwards to save yourself from looking picky. We deal with picky people every single day. You can’t scare us with your demands, but you can piss us off by lying about an allergy.
9. That apron I’m wearing is not a backwards cape. I do my best, but I’m human and fallible. I’m juggling an enormous amount of details and I do forget one now and then. I’ll be eternally grateful if you remind me. I’ll buy you a beer if you’re kind about it.
10. The hours posted on the door, online and every menu, aren’t suggested times. No you cannot come in before we open. Even if you want to sit with a beer and look at the menu. Would you ask the bank to let you in early? No. Same goes with closing time. We are exhausted and ready to drink to forget you. Get the fuck out. Do not come in five minutes before we close and do not stay afterwards. We hate you if you do. We will smile and invite you to make yourselves comfortable while we do our closing work. We don’t mean it. We love the people that know to get the hell out.
Thank you ♥