Monday, May 21, 2007

Restaurant Etiquette

I hate bad customers. I eat out almost every day, and I have plenty of opportunities to see them. Sometimes they don't intend to be bad, but they still drive me as crazy as a bedbug.

CUSTOMER TO WAITRESS: "I will have..."

Now, how imperious does that sound? If I were the waitress, I'd say "Will you, Your Royal Highness? Great! And how is that getting to your table? OH! You mean "MAY I have..."


I want to turn around and say, "How does it feel to want? OH! You mean "MAY I have..."

And whatever happened to good old 'please' and 'thank you'? What: Because they're waiters or waitresses they are simply doing their job and don't deserve either? Remind your boss of that when you get into work tomorrow morning: No more 'pleases' and 'thank yous', they're totally unnecessary. Just doing our jobs, ma'am.

The other day I took a friend out for dinner. It was very late and they kindly let us be the last people seated. Apparently there was another couple seated just before us, and they were in the booth next to us. After the waitress took our order, one began griping VERY snottily and loudly about how THEY were there before us and still hadn't been waited on. Then he summoned the waitress with a crook of his finger and proceeded to complain to HER.

The waitress apologized graciously and took their order. When she left, he then went ON and ON and ON to his companion about how she needed a come-uppance and how DARE she wait on someone before THEY were waited on.

When the food was brought out, he then griped about the FOOD: Didn't she KNOW that it wasn't made this way? THIS was wrong, that SAUCE was wrong... and finally exploded in exasperation: "Oh, take it all away!"

When the waitress whisked the plate off with a promise to do better the next time, he then said some very nasty things about how incompetent she was.

My dining companion and I took it all in coolly, watching the entire scene play out. We would joke a little with the harried waitress (who gave excellent service and was actually VERY competent) and enjoyed our meal as we were entertained by the fool next to us.

At the end of dinner, we asked to speak to the manager. Within a short period of time, the manager came up to us, looking inquisitive.

"We just want to say," I began loudly, "that your waitress is JUST AMAZING! This woman is FANTASTIC! Where ever did you find her? She is graceful under pressure, can juggle multiple tasks and keep her cool, and is so very pleasant!" The waitress beamed from ear to ear as the table next to us fell silent.

The manager was delighted! He thanked us greatly for everything, said he wished we'd come again soon, and left to do whatever restaurant managers do. The waitress was so grateful she snuck us a free t-shirt and some Mardi Gras-type beads for our kids.

The man at the other table never said another word.

I tipped the waitress 30%. She deserved a gold medal.


Hans said...

What's the expression? "A person who is nice to you but not nice to the waitress is not a genuinely nice person." There is a lot of truth in that

daveawayfromhome said...

Yay! Good for you, Saur. That was a much better way to handle that. I would've just thought about calling the guy at the next table a prick (though I probably wouldnt have, since that's rude). Your's was a perfect solution.

The Lazy Iguana said...

I usually tip 20%. The math is easier.

If I do not like a place, I tip for the service and never go back to the dump again. I have to be served soup with a dead rat floating in it before I complain.

Matt said...

If i'm by myself, I'll say, "WE will have...."

Saur♥Kraut said...

Matt, Very impressive! ;o)

Lazy, I just realized my mistake. I meant 30%. I corrected it in the post. You're right, I usually tip 20% because not only is the math easier, it's easily spared (it's usually not much of a difference) and they surely earn it.

Daveawayfromhome, Thanks! I liked it, too. ;o)

Hans, You are so correct. It's how people treat those that they consider to be "lesser" beings that shows us what they truly are.

Mr. Grey Ghost said...

Great story! Waitresses are unappreciated and underpaid as it is, it's too bad that they have to deal with fools like that almost everyday.

Hans said...

Saur- The key is to never assume that someone is a "lesser" being until they prove themselves to be.

Follow the golden rule just like your parents tought you.

Senor Caiman said...


Once I had this hot young hostess try to sit me right outside of the bathrooms in an almost empty restaurant. I dragged the table into the mens room and told the hostess I really like the smell of the restrooms.

Excellent post.

The Lazy Iguana said...

I am just glad I do not use Sweet N Low. The stuff seems to always get stolen. I do not think anyone buys the stuff, they just steal it from Denny's.

ts said...

Having worked part-time as a waiter for four years, I'm glad to read your sentiments, Saur.

Valerie - Still Riding said...

I gave good service and I reward the same.

I may not get the grammer right but I have the courtesy down pat!

Bryan said...

Kudos to you, Saur. I'm glad you wrote about this topic and I couldn't agree more. I'm a little embarrassed to say though that I even have family members (not my wife or daughter) who sometimes lack common courtesy when it comes to dealing with waiters and waitresses. They're not floor mats -- they are people who often have to deal with very demanding and often rude customers, as your own experience at witnessing one such event points out.

And what you did to lift your waitress's spirits, and at the same time cause that offensive customer to take note of his miserable behavior, was most excellent!