Tuesday, September 1, 2015

Abusing Restaurants & Their Staff

I just quit my job and am finishing my two weeks’ notice this week. My last day is Thursday! I have one big proposal on my to do list, but other people are taking charge of it – leaving me with almost nothing to do.

In my boredom, I stumbled across the Behind Closed Ovens series on Jezebel. It features reader submissions about the worst customers they’ve ever had at their restaurants. I have never worked in the food industry, so I can’t connect with their stories on that level. But, wow. Some of these stories are absolutely terrible!

One girl that worked at a Subway shared a story about this older man who’d come in and flash her (!!!) if she didn’t give him free food. She would call the cops, but they wouldn’t do anything since he was already gone by the time they got there. When she’d call them right when he got in the store, they wouldn’t come out because he didn’t do anything wrong yet. (Hello, what the hell kind of cops are these?! Flashing someone is illegal, right?) Anyway, how did she get back at him? One night he came in and she just pulled cookies out of the oven. He demanded free cookies, and already had his zipper down and ready to flash if she said no. She told him, “Of course you can have cookies” and she took the hot pan and threw it at him. He was covered in cookies and melted chocolate. He never came back to her store.

Another waitress told a story about a group of youngish guys she waited on at an upscale steak house. They all ordered the most expensive item on the menu and each drank numerous drinks. Throughout their meal, they’d go out for a smoke break, but they made sure to leave a cell phone or wallet as collateral to show they’d be back. Once they were done with their food, she asked if they’d want dessert. Of course, they all ordered dessert and another drink or two to end their night.  They also requested she split their check since they were paying separately. She divided the checks and handed them to the guys. A couple of them went out for another cigarette while some stayed around to finish their dessert. Then those guys went outside for a cigarette, leaving behind a cell phone and wallet. The waitress was closing up the restaurant and getting ready to go home. She kept checking on the table and after ten minutes decided to look outside to see if they were ok. They were GONE! Her first thought was about the cell phone and wallet that they left on the table, so she went back to the table and discovered… fake. The cell phone was plastic and the wallet was empty.

Kevin took me out for burgers the other night at one of our go to places, a neighborhood bar/restaurant down the street from our apartment. We were sitting by the waitresses’ cashier and bar area and overheard one of the waitresses complaining about a table. She said that these people come in all the time (Friday is karaoke night), and that they claim it’s one of their birthdays every time. I actually heard when the guy came up to the waitress to tell her secretly that it was so & so’s birthday, so it would be great if they could get a piece of cake. The waitress responded with, “Wasn’t it her birthday like last month?” When the guy walked away, the waitress went on to say that every single time they come in, the lady eats half of her food and then complains that it was terrible – so that she can get it for free. Who do you think you are? The waitress is working for tips. It’s really rude of you to take up her time and a table and then refuse to pay for something after you obviously enjoyed half of the meal.

I’ve had some pretty terrible waiters and waitresses (who hasn’t?). I once had a waiter tell me he was just in a car crash and had a concussion, but he was okay to work. He asked us about a billion times what we wanted to eat and drink. And then he kept forgetting to put the food order in. Finally, we got our food. Of course it wasn’t anything like we ordered, but at that point – after waiting for over an hour – we were just happy to get anything. Did I mention it took like 30 minutes just to get some water from this guy when we first sat down? I would maybe, probably understand if the place was packed and he was understaffed for the night. But this was a random weekday evening and there were about 5 full tables in the whole restaurant. He was only serving two, including ours.

Even with that terrible waiter I couldn’t imagine acting like these people in these stories.  In fact, we just laughed to ourselves, wondered if he really had a concussion or was just the worst waiter in the world, paid our check with a tip, and left with full stomachs.

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