I am a reasonable customer to serve at a restaurant. I rarely ask for dishes to be specified to my liking with the exception of no hard boiled eggs in my Cobb salad and no nuri in my ramen. If I don’t like ingredients used in a dish, I tend to order something else. I don’t send food back to the kitchen unless it’s completely raw (medium rare should be halfway between rare and medium) or they’ve given me the wrong item.

I don’t make stupid jokes like saying that I’m LA and I’ll be there customer today. I don’t clean the plate and say I hated it. I don’t get mad if they forget something for a moment, or if it takes five minutes longer to get something. I am polite and respectful and try to make their job as easy as possible because food services is a really tough industry.

But then there was one particular experience…

My friend and I share a theater subscription and we always choose matinee performances. We always do brunch beforehand.

We went to a restaurant that I’ve been to before. Burgers and salads and yummy stuff. I like this place and have always had good service.

Until this one time…

So we sit down and are brought water. Fine. My friend asked if she could get lemon for her water. It took three times asking and eventually the waitress brought lime. I can totally excuse this.

I had asked what the hot tea selection was, and the waitress recited the tea types that they had. I asked for English Breakfast with milk and sugar. After bringing my friend her coffee, it took her two asks to get me my tea. Of course, when she did bring tea it was iced… not hot. But I can forgive this and I’m not going to get mad.

My friend has a food allergy. When she ordered her dish she asked if it was made with the ingredient, and if it was, she would order something else. I ordered my meal, as it appears on the menu. We asked to split an order of sweet potato fries.

The waitress came back and told my friend that the kitchen couldn’t accommodate her request on dish X. That’s great, but my friend had ordered dish y assuming it didn’t contain allergen.

Ten minutes later waitress came back and said that dish Y didn’t contain allergen. All was right with the world.

We get served an order of onion rings. Of course we ordered sweet potato fries.

Ten minutes later my friend gets her meal delivered by the busser. We tell him we didn’t order onion rings but sweet potato fries. I was served nothing. When I asked the busser shook his head.

Five minutes go by. I still don’t have a meal.

I tell my friend to start eating.

Sweet potato fries served. I ask about my meal and busser says nothing. I ask to see the waitress.

Five minutes go by.

I spot the waitress and flag her down and tell her I haven’t received my meal.

Five minutes go by. Nothing from waitress.

Another few minutes I spot the waitress. I tell her I still don’t have my meal.

Five minutes.

No meal.

As stated, I’m easy in a restaurant. I get that stuff happens…but really…my patience is tested…

I go to the woman who appears to be somewhat in charge of things. I tell her that my friend was served twenty minutes earlier, I’ve asked the waitress twice, and I still don’t have a meal…

Manager type is visibly upset about this and runs to kitchen. I finally get my meal about five minutes later.

What I assume was the general manager comes to the table to profusely apologize for the issue with my meal. I am appreciative of this, but at this point I tell him every single mistake the waitress made. I don’t like doing this, but really, it was probably the worst service I have ever received in a restaurant.

I admit we left an incredibly small tip, and I seriously thought about leaving nothing at all…

As I saw the waitress vaping outside the restaurant, I did wonder why exactly we thought making pot legal was such a good idea. But that’s a whole other blog…

76 thoughts on “Service with a Smile but not much else

      1. I do recall something similar happening to me once when the children were small! We took them to EuroDisney and spent the night there. We all ordered off menu and the three of them had all finished their food by the time my cold order arrived – and to add insult to injury, it was not even the dish I ordered!! 🙄

        Liked by 1 person

  1. How frustrating. I doubt that waitress is going to last very long. Her work commitment to her job apparently is non existent.
    In regard to legalizing pot. I can only speak from the point of view of a cancer patient. Chemo makes me incredibly sick and nauseous. My doctor prescribed medical marijuana gummies for me and while I only use the gummies and nothing else, they are miraculous. They keep me from non stop vomiting after treatment and then I do not have the horrible headaches that nausea pills give you. I have no desire to get high. I just hate being so sick and the gummies do help lessen the discomfort. So I do feel people suffering with illness should be in a whole different category.

    Mean time your blog made my mouth water fir sweet potato fries lol.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Here’s my thing about vaping. In a controlled environment whatever. But people seem to think it’s harmless, and I see people vaping all the time in the middle of the workday. Would you want a teacher or doctor/nurse or bus driver vaping throughout the day? I don’t think people are responsible and take into account that it is a drug. But thats a whole other thing

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I was terrified that this story was going to end with your friend in anaphylactic shock and no epi pen handy waiting for EMS. Thank god the one thing done correctly was her food. I would not go back there again, until I knew that specific waitperson was no longer employed, or at least on a different shift.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. When I was writing this post on Monday I asked my friend if I had remembered all the flubs, and we did laugh about it because the experience was new levels of awful…but yeah…it was ridiculous

      Liked by 2 people

  3. I am amazed at your patience. Yes, staff can get things wrong, mistakes happen but your experience was totally unacceptable. I’d have expected your meal to be discounted or even not charged. I certainly would not have left any tip and if a service charge was added to the bill, I’d remove it.

    I’m like your friend with various food allergies, and yes it is something that should be taken very seriously. But there is just no excuse for your whole experience

    Liked by 2 people

  4. They are screaming for staff here in the food industry and in my view probably keep people on they shouldn’t because at least it’s staff…

    I don’t know. Doesn’t sound like a good experience at all. And I get it, I too am quite forgiving with server staff…

    Liked by 1 person

  5. I’m pretty gracious and understanding too, but I would have been even more upset than you over those many transgressions. That’s ridiculously bad service. You’d have been well within your rights to leave no tip at all.

    Liked by 2 people

  6. Wow, that is epically bad. I’m not sure I’ve ever heard a worse restaurant experience. It sounds like you handled it incredibly graciously. The vaping angle at the end — so interesting.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. My favorite tea story was in New Mexico…we went for breakfast and asked for hot tea. The waitress asked if she should put the iced tea in the microwave…

      Liked by 3 people

      1. Ha ha. When I was in New Orleans a few years ago, I walked half an hour to McDonald’s because I figured they would have hot tea. The young person behind the counter looked at me like I had lost my mind. Since then, I learned that Starbucks will make a “normal tea” like English breakfast if you ask them. The person who told me that is my new best friend.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. How to make hot tea? That is hysterical. In defense of New Mexico, next time you are there make a reservation at the very classy St. James Tearoom in Albuquerque. In fact, look up their web page; I think you would enjoy the virtual trip as I do when you post tea experiences in NYC.

        Liked by 1 person

  7. My mom was a waitress for at least 30 years. So I’ve always tried my best to excuse poor service. But there are times, such as what you experienced, that patience can only go so far. It sounds like you tolerated more than most people would, so kudos to you.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. We were in the middle of a meal once, and needed our server for refills and such. No server. For the rest of the meal, no server. She ghosted us. I couldn’t figure it out. She seemed really attentive at first!

    Then I look over the railing to the bar downstairs, and she was sitting *at* the bar, having a drink with some guy who looked old enough to be her dad!

    I left her no tip, with a note that said I usually tip well but could not do so since she obviously ghosted us, of her own personal choice.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Stuff happens. Everybody is entitled to a bad day. Restaurants in general have them too. It sounds like you were very patient, maybe even too patient, but I think you handled it well from what you wrote.
    I do have to wonder though. Waitressing can be tough. Not for everybody. Now that businesses like restaurants are so short staffed and people have become so selective about jobs they are willing to take, maybe you were were just served by a couple who would be better off at something else. You were perfectly within your rights to vent to the manager and I get the impression that you were forceful but reasonable. Small tip? Oh well. You get what you give.

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Yea, I was waiting for a food allergy to kick in too. That waitress did not have her head in the game. Period. You sound like me when I go out to eat. I can make a lot of allowances if they’re understaffed. But that girl needs to find a different gig.

    Liked by 1 person

  11. No tip would probably have been most appropriate. Just as your story brings up the marijuana issue, it also brings up the whole tipping subject. My husband pointed out recently that the suggested tip rate on a recent meal started at 18%. I could make a fairly good argument for and against tipping in general. I think, however, that the current push to raise the tip percentage is flawed thinking. The idea is that inflation is high so we need to tip more, but if the bill is higher and you are already tipping on a percentage basis, then the server will automatically receive more.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. In nyc they’re starting the tip rate at 22%…don’t get me started on that….plus, when I go to a store to buy something prepackaged don’t ask me if I want to tip….that’s my real beef

      Liked by 1 person

  12. I wouldn’t have left a tip period. I had a similar experience at an outdoor restaurant with two friends – we went at 10:45 as my friends wanted to order off the breakfast menu, whereas I would do the lunch. We explained this to her, but she snapped and said the lunch menu didn’t start until 11. I was okay with that, and asked her what the daily special was, and she said didn’t know. She took my friends order, and they were served and then I waited half an hour for her to return with the lunch menu. I finally ordered, waited another half hour (my friends were done by then) and was served a bowl of congealed orange grease which was supposed to be lobster mac & cheese. My friends tried it, and we all agreed it was inedible. I managed to flag the waitress down (there are only ten tables outside on the patio), and she said that was the way it usually was. So, I have to go to work at 2pm for the evening shift and I need to eat something, so I go inside and see someone wiping down a table and ask to speak to a manager, and she said she was the manager, so I explained all this – with emphasis on her rude and snappy manner – and the manager asked me what else she could get me and she brought me a BLT at no charge and apologized. The weird thing is the rude waitress worked at my favorite steakhouse for years, (I recognized her but don’t think she knew me as we only went their on birthdays), and she was always perfectly pleasant. The manger rolled her eyes and said the waitress was having a bad day – and I said – yes I could tell! After all that, the BLT wasn’t even that good, and overpriced at $20. I never went back to the restaurant, even though it’s the only one in the city on the waterfront. A nice view could not make up for that experience.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. PS. I have no problem sending a steak back if it’s too rare, which it usually is! I figure if I’m paying that much money, it has to be the way I want it and I’m always specific, not burnt but no pink.

      Liked by 1 person

    2. It’s just ridiculous that you were treated that way. The waitstaff doesn’t have to become my new best friend, but just do the job in an efficient manner. It irks me

      Liked by 1 person

  13. Ouch. Wow. I wouldn’t have the patience you had with so many errors i would have been an incredibly loud patron and definately wouldnt have left a tip.

    Liked by 1 person

  14. I eat out often and am very sympathetic toward the wait staff. Most of the staff at our “regular” restaurants greet us by name, even if we aren’t sitting at their table. That being said, you were more patient than I would hav been in your place. The problem is everywhere: lack of workers mean restaurants and stores are hiring anyone they can, whether they’re qualified or not and whether they’re able to do the job or not. And everyone suffers.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yes…there’s a shortage of workers and I’m willing to accept the learning curve. I feel for businesses that can’t get help. But…you have to at least try

      Liked by 1 person

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