The Insane Waiter

Running wild on customers, chefs, owners and managers since 1997. I bring to you, The Insane Waiter. What do bring to your table? A crisp bottle of San Pellegrino ? Perhaps a lovely seared Sashimi Tuna? Start off with a wonderful bottle from Tuscany perhaps? Why I'll be more than happy to bring you your White Zinfandel and Chicken Caesar. No you can't order the mac and cheese off the kids menu and sorry no, we don't serve cheese sticks....

Monday, May 28, 2007

But the last time I was here...

“Yeah, this isn’t what I was expecting.” The woman at table 42 said to me as I checked on them.

She had ordered a veal dish served with a crab meat garlic cream sauce and garlic mashed potatoes, not really good make out food.

“Oh, I’m sorry, what seems to be the issue.” I asked.

‘Well this wasn’t what I was expecting, the last time I was here it was different.” She responded.
I rolled my mind’s eye, I knew exactly where this was going to go. She was three quarters finished with her entrée and looking for a comped meal, well I don’t comp unless absolutely necessary.

“Well ma’am, how was the dish prepared the last time you were here?” I asked.

“It came with pasta, like fettuccini or something, and it came with crab.” She said.

The dish had never came with pasta and while it had been garnished with small, split crab legs, they were only useful as a garnish as they had little meat, we had switched to several crab claws as the garnish for the time being as they add more color to the dish.

“Well ma’am, the claws have taken the place of the legs and there is crab meat in the sauce as well” I said.

“That’s not the way it was last time.” She said.

Now it is sometimes prudent to pick your battles, in the restaurant industry we might as well be the French Army since we surrender at the first sign of hostilities.

However I am neither French nor prudent.

“Perhaps you had a different entrée last time, perhaps a dinner feature.” I said diplomatically.

“No, no, no, I wanted pasta and instead I get this.” She said as she gestured toward the vague remnants of her potatoes.

Now I love it when the guest uses the phrase, “the last time I was here,” or, “well you did it for me last time,” generally the customer is full of shit when they utter this. Or if they’re right I don’t mind reminding them that this is this time, not last time. However, on this occasion I was sure, in fact 100% sure that the dish came out as it should have.

“Well ma’am I am confident that the dish was prepared properly, next time you come in if you want to request pasta instead of potatoes I am sure we can accommodate you.” I said. This was my last attempt at diplomacy.

“I don’t think I should have to wait until next time to receive what I ordered.” She snapped back.

“Ma’am, you received precisely what you ordered, would you like me to quote my written order?” I replied.

“No, I just want this to be what it should be.” She said.

“I can get you a menu to look at if you would like, the description is thorough and will match what you received.” I replied curtly.

“Well the menu has changed since the last time I was here, I was just expecting what I had last time.” She said.

“Ma’am, I assure you the dish always has been sided with potatoes since it was on the menu.” I responded.

“Maybe it came with pasta before you worked here.” She said, desperately trying to legitimize her claim.

“I’m afraid I have worked here from the first day we opened our doors” I replied.

“This still wasn’t what I was expecting.” She said stubbornly.

“Well that’s where we’re at then.” I said, recalling a compatriots way to end an argument. I smiled and left her with a quizzical look plastered on her face much like the drying mashed potatoes on her lapel.

This was one I was prepared to cut lose, sometimes you have to do that with a table. I wasn’t planning on much of a tip, but I wasn’t planning on comping her meal, which was prepared properly as well as eaten and frankly I didn‘t want to give her the satisfaction on any more of a debate.

Unfortunately she managed to flag down one of the managers, the writing was on the wall, we were going to pay for her dinner and I knew it.

Tim (not the same Tim from other stories, but all GM’s will be known as Tim) has sat with her for five minutes, as I traveled past the table several times, I caught pieces of their conversation, pretty much a replay of what happened earlier.

I caught up with Tim at the POS station (Point of Sale computer, or as well waiters call it, Piece of Shit).

“We’re not buying that entrée are we?” I asked.

“Sometimes you just have to smile and not, Secret.” Tim said.

“That’s horseshit, either she’s a scammer or an idiot, and I have respect for neither, we shouldn’t buy her shit.” I said angrily.

“Sometimes its best just to get them out the door, I’ll drop off the check.” Tim replied with a grimace.

“Fuck that.” I said, storming off. I made sure to swing by the table after they slid their shitty ten percent tip on their bill‘s discounted total.

“Thanks a lot folks, I hope to catch you next time.” I said with a smile and a nod.

The woman shirked back from me.

I patted the check, ”hope you got everything you wanted, have a good night,” I said still smiling.

I may have picked this battle and seemingly lost, but the moral victory belongs to me, I don’t comp shit unless its legitimate, and this certainly wasn’t


At 2:04 PM , Blogger Suz said...

Bullshit. In the biggest way, bullshit! I f'ing hate managers who comp a meal when no such action is required.

And I can't believe you didn't use my favorite "fuck off" tactic with customers in this category. It goes something like this: "I'm sorry, ma'am. It appears that you have consumed the meal that was presented to you. Had you notified me when I checked on you shortly after I delivered your meal, I could have corrected it."

Our manual says "Customers are not always right, but they are never wrong."

I say again, bullshit.

At 2:57 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm sure you checked up with them earlier (what is it, 2 bites or 2 minutes rule?). She should've said something then instead of eating most of it first and then complaining. I'd bet you don't see her in there again for a while :)

At 6:53 AM , Blogger Ray said...

So, how was the tip they left?

Hate folks like that.

At 8:41 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

I love you guys! Secret, I was cheering for you the entire time I was reading. I've never waited but I've seen pricks like that. I wish management would stand up for people like you because there's really nothing to lose. Most (you probably think I'm overestimating) customers are too decent to try shit like that, and the ones like that lady will try it every time even if you threw her out on her ass!

At 9:21 PM , Anonymous Jabes said...

I have to say that I'm blown away that she took her scam so far as to get a manager. I would think that she'd give it up when it didn't work with you. Wow.

At 1:41 PM , Blogger Steve said...

Good for you! You definitely should have stood up for yourself. I think your GM has a point, but sometimes the customer is so ridiculous that you have to take a stand.

Liquor Store Stories

At 3:51 PM , Blogger jali said...

What kills me is that she probably can afford the meal - she ate the meal, but she just HAD to be a bitch. I'm glad you stood your ground!

At 5:31 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Did you catch any fish?

At 3:45 PM , Blogger Gucci Muse said...

What a slob she must have been.

At 3:35 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

I guess when INSANE has a little more at steak then just making beer money and his name is on the building then he can throw the dirty BITCH to the curb. Most good G.M.'s feel the same way and sometimes it is better to get them out the door. The good news is once they have played the G.M. card they usually don't return and the tip does not improve if they do. So your G.M. might have fixed the problem for you.

Once again
J.P. and Thom D.

At 6:57 PM , Anonymous Patti said...

Don't ya wish you could just smack her upside the head... lol

At 8:11 AM , Anonymous D said...

why do you care so damn much? it isn't your money? is it your restaurant? i would rather shut the customer the fuck up. i never argue with them. i smile, say sure, we'll make it that way and call it a day. it's easier for me. i avoid getting emotionally involved with my tables.they want a fight, i am not going to give it to them.


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