I am a bad, bad server.

A week ago I had a customer complain that his service wasn’t good. He said it took me 15 minutes to get to his table, he never got a drink refill, I never checked back on him and he didn’t get more ribs on the “All You Can Eat” rib night. I knew three fourths of this was utter bullshit and when my manager confronted me about it I misspoke and said the guy must have been pissed when he came in because he was rude when I approached the table. My manager went off on a tirade about how, according to the video tape, it took me 7 minutes to approach the table (what was I doing? Serving other customers!) and therefore the customer was justifiably mad. Also I was a liar because I didn’t know that he was mad when he walked in the restaurant. It didn’t matter that the customer was a liar regarding his drink refill and the fact that I checked on him at least 3 times after he received his food. It also didn’t matter that the kitchen f-ed up and didn’t cook the extra ribs after I asked for them twice. It didn’t matter that I offered the man extra ribs to go and apologized. No, the only important thing is I’m a liar. And that my manager “had” to give out a $40 gift certificate (the customer’s bill for that night was less than $30.)

So I am stuck off in Siberia until I can “prove I deserve to be in a good section”. Whatever.

Since I have plenty of free time to hang out at the cash register and help seat people, I have heard nothing but bitching complaints all night, every night. “The service was bad.” “The food was bad.” “The service and the food were bad.” “My server didn’t check on me.” “I didn’t get a drink refill.” “My server wasn’t very much fun.” “My server didn’t care when I told her my food was bad.” Some of my co-stars have received more complaints in a week than I have in the two years I’ve worked at this restaurant. A few of them have received more complaints in the last two days than I have in the last year.

So what is the deal? Is the word out that if you complain, you’ll get a free meal? Are people so damned impatient they can’t wait a few minutes for their fellow diners to be served? Are people so needy it takes forever to attend to them? Have people lost the concept of Wait Your Turn? Does our food really suck? (The size of my ass indicates no.) Why am I the only one out in Siberia? Do I even care?


1 Comment (+add yours?)

  1. blogmella
    Mar 17, 2010 @ 06:05:07

    This story captures some of the biggest differences between America and the UK.

    For a start, very few places here offer “refills”, so we have to pace ourselves when drinking with a meal – or pay for more. When an American friend of mine came to stay he almost had a panic attack at the idea his drink might be allowed to run out. SO funny.

    The free refill thing is within the last 5 years. I think it’s to compete with fast food restaurants which have unlimited refills. I remember pacing my drink with my meal or being prepared to pay for another.

    Secondly, if a manager here started using video tape, to tell off a staff member, he would probably end up in the European Court Of Human Rights, trying not to be sent to prison. We have cameras everywhere but we’re not allowed to USE them for anything.

    Security cameras here are the norm. They even have reality TV shows of employees caught on tape doing bad things. At times the tape is a blessing…like the night the woman said I attacked her and her son…other times it’s a real pain in the ass.

    Thirdly, your customers would EXPECT poor service and mutter about how intrusive you were if you kept checking on them.

    We are required to be intrusive, otherwise it’s called bad service. Sometimes I get the vibe from customers that they really want me to go jump off a cliff so I tell them I HAVE to bother them every 3 minutes or so.

    Fourthly, British people are proud of their “stiff upper lip”. So proud that you would almost have to shit on their dinners to get them to complain (apart from to other people at their table).

    I love foreigners for that. They basically want you to put their food and drinks on the table and F off. Unfortunately, foreigners don’t tip very well or at all because it’s a different system over there.

    Fifthly, your manager wouldn’t EVER have defended any customers to you, he would have agreed that they were assholes and told you not to give them an excuse in future.

    Here it’s all about the customer and the all mighty dollar. I believe that if more people were told off about their behaviour, we’d have better customers.

    “My server wasn’t very much fun.” made me laugh out loud. WTF? The server should be fast(ish, not as fast as your boss wanted) and efficient…But why FUN? I don’t got to a restaurant to hang out with the STAFF.

    Yeah, I didn’t know I was supposed to be the evening’s entertainment. Big chains require their servers to be peppy and annoying as shit, which is why I don’t eat at places like Appleby’s.

    Here your life would be much easier and probably the basic pay would be better. Your employer would have a HELL of a hard time trying to sack you too. BUT, the tips would be really scant.

    During the summer months I make an embarrassing amount of money in tips–usually $30-40 an hour. In the winter I’m down to $15-20 an hour. If my base wage was that high, I wouldn’t care about tips.


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