How NOT to Handle Scammers

I hate scammers…people looking for a freebie at the expense of the restaurant.  It takes profits out of the owner’s pockets which means, sooner or later, it comes out of my pocket.  One of my biggest peeves is the free pie for birthdays when it’s NOT YOUR BIRTHDAY!  Even on a birthday it’s annoying.  It’s supposed to generate more dessert sales, but everyone at the table ends up sharing the free pie and the restaurant gets dick.  With that in mind, there was a situation last night that even I thought was handled poorly.

I had a nice younger couple in my section who I’ve waited on before, and they usually tip pretty well.  They were very polite and smiled a lot until the SW approached their table with water.  I was right behind her and I heard the man ask if we did anything for birthdays.  The SW asked, “Do you want me to sing, or what?!” which in my opinion was a pretty snotty response from someone who instituted the “smile or you’re fired” rule.  I would never say anything like that to a table.

Anyway, the guy asked if we gave out a free piece of pie.  The SW sorta stammered that we could…then the woman said that it was the guy’s birthday too.  This got the SW’s back up.  She asked if they were really both born on the same day.  The woman admitted that her birthday was the next day and the guy’s birthday was on Friday.  The SW told them to come back on their actual birthdays and we would give out free pie.  The woman meekly said they were leaving for spring break and wouldn’t be around.  The SW said, “I don’t have any sympathy for people who leave for spring break.”  My jaw hit the floor.  Holy shit.  She was trying to be funny, but it came off as rude and snooty.

Talking to a table like that is a guaranteed way for me to lose my job.  Her whole philosophy is she wants people to leave happier than when they walked in.  I’m betting those two didn’t leave happy at all, and since they left me a 5% tip, I’m willing to say it was all my fault.  What’s worse is the SW and I are both blonde and we were both wearing red shirts.  If they decide to call and complain, guess who’s getting the ass chewing.

While scamming pisses me off, there are ways to handle it without alienating the customers.  The SW needs to learn a little humility when dealing with the public or back off from my section before I go broke.


19 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. wigsf
    Mar 09, 2011 @ 17:08:17

    stupid witch

    I agree.


  2. Pancake Grrrl
    Mar 09, 2011 @ 17:18:39

    Scammers suck but I try to accomodate them the best I can because I rely on tips rather than sarcasm to make a living. What sucks more than scammers is poser managers who bully people more than they solve problems.

    No shit. Brush up on the people skills or go home. It’s fun watching her try to deal with the bullshit people hand out, but not at my expense.

    Thanks for stopping by and taking the time to comment!


  3. Onyx
    Mar 09, 2011 @ 18:48:15

    Ouch. There’s a restaurant here that does the “eat-free-on-your-birthday” deal, but you need to show identification.

    It’s coming to that with the pie, which is sad.


  4. Ahmnodt Heare
    Mar 09, 2011 @ 19:08:47

    I’m flabbergasted. I shouldn’t be shocked though. For all the talk managers give about customer service, many of them are not good at practicing what they preach.

    I nearly fell over. I was expecting her to volunteer all of us to sing…anything to please a customer…I was NOT expecting her to piss them off.


  5. Rachel
    Mar 09, 2011 @ 20:13:49

    Nice. Hypocrite. If you want to hold those under you to a silly standard, you should be able to handle mildly frustrating situations without being, oh, a bitch. She probably lost the restaurant regular customers over, what, a piece of pie?

    Most likely. I know I lost out on about $5 over a piece of pie. It’s not much, but it all adds up.


  6. DarcKnyt
    Mar 09, 2011 @ 21:02:58

    How fast do you think the free pie policy will go out the window? I’m thinking in three… two… one…

    Well, it should. I think if it’s that big a problem, it’s time to retire it. Sad faces and “Oh, sorry, we stopped doing that” will be much easier than this conversation was, don’t you?

    According to the SW, the free pie policy started one day without any approval and no one knows who started it. I’m betting it’s gone very soon, as it should be.


  7. Hira Animfefte
    Mar 09, 2011 @ 22:44:01

    Who is this SW woman and how did I miss her introduction? She sounds epic. This time, in a bad way.

    Shame on her for scaring off your tip!


  8. Serenity
    Mar 09, 2011 @ 22:46:36

    Wow, that’s just mean. Customers can be a pain sometimes, but that was just uncalled for. Me personally, if you’re out celebrating your birthday, be it that day, or a within a week or so, good enough for me. I know I can’t always go out on the exact day. I feel really bad for those 2. As for you getting in trouble, I’d say be proactive and let it slip to whoever would be complained to, the way SW spoke to your guests, and how should you handle it if that ever happens again? bc if you say something after it comes up ( if it does) it will just look like you’re trying to blame someone else. Lame.


  9. DarcsFalcon
    Mar 09, 2011 @ 22:55:42

    How much would 2 pieces of pie cost her? To encourage them to come back. And leave you a better tip.

    She has her back up over the free pie deal, and I understand that, however, she should have let me handle MY table. She doesn’t get why all the servers push her away from their tables and are borderline hostile about her in their section. Servers don’t like ANYONE at their tables. I’ve had coworkers “help” me and turn a happy table into a seething mass of rage in less than 2 minutes. If things are going to go bad, I want to be the one responsible not the one standing off to the side watching the train derail.

    Not sure how I feel about the pie policy – people will rip off any place that lets them, just like WIGSF was talking about in his post the other day.

    WIGSF is posting again?

    Still, she handled this poorly.

    And she’s going to drive up the water bill if she keeps filling up the glasses that I bet people mostly leave full when they walk out.

    People don’t like to be constantly interrupted during dinner. I cruise by my tables every 3-5 minutes, probably more often when we are slow. Then she shows up at their table every 2-4 minutes with water refills. I’d be pissed if I was interrupted that much.


    • Hira Animfefte
      Mar 09, 2011 @ 23:39:34

      Seriously, news of this SW’s woman’s exploits is filling me with disproportionate rage. It’s a good thing I live nowhere near yellowcat lest I break out my Avenging Stabby Fork. (Think of Alice’s Fist of Doom in “Dilbert.”) It’s usually used in my head to punish travesties in print (I’m talking newspapers here, who should KNOW BETTER!) such as misusing ‘flare’ for ‘flair,’ and ‘per say’ for ‘per se.’ How did Americans get so illiterate? Why are there no copyeditors? Why can’t I punish anyone for this? Do other countries suffer from this plague as well?

      I saw one on a bottle of shampoo the other day: ‘Soon moving to the Natural isle!’ It’s aisle unless you are talking about a chunk of land surrounded by water. Dumbasses.


    • DarcsFalcon
      Mar 10, 2011 @ 13:28:16

      Yeah, he wasn’t gone for very long. Click his name for all the WIGSFy goodness, he’s got his new blog name linked. 🙂

      It looks like I have some catching up to do.


  10. Hira Animfefte
    Mar 09, 2011 @ 23:32:08

    OK, forget what i just said. I just read Epic Intro to SW. Epic Bad. Yep.

    I am fond of the word ‘epic’ right now for some reason…

    It was tres douchey of her to say “Yeah, sure, free pie!” and then change her mind in mid-conversation. I think the No-Take-Backs rule applies here. I don’t buy ‘the customer is always right,’ but these customers did not sound like total jerks, and it could have been handled with diplomacy–frankly, ANY diplomacy at ALL. SW has the subtley of a box of rocks, and probably that intelligence level too.

    I’ve heard diplomacy is the art of saying, “Nice doggie…” while quietly looking around for a rock. It applies here. Make the customers happy, then change the policy. Or give her a piece of pie, but tell him he’s pushing his luck. There were a million better ways to deal with the situation.


  11. skippymom
    Mar 10, 2011 @ 03:30:55

    If I had heard my manager talk to my table in that manner I would be wicked apologetic [after she walked away.] That was completely uncalled for eventhough I have to agree with no free pie policy. It is like everyone says – you don’t walk into wal mart and tell them it’s your birthday and get a free shirt, do you? And you don’t ask the gas station attendant to sing to you, right?
    Sorry you lost the tip – there is really nothing you could’ve done after her little discussion. [And the only thing I could think when she made the crack about Spring Break was “Bitter much?” – what a hag.]

    HAHAHA! That’s exactly what I thought and that’s how it came out.


  12. mrgee
    Mar 10, 2011 @ 09:24:30

    Oh wow, what a pie nazi. I get that a lot of people abuse their pie privileges (hehe), but why piss off two good customers over something that trivial? Smiles and chit chat from SW aren’t going to help business if she’s going to a complete c***bag over stupid shit like that.

    Again, make the customers happy, change the policy later. Being confrontational over something trivial isn’t going to help anything.


  13. Sparty Girl
    Mar 10, 2011 @ 13:10:53

    I agree with everyone else… It sounds to me like these 2 weren’t even trying to scam, they were just asking the question. I bet if you’d said even something like “Is today the big day?” they’d have admitted whether it was or not and been just fine if you’d explained it wouldn’t fly. Or give them the pie and move on. What a waste.

    I wouldn’t have questioned her at all, but I would have said something funny like, “Dude…no pie for you.” I only get bitchy when it is an obvious scam (like the 8 people who tried for free birthday pie) or when people steal from the salad bar.

    And speaking of grammar, etc.: try grading 60 papers written by college freshmen sometime. I would pay someone to grade for the mechanices so I could just look at content. Sometimes I’m spending so much time on grammar and spelling that I have to read it three times just to be able to grade it.

    I remember TAing a class of freshmen and grading papers. All I could think was, ‘Do they teach anything in high school?!


  14. PurpleGirl
    Mar 14, 2011 @ 01:53:07

    Holy shit, what a dumbass bitch!

    No lie.


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