I’m Sorry, We Cannot Accommodate That Request

by admin on February 16, 2011

I recently witnessed one of the tackiest, most disrespectful expressions I have ever seen.

The other night while dining in a nice restaurant, there was a rather large party taking place in a somewhat secluded area. They were quite loud, and we could overhear bits and pieces of what was going on, which did not bother me at all, but my date and I gathered this:

One woman was quite drunk. She approached a manager asking why she had not received the most recent drink she ordered, and he very kindly explained to her his legal obligations not to serve her alcohol at this time. She flipped out, demanding her next drink, and all others in her party angrily joined her ranting and raving. Eventually all this stopped and the manager was no longer at their table. During our meal, I excused myself to the ladies room just as this larger party was leaving. The drunk woman walked up to her server and said “Yes, I’d like to order a ‘kiss my ass’ with a side of ‘suck it’!” What an awful thing to say! The server kindly replied, “I’m sorry, but the kitchen is actually out of that right now.”   1115-10

{ 58 comments… read them below or add one }

ferretrick February 16, 2011 at 1:08 pm

Awesome. I’d have left the server a big tip.

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TONI67 February 16, 2011 at 1:16 pm

Why do people think that they are funny when they are being rude and obnoxious? I think the server acted with style.

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Kat February 16, 2011 at 1:23 pm

Haha, that server is my new hero!

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Cydrius February 16, 2011 at 1:28 pm

Love the server’s answer. You can tell he’s seen it all.

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Just Laura February 16, 2011 at 1:28 pm

That server has the patience of Job. Good for the manager for being responsible for both the restaurant and the drunk people by cutting them off.

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gramma dishes February 16, 2011 at 1:30 pm

Kudos to the server for his/her quick thinking and for maintaining his/her composure in a very awkward situation.
Anybody want to place bets on whether or not this lovely group left a tip?

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Caper February 16, 2011 at 1:34 pm

Once they started getting rowdy, management should have kicked them out.

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Leslie Holman-Anderson February 16, 2011 at 1:36 pm

The server, sad to say, probably had that come-back ‘on tap’ because he’d been told that, or something like it, or something even worse, many times. And not just by drunks.

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ashley February 16, 2011 at 1:56 pm

Thats terrible :( Nice comeback from the waiter though lol
He was probably really happy to see them go.

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BusyBee February 16, 2011 at 2:01 pm

That waiter is amazing and deserves a round of applause.

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happy February 16, 2011 at 2:07 pm

HA!

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MetalRose February 16, 2011 at 2:19 pm

If I would’ve seen it, I would’ve thrown the sever an extra $10 tip just for being so cool and smart, even if s/he wasn’t my server.

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Chocobo February 16, 2011 at 2:21 pm

An etiquette breach coming from an inebriated person: surprise, surprise. I like the server’s response.

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essie February 16, 2011 at 2:21 pm

Hooray for the server!

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Calliope February 16, 2011 at 2:56 pm

Oh, I hope she was embarrassed in the morning. What a peach.

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b-rock February 16, 2011 at 2:57 pm

Wow, that’s class right there! However, I did enjoy the server’s response. It’s highly unlikely that server was tipped anywhere near appropriately, which is too bad. But good for him/her for staying calm and professional.

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Rifish February 16, 2011 at 3:04 pm

That’s a great response. It would have been so easy to start another altercation with this woman, but the server knew it wasn’t worth it and thought quickly.

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Psyche February 16, 2011 at 3:08 pm

Ha ha! Good comeback!

As I understand it, places that serve “adult beverages” have to legally stop serving them to people who show signs of inebriation, or not serve them at all if they come in already soused. I believe there’s a fine for the resturant or bar that does. I could be wrong. The manager had the right to say so. This woman was being beligerent for no apparent reason.

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aventurine February 16, 2011 at 3:43 pm

Waiter FTW!!! Love the quick thinking.

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Sharon February 16, 2011 at 4:00 pm

Kudos for the server’s reply!

I do not understand the fun of being intoxicated. I have a margarita or a gin and tonic now and then. But, when you drink to the point that you are actually walking around in a state of unconsciousness… nope, I don’t see why that is fun.

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DGS February 16, 2011 at 4:21 pm

Good for the server. Also given that restaurants reserve the right to not serve disruptive customers for the most part, they may have considered asking the party to leave as soon as the lady in question (who could hardly be called a lady) became belligerent.

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kero February 16, 2011 at 5:30 pm

That is a super cool waiter! And good on the manager for being responsible and I hope he remembers their faces so he can turn them away in the future. That lady was tacky and classless.

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SS February 16, 2011 at 5:38 pm

I hope that the people had made a reservation so the restaurant can put them on a ‘no future reservations’ list (don’t know if such a thing exists but it should). This way rude people will slowly get banned from establishments when they are unable to behave with civility in public.

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Cooler Becky February 16, 2011 at 5:40 pm

There’s a really good sketch done by Rowan Atkinson about this very thing, where pretends to be a waiter at an Indian restaurant. At the end, he asks them what they want and they say, “Some pappadums and bread and beer and ****.” And Rowan Atkinson says, “I’ll see what I can do about that, but I doubt you’ll need the last item… since you’re already full of it anyway.”

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LilyG February 16, 2011 at 7:30 pm

As someone who has had 2 friends killed by drunk drivers, I say thumbs up to the manager who cut them off.

Also, server: FOR THE WIN!

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Former server February 16, 2011 at 8:11 pm

Since this was a large group there was most likely a tip automatically added. Which is good, cause the server definitely earned it.

As someone who worked as a server and saw a lot, I have always said it should be a law that everyone needs to work in the service industry. The world would be a nicer place

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Anonymous February 16, 2011 at 8:22 pm

@Chocobo–the etiquette breach (and safety/consideration/general common sense breach) came before the rude comments. I don’t know if this is strictly an etiquette “rule,” but I think it’s rude to drink to the point that you’re a public nuisance, and then either go out or remain out in public.

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Meegs February 16, 2011 at 8:36 pm

I’m in the miniority but I with the situation decribed as it was, I disagree with what the restuarant did. Since when is being intoxicated in a restuarant illegal? Unless she was being rude to people or breaking things, etc, and there is nothing in the OP to indicate that she was, I would have been annoyed if I were her or her party too.

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Shaw February 16, 2011 at 10:22 pm

@Meegs- In most states, it is illegal to serve those patrons showing any signs of intoxication. Restaurants and bars can get in a lot of trouble if they don’t cut a drunk person off. What’s worse, bars and restaurants have actually been sued (successfully) for serving the already-drunk who have caused accidents, etc. It’s not only within their rights, it’s highly advisable from a legal protection standpoint.

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Shaw February 16, 2011 at 10:23 pm

Oh, and WTG server!

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FunkyMunky February 16, 2011 at 10:41 pm

In Australia, you may not legally aupply alcohol to anyone who is already intoxicated. Ergo: one woman was drunk, the party could not be served a bottle of wine. Should another person get a drink an give it to her, they would be liable. BOTH the server and the venue (if the server works there) pay fines. When I worked in a bar, the server paid $10,000, and I believe it was $100,000 for the venue.

Meegs, what exactly is it you have a problem with? The restaurant refusing to serve someone who was clearly drunk? In our litigious world, of they continued to serve her and she met with an accident, she could sue. Why should any business risk their bottom line and their patrons’ health so people can overindulge at will?

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Drunkenatheist February 16, 2011 at 10:48 pm

Meegs, if you want to be technical about it, public intoxication is a misdemeanor in many places in the US. Furthermore, as others have pointed out, it is illegal for bartenders to continue to serve someone who is visibly drunk because it becomes their problem when the patron leaves the bar and either gets into an accident or walks out in front of another driver. I know someone who was widowed because her husband was never flagged by a bartender, left the bar, and was killed after being hit by another drunk patron who was driving. She sued the shit out of the bar and was able to give her kids huge trust funds because of it.

Businesses do have the right to refuse service, especially if you’re being disruptive and acting like a jerk. Judging by the OP’s letter, the woman was completely in the wrong. I could understand if the manager had come over, been nasty, insulted her, etc., but from the OP’s description, he was polite and nicely pointed out that she was flagged. The response should never be a drunken tantrum.

(Btdubs? Yeah, the OP DID mention that this woman was being rude to people. When you are at a restaurant and are so drunk that your conversations are disrupting other patrons, that’s textbook “rude.” Whether the OP was personally disrupted by the conversation isn’t the point. If the conversation was loud enough for one table to hear, I guarantee you that at least one table had their dinner ruined because of it.)

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Caper February 16, 2011 at 10:54 pm

Meegs – you can be annoyed all you want, but it’s well within the restaurants rights to refuse to serve alcohol – especially to someone who’s getting to the point of intoxication and risking becoming a nuisance. Remember, this is a restaurant – not a bar. Actually, even in bars, the bar tenders reserve the right to refuse to serve alcohol to you too, if you can’t behave.

I’m pretty sure it IS law to cut off customers after so many drinks.

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--Lia February 16, 2011 at 10:54 pm

Meegs–

The laws vary from state to state and even community to community, but many places have laws prohibiting giving more alcohol to an already drunk person. The restaurant or bar can be held liable if the drunk kills someone on the road upon leaving. There are reasons to like the laws and reasons not to, but they come down to the same thing. The management can cut someone off for any reason (except discriminating on the basis of race, religion, creed, or national origin). That means they don’t even have to know you’re drunk. It’s enough that someone is acting like it. In this case, they might have refused to serve alcohol because the party was disturbing other customers, and they thought that would get them out more quickly. Besides, laws against public drunkenness have been on the books since long before there were cars to be driven drunk.

As for why they weren’t tossed out as soon as they started acting up, that’s a tough one. On the one hand, the management does want them out faster, but they have to take into consideration that the loud rude party might kick up more of a stink if hurried. That disturbs more customers even more.

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MW February 16, 2011 at 10:59 pm

@Meegs- It is illegal to keep serving someone alcohol after they are clearly to intoxicated, its called over serving. If they had continued to serve her and something had happened to her, such as going to the hospital for alcohol poisoning, the restaurant would have gotten in big legal trouble. The restaurant was definitely in the right and the drunk woman was in the wrong.

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Shock and Awe February 16, 2011 at 11:09 pm

Actually it is against the law in most places to be intoxicated in public. And dining establishments reserve the right to refuse service to anyone. Did you also know that stores are allowed to decline the sale of alcohol to someone is already intoxicated? Yup, dealt with that when I was working in a gas station. If a person came in already clearly drunk we were allowed to refuse to sell them alcohol, if they threw a fit we called the police. Typically they managed to drive themselves to the store which is a DUI, add being drunk in public and it ruined whatever buzz it is they had going.

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Katrina February 16, 2011 at 11:16 pm

@ Meegs- It is illegal in most states for bars and restaurants to serve someone who is under the influence more drinks. The person does not have to be rude or disruptive, just drunk. Some establishments ignore this law, but most abide by it since they could face heavy fines or loss of license, as well as pressure from the community to shut down. It they do overserve and someone gets hurt, they can be held liable for any damages or loss of life. The restaurant did the right thing.

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DocCAC February 16, 2011 at 11:31 pm

@Meegs It is actually illegal to be obviously drunk in public (called a public nuisance) and not enforced nearly as much as it should be. and it is right that a place serving alcohol can be fined or worse for continuing to serve someone obviously drunk. As a matter of fact, the place serving the alcohol can also be held liable along with the drunk if there is an accident and it can be proven the establishment continued to serve past the point when they should have cut the person off. Remind me to not dine in a restuarant when you are there drinking…most drunks (or drunken people if you will) have no idea how obnoxious they are being. They generally think they are being hilarious. In this case, although the party was secluded, they were being loud enough for other patrons to be subject to their little drama.

Good for the manager for cutting her off (I’ve seen plenty who don’t have the balls to do what they are legally obligated to do) and for the server–as an ex-server myself, great comeback!!

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Sandy February 16, 2011 at 11:51 pm

Sorry to burst your good times bubble Meegs, but public intoxication *is* actually illegal in most cities. It is not even based on blood alcohol level, but on behavior. While in this type of situation where she could walk and was not passed out, the police would probably not have taken her to a treatment center, they could have, and would have probably asked her to go home quietly under threat of doing so.

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Louise February 17, 2011 at 12:00 am

Being intoxicated in a restaurant is not illegal, but, as far as I know, places that serve alcohol reserve the right to cut you off if they feel you have had enough. If a drinking establishment continues to serve alcohol to an obviously drunk person, they can be held liable for accidents that happen down the road (figuratively and literally). It’s permissible as long as establishments don’t discriminate based on protected classes (gender, religion, race, etc.) I’m sure it’s not a decision that’s made lightly, because alcoholic drinks equal revenue for bars and restaurants.

The server likely gave the standard reply to what is unfortunately likely a regular question. I bet woman isn’t the first drunk to say something like that.

And I agree with Cooler Becky — that Rowan Atkinson skit is hilarious, and I encourage everyone to check it out on YouTube. :-)

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Just Laura February 17, 2011 at 12:33 am

Meegs,
I understand that you probably don’t own a restaurant/bar/pub, but my fiance does, and I can assure you that is the legal responsibility of the establishment to “cut off” someone who is clearly intoxicated. Have you heard of someone getting kicked out of a bar (and s/he wasn’t fighting)? It’s because the person was well beyond hammered. A place that keeps serving someone who is obviously “done” can get fined, or even have the liquor license taken away.

And, yes, I would think she was being rude at that point.

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Rebecca February 17, 2011 at 12:49 am

Meegs, I believe that restaurants (in my part of the world, anyway, but I am sure my part of the world is not alone in this) are required by law to stop serving alcohol to people who are visibly intoxicated. They have to use their discretion; they are not going to cut you off if you and your group are ordering a few pitchers of beer and getting animated, happy, and boisterous, or if you and your dining companions are lingering over multiple bottles of wine. But if you are staggering about, slurring your speech, and making a public nuisance of yourself, yes, most will cut you off. Restaurants can and have been held liable for serving alcohol to visibly intoxicated people who then leave the restaurant and harm themselves and/or others.

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Soph February 17, 2011 at 1:36 am

@ Meegs: It is not illegal to be intoxicated in a restaurant, but it is illegal for a licensed establishment to sell alcohol to someone who is already intoxicated and can produce pretty hefty fines.

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MLE February 17, 2011 at 1:38 am

@Meegs: actually, it is a law in many states (at least mine) that a restaurant or bar can stop serving alcohol when someone appears to be too inebriated. Because it is illegal to serve someone who is drunk. Many chain restaurants have a two-drink maximum in order to cover their butts in the legal department. In my city a woman is trying to sue a bar, claiming that they continued to serve her after she was drunk. She then attempted to drive home, got into an accident and is now paralyzed. Last I read, the lawsuit wasn’t going well for her.

But I think if it gets to a point where the server is cutting you off, you’ve had enough and are not hiding it very well.

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Liz February 17, 2011 at 1:41 am

Meegs, I believe the problem wasn’t that she was drunk, but that she was drunk and wanted another drink – I’m not sure where the OP is from, but in Australia and New Zealand it is illegal to serve alcohol to an intoxicated person, I imagine this law exists elsewhere as well. So it was not only the restaurants right to cut her off, it was their legal obligation to do so. Her etiquette breach wasn’t that she was drunk, but that she abused the manager for getting her another drink, and then had her friends join in on the abuse.
Some other posters have noted that drunkeness and etiquette breaches often come together, but I don’t think any was saying that simply being drunk is an etiquette breach itself.

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Sarah February 17, 2011 at 3:14 am

Megs – this may not be the case in your jurisdiction but in many places it is illegal for a restaurant, or even a bar/pub, to serve alcohol to a person who is already intoxicated. The restaurant could be given a huge fine or even lose their liquor licence. Furthermore, if the restaurant allowed her to become extremely drunk and she then had some kind of accident (e.g. fell over and broke her arm, ran into the road and got hit by a car) she could try to sue them – if they had violated liquor laws they may well be considered liable.

It can also be illegal for a person to be “drunk and disorderly” in public. I don’t know what the criteria are for this, but I would say that ranting, raving, shouting in a restaurant and speaking so rudely might meet them.

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Izzy February 17, 2011 at 3:36 am

maybe not in your state/country meegs but where i live (australia) server’s can’t serve alcohol to someone completely sloshed, 1) how are they supposed to get home/out the door, 2) what happens if the kitchen’s set on fire, 3) what happens if they fall and break their skull, they could say they didn’t know better (they just kept drinking and didnt know better cos they were drunk?) someone sober has to draw the line. The restarunt could lose their license to serve alcohol if they do that, plus a hefty fine.
Besides, the server has the right to refuse service because he’s being abused, drunk or not!

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Girlysprite February 17, 2011 at 4:10 am

Meegs, soms places (countries/states) have laws that require a restaurant/cafe/pub/whatever to stop giving customers drinks once they show signs of being drunk. I guess it is to decrease public drunkness – which can lead to many nasty situations.

On top of that, some restaurants have houserules not to serve drunk people any more drinks. People who are too drunk can often create nasty scenes, throw up or create other sorts of mess. As such, the restaurant was well within its rights to stop serving the woman alcohol.

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HonorH February 17, 2011 at 4:33 am

Meegs, I don’t know where you’re from, but I do know that some states have laws against continuing to serve obviously-intoxicated people more alcohol. If this was one of those states, the manager was just doing his job. Furthermore, even if there hadn’t been a legal consideration, it’s well within a restaurant manager’s rights to refuse service to someone who’s obviously drunk and/or causing problems. I don’t see where the manager did anything wrong.

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Bint February 17, 2011 at 7:10 am

Meegs – it’s not illegal, but any establishment has to the right to refuse to serve someone drunk any more alcohol at any time they see fit. When the manager told drunk woman that he was cutting her off, it shows he could tell she was drunk (and she was INCREDIBLY rude to the waiter!).

I expected the usual ‘I don’t understand why drinking is fun’ comments. I don’t see the relevance of that to the story anyway, but for some people it can be a lot of fun and they still aren’t rude, obnoxious or any problem whatsoever. There seems to be a sanctimony going on – witness the All Coked Up story – well, *I* don’t drink or share a bed with my boyfriend! I would *never* see why people would do that! Good on you for making choices that make you happy, but you aren’t morally superior for it except by your own values, and laying those values on people who don’t share them (and do nobody any harm by not sharing them) isn’t good etiquette either.

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