I took my mother out to a local chain restaurant tonight. We both like the food and we’ve been there before and never had any issues with the service. So this story is not about our waiter but the waiter at the booth behind us. He’s apparently a talker and likes to share personal stories with his customers. Not a problem, a lot of people like the personal touch. I personally don’t need to know my waiters’ life story, I only care about courteous service and getting what I order. However, this gentleman was a sharer, as I mentioned. He was also loud, which is how I can relate the following.
He was telling his new customers stories about his children before they ordered. One of them got steak so when he delivered the food he began to tell a story about how he had one customer who ordered a steak done in a particular way that apparently he thought was incorrect, so when he delivered that customers’ steak he made a joke about their preference. That customer did not think it was funny, so he bragged that when the customer brandished their steak knife at him he went back into the kitchen and told the restaurant owner that he had an upset customer. The restaurant owner talked to the customer and then told the waiter that the customer was getting a free meal. The owner also had another waiter take over that table and told this waiter to stay in the kitchen until the customer left.
This waiters’ current customers apparently responded that they didn’t understand what was so upsetting about the joke he told. Encouraged, he went on to tell another story about another customer that he did basically the same thing to, including the owner having to give that customer a free meal as well. Then he went on to say that his personal philosophy was that he didn’t like stupidity or people with no sense of humor so his preferred method was to mock that person so that the other people seated with that person laughed at them.
My mother and I were shocked and appalled at this point and left. All the way home my mother talked about how inappropriate that behavior was. I only marvel that the waiter is still employed. How many free meals does the owner have to give out on that waiters’ behalf before he tells the waiter that he shouldn’t talk to customers like that? And the whole time he was talking his current customers were eating and being forced to listen when they should have been able to talk to each other. I wonder if they tipped him? 0411-11
I really dislike waitstaff who interact with me, the customer, in what I describe as a faux friendly intimacy. It tends to lubricate their mouths excessively and I am sometimes placed in an awkward situation where my food is staring at me invitingly but I have to pretend to listen to a chatty waiter who won’t leave me in peace to eat it. I nod and don’t look directly at him or her while concentrating on the food before me in order to send those lovely non-verbal signals that any normal person would understand to mean, “I’m busy. Go away.”
And just a hint to other blabby waitstaff, if I and my husband are eating and leaning into each other across the table to talk with each other, that is a certain non-verbal clue that we really don’t want you interjecting into the conversation every 3 minutes asking us how the food is or telling me some story about your life.