Lack Of Being Serviced Leads To Poor Service

by admin on April 4, 2012

After nearly a decade of reading and enjoying the stories on your site, but never contributing one of my own, I would like to share a little slice of life – I think it should fall under the “Bad Business” category, although I don’t want to be too harsh on the waitress involved, as her antics made me giggle all the way to work this morning.
I have a habit of going out for breakfast once a week, on Wednesday, in a place halfway between my home and the office. It’s mainly a small retail bakery, but it has a few tables where they serve breakfast and sandwich lunches. As I go there quite early, the place is never very crowded, and there is only one shop assistant behind the counter, who is also the waitress.

This morning, it was even more quiet, as my fiancé – who doesn’t usually join me, but he did today as he has a day off work – and I were the only customers. I noticed at once that the usual shop assistant/waitress wasn’t there, as the only person in the shop was a girl in her late teens, who looked rather grumpy and worse for wear. As soon as we stepped inside and headed for one of the tables, she came up to us and said rather abruptly “Good morning! I should warn you: our coffee machine is not working, but we have tea.” We thanked her for the warning, sat down and ordered our breakfast.

The girl then disappeared into the kitchen, and came back with the bread rolls we ordered in a wicker basket, which she placed in front of us. She then informed us, in a peculiarly conspiratory whisper, that she would be returning shortly with plates, cutlery, butter, ham, cheese and tea, and warned us that our table would be quite full. After a while, she indeed returned with said items, which still left plenty of room on our table. Nevertheless, she urged me, friendly but firmly, to please remove my phone from the table, because it would be a shame if it should fall because of all the plates and cutlery and tea mugs etc. I found this a rather peculiar request, but proceeded to put my phone in my coat pocket, to which she nodded approvingly.

The girl then kept standing by our table rather indecisively for a few moments, before asking “Would it please be okay for me to take my smoking break now?”. My fiancé and I were rather surprised, as that would mean she’d leave the shop – and the till – unsupervised, but told her we had everything we ordered and we would be fine, so off she went through the back door of the shop.

A few minutes later she had to return, as a customer had come in. Her first words to this customer were “Good morning, please don’t mind how dreadful I look… rough night”. The customer, who didn’t seem to know this girl either, was a bit taken aback, but proceeded to order, pay and leave the shop with a puzzled expression on her face.

Our bizarre little waitress disappeared again into the kitchen, where she started a heated argument over the phone, which continued for over ten minutes. By that time we had finished our breakfast (nothing wrong with the breakfast, by the way, it was great as usual), and were waiting by the counter in order to pay. A few minutes passed, but finally she noticed us, and – still on the phone – returned to the shop, shouting into her phone “don’t hang up on me, but shut up now, I have customers who want to pay”, before slamming the phone down on the counter, attempting to smile, and saying “I forgot to ask you before, but did you want any jam with that?”, pointing at our table with the empty wicker basket, empty plates and empty tea mugs. We assured her that breakfast had been delicious, and that we did not suffer from any lack of jam (which we didn’t order anyway).

After we had paid our bill, she thanked us and said that she was very, very disappointed in her boyfriend. I told her we couldn’t help overhearing that this was indeed the case, gave her an encouraging smile, and told her to “hang in there”. Before we could turn around and walk to the door, she added, with growing anger in her voice, “You know, I worked all day yesterday, which is much more than he ever does, and yet I still found the time to arrange for heaps of presents and surprises for his birthday, but when I called him last night after work he told me he was too tired to meet up! Too tired, I tell you! I mean, that’s supposed to be the girl’s line, isn’t it? Guys aren’t supposed to use that line on girls! But I told him straight, you bet I did! I told him good night and sleep tight and I’ll see you tomorrow then, but just so you know, I told him, I will still be horny tomorrow, so you’d better not be touching yourself tonight, Mister, because I can tell if you have, and there will be hell to pay if you can’t get it up!”

At that point my fiancé and I simply had to rush out of the store, before bursting out laughing and asking each other “Did I hear that right? Did this really happen?”.

Luckily we’re not easily shocked or offended, but I can’t help wondering whether the rest of today’s customers will be treated to a similar performance, and how they will react.   0404-12

=8-O is all I have to say this morning.

{ 58 comments… read them below or add one }

Laura April 4, 2012 at 6:54 am

Oh my goodness OP, you just made my DAY!!! Funniest story ever. I am literally laughing out loud.

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David April 4, 2012 at 7:46 am

Oh too funny.

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Miss Alex April 4, 2012 at 7:49 am

Thank you for sharing such an entertaining story, OP!

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MyFamily April 4, 2012 at 7:56 am

OP, I hope you called the store and spoke with a manager. While you found this to be amusing, a new customer may have thought this was the norm and will never return to this bakery/restaurant. You’d be doing them a favor to just share your experience with them.

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vanessaga April 4, 2012 at 7:58 am

That is funny and I’m glad you had a sense of humor about it. I recently had a waitress who was enamoured with my 2 year old daughter. As we got ready to leave she said, “You know, I couldn’t have children” and proceeded to regale my husband and I with details about her medical condition and then brightly said, “But I have 16 kitty cats!” We left abruptly too.

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Shoegal April 4, 2012 at 8:00 am

I just have to think that Facebook has made it quite appropriate for the younger generation to disclose everything. Some things aren’t for public consumption.

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Just Laura April 4, 2012 at 8:13 am

Great story, OP, and well told! Thank you for sharing.

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Huh April 4, 2012 at 8:16 am

I know people like that who will tell you EVERYTHING, whether you want to hear it or not. LOL.

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Weeblewobble April 4, 2012 at 8:32 am

Over-sharing wait staff are always off-putting. Right up there with wait-staff who sit at the table with you while they take your order. I know it would be rude, but there are times like this when I want to say, “I am your customer, not your buddy. I don’t want to hear about your exhausting late night out, your disagreeable boyfriend, the son you had to retrieve early from school because he blew up the girls’ bathroom or the boss you can’t stand. I just want a Coke and chicken salad.”

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Angela April 4, 2012 at 8:54 am

OMG that is unbelievable…a therapist friend would refer to her as a “boundary-less wonder”. I just hope that she’s on some really effective birth control.

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Zhoen April 4, 2012 at 9:08 am

That kind of extreme is simply outside of ‘polite/rude,’ and falls into full on ‘eccentric.’ Folks is weird.

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Cami April 4, 2012 at 9:21 am

I think I might go back hoping she’ll be my server again — free entertainment with my meal!

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Cat April 4, 2012 at 9:40 am

I would be a bit taken aback, but I have a sneaking suspicion that this was a very lonely person and she needed to tell someone how she felt. If all she has in her life is a very uncaring boyfriend, she may feel the need to reach out to someone and she chose an inappropriate time, person and place to do so.

Most of us try to be there for our friends and family when they are unhappy, but it takes a special person to be willing to give a kind word to someone you don’t know and not call her boss to complain about her.

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Helen April 4, 2012 at 9:48 am

Ha ha! Thanks for the laugh!

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Stacey Frith-Smith April 4, 2012 at 10:00 am

This story is a bit of a shocker- to me the humorous element is more in the utter oblivion with which the young lady conducted her private life in public juxtaposed to her careful query about taking a smoke break and concern over omitted jam. I have to wonder who left her in charge without having some idea of the potential for mayhem that would ensue. As for the young lady…it must have been a rough night indeed.

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Meegs April 4, 2012 at 10:13 am

This is possibly the funniest story I have ever read on e-hell! Thanks for sharing!!!!

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Yvaine April 4, 2012 at 10:19 am

How weird! My bet is that she has no experience whatsoever and it’s something along the lines of the owner’s kid being pressed into serving in a pinch. So odd and funny!

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gramma dishes April 4, 2012 at 10:32 am

Love the title to this. ;-D

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Elle April 4, 2012 at 10:39 am

“I just have to think that Facebook has made it quite appropriate for the younger generation to disclose everything. ”

Because oldsters *never* overshare medical symptoms. It’s got to be those darn facebooks.

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Shea April 4, 2012 at 10:40 am

I must say, Shoegal, that I am of “the younger generation” (I’m in my mid-twenties) and I would never think it appropriate to share the details of my and my boyfriend’s sex life with complete strangers (or really anyone else, for that matter!)

There are plenty of oversharers of all ages. I’ve met middle-aged and elderly folks who happily gave everyone the gory details of their latest medical problem or surgery, as well as young people like the waitress who discuss their sex lives with all and sundry.

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Angel April 4, 2012 at 11:13 am

If the service is usually fine, I would give it a pass for the one time. Sometimes people do have an off day, which can lead to over-sharing (even people who usually over-share don’t do it to that extent–good Lord!). I probably wouldn’t call the management over it, but if it happens a couple more times, I might make an anonymous phone call.

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--Lia April 4, 2012 at 11:20 am

Great story! I wonder if she feels like good service involves being friendly and being friendly involves sharing the way you do with friends.

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Michelle P April 4, 2012 at 11:29 am

Laughing my head off. I’m with admin, just a nitwit teenager. Yes, older people overshare about their medical problems, but neither is better or worse. I agree that the internet, particularly Facebook, has caused the TMI sensation. I wouldn’t complain unless it happened again either.

I think I must have one of those open faces, because people tend to overshare with me a lot. How should I handle it?

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Wim April 4, 2012 at 12:04 pm

Hi, I’m the OP. Thanks for the positive response to my story!
I was in fact thinking along the same lines as Yvaine: it being the Easter school holidays, the girl could easily have been the owners’ inexperienced daughter who was left in charge against her will but was trying her best, oblivious to her oversharing.
I also agree with Cat: she was obviously feeling low and lonely, and I wouldn’t dream of calling the owners to complain. After all, in between the weirdness, she managed to get our orders right, and she wasn’t rude or unpleasant to us. She just had to get things off her chest and got a bit carried away in doing so. Next time I see her, I’ll be sure to ask if things have calmed down since…

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Cat Whisperer April 4, 2012 at 12:07 pm

Wow. “Waitress, I’ll have an omelette with a heaping helping of drama, and a large side of Too Much Information.”

Not what I would want to start my morning out!

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Jojo April 4, 2012 at 12:17 pm

I live in an area where the locals aren’t always good at filtering their thoughts before allowing them to escape. Sounds like this girl has a similar problem. I once went to see a friend of a friend for a massage. Within 30 seconds of meeting her for the first time, she was deep in conversation about the hot and heavy sex-texting taking place between her and her beaux that day. I’d barely even entered the massage cubicle. Outrageous gossip and a mighty good massage all in one package! Value for money if ever there was.

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Noelle April 4, 2012 at 12:39 pm

My parents and I had something similar happen years ago at a restaurant. Not nearly as kooky as the OP’s story, but still bizarre. We were near the end of our meal, and our waiter — who had seemed a bit odd all night — walks up to our table and says to my mom, “I have to go the bathroom.” My mom answered, as straight-faced as possible, “OK…” And he adds, “So if I’m gone for a while, that’s where I’m at!” About 10 minutes later, another waitress comes to clear our plates and says “I’m sorry, I don’t know where your waiter is!” to which my dad smiled and replied, “Oh, he’s in the bathroom!”

We’ve had many a good laugh over that night for years :)

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Stepmomster April 4, 2012 at 12:45 pm

I loved this story, it completely made my day. That waitress sounds like she is one tell-all from becoming a You-Tube farce!

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DianeRN April 4, 2012 at 1:23 pm

I have to agree with Elle & Shea. My ex-boyfriend’s step-mother was in her late-60’s and seemed to feel the need to share the more intimate details of her and his father’s sex life (or lack thereof) with me quite frequently. And this was way before home computers or facebook. This is not a new trend or connected solely to one generation or computers.

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many bells down April 4, 2012 at 1:46 pm

I was having my hair professionally colored several years ago. I mentioned that it was for my wedding two days hence, and for the next hour was treated to my stylist telling me every horrible thing her ex-husband had ever done to her and how much marriage sucked. It was alarming, to say the least. Even the other stylists were shooting her horrified looks.

Of course your server/stylist/cashier is a person too, and can have a bad day, but there’s a time and a place to let loose. I was terrified she was going to mess up my hair on purpose out of rage.

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Library Diva April 4, 2012 at 2:13 pm

I would have to get genuinely wretched service, or have the bad service sustained over a period of time, to complain to the manager. Everyone has their off days, but in a field like retail or food service, employees are more disposable than paper towels, and I don’t see the point of getting someone fired just because they’re a little “off.” Besides, they add spice and color to an otherwise bland experience and give you a great story to tell!

Like this one: several years ago, Tim Hortons, a coffee-and-donuts chain similar to Dunkin’ Donuts or Krispy Kreme, was offering a new beverage. I believe it was called the chocolate brownie supreme or something, it was an iced coffee with bits of brownies swirled in. It was heavily promoted on television, on the radio, and even in-store with giant posters everywhere. So I went, and I was ordering my lunch, and I asked the boy behind the counter how the new chocolate brownie supreme was. He goes “It sucks. It tastes like it’s got sand in it. Seriously, it’s f—in’ terrible. Don’t order it.”

I laughed pretty hard, but I also took his advice. Moreover, I believe he was right. The chocolate brownie supreme disappeared from all stores and promotional campaigns a few weeks later and has never been revived.

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Olympia April 4, 2012 at 2:33 pm

You know, Shoegal, people were oversharing long before Facebook was ever created. The younger generation doesn’t have a lock on handing out too much information, as anyone who’s ever worked with seniors will tell you.

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Kitty Lizard April 4, 2012 at 2:45 pm

I hope the commend about “oldsters” never oversharing was meant to be tongue in cheek because I
remember my parents getting together with their friends and ALL they ever talked about was their various ailments. They also, despite my loud complaints, shared their medications back and forth, which
sent me up a wall. I was once trapped on a plane for 6 hours with an 82 year old seatmate who decided I
would be absolutely riveted by a detailed description of his various (and disgusting) intestinal and prostate problems. Too. Much. Information. The posting was hilarious, though. Cracked me up.

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Erin April 4, 2012 at 2:56 pm

This calls for a Takei-style “Oh my!”

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Stacey Frith-Smith April 4, 2012 at 3:07 pm

This story was such an original that I had to check back in and make certain I didn’t dream up the details my brain retained…I do wonder if there has been a bit too much reality television exposure, and have gone from being shocked to being worried for the young adult who was the server. An intervention might be in order.

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Enna April 4, 2012 at 3:09 pm

@ Shoegal I agree with Shea, sometimes people of all ages give out too much information and facebook can’t be blamed for this.

This is a shocking somewhat amusing sitatuion, I hope that this young girl who clearly felt the worse for wear as she admitted finds a decent bloke who doesn’t upset her.

I had one man ask me once on a bus if it was too late to call his missues, it was 10:15 or so at night (I was on my way back from a day trip to a city). He wanted my opinon as I was a woman and I thought that was fair enough. I said after ten pm it would be a bit late to call, unless he knew she would be awake and he could always text.

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David April 4, 2012 at 3:35 pm

People have been over-sharing since I can remember. I seem to have one of those faces that leads people to want to talk to me, and have been told; “You have kind eyes.” right before I find out more about this person than I ever wanted to know.

On first meeting; “Hi, I’m . Here are 1 to 5 facts about me that would be good for a Jerry Springer episode. Oh, you work with my spouse/partner? Here are 1 to 5 facts about our scrabble habits. Wait, I’ll go to the bean dip with you, we’re having such a lovely conversation!”

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Fyrefly April 4, 2012 at 4:10 pm

Gold star to the admin. I thought it was a strangely worded title until I read the story. Still giggling.

Sounds to me like a teen that got roped in to working against her will to fill in for someone too, since we’re talking a small establishment that has a “usual” waitress.

As long as they got the food promptly and were able to pay and leave without an issue I’d chalk it up to a one-off weird event. And at any rate people usually play extra for a floor show with their meal. :D

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Angeldrac April 4, 2012 at 4:49 pm

Beats my customer service story, but I’ll tell it anyway because it’s short and hilarious:
I went to the counter at a cafe/juice bar and said “Hi, can I please have a large orange and pineapple juice?”. The server simply looked at me and said “No”, and walked away into the kitchen, never to return.

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Angela April 4, 2012 at 5:04 pm

Two thumbs up to the OP for being such a good sport and (unlike some former OPs!) not letting the strange prevent her from enjoying the good.

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Tiffany April 4, 2012 at 6:01 pm

@Library Diva I wished I’d had that guy at my Tim Hortons. The brownie supreme was swill with bits of brownie-shaped refuse in it.

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Sarah Jane April 4, 2012 at 10:28 pm

I can only hope the young “lady” in question turns the filter on when kids are around. A lot of folks don’t.

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Athena C April 4, 2012 at 10:29 pm

I will admit, I was a bit of an over-sharer when I was younger. Looking back, I think it had to do with wanting to reach out to someone – anyone – for anything resembling love and acknowledgment. I’ve grown up since then, but whenever I run into someone who overshares, I try to respond with compassion. Have you noticed that it’s not the happy people who overshare? It’s always the people with more problems than they feel like they can deal with. Many examples are from younger people who don’t have the emotional maturity to handle whatever they have gotten themselves into, but the rest are from people of all ages who seem to just need a bit of human connection and acknowledgment.

Anyway, obviously its inappropriate and something that one should avoid, but I agree that when you find it in other people, it’s best to just smile and bean-dip, if possible.

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Cat Whisperer April 4, 2012 at 11:47 pm

Many Bells Down, I’ve been on the receiving end of tirades by people about how awful their ex or soon-to-be ex is, and I always want to ask the person who is spouting the venom: “If your ex is truly that terrible, why did you marry them/move in with them/become their SO?”

It baffles me. If the ex really is next thing to an axe murderer and such a truly awful person, why would anyone want anything to do with them, much less get into a relationship with them? Sure, extreme naivete, raging hormones overwhelming the brain, or substance abuse are all possibilities, but would anyone really want to draw attention to those possibilities by ranting and raving and making the ex out to be such an unredeemably terrible person?

Bad-mouthing the ex seems to me to be not just bad manners, but an invitation to the listener to judge that the person doing the bad-mouthing probably isn’t the sharpest pencil in the pack. Much better to not say bad things and invite that kind of speculation, IMO.

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monica April 5, 2012 at 12:05 am

hahahaha oh wow. not to psychologically evaluate her from my desk chair but this woman sounds like a walking billboard for the preoccupied attachment style

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Mojo April 5, 2012 at 1:26 am

Thank you, that story made me laugh out loud. There’s nowt so queer as folk!

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Bint April 5, 2012 at 5:22 am

Was this in Britain? It sounds like Fawlty Towers! Heh heh heh, I would have laughed as well.

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sv April 5, 2012 at 5:59 am

That’s fantastic. What a great way for me to start my day! All you can do is laugh :)

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Michelle April 5, 2012 at 7:20 am

What a funny story, OP! Telling it beats the heck out of just telling people you stopped for breakfast in a coffee shop – there’s no color in that!

Personally, I’ve always thought that “over-sharing” is what pets are for. My dog has heard details I would never dream of sharing with a human stranger!

Thanks for the laugh!!

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Wim April 5, 2012 at 7:35 am

@Bint: I’ll admit it had a certain Fawlty Towers quality, but the story took place in Antwerp, Belgium – not in Torquay ;)

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