Author Topic: Maybe you should write it down...  (Read 2896 times)

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Mental Magpie

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Maybe you should write it down...
« on: November 09, 2012, 09:03:38 PM »
We went out to eat last night at a very nice fondue restaurant; there were five of us.  When it came time to order, the server did not write down our selections...except he couldn't remember them.  I don't mean he came back to ask later what it was, just here and there forgetting "Did you say medium or medium rare?".  I mean that he stood there and constantly forgot what it was.  Here is what I mean:

A, ordered an entree.
B, ordered an entree and a salad Chez.
C, ordered a salad Chez.
D, ordered an entree and a salad 2.
E, did not order.

Server, "So B, that was a...3 salad?"
B, "No, a 1 salad."
Server, "OK, so a 1 salad, a 2 salad for D, and a 2 salad for C?"
C, "No, a 1 salad."
He then repeated them correctly.

Then the server went on to repeat the entrees, except he got those wrong pretty much just like he did with the salads.  Then, when he went back to the salads, we had to remind him one more time.

The moment he was out of earshot, A (Mental Mom) said, "Write it down maybe?"
C (Me) said, "I was going to suggest, but I couldn't figure out how without it sounding snarky.  I decided to just keep my mouth shut instead."
The rest of the group (Mental Boyfriend, Mental Sister, and her husband) all agreed.

Here is my question: Should I have said anything?  If so, how could I have said it that wouldn't sound mean?  Even when I said in my head, "Maybe it would help to write it down," I sounded condescending and belittling without even intending to.  He wasn't an inexperienced server, not new (I could tell), he didn't seem flustered either, just apologetic that he couldn't get it straight, smiling the whole time.
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Surianne

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Re: Maybe you should write it down...
« Reply #1 on: November 09, 2012, 09:21:15 PM »
I don't think there's any way you could have suggested it without sounding snarky/condescending -- it's up to him to figure out the best way to do his job.  I definitely would have been thinking the same things as you and your mom, though, and would have been pretty frustrated by having to correct him.  Did you wind up receiving the right meals?

CrazyDaffodilLady

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Re: Maybe you should write it down...
« Reply #2 on: November 09, 2012, 09:22:08 PM »
It's possible that the wait staff there is not allowed to write down orders.  It may be management or corporate policy that the waiters are supposed to remember without writing.  I've never known this to work well. 
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Surianne

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Re: Maybe you should write it down...
« Reply #3 on: November 09, 2012, 09:24:27 PM »
It's possible that the wait staff there is not allowed to write down orders.  It may be management or corporate policy that the waiters are supposed to remember without writing.  I've never known this to work well.

Yikes, that's really a thing?  It sounds foolish...what's the reasoning, it looks less impressive if waitstaff don't write down the orders?

Mental Magpie

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Re: Maybe you should write it down...
« Reply #4 on: November 09, 2012, 09:25:37 PM »
We did get the right meals, thankfully.  That made me feel a little bit better about the whole situation.  Had they been screwed up, I would have been speaking to a manger, not because the server was awful, but to see if that was a company policy and to let them know that if it was, we were not satisfied with it and that it actually made our experience worse.

It was a very fancy restaurant, so that could have been the policy, but, as you said, it doesn't really ever work well.
The problem with choosing the lesser of two evils is that you're still choosing evil.

mindicherry

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Re: Maybe you should write it down...
« Reply #5 on: November 09, 2012, 09:51:45 PM »
It's possible that the wait staff there is not allowed to write down orders.  It may be management or corporate policy that the waiters are supposed to remember without writing.  I've never known this to work well.
This

Some restaurants seem to think that they appear more "high-class" if the waiters aren't writing everything down like you are in a diner.

Not usually a problem for the experienced waitstaff, but for a newbie, it can be a nightmare

Surianne

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Re: Maybe you should write it down...
« Reply #6 on: November 10, 2012, 07:45:14 AM »
I can't even imagine...I can barely remember my *own* order as a customer :D

Winterlight

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Re: Maybe you should write it down...
« Reply #7 on: November 10, 2012, 07:50:24 AM »
I can't even imagine...I can barely remember my *own* order as a customer :D

Ditto. Especially if you get into something more complicated than "scrambled eggs and home fries". Also, when they write it down you have a "check" in case something isn't right. I can say, "I requested no onions," they can look at the paper and sure enough the kitchen goofed. We don't have to debate whether I did or didn't.
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WillyNilly

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Re: Maybe you should write it down...
« Reply #8 on: November 10, 2012, 08:58:40 AM »
Its slightly annoying but so long as you got the right orders I can't really see how it matters.

TootsNYC

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Re: Maybe you should write it down...
« Reply #9 on: November 10, 2012, 12:43:15 PM »
It *could* have mattered, though, and the OP's party would have been the ones suffering, not the waiter.

I do think you could *question whether he can do the job,* which is different than "telling him how to do it."

And you *are* his employer (with your tip), so you DO have the right to question whether he can do the job, especially with that sort of evidence. This is *your* dinner, not his; *you* matter in ways he does not. It's all about pleasing you; you are the CUSTOMER.

So any of you could have said, "Are you going to be able to remember this? You're making a lot of mistakes here." And then he can figure out how to make sure he doesn't mess up.

But that also serves to put him on notice that you've noticed.

PeterM

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Re: Maybe you should write it down...
« Reply #10 on: November 11, 2012, 03:19:00 PM »
Its slightly annoying but so long as you got the right orders I can't really see how it matters.

Waiters who don't write orders down are only slightly below Illinois Nazis on my list of "Things I Hate," but I would agree with this if the OP hadn't said the waiter was clearly having trouble remembering the orders. A waiter who listens without writing anything down, recites the orders back perfectly, and brings exactly what you ordered is one thing. A waiter who listens without writing anything down, recites the orders back incorrectly several times, but still manages to bring exactly what you ordered is another thing entirely. It turns the whole experience into a gamble, which is not what I'm there for. If I go out to eat I don't want to spend a fair amount of time wondering if I'll actually get what I ordered.

Mental Magpie

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Re: Maybe you should write it down...
« Reply #11 on: November 11, 2012, 04:14:11 PM »
Its slightly annoying but so long as you got the right orders I can't really see how it matters.

Waiters who don't write orders down are only slightly below Illinois Nazis on my list of "Things I Hate," but I would agree with this if the OP hadn't said the waiter was clearly having trouble remembering the orders. A waiter who listens without writing anything down, recites the orders back perfectly, and brings exactly what you ordered is one thing. A waiter who listens without writing anything down, recites the orders back incorrectly several times, but still manages to bring exactly what you ordered is another thing entirely. It turns the whole experience into a gamble, which is not what I'm there for. If I go out to eat I don't want to spend a fair amount of time wondering if I'll actually get what I ordered.

That's exactly it, PeterM, I didn't like that waiting period to see if he got it right.  It was great that he did get everything right, but if he hadn't would be an entirely different story.  I should be secure in thinking he got it right, not wondering the entire time if he did and play a waiting game to find out.
The problem with choosing the lesser of two evils is that you're still choosing evil.

DaDancingPsych

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Re: Maybe you should write it down...
« Reply #12 on: November 12, 2012, 11:57:20 AM »
I might have said, "We don't mind waiting while you grab a pen." If this was the sort of place that that turns its nose at that, then his hands may have been tied.

I much prefer the waiter write things down. It doesn't change the atmosphere or my experience. What really does taint my experience is not getting my order correct.

Mikayla

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Re: Maybe you should write it down...
« Reply #13 on: November 12, 2012, 01:06:02 PM »
I'm with Surianne.  I just don't think there's any way to politely tell someone to change the way they do their job unless -- using this case -- the wrong food arrives.  And if that happened, I would complain to management and also tell the waiter "I don't mind if you write this down".