Last Friday I met two girlfriends at a local restaurant for a late dinner. It’s a small, rustic restaurant with high Zagat ratings and a stellar local reputation. The restaurant only seats about 25 people and the dining room is small, about the size of an average living area in a home.
One of my friends had let us know she’d be late, as she had gotten hung up at work. We informed our server that we were waiting for a friend (the restaurant was not busy; if people had been waiting for tables we’d have left until our friend could meet us). We drank tea and chatted. Our server checked in with us frequently, filling our tea glasses, asking if we wanted an appetizer or something while we waited. Eventually he began to joke with us that he was starting to wonder if our friend existed. When she finally was able to join us, he made the same joke to her. We laughed, settled in to order and enjoy our meal.
The station where servers wrapped silverware was directly behind our table. We had a great dinner and good conversation, except for one thing…our server kept joining in our conversation. He was wrapping silverware for the next day’s service (it was getting a bit late by this time) and he kept interjecting comments into our conversation.
I always felt that it was implicit that servers sort of pretend not to overhear the conversations of their customers, even though obviously they do. To have it so blatantly demonstrated that he was listening in to our conversation was a little disconcerting. Perhaps we were overly familiar earlier, before our third friend arrived, so he felt this was appropriate? I felt a little uncomfortable with it. My friends didn’t give any sign of minding, so I said nothing.
He was a good server in all other respects. I wonder now how I might have addressed this, or if I’m just overreacting. 0723-12