A Walk in the Weeds

An online writer contacted me (and I assume everyone else blogging about restaurants) and asked for examples of horrendous restaurant patrons. I try to stay away from writing about such aspects of the business because Waiter Rant captured them best back in the day, and it is too easy to whine on and on about annoying guests. In the end, if you’ve read one story about an over-entitled, arrogant guest, then you’ve surely met them all a thousand times in your own establishment, pretty much every day.

But I got to thinking, as our season officially got underway this past holiday weekend–what surprised me about our customers, what annoyed me, what made me want to scream?

I was surprised by:

–How patient people actually can be if you just tell them you’re swamped and it’s going to take five days for their food to arrive at the table.

–How nice people can be when their food really does take five days to get to their table and how many still tip you 25 percent, regardless.

–How many large parties said the auto grat I put on their checks was too small, and how they left plenty of extra cash on the table.

–How I could conduct an almost a stand-up comedy routine about the madness with some of my tables, and have others nearby whom I had yet to even get to, laugh with us.

I wish I had seen less of:

–People rattling ice-filled glasses at me as a signal to refill their sodas, while I took another table’s order.

–People claiming to be restaurant owners and understanding how busy we were, only to complain every three minutes that their food was taking too long. (As an aside, people who claim to be owners are not the best tippers. People who claim to work in the biz usually are.)

–People thinking that just because we are a funky Keys restaurant, that being barefoot and sporting only a bathing suit is proper dining attire.

–People claiming they HAD to be on a party boat in a few minutes and begging me to put their orders in ahead of everyone else who had appropriately planned their time and not given into their hangovers and overslept.

Yes, it was crazy this weekend, and it is only going to get worse, I suspect. Yes, some people were impatient and demanding and blah, blah, blah. But many were not. I am always sorry when sometimes the nicest people are lost in the shuffle.

Meanwhile, I am skipping through the weeds all the way to the bank.






11 responses to “A Walk in the Weeds”

  1. savannah Avatar

    Meanwhile, I am skipping through the weeds all the way to the bank.

    gotta love the life, sugar! hurray for ya’ll! 😉 xoxox

  2. Biztone Avatar

    You’re 100% right in your last paragraph. The nicest people do get lost in the shuffle. I also make sure they get comped drinks or comped desserts once in a while. In fact, I will comp a patient person’s stuff many more times than a loud, angry, and/or obnoxious person’s.

  3. Mike Avatar

    I was just going to make the same comment… about how it suxs that the nice customers are the ones lost in the shuffle. It seems far to often you have to bend over backwards for the jerk customers that don’t come in as frequently, are miserable and are likely to tip poorly anyway. I was glad to hear you always try to hook-up the nice ones with comps as often as possible.

  4. Kimberly Avatar

    You really do know your business and that is why most people just adore you. The rest, well they don’t know squat!

    I have tagged you in today’s post on my blog! =)

  5. JoeInVegas Avatar

    Keep skipping and somehow live with the bad ones. Hopefully the good ones overcome the bad.

  6. Lorraine Avatar

    I believe the nice ones know that the shuffle is okay on days like today. That’s exactly why they are the nice ones. Hugs to you RG.

  7. Mary Avatar

    Re: How patient people actually can be if you just tell them you’re swamped and it’s going to take five days for their food to arrive at the table.

    The important thing is that I, as a customer (not so much anymore – the economy!) get some sort of explanation for any delays. Stuff happens, just let me know 🙂

    I dated someone who was a G/M for a “major chain” restaurant (same initials – draw your own conclusion) and he was very outspoken when he felt the service (in particular) was not up to “his standards”… It was embarrassing!

    I have had some bad experiences (watching an order sitting under the lights for 20 minutes before it was brought to the table, having a waiter/waitress/server ignore me once the order was taken and delivered – only to be at the table ASAP to present the bill when he/she saw I was finished). On the first experience, I called the restaurant the next day to suggest – not complain, I swear! – that they pay more attention to when food was ready (it was a birthday dinner for me). On the second experience, I spoke with the hostess (if she is still with us she must be 80 something) to explain why I was leaving just a $1.00 tip for the server on a $15.00 meal.

    And then there was the time three of us went to a “soft” opening of a restaurant only to have the waitress (she was female) not know the diff between Sauvignon Blanc (our order) and Cabernet Sauvignon and bring the cab – only to spill a largish glass of cab over two of us, one of whom (not I) was wearing white.

    And, in closing – have you ever served a breakfast of “liver, rare” with “eggs over easy (or maybe sunnyside up)”? A co-worker put herself thru college waitressing and there was a regular (daily, I think) who ordered that.


  8. Restaurant Gal Avatar
    Restaurant Gal

    savannah–Life is pretty sweet right now!

    Biztone–I comp when I can, but mostly it’s so crazy, I am happy if I can get the check rung up!

    Mike–I am learning NOT to bend over backwards for the pains in the ass, because that would take too much time away from the decent folk.

    Kimberly–I just do the best I can, and sometimes I suck at what I do as a waitress. But it all evens out at day’s end. Thanks for the tag!

    JoeinVegas–Living with the bad ones is easy. They are usually a minority. All good here.

    Lorraine–Yep, decent people get it. And I always thank those people for being patient on a crazy day. Thanks for the hug, too!

    Mary–That was probably me who spilled the wine. Sorry! 😉

  9. Upset waitress Avatar
    Upset waitress

    Seems like I get shifty service no matter what. All the servers here are drunk or on dope. I’m used to it, tip like normal, and go back for the same lousy service the next day.

  10. Restaurant Gal Avatar

    UW–My God, how many servers have you trained down here?!?

  11. In The Weeds Avatar

    It is always good to look back on the fun times working in the service industry which I feel outweigh the bad customers!

    Check out http://www.in-the-weeds.com

    Social networking for the service industry, you can meet members that work in the same industry as you, find jobs, and share stories about all the good times you have working in restaurants and bars!