While I’ve never worked in the food service industry, I feel like I know a thing or two about good customer service. Years ago I worked for a nonprofit healthcare education company for whom customer service was a huge deal. We held these conferences where we bent over backwards to make speakers and participants happy. This meant anticipating needs. It meant saying, “Let me find out” instead of “How should I know?” and “Let me see what I can do” instead of “No, I can’t help you with your stupid high-maintenance request.” It meant saving our bitching for “off the floor.” Sure, this was a pain in the ass sometimes, but with nice people, it was a pleasure.
Our waiter over the weekend didn’t do any of these things.
I guess he wasn’t so much a waiter as a bartender since we were sitting at the bar of one of our favorite restaurants. Let me first say that the service, when we’re at a table, is very good. It’s usually okay at the bar, except for one bartender who got my order wrong, then blamed it on me. And secondly, the bar offers full service.
At first I thought our guy was okay. “I’ll be with you guys in a minute,” he told us, which I love. You can keep me waiting, as long you acknowledge my existence. Because we had been to this place so many times, we knew exactly what we wanted. So when he asked me, “What can I get you?” I said, “The corned beef hash.”
He stared me. “You’re going to drink that?” he said.
“I said, you’re doing to drink that corned beef hash?”
“Oh.” I blushed. “Water then.”
At first, I was terribly embarrassed. I guessed I didn’t hear “properly” over the din that he hadn’t asked what we were going to eat but if he could get us anything to drink (though the MB claims that the guy did ask, “What can I get you?” not “What can I get you to drink?”). But then I started to get pissed off. So what if I had heard incorrectly? Adjust, dude, and more importantly, don’t be sarcastic and embarrass me. Yeah, I guess I’m an idiot because I didn’t hear you over the din of the restaurant. Sorry I didn’t follow your “rules” for how to order.
It didn’t end there. He started bitching to the couple sitting next to us about some other customers. Yup, bitching about customers to customers. He went on and on about what a pain in the ass the woman was, how she kept asking him instead of her waiter for stuff, how she got in the way. True, all of those things sound annoying, but you don’t complain about it to other customers. Hell, when I got my hair cut, my stylist very tentatively asked the receptionist about some weirdo who had come in – “Who was that?” with a careful glance at me. But since I feel like my stylist and I are pretty friendly, I didn’t mind that, and in fact I had noticed the weird guy too.
“He was just excited about his appointment,” the receptionist said diplomatically.
See, obnoxious waiter/bartender guy? That’s the way to do it.
Anyway, I thought MB hadn’t noticed the guy’s behavior, but he had. “I left him a 90 cent tip,” he said, on a $30 bill.
That’s what you get for being a dick: ninety fucking cents.