Servers Aren’t Slaves

Ever wonder how people in the restaurant business manage to keep it together when customers demand over-the-top “special” service? Or the ones who gobble down every bit of food on their plates and then berate the waitress/waiter about how lousy the food was and that they should be comped for every bite? Or the ones who stiff their servers after an evening of impeccable service?

I waitressed during summers and college to pay for my tuition, and trust me: food service can bring out the worst in some people. However, back then if a customer made one of those ‘I didn’t like the food, the service and how the server rolled his/her eyes when I snapped my fingers for him/her to come to my table” remarks, the manager stood up for you.

But sadly it seems that those days have gone by. Those in the restaurant business often live and die by word of mouth or *positive or negative reviews on Yelp, Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and so on. In order to stay in business, most places do whatever they can to appease the customer, even when they are dead wrong.

By the way, the old standard phrase, “the customer is always right” isn’t always true.

When I lived in Texas, there was a very popular steakhouse that was full each night. The food was fabulous, the waitstaff friendly and accomodating, and the atmosphere was upbeat.

One night I went there with a friend. The table beside me was filled with several loud and obnoxious pseudo cowboys. Not only were they loud, but they were snarky to the server and kept saying that she “had to” bring them beer “pronto, or else.” When the server came by to take our order, I asked her why her manager tossing their butts out.

She sighed, and bent down to tell me quietly that 1) they were friends of the manager and had in fact gone to school with him, and 2) the last time they were in they ordered an enormous amount of food, ate it all and left without paying or tipping.

I said, “then why in the world would you ever let them back into this restaurant?” She sighed again, and said that her manager ok’d it. She walked away, shoulders down and looking absolutely defeated.

All I could do was send the “boys” dirty looks and leave a big tip on the table for her. Seriously, how do people who act this way get away with it? I’d like to think that there is an extra-special place in hell for people like this.

*If being horrible to the waitstaff and not tipping them isn’t bad enough, many people who love to write negative reviews about restaurants will often put the name of the server in their review. Because of that, many decent and hard-working servers have lost their jobs. This is simply being vicious for no good reason. Of course, if the experience actually DID include a hostile or rude server, that’s something else. But to be the reason that some server loses his or her job just to be vindictive is being what my mother would call “a prick of misery.”

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