Submitted by Grant, who’s a server in Los Angeles.
8 years of waiting tables and I can’t remember a shorter, more internally jarring experience with rudeness than what happened at the very end of my shift today. Long read ahead…
I get double sat with two tables. What that means, for those who don’t know, is that I got two tables for me to wait on at the same time. Now, most servers agree that treating the two tables as one big table is the most efficient way to take care of them both, i.e. getting drinks at the same time, greeting at the same time, etc.
I roll up to the lady at table 82, have my quick introduction, and she orders a diet coke for herself and a salad for her daughter. “You got it,” I said and turned around almost in the same spot I was standing to take care of table 85 which had been sat at the exact same time. The couple at 85 hadn’t been there before, so I begin running down the story with our restaurant. I am talking to them for about 15 seconds when I hear…
I turn to the lady at 82 (who has interrupted my service).
“Yes?” I say.
“Could you go put our order in? We’re in a hurry.” says the lady at 82.
In this situation, which happens rarely, but does happen (you get interrupted), you really can’t turn back and ignore the lady who interrupted you, so you have no choice but to really go do what she wants.
“Sorry guys,” I say, “I’ll be right back.”
I run to the computer, put in her order, and come back with a diet coke. I drop off the diet coke to 82, and turn back to 85.
They are gone.
“Where…?” I begin.
“They moved,” the lady at 82 says, “they called me a bitch and went to another table.”
Now, in my head I thought “holy shit, that’s awesome, because you were rude as fuck”. But I wasn’t able to even say “oh, really? I’m sorry”, cause the lady from 82 didn’t stop there.
“Yeah, and you know, when somebody gives you an order, you really should go put the order in right away. I’m not telling you how to do your job, but when people are in a hurry, you should get their food out as quick as you can.”
I respond, “Had I known you were in a hurry, I would have done that for you.”
“It’s LA,” she says, “Almost everybody is in a hurry.”
With that I go, get her food out, drop the check off at the same time, and a to-go box in case she wanted to take it home and never looked back. I managed to squeeze out “have a nice day”.
As for payment? Not only was “no tip” written in the tip spot, but the words “learn to wait on tables” was written on the payment slip.
That slip now hangs framed in my room, to remind me every time I see it that my parents may not have been perfect, but they sure as shit raised me better than that woman.