Wednesday, September 06, 2006 by Ospite.


Lunch "rush," c. 12:15pm.

2top is escorted to my table. I approach carefully, recognizing the lunch meeting type. Two guys who want somewhere to discuss business but away from the office. This usually connotes much inter-office gossip and bashing of fellow employees.

"Gentlemen, good afternoon. Have you been here before?"
"Of course."
"Splendid. Let me skip the spiels and head straight to drink orders."
"Iced tea." "Club soda with lime."
"I'll return post-haste with those as well as bread."
They simply stared at me. Maybe they weren't prepared for the use of 'post-haste' from a waiter.

I retrieved the appropriate drinks and then orders and then ran their food. As soon as their plates hit the table, it was as if I ceased to exist. Now normally for lunch-meeting types, they ignore you the whole time. But these two were chatty until their food arrived...the change was quite dramatic. When checking up on them, I was literally ignored.

"How is everything gentlemen?"
....not even a glance in my direction. They just stopped talking as if I walked into a confidential get-together without password clearance. The man seated to my left even yanked his legal pad from the table clumsily. I walked away without opening my mouth, for danger of getting yelled at.

I proceeded to ignore them for a solid 45 minutes. They made no gestures my direction, or eye-contact of any kind, until a plate was pushed to the table edge. I was there in an instant.

"What else may I do for you today sirs?"
"I'll take a coffee. Black." "And more tea for me." ...the latter of which again removed his legal pad and held it under the table.

After the drink drop, I let them be for another 25 minutes. We were now up to roughly 85 minutes of dining time. So much for turnover. When I meandered back to their table, they looked mildly annoyed at my presence.

"I'll leave this here for you. If you want anything else, simply let me know. And take your time." which is code for get out now. From the get-go, I could tell the tip was going to be crap. I can also take a certain amount of being looked down upon, but whatever was going on at their table clearly should have taken place in a locked room with no windows. When I placed the check on the table..they both gave me immediate hateful eyecontact. I held their gazes without changing face from my emotionless, neutral waiter expression. The one on the right mumbled something under his breath which I could not decipher. Nor did I care to ask. I trotted off to another table for a greet.

By the time I had done the lunch speech at the new table and turned around, the 2top of wannabe CIA field agents had left the building. Their tip: $5.00 on a $42.00 check. I'll remember those faces. Part of me wants them again...just so I can comment on the contents of the legal pad before it vanishes under the table.

15 Comments:

Anonymous Platy said...

Were they Middle Eastern?

9:11 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I started reading your blog after noticing it when you posted on waiter rant.

I speak as a former server:

Why do servers of any sort assume that they are anything in the customer's world except a server?

To expect much more is bound to disappoint you.

Mostly I don't interact with my server other than telling them my order, and thanking them for whatever it is they deliver as service. I have often had, what were, to me and whomever I was with, important conversations interrupted by the server, literally been cut off mid- sentence by the server. Likely they got a look but I usually say everything is fine thanks.

I tip very well usually, particularly if the server manages to get through the meal without calling me hon, sweetheart or some other denigrating diminuative.

1:42 PM  
Blogger Thy said...

well that's just unfair.

7:25 PM  
Anonymous Suz said...

lmao @ mister anonymous who is so pompous. I already wrote a smoldering rebuttal, but the computer ate it as I tried to post it. Guess it's your lucky day.

Keep in mind that a server isn't a machine. He/she deserves to know if the food he/she has served you is satisfactory. If those two knotheads needed privacy, then they should have had food delivered to the conference room. Mister Smugly Anon missed the point of this blog, and sounds like a bitchy reformed smoker.

Waiter, I heartily empathize with a bullshit tip of 12 percent when they hogged your table during the midday rush and treated you like an object.

7:45 PM  
Blogger Shannon said...

Waiter was just doing his job. If he hadn't, who knows if they would've complained that he was being inattentive and not seeing if they needed anything.

A customer has to expect that when going out to dinner. If they had such an important meeting and didn't want interruptions, they shouldn't have gone to a restaurant!!

7:25 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Actually it is Ms. anonymous and I am a bitchy non-smoker.

I truly resent pushy servers who think there is some point to their presence other than serving. That is not to say they are less human, it is to say that there is a stated point to their presence, and that is to take the order and bring things to the table, then clear away dishes. I never said that they should not enquire as to the quality of the food, but it can, and ought to be done in as unobtrusive a manner possible.

I recall a few years ago I was out to an anniversery dinner. My spouse and I were trying to enjoy our dinner and each other's company when the waiter, a young ignoramous, decided to crash our party of 2. He literally got on his knees by the table and leaned his head on the table and said something like, "I thought I would stop by for a chat".

Guess what? He got no tip at all, and that is exactly the reaction I would have again were it to happen again.

The ongoing theme that I see in these server blogs is that the authors seem starved for recognition. I suggest that if recognition is what you need, you ought to continue your education and obtain some type of degree that will lead you to employment where you will receive recognition. If you are very content with being a server, and are good at it, your recognition will be reflected in generous tips. If your tips suck, it might be that your service is not as great as you imagine it to be, and it might be time to reasses your approach.

2:24 PM  
Blogger Brad #1 said...

Ms. Anon, you're a fucking bitch!!

3:42 PM  
Anonymous Suz said...

Brad, you're wrong. Ms. Anon is a condescending fucking bitch. She would do well to go back to her job where she's allowed to be as cold and judgmental as she wants.

It's obvious that she does not wish to see the point the waiter is making in this blog. She only remembers that which revolves around her. ("Wahhhh, I had a bad experience with a waiter who was chummy!") I hope she finds much satisfaction in the recognition we are feeding her.

6:31 PM  
Blogger caramaena said...

Ms Anon, You said:

I never said that they should not enquire as to the quality of the food, but it can, and ought to be done in as unobtrusive a manner possible.

As far as I could see from the original post, he enquired how things were with one sentence, got zero response (which if you ask me is completely rude - what's wrong with a 'fine thanks'?), he left them alone for 45 mins, got them another drink and left them alone for another 25 mins. It doesn't give me the inpression that Ospite is 'starved for recognition' here - just that he's trying to do his job.

6:40 PM  
Blogger caramaena said...

impression*

6:42 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Ms. Anon what's your job and why'd you stop serving? Shitty tips?

7:32 PM  
Anonymous Ryan said...

Has it ever dawned on you that if you hate these "server blogs" you could simply stop reading them?

7:38 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Nah, I didn't quit because of the tips, I got an education and moved onward to more rewarding things, that had great recognition.

oh, and calling people names, always a sign you are losing the battle, chin up though, better luck with someone else.

Forgive me for thinking comments were welcome, even if they held an opposing view. Silly me.

8:39 PM  
Blogger Ospite said...

Hey, it's my blog, and I say all comments are welcome. Disagree all you like. I do other things that give me plenty of recognition. I'm not looking for it by being a waiter.

Civility? Now that I appreciate from everyone, customers and peers alike. I think we can all get knocked off our high horse from time to time and it'd do us some good, but there's no reason that being a patron at a restaurant gives you the right to be a prick.

9:10 PM  
Anonymous Suz said...

Anonymous said...

"Forgive me for thinking comments were welcome, even if they held an opposing view. Silly me."

Comments, sure...but can we check this attitude?

"I got an education and moved onward to more rewarding things, that had great recognition."

The implication here is that servers are uneducated and can't do anything better, right? For the record, my recognition goes right into my wallet at the end of the night. I'm quite happy with my role as a server. If that satisfaction fades, I'll use my college degree to get a job in that field, okay?

You sound like someone who is quite taken with herself. I say hooray for confidence, but down with the condescension of those who don't do what you do. Get over yourself because that high horse you are on will stumble. You can count on that Ms. High and Mighty.

And name calling? Hey, if the shoe fits...

10:01 AM  

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At your service, Ospite

I am not in the restaurant business, I am in the people business. I use every opportunity to people watch, because to me, even the most mundane is fascinating.

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