Adventures in Serving: Beaux Schools Folks on Restaurant Etiquette

02 May

First, allow me to open with this statement: several of my friends and family members have either worked as servers or currently work as servers in a restaurant. Second, allow me to state that I’m a highly empathetic person who puts myself in other people’s shoes often, and I understand that judging someone’s position when you haven’t even tried to imagine what it must be like is the product of ignorance and, well, stupidity: in a phrase, mental laziness.

So on to the story.

Saturday night, Caleb, Brandi, and I went to a local restaurant to see some friends who were working as, yes, you guessed it, servers.

During the course of the few hours that we were there, our server friends ran into two different problems.

One of them (a guy) had a table full of belligerent women who complained about everything. The kitchen crew ended up sending out their entrée before their appetizer- a fault totally on the kitchen’s part- and this, of course, gave reason for the women to complain.

And they took it out on my friend.

No attempts to try to be understanding or, shock, shock, laugh at the situation.

They complained about the entrée situation- they said they weren’t “satisfied.”

One ordered a drink, then tasted someone else’s and complained because she had ordered the wrong drink but blamed the server friend of mine.

One of them pointed to someone’s empty drink. “Do you not see the problem here?”

…no, but ol’ Beaux sees a pattern here…

And so the complaints continued.

And they ended up getting their meal for free.

The women sitting at the table across from the trash told the server he was doing an excellent job and that they had no idea what the problem with those women was.

But I could’ve enlightened them.

The other server friend of mine dealt with a belligerent old man. He asked her if they washed their lemons before they came out. She explained, politely, that she was a server, and that she wasn’t sure how that process worked- her responsibility was in taking in the orders and bringing them out.

At which point in time the man yelled at her and said, “BECAUSE YOU DON’T, YOU DON’T WASH YOUR LEMONS!”

Now it’s time for Beaux’s school of etiquette and General Real Life Schooling, WELCOME!

First of all, people are not perfect. Restaurants are not perfect. Servers are not perfect. We do live in a society of immense technological miracles. However, things still go wrong and not according to plan at times- and dealing with that requires a bit of patience and understanding.

Second, servers are trained to be as polite and as hospitable as possible. It has been very rare that I’ve run into a server in a restaurant who was outright rude, and even then, I have given them the benefit of the doubt. (A notable exception was at Mellow Mushroom, when the servers simply ignored us.) Servers are under immense pressure to constantly keep up with food orders, to make sure people’s drinks are full, and, as a matter that’s happened within the last five or ten years in most restaurants, also keep up with the bills and make change for the guests, not to mention putting up with impolite, trashy guests who make the experience of the restaurant worse for the other guests and the servers themselves, and all this in a restaurant that’s seating a couple hundred people.

Needless to say, they’re juggling a lot all at once.

Oh, and by the way? Did you consider that being rude to the people who are handling your food might not be the wisest of things to do, especially before you get your food? You do realize that people in restaurants will abuse the food, do you not?

But better still, before you start making complaints, do the thing that we smart people do and actually have something valid about which to complain instead of just making up things so you can get your meal for free. Not all of us all desire to be trash, and if you don’t know how to interact with other people in public at least somewhat politely, then don’t bother coming to a restaurant, as you haven’t earned that privilege. Summarily, that’s what the women’s problem was- they wanted a free meal, so they complained about whatever they could to make my friend look bad and got what they wanted. Because they were trash.

Also, I would suggest taking some etiquette classes, but likely you’ll be unable to get those for free simply by complaining- so I guess that idea’s out, huh?

The term for the person is “server,” not “personal hand-and-foot, one-on-one food bitch.” And if you think that you’re more important than the rest of the guests in the restaurant, I guarantee you about half of them think the same thing with regards to you.

The lovely guests ended up leaving my friend three dollars as a tip. I suppose that was mighty generous of them, since their $50+ meal came free.

The technicality is that one should leave the server 15% of whatever the total meal was- at the very least, but it’s courteous to leave around 20% for them (or more, if you’re rich.)

The whole time, Caleb sat quietly eating his chicken and said he was going to flip their table over. He would alert us, “Oh, don’t worry. I’m almost done with my chicken,” and we would laugh.



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4 responses to “Adventures in Serving: Beaux Schools Folks on Restaurant Etiquette

  1. Gigi

    May 3, 2011 at 8:38 am

    So sad that some will do and be worse than impolite to others. It is all in their ‘raising’…..but , many people use those in service fields as their very own to abuse and amuse themselves. And all for a free meal…That is like stealing in my opinion…to put another down is their way of trying to raise themselves up and it doesn’t…..

  2. The Onyx Plate

    May 14, 2011 at 2:39 pm

    No comment needed except that I agree with you and agree with Gigi in full! I would still be a waitress if I didn’t have to clean up after people. 🙂 I loved it!

    • enamouredslave

      May 14, 2011 at 5:20 pm

      I was so upset for my friends that night but figured that the pen is mightier than the sword and decided to embarrass the unruly patrons on the world wide web. Had there been any ambiguity about it, perhaps I would’ve thought twice or thrice before writing the blog and posting, but the clarity of the situation left me with only the option of proceeding to write about it.


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