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“Nationals October 2019

The Bar Bitch Turns The Other Cheek

| June 08, 2010, 11:10 AM | 7 Comments

It has been brought to my attention that one of my frequent commentors has a blog of her own–well actually several. It’s actually pretty hilarious from a server’s point of view and if you’re looking for a good laugh, check it out.  I might just post an excerpt from her blog at the end of my columns just for entertainment value. While I do think she makes some very valid points, most of them are completely absurd and off base. Being in and out of the restaurant industry for almost ten years and knowing what it takes to be a good server, I too, get fairly annoyed when I receive below par service.  Here are a few examples:

Just last night I was out with some friends and we were in the process of settling our tab. We paid the bill and were expecting about $15 back  in change. Our check wasn’t even $40, and our server didn’t give us any change back. If it was a few dollars, it wouldn’t have bothered me, and maybe she had made a mistake, but to assume that we are going to leave you almost 50% is a little unusual. I really hope she made a mistake.

One time last summer during a street festival downtown I asked the hostess if I could sit at an available table outside. She said yes and I grabbed the table. I sat there for about 10 minutes without so much as a menu when I flagged down one of the servers,  “Excuse me, I’m sorry to bother you. I don’t know if you’re my server, or who has this section, but would you mind finding out for me? I’ve been sitting here for a while.”

“No problem, ” was the reply.

Another 10 to 15 minutes goes by and a table next to me has been seated, ordered and already received their food. I flag down another server,  “Excuse me, I really hate to bother you, but do you know who my server is? I’ve been sitting here for quite some time and haven’t even been greeted.”

“Oh, I’m so sorry! I’ll find out for you.”

The table next to me finishes their food, pays and leaves. I still have not been waited on. Server #1 comes back outside again. I flag him down, “I really hate to be a nuisance, but I’ve been here for almost 45 minutes and have not seen a server. Can I speak with your manager?”

The manager comes out followed closely behind by the hostess. Apparently it’s the hostess’s responsibility to assign tables to the servers and she ‘forgot’ to tell anyone I was outside. This was wrong on so many levels. First of all, there were only 5 tables outside. Both of the servers that I flagged down could have picked up my table or at least gotten me a menu and some water.  It doesn’t matter that it was the hostess’s responsibility, I brought it to the attention of two other servers who both did nothing about the situation. Very poor teamwork and I have not been back to eat at the restaurant since. Federal  House, I hope you’ve stepped up your service since then.

I went to Kyma the first day it opened a few years ago and wanted to strangle my server. I ordered a dirty martini when we arrived and my server comes over and in his snooty voice says, “I took the liberty of making this martini with Hangar Vodka. There are only two cases in the whole state of Maryland and we, here at Kyma, have one of them.”

Okay, fantastic. I don’t remember you asking me what kind of vodka I’d like with my martini, and typically if someone doesn’t specify, you are supposed to give them the rot gut rail liquor or the closest thing you have to rail. I placed my order, a few small plates, one of which was bread with a variety of spreads. There were four spread choices and I ordered three of them (the fourth being pate, and my taste buds were not quite as mature as they are now). The bread comes out with four spreads. The waiter comes over and I ask him if he brought us pate.

“Yes, that’s the pate.”

“Well, I didn’t order pate, I ordered the other three spreads.”

“Yes, you did.”

“Excuse me? No, I didn’t. I don’t eat pate and I never would have ordered it.” Granted I have dealt with tables who order things they didn’t mean to, but I know for certain I never ordered the pate. So, I ate the food and avoided the pate and silently seethed at the snootiness and arrogance. When it was time to leave, I get the check an what do you know, I was charged $13 for my martini. I never went back to Kyma–and apparently many others did not either as it have been replaced with a great place called Level.

We all have bad days and sometimes slip up, but bad service never goes unnoticed. Out of curiosity, what are some of the worst dining experiences you guys have had?

And to close, here is Springs1’s thought of the day and my rebuttal:

14. NEVER REFILL A DRINK WITHOUT ASKING FIRST OR LETTING THE CUSTOMER ASK!

Haha! Do you know how many people would be pissed off when not receiving water or soda refills? A customer should never have to ask unless they don’t want refill. Does a customer have the right to get angry when their server takes the initiative to refill their water glass? Of course not!

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Category: OPINION

About the Author - The Bar Bitch

I graduated with an Art degree from a small liberal arts college, did a bit of traveling and moved to Annapolis from Baltimore about seven years ago. I currently manage a well-known Annapolis restaurant, serve and bartend. I live downtown and I like sunsets and long walks on the beach :)

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Comments (7)

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  1. Springs1 says:

    ” Do you know how many people would be pissed off when not receiving water or soda refills? ”

    I didn’t say not to “RECEIVE” refills. READ what I said:

    “NEVER REFILL A DRINK WITHOUT ASKING”

    “OR LETTING THE CUSTOMER ASK”

    I NEVER, EVER, EVER, EVER, EVER, conveyed to not refill drinks. I said GET PERMISSION FIRST!! LEARN HOW TO READ!!

    “A customer should never have to ask unless they don’t want refill.”

    I 100% AGREE the customer should NEVER have to ask. The SERVER, YES, THE SERVER IS SUPPOSED TO ASK YOU!!

    Do you understand your SERVER is supposed to ask you?

    “Does a customer have the right to get angry when their server takes the initiative to refill their water glass? Of course not!”

    YES, OF COURSE, because it’s NOT YOUR PLACE TO MAKE A DECISION LIKE THAT!!!

    CUSTOMERS ARE THE ONLY PEOPLE THAT GET TO ORDER!! OUR SERVERS HAVE ZERO SAY SO IN WHAT WE WANT AT OUR TABLE!! SERVERS ARE AT OUR MERCY!!

    If you want to give refills without asking or being asked, you ask at the GREETING if the customer wants refills without being asked throughout their service. They just might tell you “NO”, I might want something else later or something like that. They just might not tell you they for sure want that.

    It’s NEVER up to the server to make decisions for their customers. WHY do you think you have ANY RIGHT TO? You aren’t *DRINKING* it or *PAYING FOR THE SERVICE*, so WHY do you think you have ANY RIGHT to make a DECISION that IS NOT YOURS TO MAKE?

    The customer gets to decide if they want any type of food or drink at their table, NOT THEIR SERVER!! Especially, if it’s a stranger of all people, WHY SHOULD YOU GET TO DECIDE SOMETHING FOR ME IN MY SERVICE? WHO ARE YOU TO DO THAT? I don’t even let my husband order for me, much less a stranger.

    “most of them are completely absurd and off base.”

    What ones are off base and absurd to you?

    “Being in and out of the restaurant industry for almost ten years and knowing what it takes to be a good server,”

    It doesn’t matter how much experience you have as a server. It matters WHAT you have had as a CUSTOMER to know how it feels when the problems happen to YOU on a personal level.

    Out of curiosity, have you ever been overcharged on a PRICE in a restaurant? For example, at Outback ribs were on the menu $16.99, but was charged $17.29(ordered as is). If you haven’t HOW do you know how to treat a customer that found a wrong price when you serve them? My husband and I have had MANY of instances where prices were the wrong price.

    Have you ever had a server assume you wanted an appetizer with your meal just because you ordered 2 appetizers and 2 entrées in a party of 2? WE have for example. If you haven’t, have you ever had a couple do that before? If not, see how experiences as a customer show you how to be a good server by knowing how it felt at the time when it happened to YOU as a customer?

    While I do think she makes some very valid points
    What points are valid in your OPINION?

  2. Springs1 says:

    “change. Our check wasn’t even $40, and our server didn’t give us any change back. If it was a few dollars, it wouldn’t have bothered me”

    WHY? That’s stealing. It’s also entitlement that they think it’s theirs automatically. MOST people are bothered by servers not returning DOLLARS back.

    It bothers me even if I would want the server to have it, because it’s just the PRINCIPLE of it that WE TIP and they don’t get to tip THEMSELVES of how much they think they are worth to us.

    Now if it’s a mistake, it better be with an extra dollar added to the change for a major messup like that if you want a good tip, otherwise, customers have every right to think it’s done on purpose.

    Thankfully, we pay with credit cards all the time or gift cards, so we don’t have issues like that 99.9% of the time.

  3. Springs1 says:

    “I went to Kyma the first day it opened a few years ago and wanted to strangle my server. I ordered a dirty martini when we arrived and my server comes over and in his snooty voice says, “I took the liberty of making this martini with Hangar Vodka.”

    How did you feel when your server “ORDERED” for you by making a decision that wasn’t hers to make? It doesn’t matter if it’s alcohol or water or soft drinks or tea, because the decision of what the customer wants IS ONLY THE CUSTOMER’S DECISION. So when you say ““Does a customer have the right to get angry when their server takes the initiative to refill their water glass? Of course not”, when you maybe want NEXT SOMETHING ELSE, you see how it feels. This situation is NO DIFFERENT than yours, NONE!! The server took the liberty to ORDER for you just as a server does to bring a refill of a soft drink, tea, or water without asking me first. Now you see how it feels considering you said you wanted to strangle your server. You don’t see that this is the SAME thing as refilling a water without the customer’s permission? Ordering for a customer is ordering for a customer, no matter what it is. Just because I get a coke, doesn’t mean I want another coke. You should be ASKING first, just as that server should have done for you to have ASKED you what type of vodka you wanted if she was going to do that.

  4. Springs1 says:

    “It doesn’t matter that it was the hostess’s responsibility, I brought it to the attention of two other servers who both did nothing about the situation. Very poor teamwork”

    It is like this EVERYWHERE just about.

    Do you blame in some ways that the other servers didn’t help you out when they were getting PAID to? I can see it from their point of view as well. NO INCENTIVE to help out, so why do it in their eyes.

  5. Springs1 says:

    “It doesn’t matter that it was the hostess’s responsibility, I brought it to the attention of two other servers who both did nothing about the situation. Very poor teamwork”

    It is like this EVERYWHERE just about.

    Do you blame these other servers in some ways that they didn’t help you out when they weren’t getting PAID to? I can see it from their point of view as well. NO INCENTIVE to help out, so why do it in their eyes.

  6. msclutch says:

    Ugh. I don’t understand why people who are so particular don’t just stay home, or only eat at fine dining establishments.

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