Every now and then a customer can irk a server so badly that we have to refrain from making inappropriate comments and risk losing our jobs. There are times, however, that our inner monologue somehow seems to rear its ugly head before we have time to register the course of events that has just transpired. So, I have to ask, have you ever sassed a customer?
I worked at Phillips down in OC, hon, for two summers and you really had to bite your tongue sometimes. I’ll never forget when a head server, having a bad day, received a thirty-five cent tip. She followed the customers outside, handed them their thirty-five cents back and said “Here, take this. Apparently you need this more than I do.” She was suspended for a few days, but I’m sure it felt so good.
I used to manage a snowball stand in Baltimore County when I was in high school and I think it was then that I realized that it doesn’t matter where you are or what you do, some people just like to complain. There was a woman who would come to the stand several times a week with her daughter and there was always something wrong with her snowball. One day I snapped. She ordered a rainbow snowball, being very artistic, it’s one of my favorites to make, and as I handed it to her she says “There’s not enough flavor on it. It’s all dry at the bottom.” I told her I could add more syrup but it would only make it over-saturated. She said “I don’t want your opinion, I want more flavor.” So I add more flavor until she tells me to stop. She hands off the snowball to her daughter and they have a seat at one of the picnic tables. Not even five minutes later, the woman approaches the stand with the snowball and starts bitching about how it’s all syrup and she wants a new one. I respond with “Um, yeah. I told you it was fine the first time but you insisted on adding more flavor. I have been working here for four years, I think I know the correct proportions at this point.” She demands to speak to my manager. “I am the manager!” I knew I should’ve just held my tongue and given her a new one, but it was so rewarding to see her face when I said that to her.
I know there are some great stories out there… anyone ever get fired for telling someone off? What’s the most impulsive thing you’ve ever said to a table? Have you ever had a server sass you or say anything inappropriate?
And speaking of potentially inappropriate, during my stint at Phillips, I decided to try a new approach to see if I could increase my tip percentage. Two gentlemen were seated in my section, they’re laughing, having a good time. They ask “Do you have crabs?” My response, very straight-faced, “That seems like a very personal question.” I suddenly realized my attempt at humor was lost on them. It was the longest ten seconds of my life…until they burst out laughing. Close one.
Finally, Springs thought of the day: (this one on MySpace)
Chit-Chatting With Server: Most people want to order their food and receive it in a TIMELY MANNER, NOT to make a friend. I don’t like it when a server starts a conversation with me INSTEAD of just taking my order. I came there to EAT AND DRINK and socialize with the person or people that I am with, NOT the wait staff.
Some customers are actually decent human beings and treat others with respect. I doubt your server will pull up a chair and have an hour long conversation with you about religion or politics, so try to be polite. It will make your dining experience much more enjoyable.