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Dear Server [Jul. 2nd, 2008|08:56 am]
Dear Server,

My needs are pretty simple. 25 years of combined bartending, foodservice and retail experience, trust me, I KNOW how your customers treat you. There something about "paying" that turns even reasonable people into demanding little monsters who think that you should cater to their every whim, no matter how unreasonable, and that, despite clear evidence that there are 12 OTHER customers waiting to be served, that you should treat them as if they were your only responsibility...all for a 10% tip. Or less.

And while it's true that sometimes former servers are the absolute WORST customers, since when THEY were servers they were the BEST in the world and if you don't match up to their high standard of excellence, you may therefore be treated like crap. Or maybe they've just harbored all of this resentment from being treated like crap themselves -- which should make them more sympathetic, but instead, like some kind of reverse hazing, they unload it all on you, because maybe you've got it easy and aren't being abused like THEY were, back in the day.

(Please note, I use "back in the day" with sarcasm here. I almost agree with Lake Superior State University that it should be banned...but I'm not into banning, I'm of the camp that believes that using words/phrases in a contemptuous manner, making it clear that you are hopelessly uncool for using it seriously, will kill a phrase more quickly than outright banning.)

But I digress. The point is, I'm NOT one of those people. I understand that despite there being empty tables in the restaurant, it may be a while until we seat you because we need to make sure the orders coming into the kitchen need to be staggered. I'm acutely aware of your service area and will time my requests AFTER you've completed service on another customer, not right before or in the middle. If I can see the extra set-ups from where I am, I'll go get one, instead of lying in wait for you, until your arms are full with a serving tray, on the way to a table, and then have a temper tantrum because I'm missing my fork. And yes, I always tip well. 20% or better. If you weren't good at your job, I'm not going to stiff you, although I may talk to the manager about your need to improve. If you were good, you'll get more.

If you're new at a place I eat regularly, I will cut you some breaks until you get the rhythm of it. And the other night, I tried, I really did.


Ahem. Admittedly, I may have been a little on edge. But c'mon, every time I sit down in this restaurant...a pitcher of cider, x number of glasses, a carafe of water with a round of glasses for the table.

This is KEY to my let's-not-get-hammered strategy. If I have a choice, I will temper the alcohol drinking with the non-alcohol. But I have The Lazy and if the alcohol is all that's in front of me, that is what I will drink. To the detriment of my fellow diners, my friends, even you, my friendly server, because my math ability erodes with alcohol and not in a way favorable to your tip.

So, when I ask for the water and it doesn't show up and I ask again and you say "We're short on glasses right now, as soon as we get more up, I'll get you the water." I ding the establishment (c'mon, buy some more glasses, folks) I do not hold you responsible. But then, when the apps come and still not water and you say "still waiting on the glasses" I now am looking up at the racks of glasses above the bartender's head and thinking, well, how about I order another cider and this time, when I'm done drinking it, you can refill it with water, but hey, it's busy, you're new...until it's now been an HOUR since I asked for my freaking round of waters and now, see, I've made my way to the bottom of a pitcher of cider -- at a fast clip because, well, I was THIRSTY. And now, you've sold more cider, instead of free water, but I am now a Giant, Tipsy Crab Ball. And now this carafe of water has become my Holy Grail. My Pot of Gold. The thing that will be mine, or I will die trying.

So, this time, when you come to clear away our entrees, I'm going to be a leetle snappy "Um, look, we've been waiting for water since we got here and I understand you've got a shortage of water glasses but from here I can see racks of wine glasses and brandy snifters and I'm pretty sure they'll hold water too. I don't mind a stem, I just want a glass of water."

And you could've saved your rep with me if you'd just said "omigosh, I'm sorry to have kept you waiting" and gotten the table a round of water in whatever container was convenient.

But no, you chose to whirl away, stomp to the bar, grab a single waterglass, fill it with water and slam it down in front of me, then stomp away.

Thereby turning the Tipsy Crab Ball into the Hammered Pit Bull of Doom. Because I will NOT let this go now. And I become the customer I hate, lying in wait, and I'm going to pounce on you next time you go by and use....the hand gesture.

Sorry, I'm a firm believer that you don't use your hands (unless you're speaking ASL) to communicate with servers. You get their attention the civilized way, by making eye contact (unless you're blind...) and letting them come to the table and talk to them like a human being.

But no, you made me wave to get your attention and then, in my smarmiest "when you get a chance, do you think you can get the rest of the table THEIR waters as well", making the "round for the table" gesture. But you brought that on yourself, chickie.

Anyway, disaster (me making a scene) was averted, we got our waters and I should probably apologize to my tablemates for making them drink their goddamn water that I had to work so hard for.

[User Picture]From: pyratelady
2008-07-02 03:30 pm (UTC)
NIce to see that the Royal Mile waitstaff is as charming as ever. They must pass along that attitude when they're training the new ones.
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[User Picture]From: terribleturnip
2008-07-02 04:46 pm (UTC)
Some of them are absolutely lovely. And if this was her first shanty sing, I'm willing to give this one another chance. Personally, the noise and crowding unglues me a bit and I'm just sitting there. Most of the servers will admit to hating Shanty night and I can't blame them one bit. For starters, as a group of reenactor/folkies...I'm going out on a limb and guessing the big tippers are few and far between. (NOT that there aren't exceptions! But as a group) And a lot of the group are....more generously sized than the general population. Plus, another stereotype, but not without some truth, this is not the most, um, aware and considerate of other's space and need to get down the freaking service path...

Ahem. I had to be restrained from jumping up and screaming "there's only one way out of the kitchen and yer blocking it, mates!" on more than one occasion.

I would LOATHE working that night. But still, several of the servers manage to put on a brave face and deal with it. Hopefully, they'll rub off on this one.
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[User Picture]From: pyratelady
2008-07-02 05:07 pm (UTC)
All valid points. One of the reasons I don't frequent that social event any more is that I'm tired of fighting my urge to use my shepherd's crook to pull some of the singers the hell away from their favorite spot right in front of the cash register... ya know, where the wait staff is trying to WORK??? Also, some of them love to plant themselves in the only really clear path in the whole place. (next to the bar)

Yup. If reenactors didn't have reenacting, I think they'd be in jail for being public nuisances.
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[User Picture]From: mistressfetch
2008-07-02 03:38 pm (UTC)
I guess having your drunk, ragin, PMSing friend there would of made things worse :-) Glad I sat this one out :-)
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[User Picture]From: terribleturnip
2008-07-02 04:51 pm (UTC)
Oh, yeah. Because I was full of snark and you would have been full of loud and I would've alternated between whispering unkindnesses about my fellow man and you would've added to it, and added volume. And I would have shushed you one too many times and you would've punched me and then, sister, we'd have had it ON.
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[User Picture]From: chellebelle74
2008-07-02 05:17 pm (UTC)
Add some pudding and you could have charged admission....
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[User Picture]From: lowlandscot
2008-07-02 05:28 pm (UTC)
Your invitation to sit at your table next time now appears in an entirely different light.

And you may talk a good game, but if you were a real drama queen you would have ordered an extra water and thrown it at her. On the other hand, based on my week in Edinburgh, I'd say the service you describe is authentically Scottish. Not the slamming down water part, but the futility of trying to get anything besides booze in less than 90 minutes part.
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[User Picture]From: regineaubergine
2008-07-03 03:25 pm (UTC)
I was there. You weren't THAAAT crabby. My spouse had just had prostate biopsy done and HE was crabby. He said the evening was "keeping time with his butt" (poor dear), slower pace than it normally is even for RMP. Plus, there were all sorts of unusual folks there, even more so then usual unusuals, circus night?? I was bad and did not drink all my water when it finally arrived after all that effort. Spouse chided me but you did not. Still had a fun evening.
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