12/19/09

I'm the customer I hate

Ever since I've been reading and writing these blogs I have had an intense sensation of customer anxiety. I analyze everything me and my guests do when eating out. I try to read the server's faces to see what they are thinking. It's downright dreadful. I can't even enjoy myself. I'm thinking about boycotting restaurants altogether.

Yesterday during a break in appointments at the spa, my mom and I went to a nearby restaurant. It was really nice. The menu had interesting/new meals and you could see the kitchen and cooks through plexiglass. It was also super expensive.. well for what I'm used to.

We didn't have much time so we just wanted appetizers. We had to wait for about 15 minutes and were sat at a four person table. I felt bad because it was a Friday night and there was a wait. This waiter could have had people who were drinking and ordering meals. And he got us.

I cringed as a I told him that we had an appoinment (I was trying to let the server know that we would need to be served more quickly as their place is more about presentation and enjoying the atmosphere). However, I could tell this ticked him off. I almost saw his mind click over to "oh great appetizers" mode. He was short with us after that and rather rude. I'm sure he didn't feel like working for that seven dollar tip.. as our bill only added up to about thirty bucks.

He started to do things which made me think he was purposely trying to punish us. For instance, he would come to our table to check on us but wouldn't pick up the empty soup cups .. which I placed at the end of the table for easier access. He also would bring us refills but didn't take our empty glasses. And even though he knew we were trying to have dinner in a timely manner (we DID have forty five minutes so it wasn't that rushed).. and he saw our napkins were on the table.. he waited forever to bring our boxes. Then even longer to bring the check. And I realize he was busy but the servers had a team effort type of staff and helped out alot. I would see him kind of walking around not knowing what to do with himself.

This is just one experience I've had in the last few weeks. But I cringe everytime I ask for something annoying (like extra sauces) or for numerous refills (I'm quite the guzzler). If I stay and sit an extra twenty minutes and it's busy I can feel the server's stare. I'm all the things I hate in a customer. And the more I try to compensate by being nice .. I think the more it angers them.

On a funny note, I had a waitress the other day at a Chilis who talked like she was an auctioneer. I couldn't help but laugh as she was talking because it was basically impossible to understand her. And she would come by and tell me she was getting me another iced tea so quickly that I didn't even have time to say no thanks.

Any other servers or former servers have trouble being a customer?

7 comments:

LW said...

In the past I did over think my behavior when eating out, but not so much anymore. Your server should have realized that sometimes small checks can mean a large tip if the service is good. And you told him you would be in and out fairly quickly so he could have told himself it would be an easy and quick tip, kind of a bonus since he could turn the table quickly.
Of course we all want large checks that lead to large tips, but that's not always what we get. It's no excuse to give bad service. We all complain about these tables, but they are customers. It's part of the job.

Cielo Gold said...

I think working in the service industry for so many years has made me a better customer: patient, understanding and a big tipper. :)

purplegirl said...

I feel bad whenever I do something obnoxious, so I try to at least do it with a smile. Sounds like you were being as polite as possible. That guy was out of line--he didn't deserve a $7 tip for that kind of server.

Waiter Extraordinaire said...

The guy shouldn't have treated you like that. That is not service. Whether someone comes in for a piece of bread or a full course dinner everyone should be given the best service possible. It is not obligatory in my mind to tip good if the service is lousy. And I am a waiter Ha!

Anonymous said...

You're more generous than i am. I tip very well as a waitress myself. When I go out as a customer I can forgive a misstep or two by the server- it happens sometimes. But this guy did not provide good service at all and let his attitude get the best of him. I don't think he deserved that $7 tip either :-/

-AZWaitress

Waiting said...

I know your post is about being the type of customer that you hate but you should look at it more positively. Being a needy guest isn't bad as long as you make your requests clear and known before hand.

Personally, I don't mind if someone comes in for a quick meal of just starters as long as they leave 20% or more. To me that's better than someone coming in and eating a leisurely meal for 2 hours and then giving you a shitty tip like $10 on $180. Also, I don't mind when people are in a rush or need extra sauces provided they tell you before hand. I hate when a customer knows they are going to need something and waits until you are too busy to just drop everything and get it immediately. That forces me to give them bad service.

BB said...

I think that I have mastered the being a patient, smart customer because of my experience. But that doesn't stop me from constantly wondering how my actions will look from the point of the view of a server. Am I going to annoy them? Etc. It's interferring with my dining out experiences because I am so aware of the common annoyances.

And he wasn't a very good server.. but his co-workers were friendly and if I gave him a poor tip it could affect the people he has to tip out..