I went to an On The Border with some friends last night – It’s our usual double date spot for margaritas and Mexican. We go with our favorite gay couple. PJ and Rich talk engineering, Tony and I talk fashion. We all drink. It’s the best of both worlds.
I don’t know why, but whenever we go out with them, something happens to me. One time we went out, and there was a hair in my burger. The last time we went out, the server forgot to put my order in. This time….well.
Granted, our server was new. Ok fine, I understand that. But not only did he ask us several times what we wanted to drink, and eat, and then make mistakes and have to come back to correct himself and ask if things were ok, because he got it wrong, he was hovering and his “Border Buddy” was nonexistent. You know, the seasoned professional they pair you with to make sure you don’t screw up?
We asked for a round of waters. He barely made it to the table with the tray, and then proceeded to spill an entire glass of ice water on me – so much so that my underwear got wet – through a tweed dress and leggings. It also got on my suede boots. I was so wet, I took PJ’s jacket because I was freezing. He said, “Sorry, I’m new.” He let his manager mop the floor while I cleaned off the table myself, because he had walked away. The manager told us, “He’s new, just finished training, and I told him this sort of things happens to everyone.” Um, no, it doesn’t.
I understand I have a bit of a different “serving” upbringing. I worked for four years in a very busy, very boutique restaurant. We had extremely strict standards in service, when to get a manager, when to comp things…we also learned old school serving rules. Clockwise, but serve the oldest woman at the table first. Don’t rush the check. Don’t hover. If you can’t remember, write it down because you look like a fool going back two and three times to ask guests what they wanted. There are also general rules for comping. If there’s an issue with the food, you comp the meal and offer something else for no charge. If there’s an issue in service, you buy a round of drinks or you offer dessert on the house. If there is a HUGE issue, you comp the whole bill. You don’t just assume everything is fine because the person didn’t make a scene. So while I’m understanding of a server’s plight, I also take note of how other restaurants train their staff.
I also understand that it is JUST WATER, and no, I’m not from Oz, and no, I’m not going to melt. But YOUR server inconvenienced me. I came out to dinner, and am paying my hard-earned money for at least halfway decent service, which I did not get. Make up for it.
I did not come out to be pestered with questions that I already answered, but you weren’t listening for (“I forgot to ask you how you wanted your margarita” even though when I ordered, I said “On the rocks with salt.”), or have water dumped on me, and then have to sit in soaking wet clothes for my meal, with “sorry, I’m new” as an excuse.
About and hour later, we received the check. which was full. There was nothing taken off for the mishap – and my clothes were still soaked. We were all a little miffed. We were figuring out the check, and he came over to make sure “everything was ok.” This is a cardinal sin – you never rush the guests with the check, and you certainly don’t go over unless they look like they’re done or need something. This was the last straw.
We paid the whole thing (mostly because I had a gift card), and yes, we did leave a tip – 10%.
On the way out, I said something to the hostess. She gave me deer in headlights eyes and grabbed a manager (the same one who mopped the floor). I told her that I was shocked and appalled that not only did he not help us clean up, he did not offer any compensation, or even more of an apology. He just acted if nothing happened, then rushed us with the check. It was the second time we had bad service, and shrugged the first time off as a fluke, but this really did it. She said, “Well, when I went over, you seemed fine, so I didn’t think I had to do anything about it.”
I told her I wasn’t looking for a free meal, and I understand being new, but the service was terrible and should be noted. She asked me if I wanted her to take something off the bill, but I told her it was too late; we had already paid She asked me if I wanted something for next time, and I told her because of all this, there won’t be one.