Monday, November 13, 2006

Sorry, I don't read minds

So I'm sat. I can tell even before approaching this table it is going to be interesting at best, and most likely far worse than interesting. Any time five people insist on sitting in a booth that only seats four, you know things are not likely going good. 3 middle aged women, a mid teens girl, and a 1 1/2 year old baby boy. No room for the child or a booster seat. Yes, we offered a table that would accommodate them comfortably, they just don't want to walk the extra 25 feet, and the booth looks more comfortable they have stated. I approach the table as the host gives me the "I'm sorry look".

So I start in with my table approach. 17 interruptions later and it is clear these people are a bit rude, socially uneducated, needing baths and a personal introduction to deodorant. I mentally realize that deodorant is likely not something they use regularly but my nose is rebelling nonetheless. They are clearly West African, I'm guessing Ghana. I have some friends from Ghana, and the dress and style of speech is dead on for what I am used to seeing and hearing. Someday I hope to tour Ghana and visit some other friends I have who are there, but I digress. So I ask, and yes, they are from Ghana. The one lady speaks for the whole table and says she has lived here for 12 years and that her mother and sister are visiting for the first time.

After about 5 minutes of work to take a drink and appetizer order that takes most tables 1 minute I am able to give my nose and ears a break. I come back with the appropriate beverages (making sure my other tables are OK first, knowing this is going to take a while) and I take their dinner order. The one lady orders for everyone. Her mother and sister are sharing an order of one of our fresh fish, her daughter wants a kids meal (though I'm guessing she's 15 and our menu cuts off at 10), and she wants the "seafood platter".

Have you seen our menus? We're a seafood restaurant. Although we do have 2 meals with the words seafood platter, we have 45 other things that fit that category. So I ask.

"Which one would that be ma'am? We have a number of seafood platters, as well as both the fried and broiled seafood platers" I state as I point them out on the menu. She wants the broiled one.

Fast forward 15 minutes, I'm delivering the food.

I hand everything out and ask if anything else is needed. Nothing, everything looks great.

I come back in 2 more minutes to check on their meals, "Is everything fantastic ladies?"

Mom and sister moan "Mmmmhmmmm" as they keep shoveling. Broiled Seafood Platter lady asks me what she ordered. "The Broiled Seafood Platter ma'am."

"This isn't what I wanted."

"What did you want ma'am?"

"The seafood platter."

"Did you want the fried one instead ma'am?"

"No, I don't like fried food. I wanted the seafood platter."

"Well what was on the meal you were hoping to get?"

"I don't know."

This conversation going on between her continued eating.

"Would you like something different ma'am?"

"No, but bring me a menu." I return with the menu, and it is clear by this point my other tables want me too.

"I wanted this meal (pointing to the Ultimate Feast). You should have known that. That is the meal I wanted. Why didn't you order me that meal?"

I'm beginning to wonder if Candid Camera isn't filming me. I really need to cash out my other table and get refills for my 4 top.

"Excuse me ma'am?"

"Why didn't you order me this meal, that is the meal I want."

"You told me you wanted the Broiled Seafood Platter ma'am. As a rule, I order what the guest tells me to order."

"Well you didn't order what I wanted."

"Ma'am, my job is to make you happy. I will gladly order you that meal if you would like. It takes 8 minutes to cook."

"No, I don't want that meal. This one is better than that meal. Just don't make this mistake again." she says as she fully turns back to inhaling her meal.

Any guesses what was running through my mind at that moment? There were a couple of things, parts of which are not likely suitable for print.

On their way out, she hands me the check holder and proclaims "You were a good waiter, I left you some extra tip." As it is not polite to look, I stick the book in my apron and thank them for coming. When I get to the computer after they are gone, I see it is a whopping 6%. It's a good thing I make minimum wage to supplement that...

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6 comments:

andy1784 said...

It is painful reading some of these posts, this one in particular. I worked at RL for a while. I Loved my coworkers (mostly) and hated the clientel (also mostly). I recently found this blog and have loved reading through it. You have a way of capturing the experience so well it makes me laugh and cringe all at once. Keep up the good job!

chris said...

I work with West Africans on a daily basis in the personal care field. Having to explain how to use a can opener or reminding someone to wash their hands after they use the bathroom before cooking a consumer's meal gets very old. Because of over 100% turnover in this field the companies hire whomever they can get. Not all are bad but I'd say a large percentage are just there to see just how little work they can do and still get paid.

Oh yea. The whole B.O. thing? So true. Perfume should not be used in stead of soap and water. Pew!

Grubpic said...

Hey... You are smart and on the right track. We RL servers need this forum. You say it in our own language. You should title this as: The Red Lobster Underground. A place where RL employees speak (and read) freely without all of the kiss ass rhetoric. The servers carry RL on their shoulders....

Michael said...

well gee, at least she didn't stiff you. *snicker*

Bananna said...

OMG...That is the funniest thing I have ever read...and when I say funny I mean....

I completly expect things like this to happen to me.

Reshma said...

Oh I know how that feels! I also hate it when people forget what they have ordered!! - In some cases; thank goodness the rest of the table reminds that person that they actually *did* order that!!