Don’t Dish Out What You Can’t Take

, , , , | Working | March 23, 2018

(There is a nice restaurant my husband and I pass on our way to work, and we really want to try it. Finally, on our anniversary, we make a booking and give it a go. We are given seats and menus. [Dish #1] sounds nice, but it comes with mushrooms. It’s not especially busy, so I decide I will ask if it is possible to have it without mushrooms. I find a second choice just in case. The waitress comes by.)

Waitress: “Hi! Welcome to [Restaurant]. Are you two ready to order?

Me: “Yes. Can I first just ask: can [Dish #1] be made without mushrooms?

Waitress: *making an exhausted expression as if to say, “Here we go…”* “Are you allergic?”

Me: “Oh, no. I just don’t like them, is all. I just thought I’d ask, since it sounded nice except for the mushrooms.”

Waitress: “Sorry, no substitutions.”

Me: “Oh. Well, it’s not a substitution. I’m not asking for something else, instead.”

Waitress: “We’re not going to make you something off-menu just because you don’t like mushrooms. If you don’t like what a dish comes with, maybe you should pick something else.”

Me: *a little surprised by her snippy attitude* “Oh, well, I’ll just have [Dish #2].”

(The waitress takes my husband’s order and then stomps off. My husband looks at me.)

Husband: “Wow, she was really rude. Do you want to say something?”

Me: “It’s fine. [Dish #2] looked nice.”

Husband: “Well, she’s not getting a tip. Not after that sour attitude.”

(The waitress passes by to take the order of another table just as he says that and she looks our way, so I think she may have heard him, but she says nothing and calmly takes the order of the next table, perfectly politely. When our food arrives, I am shocked to find that my order is covered in mushrooms, even though [Dish #2] doesn’t come with mushrooms on the menu. The waitress slams both dishes down, and then storms off before I can say anything.)

Husband: “That’s it.”

(He gets up and walks towards the waitress, calling to her just as she tries to vanish into the kitchen.)

Waitress: *scowling* “Yes?”

Husband: “I’d like to speak to your manager, please.”

Waitress: “Oh, he’s not in right now. I’ll have to get him to call you back.”

Husband: “Somebody must be in charge. A supervisor or something.”

Waitress: “No, it’s just me. I’m in charge.”

(Just then, another member of staff comes out of the kitchen carrying an order.)

Waiter: “Is there a problem here?”

Husband: “Yes, I’d like to talk to your manager.”

Waiter: “Oh. He’s in his office in the back. I can get him if you like.”

Husband: “Yes, thank you. I’d appreciate that.”

(I stand and join my husband to try and calm him down; I can see he is seconds away from shouting, which isn’t going to help. I don’t really want to make a fuss, but something has to be done; I’ve been served something I didn’t order, and cannot eat. It’s covered almost completely in mushrooms, so it’s not even like I can pick them out. The waiter comes back out, followed by the manager.)

Manager: “What seems to be the problem?”

Me: “There was a mix-up with my order.”

Husband: “No, the waitress here was rude, and she got my wife’s order wrong on purpose.”

Me: “I’m sure it was just a mistake.”

Manager: *turns to the waitress, who is glaring at me* “Was it a mistake?”

Waitress: “Of course it was.”

Manager: “I’m just going to check with the kitchen to see what happened. Can you tell me what you should have gotten? I’ll straighten this out.”

(Once I tell the manager what my order was and that it came with mushrooms, he assures me that, no, the dish doesn’t normally come with mushrooms unless somebody asks for them. He goes into the kitchen. He then comes back out, looking furious, eyes locked on the waitress.)

Manager: “In my office. Now. I’ll deal with you in a minute.”

(The waitress glared at my husband and me, and then stormed into the kitchen. The manager got us back into our seats and asked for details on exactly what happened. Once we told him, he looked even angrier and explained that the order ticket the waitress gave to the kitchen said, “Extra, extra mushrooms,” on my order. He was deeply apologetic and explained that the waitress was new; this was her first shift and her first job ever. He offered to remake both our meals since they were now stone cold, giving me [Dish #1] without mushrooms like I originally wanted, and he offered to give us both our main meals for free to compensate us for what happened. I told him it wasn’t necessary — as long as we got our food as we ordered it, it was fine — but the manager insisted on giving us a free dessert and coffee. The waiter served us instead, and he was perfectly pleasant. We chatted a little, and we told him about how it was our anniversary and how we always passed this place and wanted to come in. As we left, the manager came rushing out and gave us a bottle of wine to take home. When I tried to decline, as I felt he had done more than enough, he said it was an anniversary gift. We have since been back there many times, and we always go on our anniversary. The best part, though, was that some weeks later I saw the rude waitress as I was on my way home from work. She was with a friend. She nudged them and very loudly announced, “That’s the b**** that got me fired.”)

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