Giving You My Two Cents And That’s It

, , , , , , | Working | April 25, 2019

(Two of my friends and I go out for dinner. We try a new restaurant, and when we arrive they have two or three tables occupied, and we’re seated immediately. The table the hostess chooses happens to be next to an occupied table that currently has a waiter standing at it. Seconds later, before we even look at the menu, the waitress comes over with water and asks for our drink orders.)

Friend #1: “Could I get an unsweetened iced tea?”

(She always specifies “unsweetened” because most places we’ve gone assume the customer wants sweet tea when ordering iced tea, and she’s diabetic.)

Waitress: “You can.” *writes her drink down*

Friend #2: “Do you have [Beer]?”

Waitress: “Only in a bottle. Is that okay?”

Friend #2: “And it’s not light beer, right?”

(She always asks this due to a previous encounter with a naive waiter who didn’t know there was a difference.)

Waitress: “Regular [Beer], we can do that.” *writes her drink down*

Friend #2: “And I don’t need a glass.”

Waitress: *finishes writing and then turns to me* “No glass. And for you?”

Me: “And could you bring me a whole pitcher of water? I tend to drink very quickly.”

(I actually got this idea from a restaurant waitress who accepted that she couldn’t keep up with how fast I drink. Most places accommodate this request. The few that don’t simply say they cannot and I drop the subject.)

Waitress: “We can get you a pitcher. And are you ready to order?”

Me: “Could we have some time to look at the menu?”

Waitress: *already walking away and looking over her shoulder* “Sure. I’ll be back with your drinks.”

(Despite how quickly she came out, she is gone nearly 15 minutes. Not only do we finish reading the menu and decide on what entrees and desserts we are getting, I have finished my glass of water and we have started contemplating going someplace else. We keep our eyes peeled for her while we are waiting, but she seems to have disappeared. I even try to make contact with the waiter I saw earlier, who has come out very frequently, to see if he can track her down. When she does finally return, to her credit, she brings a cold iced tea and a cold beer, both in a glass. And there is no pitcher of water.)

Waitress: “Have you decided, or do you need more time?”

(We each place our orders, ending with me.)

Me: “And could I also get that pitcher of water, please?”

Waitress: *again already walking away and over her shoulder* “Sure.”

(So begins the second wait — roughly twenty minutes this time. I am about to ask if I can take my friends’ waters since I am the only one without a drink, but the circumstances change after they take their first sips.)

Friend #2: “This is [Beer] Lite. I specifically asked if they had regular, right?”

Friend #1: “You did. Just as I asked for unsweetened iced tea. I got sweet tea. I should have just asked for hot tea and a glass of ice.”

(While [Friend #2] forces down a light beer, [Friend #1] hands me the sweet tea and begins drinking her water. Once again, however, our waitress has disappeared and the waiter continues to snub me. By the time the food arrives, there are no drinks at the table. Due to it being three of us and some of our entrees requiring separate plates for the side dishes, that same waiter helps our waitress carry all of it. Before they arrive, we make sure they’ll have to ask us to move the glasses, just to prove she sees the empty glasses. And once again, there is no pitcher of water.)

Waitress: “Refills all around, I assume?”

Friend #2: “Hang on. I asked for a [Beer]. I think you gave me Lite.”

Waitress: “We only have [Beer] Lite.”

Friend #2: “And you said nothing when I ordered a [Beer]?”

Waitress: “Sorry. It says it on the menu. I assumed you had read it.”

Friend #2: “You didn’t give us a chance to read the menu.”

Waitress: “Sorry. I didn’t know.”

Friend #1: “Then why is my unsweetened iced tea a sweet tea?”

Waitress: “I’m sorry. Did the kitchen staff screw up your tea?”

Friend #1: “Yes.”

Me: “How about just that pitcher of water for the table?”

Waiter: “She already told you: we can’t do whole pitchers for one table. We can give each of you a glass of water, but not a whole pitcher. Now stop begging her to get in trouble every five minutes.”

(They both walk off. Miraculously, we actually get our water within minutes. We actually have a good meal after all of that.)

Waitress: “Anyone still working?”

(We each tell her we’re done. She takes my friends’ plates first. When she comes back for mine, she plants the bill on the table. We always pay for our own portions, but just to be safe, we always have one of us use a credit card to pay the restaurant and leave a tip. This particular time, it’s my turn.)

Friend #1: “So, the tip would be…”

Me: “I’ll take care of that myself.”

Friend #2: “You sure?”

Me: *nodding* “I can afford two cents.”

Friend #1: “Two cents?”

Me: *pointing to [Friend #2]* “She neglected to tell you there was only light beer,” *pointing to [Friend #1] and motioning to the check* “If the sweet tea was a kitchen blunder, why does the bill say you ordered sweet tea? She never told me that a pitcher wasn’t feasible. She disappeared frequently. She lied to her colleague about my requests for a pitcher and how often I’d asked so that he’d jump to her defense. And did you notice we weren’t offered dessert? I just want to know if you want to complain to the manager with me.”

(My friends agreed that we should file a formal complaint. However, we quickly scrapped that idea when we overheard another waitress conversing with the same waiter as before. We asked this other waitress to be sure, but the contents of the conversation were enough to tip us off. That waiter WAS the manager. We instead elected to contact the owner and point out the manager was constantly perusing the restaurant, yet hadn’t noticed one of his waitresses consistently failed to wait on our table, but still chose to believe every word she said without even considering hearing the customer’s side of things. We haven’t been back since, so I don’t know what came of those two.)

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