Manager, Manage! Part 3

, , , , , | Working | August 28, 2020

I have a job interview early in the morning in a town I’ve never been to, so I get a hotel the night before. After checking into the hotel, I go out for dinner at a local steakhouse-style restaurant.

The server is very professional and polite, and I put in my order. While I’m waiting for my food, the table next to me waves our server over. One of the customers tells the server that their meal is cold, and the other customers say the same thing about their meals. The server goes to get the manager. The manager offers to comp the table’s bill, and berates the server for “taking too long to get food out.” The server shrugs it off, apologizes to the table, and walks back into the kitchen.

Soon after, we hear a commotion in the kitchen. Everyone in the seating area can hear it, and the general conclusion is that the manager is yelling at somebody, but nobody can hear what he’s yelling about.

As the server brings my food out, I watch the manager approach another table on the other side of the seating area, with their server in tow. They’re too far away for me to hear what is being said, but it’s obvious that the customers are complaining about something, and the manager is berating the server for the complaint. I watch the manager tear the table’s check in half, and the customers get up to leave.

By now, I’m second-guessing my choice of restaurant because of all the complaints that other customers are lodging. However, to my surprise, my meal is actually pretty tasty, and the server remains professional and polite, if not cheerful.

As I’m finishing my meal, the server brings my check and the answer to my questions about what all the complaints are for. In the check holder, there is a sticky note stuck to the check: “Our new manager is a jerk. If you complain, he’ll give you your meal for free. EVERYONE is quitting tonight, so feel free to complain about something; we don’t care anymore, so don’t worry about hurting our feelings!”

I couldn’t bring myself to complain about anything — after all, I thought my meal was well worth the choice of restaurant — but I did leave a good tip for the server.

I didn’t get that job after my interview, but I ended up passing through the town about a month later on my way to another interview in a different town. Remembering my meal, I made the small detour to drive past the restaurant. The building was vacant, with a giant “Available to Lease” sign across the front windows.

Related:
Manager, Manage! Part 2
Manager, Manage!

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