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Not What They Ordered, Not That We Care

, , , , | Right | February 27, 2021

We have two shifts for waitstaff: a lunch and early afternoon shift and then a late afternoon and dinner shift. Each server covers a specific “zone,” and you hand off to another server at the end of your shift. That means that if someone comes in right when things are changing over, the person who brings them their food or brings them the check can be a different person than the one who took their order.

I’ve come in for my shift to find I have a group of six already seated with their order taken. Their meal comes up quick, and I take it out to them. They don’t seem to notice that I am a different person, but I am able to ask who had what and I get five of the six meals laid out. On the sixth, however, we hit a snag.

Me: “And here is [meal] for you.”

Diner #1: “This isn’t what I ordered.”

Me: “Oh, I’m sorry about that. What did you order?”

Diner #1: “I dunno, but this isn’t what I ordered.”

I check the receipt to confirm that the meals all match what was ordered.

Me: “Okay, did anyone else actually order the [meal]?”

The table all either ignore me as they’ve started chowing down or give little shrugs.

Me: “Well, this is what is on the order form. Are you sure that you didn’t order the [meal]?”

Diner #1: “No.”

One of the other diners looks over from her food.

Diner #2: “[Diner #1], you did ask for [meal].”

[Diner #1] gives a sort of shrug. I’m getting rather annoyed because more people are coming in, and I have more orders I need to go take, but I work to keep my smile up.

Me: “All right, well, this is the [meal] that you asked for. I’m sorry if it doesn’t look like you thought it would, but this is what was on the order ticket. There is a menu there if you want to look up something else. I have to run. Let me know if there is anything else you need.”

I then left the meal in front of her and hurried off before she could claim it wasn’t what she had ordered again. I mentally wrote off that table as far as tipping goes, but one thing I’ve learned is that it doesn’t pay to bend over backward for one customer when it means leaving several other customers neglected.

Of course, when I came back by, her plate was half-devoured and she was eating it quite happily. She didn’t mention the order being wrong again, and they tipped just fine.

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