English Tips

, , , | Right | June 17, 2018

(While going to school full-time to get my Master’s degree in English and add secondary English certification to my teaching degree, I work as a waitress in a slightly upscale chain restaurant. I’m waiting on a family with several children, aged about 8 to 20. The oldest son’s girlfriend is also with them, and the relationship is still in the new, dewy-eyed stage. I’ve just finished taking their drink orders.)

Son: “We’d also like to order [appetizer]. Her and me would like to share it.”

Son’s Girlfriend: *in a very loving voice* “It’s, ‘her and I,’ honey.”

Me: *automatically, without thinking* “Actually, it’s, ‘she and I.’”

(Mortified as the whole table looks at me, I turn bright red, hurry away to get their drinks, and have visions of them complaining to a manager about me. By the time I get all of the drinks ready, the appetizer is also done, so I take everything to the table, trying to be as unobtrusive as possible. As I set the appetizer down, the son looks at me and grins.)

Son: “Thanks. ‘She and I’ appreciate it.”

(The whole table erupted in laughter, and joked with me the whole rest of the evening. They even asked me to explain why “she and I” was right, and I gave them all a lesson on the easy way to remember when to use which pronoun. And I got a big tip, but whether it was for the service or the English lesson, I don’t know.)

Unfiltered Story #114799

, , , | Unfiltered | June 17, 2018

(My sixteen-year-old daughter is asked to interview a local business owner. She has recently become a vegan, so she decides to call the owner of a newly-opened vegan burger restaurant and ask if he’d consent to be interviewed. He is very accommodating, and seems friendly, so she finds the courage to ask him if he was hiring.)

Owner: “Well, I could use another waitress. Do you have any experience?”

Daughter: “Not with serving tables, but I worked at [well-known local ice cream place] last summer. I learned how to make everything on the menu, and I dealt with the public all the time.”

Owner: “That’s good enough for me. You’re hired!”

(She is thrilled to be working for someone she admired, and the job is pretty good. In addition to earning money, she occasionally gets free food. All is well for several months until one day…)

Daughter: *checks e-mail on her phone, gasps, and starts to cry* “I … don’t have a job anymore.”

Me: “What?”

Daughter: *sobbing* “[Owner] just sent me an e-mail saying that I’m fired. He says that I don’t have enough experience. I don’t understand; he knew when he hired me that I hadn’t been a waitress before!”

(She was broken-hearted to be out of a job, and she lost all her admiration for the owner. So did I, if you’re dissatisfied with an employee’s performance, shouldn’t you talk to that employee to try to get them to improve? And, failing that, if you’re going to fire someone, shouldn’t you have the decency to do it in person? I found out later that this was a pattern with that guy – he would hire people on a whim and then fire them on some flimsy pretext, always by e-mail. Luckily, my daughter found another job shortly afterwards.)

Unfiltered Story #114795

, , , | Unfiltered | June 16, 2018

Our group (around 15 people, workmates after a meeting) had a nice buffet, all-you-can-eat dinner at one of those modern restaurants where you order your drinks (and potentially other stuff) via iPad.

Unfortunately, the software was not modern enough to assign the drinks to individual persons but just assigned to the table, instead. When people leave (everyone was expected to stay as long or short as he likes and can), they pay for the stuff they call as theirs and these items are taken from the total list.

If someone forgot to pay for something he ordered, it stays on the list. If something was delivered in error, it stays on the list. If drinks were mis-assigned, they stay on the list. If someone else plays with the iPad while we’re getting food, stuff stays on the list.

You can imagine where this is going: When the last of us want to pay and leave, there are items left on that list that none of us feel responsible for. There’s a common german idiom “Der letzte zahlt die Zeche” (“last one has to pay”) but we are certain that this is not law: The restaurant is responsible for keeping track of who ordered what and for charging them. Trying to pass that responsibility onto the customer by using a common list is “fishy” at best.

There’s a malt beer on the list that we remember on the table with nobody wanting it (and it finally being returned) and the cashier deletes it from the list – still tries to guilt us into paying for the remainder and then later investigating who ordered and drank it. We see it as “adopting his problem at our expense” and refuse.

The list is down to one coffee, 2,20€ in worth. With 15 people, the buffet being 20€ per person and some people drinking expensive cocktails, I assume that we already paid 350-400€. I estimate the sum of tips to be a multiple of that coffee cost: one of us gave 2.10€ alone. My own rule of thump is rounding up by about 10% but that is for service. The whole scenario kind of opposes the idea of service: not talking to waitress but using the iPad; waitress not bringing us the drinks in person but just putting them on the rotating table; no one bringing the food but having to fetch it from the buffet; having to bring the iPad to the cashier instead of someone coming to the table to get paid.

As that trouble brewed before I could pay, I also round down a bit more. Still two of us alone gave more tips together than the coffee was worth. There’s also an open voucher of 4€ that was not deducted.

Unfortunately, the cashier cannot count that against the open position. He says he doesn’t get anything from tips but cancelling that coffee cost would be deducted from his pay.

I wouldn’t exactly say that things “escalate” because everyone stays in the restaurant and everyone stays calm when the cashier calls the police and until the policemen arrive and question everyone. They try to convince the cashier that 2,20€ is not worth the trouble in the context but fail to do so.

So in the end they have to take his formal complaint against “Unknown” (we have no reliable information on who ordered the coffee) and police takes our contact information as we are considered witnesses in that case. I think I also hear them mentioning that this is not the first time that the police has to visit the restaurant for something like this.

On the one hand: Kudos to that cashier: This site is full of people who are willing to take hits (handing out money, comping meals) just to make an annoying customer go away. There are a lot of managers and corporates that are willing to hurt the company (refunding used and broken things bought years ago) in the name of keeping potential customers happy.

Our cashier definitely is not one of them. If the restaurant system works that much against him (having to pay for uncalled items but seeing none of the tips), I cannot even blame him.

On the other hand: Maybe sometimes it is worth cancelling 2,20€ from a >300€-bill. Although it definitely was a fun, noteworthy and funnily absurd experience to have the police called on us for a coffee, it really disqualified that restaurant from some of our personal “places-to-go”-lists.

Unfiltered Story #114605

, , , | Unfiltered | June 16, 2018

My friends and I are the customers in this story. We are tourists from Australia visiting the theme parks in Florida. One of my friends is notorious for either not listening or just not hearing what you say to him.

Friend: I’ll have the burger

Waitress: And how would you like that cooked?

Friend: *clearly not listening* uhhhh, no

Waitress: *total dumbfounded look at me and my other friend*

Waitress: I’ve had customers who don’t speak any English at all and even they have never given such a ridiculous response.

Friend 2 and I: *hysterical laughter*

We ended up leaving that waitress a massive tip, she was so hilarious and put up with our antics better than anyone could have!

No Chicken Shall Bite On The Day Of Rest

, , , , | Right | June 15, 2018

(It is a Sunday afternoon, and the restaurant that I work at is right next to a fast food place which is well-known for being closed on Sundays. I’m working the drive-thru station when a woman pulls up and starts ordering multiple high-priced items.)

Me: “What else can I get for you today?”

Woman: “An order of chicken bites.”

(I turn and shoot my manager a look, as she also has a headset on and is hearing the entire conversation.)

Me: “I’m sorry, but we don’t carry chicken bites.”

Woman: “I want an order of your eight-piece chicken bites.”

Me: “Ma’am, we don’t have chicken bites. We have only have chicken strips. We do have jalapeño bites, though, that come in an eight-count.”

Woman: “I want chicken bites.”

(At this point, my manager uses her headset to join the conversation. She repeats what I already told the woman and lists off a couple other menu items that the woman may be trying to order.)

Woman: “I was just here last week, and I got the chicken bites.”

Manager: “Ma’am, we have never carried chicken bites. We serve chicken tenders and chicken sandwiches, but not chicken bites or nuggets.”

Woman: “Cancel my order; I thought this was [Fast Food Place next door]!”

(I voided out her entire order, and she drove past the window to get to the parking lot for the other restaurant. From where I was, I could see her pull up to the front of the restaurant and realize that it was closed. She then came back through the drive-thru of my restaurant and ordered the same things she had just had me void off.)

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