A Three-Course Disaster

, , , , , , | Working | November 6, 2017

My partner and I go out to a local restaurant to celebrate our fifth anniversary. We are seated and our waiter takes our drink order. He looks young, possibly in his late teens. After around ten minutes, the drinks haven’t arrived, so when our waiter walks past, I ask him how the drinks are going. Instead of going to check on them, he takes out his notebook and takes our order again.

I get the impression he is new and very nervous. I don’t want to make him feel bad, so we just re-order the same drinks. Five minutes later, he returns with both orders of drinks. “Oh well,” I think. We were probably going to order more drinks later, anyway, so I don’t say anything.

He takes our food order without any issues and our meals arrive at a reasonable time. Well… my partner’s appetizer and main course both arrive together. That turns out to be a lucky accident, as the young waiter delivers my food to a table nearby. When they tell him that it isn’t what they ordered, he apologizes, takes the plates back to the kitchen, and returns with my meal in take-away containers.

I am a bit peeved, but as it is our anniversary, we both just want to relax and enjoy the night, and the food is actually really good. We decide to risk ordering dessert. My partner orders deep fried ice-cream, only for our young waiter to tell us that it’s not on the menu. I point it out to him on the menu, and point to other tables where we can see people eating it. He apologizes and said he honestly had no idea that it was on the menu.

After finishing our meal, we go to the front counter to pay the bill. It seems our waiter has never used or been trained in using a POS terminal or EFTPOS machine, and has to call other staff for help three times just to enter our items into the register.

My patience is just about expired, but I still feel sorry for the kid, as we’ve been able to hear his boss yelling at him every time he goes into the kitchen. I’ve been the new guy before and totally sympathize with him. I think to try and bolster his confidence and show him some support, so I say, “Don’t worry; it looks like you’re new here, and it seems tough now, but in a few weeks you’ll be a total professional.”

His reply left me feeling so awful. I’ve never forgotten what he said.

“I’m not new; I’ve worked here for six months.”

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