Waiting For This Waiter To Stop Being A Cow

, , , , , | Working | June 4, 2020

I am forty-two weeks pregnant with my second child, and my family decides to go out for dinner. As I am going in for a C-section tomorrow morning, a few members of our extended family decided to come out for a nice vacation and to meet the new baby.

Our dinner party consists of nine people — seven adults over 21 and two children: an eight-year-old and a four-year-old. The table we’re sitting at is near the back of the restaurant, with the drink stand behind me along the wall and the kitchen doors along the same wall, across from our table, a couple of yards away at the most.

Our dinner party is fairly quiet. The children have a lot of papers to color, and when asked, they each indicate what they want for dinner. They are incredibly polite and are far more interested in what they are drawing than they are in making any noise.

The waiter, on the other hand, treats us as if we’re the biggest inconvenience in his entire evening. We made sure to come in early, at a time when the restaurant shouldn’t have been very busy, but I attempt to order my beverage twice, and when I am given a caffeinated beverage instead, I try changing it, to no avail.

The waiter treats my husband, parents, and uncle quite a bit better than he treats my cousin and sister. He is dismissive toward the children, and he is angry toward me. He doesn’t even indicate that he’s listened to our orders until my husband asks him to read the orders back to him, as he did with the three eldest adults at the table. He huffs and puffs and does so with attitude.

A few minutes before the entrees are served, the children are politely coloring, and the manager comes by to see how everyone’s doing. I tell him I’d like my drink order changed but the waiter couldn’t hear me over his walking away, and that I had noticed his deference to the three eldest people at the table.

A few minutes later, at the drink station in the path of the kitchen but behind me, the waiter is being asked about his serving style while the manager gets my new drink, and I overhear this gem.

Waiter: *To the manager* “Well, obviously, I serve who is paying the best, as I’ve been taught at my bartending job! The fat cow won’t pay; she’s more likely to walk out on it! The f*****’ brats are too busy running all over the place, and the cow’s too busy finding another entree to order to give a d*** about what they’re doing.”

My husband asked for a menu a little bit before he was done with his dinner because he wanted to order dessert. The kids had finished their food entirely — a first! — and they had earned desserts. As the waiter is wrapping up his remarks to the manager:

Me: *To my husband* “So, how much do cows tip?”

Husband: “Um… no, you tip the cow. But definitely not 30% like we’ve done here in the past.”

Me: *Quietly, but laughing* “Honey, he’s not… Oh, my goodness.”

My mom interjects quietly, leaning toward me, behind the youngest kiddo.

Mom: “Psst! Hey, I’m paying for this!”

Me: *Quietly, too* “Wow! Really? That’s very generous, but I’m still employed!”

Mom: “Yeah, but you’re on leave! I’ve got it.”

I tell my husband about the blueberry muffin on the menu and mention that I am so glad that my craving for those is over, as I am sick of blueberries at that point. We discuss dessert options, make sure the kids know what they want, and we both agree that we should order brownies. 

The waiter finally meanders back to our table from the drink station to take our dessert orders. He immediately makes it clear that he had heard my tipping comment and knows that he’d been heard as well, but… still. Hmm…

Waiter: *Looks at me* “And ma’am? What will you have?”

Me: “Hmm.” *Closes menu* “I’ll have the chocolate—”

Waiter: “Good!” *Turns to my husband* “And for you, sir?”

Husband: *Sternly* “Wait until she’s finished.”

I look the waiter in the eye.

Me: “I will have a chocolate brownie.”

Husband: “And I will have the same.”

Yes, that is an exact quote.

The waiter takes the entire table’s orders, including the children’s sundaes, and scurries off to the kitchen. He comes out less than five minutes later with six of the nine desserts. I notice that my brownie, as well as the children’s sundaes, are missing. I try to get his attention to ask about the three remaining desserts, but he ignores me and doesn’t say a single word to any of us while serving the desserts. No “the rest will be out in a minute” or “I don’t have room on my tray and I’ll be right back.” Nada.

After the waiter sets my husband’s brownie in front of him, he ends up loitering near the kitchen door, a couple yards away from the table, watching us, but apparently blind to my husband’s and my attempts to get his attention.

The manager comes out of the kitchen, as the rest of the table is finishing with their desserts, with two sundaes and a mountain-shaped blob with a pad of butter melting all over the top that has an X cut into it. It could have been a blueberry muffin last year.

Manager: *To me* “Sorry for the wait, ma’am.”

The manager attempts to set the suspected “blueberry muffin” down.

Me: “No! No. Really. I did not order this. There is no way. I did, however, order the chocolate brownie, but your waiter once again tried to ignore my request. Maybe he thinks I was speaking cow? But, my husband literally said, ‘I’ll have the same thing,’ so how did he end up with a brownie if y’all think I ordered this monstrosity?”

Manager: *Immediately embarrassed* “Uh, um… Er, oh, yeah. I’m so sorry about everything. I’ll have that brownie right out to you.”

The manager hands the kids their sundaes.

Manager: “I must say, you guys are so well-behaved, thank you! My kids would be running amok by now, but you’ve been very courteous all evening! The table next to you guys has had nothing but great things to say about you, too.”

Eldest Kid: “Thank you!”

Youngest Kid: “I have a coloring book! See? I’m painting a Spongebob!”

They hold up the crayon-covered pages.

Manager: “Wonderful! That’s just… great. Great, yeah.” *To me* “I’ll be right out with your dessert.”

Five minutes later, the waiter flounced over and dropped the check in front of my uncle, narrowly missing his dessert plate. My mom took the check from him after a brief argument, and my husband distracted me with a cute magic trick he was showing the kids as the check was paid.

The brownie never showed up. And I still have no idea how much my mom tipped on the order. I hope it was still over ten percent. No waiter, no matter how awful their day is going, deserves to be stiffed — and by that, I mean given less than a ten-percent tip. Even if the waiter ignores one person at the table like what happened in my situation, the other eight people there were given adequate service. We all compared our experiences that evening after the fact, but my mom would only confirm that she was charged correctly.

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