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Weird Time For A Snack Break

, , , , | Right | CREDIT: _chalupa_batman | December 10, 2020

I work at a chain restaurant in a state where indoor dining is reduced to 25% capacity. Because of this very fact, we are almost always on a wait during dinner. We are also in charge of taking down information for contact tracing, so there is no open seating anymore; you must talk to the host to be seated. Right next to the bar is the takeout area, which has its own entrance; often guests will wander in through the wrong door, at which point I direct them toward the host for seating.

One night, I am bartending in addition to covering some tables. Three young adults come in through the takeout area, so naturally, I point them toward the front of the restaurant to go see the host about getting a table. They’re visibly annoyed that I won’t let them seat themselves.

They get sat at my table.

Me: “Hi there! Can I get you started with some drinks?”

They aren’t ready to order beverages, so I agree to come back. It’s dinner time, so my section is quickly filling up and I am running around. They wave me down for drinks, and as soon as I bring those, they let me know that they need more time, so I go to my next table to take their order.

While I’m punching in the other table’s order, one of the three young adults comes up to tap me on the shoulder — during a health crisis.

Customer: “We’re ready to order our food.”

I finish what I’m doing and head over to take their order. Not only are they not ready, but they modify every single thing they order, a LOT. I am really annoyed, and I’m busy, so I go to the computer to put in their food — which includes an appetizer and a well-done steak — and go into the kitchen to grab another table’s food.

I come out of the kitchen not even two minutes later and all three of the young adults are gone. Not a jacket or a phone left behind. Okay, that’s weird. I assume they told the host where they went.

Me: *To the host* “Hey, did you happen to see where the three people seated at [table number] went? Did they talk to you?”

Nope. Nobody knows where they went. We even check the bathrooms and outside.

Their appetizer comes up, but they’re not back.

Me: *To the host* “Leave the table open for the party that left; if they lose their table, they’ll have to wait for another one to open up.”

Their entrees come up and they’re still not around, so I clean off the table and tell the host to clean it, since clearly, they’re not coming back, right? I mean, they have been gone for upwards of twenty minutes.

I have another party sat at that table, and I go about my business. Minutes later, in walk the three young adults, and they look shocked that there’s someone else sitting at their table. Mind you, this new table already has drinks and they’re ready to order. I am busy, so I ask my coworker to tell them that we thought they’d left.

All three customers start throwing a fit, yelling, “DISCRIMINATION!” as they walk out. Great look for us!

Long story short, we’re in a global crisis, and things are a lot different everywhere, including restaurants. If you’re going out to eat, please be flexible, and don’t take up a table for long periods of time as we are at reduced capacity.

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