Thursday, July 7, 2011

5 Customers Dreaded By Servers

Awhile back I wrote an article about Customers Dreaded By Cashiers. Since that time I have left the world of retail for the restaurant industry, and have re-encounter a bevy of irritating people, more politely referred to as customers or patrons. I am sure everyone, whether having been wait staff before or not, is aware of the obvious annoyances, bad tippers, people who decide everything wrong with their life is your fault, and of course, those who smell repulsive. But I don't want to bore you with those scenarios, instead I have made a list of 5 types of customers hated by servers, with which I will now bore you with. 
How shocking! A blogger by night, waiter by day. Bet you never saw that coming

5. Indecisive People
Who is this?
Most people who walk into a restaurant are aware of how the general process goes, however their is a small sect of patrons who decide that this process is apparently outdated and has decided it's better to sit around and talk for 30 minutes before ordering. 95% of tables have figured out that you decide what you're going to order prior to reminiscing about your braces getting ensnared with Frank Bellamy in the teachers lounge in 9th grade, this table however has decided that they would like to mix things up a bit.
And make your phone calls before and after coming to eat. I don't think you are important, you're just an asshole.
Why they are hated.
Now some of you are thinking, "What's the big deal?" and you are right to ask that. It is expected that you came to dinner a nice sit down restaurant so you could spend time talking about prior tonsil hockey games. But seating is usually based on rotations, so when a table decides to diddle dally around it creates a traffic jams of sorts for the server. When a restaurant is running smoothly a server is usually able to manage all the tables, when one table stalls in the ordering process they usually disturb that pace and the server ends up taking orders from multiple tables at once. Which creates a ripple effect, as the kitchen gets two orders instead of one, the servers food for both tables comes up back to back and the timing is ruined. But you know what at least they are inadvertently disrupting the pace, blissfully ignorant that their actions are a case study in the butterfly effect. Unlike...

4. The Riddler
Who is this person?
The riddler has decided that nothing in the menus description is good enough for them, and that the only way to really know what it is they will want is to quiz the server on every dish they are considering. Of course the riddler always ends this double jeopardy round by ordering a dish they didn't ask any questions about.
This is my hate smile!
Why they are hated?
Some questions have a legitimate basis, such as allergy related concerns or a pure hatred of a certain food. But those aren't usually the questions posed by the riddler, the questions are usually far more open ended such as the old stand by "what does the _____ taste like?" to which the server answer something they have pounded in their head over time, which of course isn't really an answer "Oh, well that's a sweet dish with a kind of tangy finish?" The riddler absorbs this knowledge then proceeds to ask the same, or similar, questions of 5 more dishes on the menu. Never mind that each dish gives a description of the ingredients and that the servers answer is usually the same if not a less comprehensive answer than the one sitting on the menu. So the riddler is a big waste of time, but once the Q & A is over all is back to normal except now 5 other tables need refills, their orders taken and/or their check. However...

3. Backseat Chef
Who are they?
Someone, somewhere figured out that picky eaters are that way because they are super tasters and are more sensitive to flavorings, this person of course assumed anyone cared or would change their assumption that picky eaters are just finicky assholes.
The backseat chef is never satisfied with the way the chef prepares the dishes on the restaurants menu, they insist changing the recipe until it doesn't even resemble the original dish. These aren't the people who ask for as for no broccoli, the back seat chef needs to subtract and ad things, and honestly will probably only be happy if you allow them to go in the kitchen and prepare the dish themselves.

Why they are hated?
Chefs made the recipe the way they did for a reason, and if you don't like it that way don't fucking order it, simple enough? The cooks in the kitchen also are preparing a lot of dishes and have everything memorized so that when an order comes through that subtracts and ads four others the cook needs more time to make the dish.
On the servers end, entering these orders into the kitchen takes a lot more time than when someone just orders something the way it's suppose to be. The best however, is when the alter dish comes out and backseat chef decides it still isn't to their liking.

2. Feral Children
Who are they?
For some reason parents think their kid is the most amazing organism on the planet and can do no wrong. Somehow after years of crying, pooping and screaming parents have become immune to the effects of this behavior and have no empathy for the other citizens of the world, "because fuck everyone else my kid is the smartest, cutest and is going to grow up to be something!"

Apparently the rules of society need not apply to wonder child and his parents. (I never planned on having kids, but immunity from the confines of normal social discourse is a tempting benefit.)

Why they are hated?
Everyone hates these little bastards, from the server who has to clean up the 30-foot ring of rice that surrounds the table, to the couple who is just out trying to enjoy an evening with the ridiculously high expectation of not having to hear a crying child. And where are the parents, sitting right their ignoring the entire disturbance because they have grown immune to this and expect that everyone else has as well. For some reason you must take a test to drive a car but have some sex organs and you can pop out children at will. Maybe we should go with the Chinese system, "one and done!"

1. Early Bat
Who are they?
I was under the assumption that some time ago society as a whole decided that walking into a restaurant any less then 30 minutes before closing was considered taboo, I apparently was wrong, which seems to be happening more often with my expectations of peoples behavior.

The Early Bat decided that the restaurant being open for 12 hrs just wasn't good enough for them and instead decides to saunter in 5 minutes before closing. The server hasn't had a table for about 20 minutes and has finished sweeping the floors and putting the chairs up, but this will not deter early bat. The hostess asked the Early Bat if they would like take out. The Early Bat insist they want to eat in and that they will be quick, which is Bat language for, we will take at least 45 minutes, the last 20 of which we will sit here chatting while an entire restaurant of employees begs us with their minds to leave.

Why they are hated?
It's hard to hate the Early Bat, because honestly it's difficult to fathom how someone could enter a restaurant that is all but closed, knowing suggest they will be quick and then hang out. Part of the server wants to stab them or at the very least have the kitchen prepare their meals from the scraps in the dish-washing sink. Early Bird is always apologetic yet never accommodating, and in a sign of good faith always leave a nice solid 15% tip on their 20$ order.

It may seem that I don't enjoy being a waiter, that is frankly untrue. It is one of the, if not THE, best job you can have while still embarrassing your parents when they are asked by their friends what you do for a living. Oh, and I have heard that some people don't tip, or tip poorly, because they don't understand this simple fact, Servers make $2.13/hr, so if your server is good, please tip them, and if you are one or more of the above tip more. And always remember don't fuck with people who handle your food.

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