Service with a Smile

I have more respect than the average bear for people in the service industry. It?s true. I am a good tipper, I try to make things efficient for servers when I can ? I am NOT hard to wait on. In fact, when Jeff and I go to eat, servers should play rock-paper-scissors to get to wait on us ? we?re that hands-off. We are happy if we get food and drinks in a timely manner. We don?t need the ?entertainment? that some think is going to get them a fat tip. We are easy.

So you can understand my surprise to hear 3 times in the last 10 days that I am hard on service staff. I, of course, disagree. You be the judge.

Example #1. Last weekend, we went for supper at US Pizza on Dickson Street with Josh and Becky. Josh, Becky and Jeff all like the same beer so they shared a pitcher. I cannot bring myself to enjoy beer (though I have tried several times) so I ordered a Malibu/Diet tall. I like to drink them out of a normal sized glass instead of a little rocks glass ? not sure why. Not the point. The waiter brought me a tall drink. I had a few of them throughout the night. Our service was great. Pizza was great. We get the check and there are twice as many drinks on there as the number that I actually drank. This is a problem. So I ask our waiter (politely!) about our ticket ? which listed 6 drinks when I only had 3. He informed me that I ordered doubles ? and that they ring them up that way. So I informed him that I didn?t order doubles ? rather I ordered talls. He offers to let me talk to the manager ? who is also serving as bartender that night ? so I go to the bar to explain the situation.  The conversation went a little like this–

Sarah: Sorry to bother you, but there are 6 drinks on here, and I only had 3.

Manager: That?s because you ordered doubles.

Sarah: I ordered talls.

Manager: Well I?m the one who made the drinks ? and I made them doubles.

Sarah: Well I?m the one who ordered the drinks ? and I ordered them tall.

Manager: ?Double? and ?tall? is the same thing.

I hate to be difficult, but I happen to have tended bar for a few years AND I happen to order that SAME drink at every bar I go to ? Fayetteville and elsewhere. I have NEVER had the double/tall issue before. Ever! The manager reluctantly took the 3 superfluous drinks off of our tab ? like he was doing me a favor. The whole time I was standing there, while he fixed the bill, he mumbled under his breath about how long he?d been in this business… and how he never serves a ?single? drink in a tall glass? and how I certainly didn?t have any trouble drinking the doubles, just paying for them? Jerk. I got back to the table only to endure ribbing about how ?I showed them!? and ?boy I feel sorry for that guy, having to deal with you? ? like I was mean to the guy. What?!

It?s my understanding that ?double? refers to the amount of alcohol while ?tall? refers to the size of the glass. You can have both ? which apparently I did, compliments of the idiot bartender. I was not about to pay for drinks I didn?t order ? and I thought I was as patient as possible when dealing with the so-called manager.

Example #2. Sunday night, we went to the Outback Steakhouse in Fort Smith. I’d never been to this particular Outback – but I know a thing or two about the restaurant, having worked at one approximately 5 shifts a week for a year in college. And I know a thing or two about waitressing as well, as I did that ? almost daily ? for years. So our waitress comes by and gets our drink order. We all order, and Janet orders a ?blended? margarita. The waitress comes back with a rocks margarita. For those of you margarita connoisseurs out there ? that?s not the same thing. At all. So Janet politely asks, ?do you not serve blended margaritas?? The waitress says, ?all of our margaritas are blended?. Janet says, ?with what?? Hmm. The waitress thinks ?blended? means that the ingredients in the drink are blended together. O K.  So we straighten it out and Janet gets a ?frozen? margarita. This is not something I necessarily have a problem with ? if you?re new, you might make that mistake ? but freaking ASK. It?s better than bringing someone the wrong thing and wasting a drink.

So the rest of dinner went fine. But our waitress was kinda awkward. She would ask us something like, ?is everything ok?? to which we would nod (since we were EATING and couldn?t so much TALK) and she would just stand there and stare at us. Not necessary. If you come by ? and we need something ? we?ll say so. Don?t watch us eat.

So I made a comment ? to the table ? about how awkward she was. And I, again, got ?wow you?re really hard on waitresses? and ?you never think anyone?s a good waitress? and ?give her a break.? First of all, she WAS weird. Second, I never said anything TO her. If I was really hard to deal with ? I would have given her a hard time ? to her face. Instead, I tipped her well and we left.

And we never got any bread.

Example #3. After work yesterday Jeff and I went to the new Sam?s to get my tire fixed. The driver/rear tire has been low for awhile and we?ve aired it up and put Fix-A-Flat in it several times so it was really time to be fixed. So we drive up to the Sam?s Tire Center. Stand there for several minutes before we give up and walk around to the front of the store to be helped. Strike 1. I hand over my Sam?s Club membership card, keys and first-born child in order to get a patch on my tire. We?re told 20-30 minutes. Cool. We go into the store in search of a new TV (reference yesterday?s post). Not 5 minutes later, I hear my name being paged. Not a good sign. We go back to the Tire Center. The girl at the Tire Center informs me that there is Fix-A-Flat in my tire. Ok. And that means they can?t fix it. Why? Because there?s Fix-A-Flat in it. Duh. I ask her what my options are ? there are none. No one can fix it because the rubber patch won?t stick to the Fix-A-Flat. Jeff informs me that this is the point at which I ?went off on her.?

My problem is this: I had come to a Tire SERVICE Center. I came with a problem ? looking for solutions. Don?t come back to me with a problem ? come back to me with solutions. She acted as if Fix-A-Flat was some south-of-the-border, back-alley solution that I had come up with in my garage. They sell it in the store!

So Jeff suggests she go look for a tire that fits my car. She leaves. I calm down. She comes back with a tire that?s the right size ? but not the right brand. So we get the flat tire aired up and leave.

I decided that if this girl knew what she was talking about and Fix-A-Flat truly makes it impossible to patch a tire ? that I should redirect my energy at them! So I visited fixaflat.com and discovered this in their FAQ?

4. After using Fix-A-F
lat? can my tire be repaired?

Yes, there is nothing in the formulation that would prevent a tire from being repaired. Advise the tire repair professional that you have used Fix-A-Flat? brand tire inflator in your tire, so they may properly clean the tire for repair.

 

There you have it.

 

A flight attendant I met recently told me a story about a woman who refused to speak to her on the plane and directed the flight attendant to her assistant (in coach) and that the assistant would tell the attendant what the bitch would like to drink. She said quote, ?I don?t talk to the help.?

 

I, on the other hand, have a lot of respect for people in service positions. Last month, I was polite to the poor sap who had to both re-book our flights from New York AND inform me that I couldn?t have my luggage back. I don?t run waitresses to death. And I was even polite to the idiots at COX Cable last year who couldn?t figure out how to give us internet that we were paying for.

 

I don?t think it?s too much to ask for people to DO THEIR JOBS. No one has to ask me nicely to do my job. Though that wouldn?t be bad either?

 

4 Responses to Service with a Smile

  1. LogDog2020 September 19, 2007 at 6:12 pm #

    First Example: I don’t know the lingo of the bar business, but if I were bartending, and someone ordered a tall, they would get one shot and tall glass of coke. Not a big deal on your part. Congratulations on the bill.

    Second Example: Just say frozen margarita.

    Third Example: I totally agree with you on the whole “I came to you with a problem for you to fix/service. don’t call me back with a problem with the problem.” I think that shows paramount incompetence in a business. I like your performance in these three examples. If you have to snap at a minimum wage dope to get the point across: be my guest. I will shake your hand even. Those who work these service jobs that are sharp won’t usually give you problems. Weed out the morons with malice, I say!!

  2. whiskeyzipper September 20, 2007 at 12:11 am #

    I’m with you.

  3. ChiquitaQ September 20, 2007 at 11:56 am #

    I don’t know that I would have been as heated about them, but I think you handled each one just fine.  And I think you should print out a copy of that “FAQ” & take it back to the moron at Sams. 

  4. CMartinw4 September 27, 2007 at 11:31 pm #

    You were polite!  Let me at ‘em!!!!!

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