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Saturday, February 28, 2009

Things customers do that drive me mad.

This is a list of customer behavior that really drives me mad. These things drive me mad when I am working, and when I am a customer myself. This list is not conclusive. This list is in no particular order. These are only my opinions – which have been influenced from my personal experience, and nothing more. Please excuse my usage of the word "you". It is for simplification reasons only. I do not mean "you", personally.

Coming soon: a list of hospitality staff behaviors that really drive me mad. Just so you don't think I am being unjust.

1. Customers who move furniture around without first seeking assistance/ permission. There is a good reason why that table is where it is. And if you move it into the middle of a pathway you are being very inconsiderate. Please, just ask.
2. Prams. Almost enough said really. What is with the growing trend of big ass prams that take up half the room? Leave the pram in the car people.
3. While we are on the subject of children (and I quite like children so don’t get the wrong idea here) waiters are not substitute baby-sitters. You may not leave your children unattended in a restaurant. I am not responsible for their behavior/ mess/ breakages. Letting your child smear peanut butter all over the windows will not make you my favorite customer.
4. Customers who click/ wave at you to get your attention. Repeatedly. Eye contact works., try that.
5. Customers who are clearly lying about food allergies just to be fussy. This usually comes out in the wash when told they can't have a certain dish on the menu as it contains nuts/sugar/gluten or whatever, then they order it anyway. Please, spare me, why even go out?
6. Changing your order more than once. Once is okay. People change their minds, I understand that. It's hard to choose from a large selection of really great dishes at your favourite restaurant. More than once, and that's just a pain in the arse. Changing your mind 20 minutes after you order in not a great idea either.
7. BYO. Under no circumstances is it okay to bring your own food into my establishment. My restaurant is not a food court. The one exception to this rule is baby food, obviously. I could be swayed on the subject matter for a serious illness, maybe.
8. Scenario: I am delivering three plates to a table. I can only carry three plates at once, and I think that is a fair effort. Then I hear "excuse me I am waiting for my blah blah blah," hello yes of course your blah blah blah is just here IN MY POCKET because I obviously have my hands full, you idiot.
9. On the subject of full hands, if I only had a dollar for every time I have walked past a table with arms full of plates to hear "excuse me can we order?". I don't know about you but I'd rather not have my order taken by a waiter who is holding someone else's dirty plates.
10. Splitting the bill. On a basic level, I'm fine with bill splitting, but I am not interested in waiting around while six people argue about who had more pieces of bread and therefore owes two dollars more than everyone else. I am too busy for this kind of behaviour.
11. Also, on a similar not to bill splitting, meal splitting. One meal between four people is not good for overheads. It's like bringing your own teabag and asking for a cup of hot water, cheap.
12. If you order something that is supposed to be served hot, and it is not served hot, please notify me as soon as possible and I will happily fix this problem for you. If your order something that is supposed to be hot, then go outside to talk on the phone/ have a cigarette for 10 minutes after the meal arrives please don't complain that your meal is not longer hot.
13. Coffee temperature. A good quality cup of coffee made by a good barista should not be the temperature of an instant coffee, made with boiling hot water. It should not be so hot that you burn your tongue on the first sip, and need a napkin to pick up the cup. If you like your coffee "hot hot hot" please ask before it is made. Milk is expensive and not an endless resource.
14. Changing tables. Obviously, the most appealing table in the restaurant is the once vacated only two seconds ago, covered in dirty plates with wine spilled on the tablecloth. Unless your current table is really bad (like next to the toilet/ screaming child bad) leave it alone. If you must move, please ask. I will help you move tables, and pretend that I am not annoyed.
15. The following is my all time pet hate. Another scenario: A large group of people are all having dinner together. At the end of the meal, the bill arrives, and everyone puts in his or her share as cash, allocating a small proportion of this money as a tip. Then one arsehole pays the whole bill on his credit card, pocketing everyone else's cash. This person does not leave a tip. This is rude not only to the waiter you have just robbed of a hard earned gratuity, but also rude to your friends, who have just unknowingly subsidised your meal. I think we all know someone who has done this one.

I would just like to say, writing this list was tremendous fun.


Anonymous said...

What about customers that want to mix and match a combination of 4 things on the menu?

And proofing reading before publishing :)

Maggie said...

Aha, a typo! Little blighters sometimes slip past my rigorous proofing process :) Would you be so kind to notify me of my error I will correct it as soon as possible.

Customers who want to mix and match four things on the menu should have stayed home to cook their own dinner!

Anonymous said...

A little annoyance that I see as a customer (which is probably a larger annoyance to staff) is when 8 people turn up at 1 pm Saturday with no booking, stand glowering as the waitress re-organises the table and sigh loudly as they sit. The word 'tossers' comes to mind.
Enjoyed your blog.

tai said...

really enjoyed pretty much covered all the stuff that bothers me as a back of house boy.
don't forget those customers who want to come into the kitchen to thank the chef personally- even if he's flat out. tips are fine, really.

Lucy said...

I am still not convinced that sitting at an uncleared table and/or moving those items is a huge drain on energy. There is usually a reason why that table is the ideal, and if the customer is willing to sit at a messy, uncleared table temporarily then surely that's their prerogative. Don't bite the hand that feeds you!

Oh and re. calling out to a waiter going past with plates.... occasionally that's the only time you'll catch a waiter. There are certain waiters out there who seem to only appear when they're carrying plates, like it's B.A.R or something (referring to playground rules here). If they do appear without plates, they scurry around with their heads down refusing to meet your eye. You don't literally mean 'take my order while balancing plates', just 'please come back after you deposit those plates, we've been waiting 20 mins'. You understand what I'm talking about....

Anonymous said...

Probaby why shes not a waitress anymore... the customers getting in the way & all that..........

Maggie said...

Now now, Anonymous. Take it easy. Remember the disclaimer at the beginning of this one?

I really enjoyed being a waitress thank you very much. I didn't want to do it forever though.

Think about your job. Do you love everyone you have to deal with in your working day? Do you come home to your partner at night and have a little whinge of your own?

I mean no harm in this post. It is purely for the amusement of other people who work in the hospitality industry. Perhaps you would like to help me compile my list about things wait staff do to piss me off? It's in progress as we speak.

Rita said...

Well responded to, Maggie.

the projectivist said...

hilarious list!

Jennifer Noble said...

LOVE your blog. I am a former, still dabbling server. I'll keep reading...gleefully!


Jennifer Noble said...

LOVE your blog. I am a former, still dabbling server. I'll keep reading...gleefully!


Jennifer Noble said...

And Re: Lucy's comment "Don't bite the hand that feeds you"...


Be careful how you speak to your server. I've seen spiteful waiters and waitresses who do unspeakable things to the food of those whom they've deemed have wronged them.