Server Dishes Out Discrimination

April 10, 2009

in Server Stories

Some years ago my partner and I had our worst dining experience ever. I have a short memory for such things, but this one was so appalling, I still recall it vividly.

We chose to go to a moderately-expensive Italian eatery in the suburban area where we were living… we had eaten at this place on a few occasions before, and had never received bad food or service.

On this particular evening it turned out to be rather busy; nevertheless we were soon seated at a table near the center of the large, open dining area. Our server, who looked like he might have been just barely old enough to drive, arrived at our table after just a minute, but from his expression and body language it was immediately obvious to both of us that he had a problem waiting on two men who happen to be a couple. Mind you, we weren’t holding hands or cooing at each other, and neither of us is a “flaming queen,” but I guess when you’ve worked in hospitality for even a short time, you learn to spot who’s ‘together.’

Well, this kid must have had us pegged from across the dining room, and he made no effort whatsoever to conceal his contempt for us, or his regret that we’d been seated in “his” section.

He took our order, and after that we never saw him again. Not to fill our water glasses, which quickly emptied as it was mid-Summer, not to bring our drinks, not to bring our food when it was ready. All these were handled by various other (female) servers. While our waiter was attentive to the families and mixed-gender couples at adjacent tables, he studiously ignored us and went out of his way to avoid eye contact.

By the time our food arrived, our wine glasses were empty–and of course they stayed that way for the rest of the meal, since nobody ever checked on us (the other servers, I suppose, must have assumed our waiter was checking, which he did not).

After we finished eating, we sat for more than 45 minutes with our empty plates and glasses in front of us, scanning the crowded dining room for signs of a manager before finally catching the attention of a female server. We should have asked her to get a manager at that point, I know, but we were upset and tired and just wanted to get out of there, so we just handed her a credit card and asked her to bring the bill. We paid for our meal, but left no tip. This is the first and only time I’ve ever “stiffed” a server. I have worked as a waiter before, and am normally a generous tipper, but I felt zero empathy for the schmuck who was supposed to have been our server that night.

On our way out, we did stop and speak with the manager, and let her know how upsetting it was to be discriminated against by her server.

If you’re going to work with the public, you really must leave your personal prejudices at home!

{ 20 comments… read them below or add one }

Onslow April 20, 2009 at 10:51 am

Hard to believe that discrimination like this still persists. You really should have reported this to the manager. That server deserved to be fired. I would have been hesitant to eat my meal there once I realized what was going on.

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Jaci May 14, 2010 at 2:48 pm

Onslow, what part of "On our way out, we did stop and speak with the manager and let her know how upsetting it was to be discriminated against by her server" don't you understand?

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Robert February 14, 2013 at 3:22 pm

The entire part apparently.

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M April 21, 2009 at 2:35 pm

About 99.9% of the time I absolutely disagree with not leaving any tip, but in this case, you were right!!! What a little a-hole….

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jonasgal July 31, 2017 at 4:39 pm

WHY should the waiter get "stiffed" just because they were uncomfortable??? They shouldn't penalize others just because THEY'RE UNCOMFORTABLE!!! Too bad!!! People are gonna be uncomfortable with other people! That's THEIR problem whom they're uncomfortable with and being around!!!

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Monica August 5, 2017 at 1:47 pm

The waiter should get stiffed b/c he gave them shit service. He can be uncomfortable all he wants but when it shows to the point of ruining a dining experience, that is clearly not doing his job. I am a lifelong waitress/server and HUGE tipper even with sub-par service but this asshole did not deserve a dime. He wasn't even "reacting" to rude customers, just perceived lifestyle choices. Unacceptable.

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Youneedtolearn August 8, 2017 at 8:50 am

You must've missed the part where the story said HE WAS THEIR WAITER and it's his responsibility to serve them-he failed to do so, so he gets no tip. Which part of that don't you understand a**hat?

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Hugh April 22, 2009 at 3:51 am

Being uncomfortable is one thing, but when you work with the public, you need to get over it. I agree with the previous poster, I am usually against leaving no tio, but this time, he still got too much.

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Rob April 25, 2009 at 1:38 pm

I'm going to discriminate a little here and say that if I was your server, you would have had 5 STAR service….because gay couples tend to have more disposable income.

Having grown up around gay relatives, classmates in university (including a room mate for 2 years who brought home the most beautiful hetero women….ah I digress) and work mates now, IMHO the almighty dollar rules over any personal feelings I might have. Obviously that seems mercenary, but I'm glad you stiffed the little shit, although, if I were you, I would have made a show of slipping 5 bucks to one of the other servers and loudly thanking them for covering what little service you did receive.

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Robin May 13, 2009 at 4:23 pm

Sounds like that guy was deeply closeted himself.

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Monica August 5, 2017 at 1:48 pm

Robin, my thoughts exactly. I forgot to include that in my reply to the idiot above.

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kurt May 18, 2009 at 8:57 am

I think I know you your water was and beleive me he is an asshole to everyone who is not white and stairght.

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Hetero woman for gay May 28, 2009 at 10:36 am

Kurt, how on earth could you know who his server was? The OP never mentioned his hometown or the name of the restaurant.

Gay marriage should be legal, by the way.

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jonasgal July 10, 2017 at 4:37 pm

Gay marriage should NOT be legal! It's completely wrong! Honestly, now, really!!!

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Monica August 5, 2017 at 1:51 pm

Get a life or come out of the closet or both. Why is anyone so fucking worried about other peoples lifestyle choices?

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Stephan June 7, 2012 at 7:54 am

I agree with Robin.
That kind of behavior's pretty common amongst the self-loathing & closeted, treating you guys like crap because he hates his own homo ID.

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Gregg October 25, 2013 at 3:46 pm

Here's a news piece about customers at a restaurant who refused to tip a server because he was gay: http://tinyurl.com/learyxr

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Monica Rhodes May 4, 2016 at 8:50 am

Gay men are usually always some of the best tippers too!!

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Ace November 27, 2016 at 2:59 am

You know what sucks though… here you are in the power to punish the server by stiffing him on the tip or even complaining to the manager, but if a customer happens to be homophobic/racist/etc, there's very little a server can do about it (and in fact also might get stiffed for being discriminated against).

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Monica August 5, 2017 at 1:54 pm

And you are saying that to say what? Welcome to the unbalanced world of customer vs. employee in hospitality setting. Customers can be rude, sloppy, racist, homophobic and any number of other traits, but a professional will never exhibit those even if they ARE those.

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