Surly Waiter, Won’t You Be My Valentine?

January 24, 2007

in Server Stories

My wife and I were long looking forward to a romantic Valentine’s Day dinner at a fancy Italian restaurant in Tampa. We were promptly seated at a candlelit table that had been reserved for us. As we reviewed the menus, a tuxedo-clad waiter came to our table and asked if we were ready to order. I told him that we were just given our menus, and that we planned to take our time for the special occasion. Sporting a slight curl in one of his lips, the waiter said in a haughty tone that we only had an hour to spend at the table since another party was due to arrive at that time. My wife and I looked at each other in astonishment as he brusquely walked away from our table. I found the maitre d’ and told him about the rudeness, and how much the special occasion meant to us. He said the waiter was new, and that he’d speak with him.

The waiter said nothing the rest of the evening about us having to leave early, but he was clearly peeved. Just to spite him, we remained at our table for nearly 3 hours. I usually tip well, but I gave the waiter 12%, which actually was too much. If I spend my money and my time at a restaurant, I expect to have an enjoyable experience, especially with my wife on Valentine’s Day.

Spiteful Hearted

{ 24 comments… read them below or add one }

Anonymous May 20, 2008 at 1:13 pm

Did you stop to think that everyone else wanted to spend time with there wives too. Valentine's is one of the busiest days of the year.

I'm sure you would also complain about waiting while everyone took a table for 3 hours out of spite.

You're a jerk!!!

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bweger July 25, 2017 at 5:19 pm

you're a silly douche who doesn't know the meaning of tip, and that one is given for prompt, courteous service.

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dutchmum May 26, 2008 at 10:58 am

Good for you, dining is an experience, not something to be rushed.

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Anonymous October 13, 2008 at 3:38 pm

speaking as a waiter for 20 years, I would like to tell you that you are one of the reason's I got out of waiting on people for a living. 1. do you not realize that in a restaurant a waiter makes a living by turning tables. If you sit at that table you are taking money away from him/her. 2. That waiter may have a loved one at home he/she would like to get to see as well. 3. waiters have lives as well. I used to hate lunches when groups would come in a make the table their office for a meeting and make me stay way after my off time and 99% of the time no extra money. My time was just as valuble as theirs. 4. Valentines day is the busiest day and usually because it is amateur diner night. your normal diner knows not to go out that night. So the ones who do normally have no clue how to tip or act in a restaurant. I believe number four is probably what caused the waiter's lip to curl. I hope you realize how incredibly wrong you were and you will not be quite a jerk in the future, I can definenetly tell you never worked in customer service where tips paid your bills

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akash August 19, 2013 at 2:44 pm

But that doesnt mean that the waiter needs to rush his customers who have just sat down for their meal and looking forward to a lovely evening.
The waiter was very rude to point out that they had one hour. I understand that, waiters need to turn tables to get paid, but with what he did, he sure reduced his tip drastically. As OP mentioned that the maitre`d had spoken to the waiter, it seems that waiter himself decided to tell them how much time they had.

Still occupying a table for 3 hours, yes that makes OP a jerk…just to spite the waiter

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Jayne August 27, 2017 at 9:00 pm

The thing you seem to have forgotten/never cared about is that people don’t say “Hey, let’s go out tonight and better someone’s life by helping pay their rent”, they go out to eat, sometimes to celebrate a special day or achievement. They’re not in your restaurant to help you, they’re there for themselves; that’s just how the ‘service’ industry works. You serve others; not the other way around.

Additionally, unless the customers know their waiter/waitress well, they probably have no idea you’re there after your shift has ended and don’t deserve your attitude for taking up your free time — all they see is that you’re a person doing your job; they don’t know your work hours. It’s not a customer’s problem if their waiter would rather be at home with loved ones than at work, either; *most* of the time, people would rather not be at work and if you take your frustration out on customers, you’ll lose them and probably a job eventually, and good luck getting another with the undesirable review(s) you’ll get from your boss(es).

‘Amateur diner night’? Not everyone can afford to go out to eat every weekend, and just because someone can doesn’t mean they know how to behave. I’m betting a lot of poor people who can only afford to eat at restaurants once a year know it’s special and are careful to remember their manners, something those who frequent restaurants and become complacent in public places forget. Calling others ‘amateur diners’ makes you sound like a snob; just because you can afford to eat out a lot doesn’t mean you’re polite or that restaurant staff want to see you.

My point in all this — if you’re a professional, act like one regardless of what you’d rather be doing or what you feel customers owe you for choosing to eat in your restaurant; restaurants can always hire someone else, especially these days when it’s hard to get a job — so good luck to you when you get fired.

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Anonymous October 25, 2008 at 11:46 am

it's true – the waiter was the slightest bit rude to you, but to camp at a waiter's table for three hours on valentine's day and leave a 12% tip is truly spiteful and bad karma.

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Spiteful Hearted October 25, 2008 at 3:53 pm

As I recall, our bill came to over a hundred dollars that night. That's a lot of money to spend for shoddy service. That's also a lot of money to spend for only one hour of time.

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Ali K June 18, 2016 at 11:28 pm

That's not expensive at all. $112 for an evening you had been looking forward to for weeks? Sorry. Hope you liked your Diet Coke and calamari, you asshat.

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Mz. Ang October 26, 2008 at 10:05 am

Fast lane, crash-course, whip-lash dining for Valentine's in the 21st century is not solely the fault any waiter, surly or not.

Having said that, there is never an excuse for having a crappy attitude at work. No customer wants to pay for abuse.

On that note, If Mz. Ang had been rushed by the waiter, she would have asked for the manager. After calmly expressing her distaste for the situation, she would have excused herself and her husband from the restaurant. Mz. Ang does not pay for abuse in ANY fashion. You let him abuse you and then gave him a tip!

Your mean-spirited nature (hogging the table 3 hours just to spite him) taught him nothing except that you can be surly too. Why not teach him that you don't pay for abuse? Leave. Show your sweetheart that you love her in some other way…Take her somewhere that the dining establishment and its employees act respectable…even if its the local Chinese take-out counter, or whatever.

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rmedal January 3, 2009 at 3:34 pm

I think that was sorry. You need to learn how to act in public! I think there should be a cource in school on the subject. I'm in the biz, and I just want to slap people sometimes cause their so stupid! It's like, it's their first time out in public.

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Anonymous February 22, 2009 at 3:18 pm

only trash and idiots go out on valentines day and servers know this.

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Anonymous February 22, 2009 at 3:19 pm

over a hundred dollars you don't say, FAAANCY!

were you at Chili's?

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Blue Mist June 11, 2012 at 3:05 pm

Hahahahaha! That’s sad, but true. Those of us who eat out more than once or twice a year know the etiquette.
1.You get in, you get out.
2.If you’re going to have more than 2 drinks, you’re going to get on someone’s nerves-be prepared to pay a little extra on the tip.
3.Don’t think it’s right, complain to the person who pays slave wages to his/her employees.
4.Three hours? Whew, I would have felt the eyes burning holes in my head. At least 50% gratuity, if you ever wanted to eat there again.

How much you spend on the meal may matter to the owner, but the servers care more about the gratuity. It’s understandable. It’s how they pay their bills. They don’t care if this is a “special occasion”.

It may seem harsh, but it’s reality.

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Anonymous March 4, 2009 at 8:01 pm

you spent 3 hours to spend $100-150 in place where the waiter is in a tux-the waiter should have followed you out into the parking lot and and intro'ed you to the 2 couples who DIDNT get a table thanks to your passive aggressive punk ass.

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akash August 19, 2013 at 2:45 pm

3 hours occupying a table was wrong. but so was rushing them to vacate it even before they ordered.

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Recon March 12, 2009 at 7:45 pm

Are you kidding me? You wanted to go out for a lengthy special occasion diner.. on Valentine's Day? Did you happen to notice that there were an extra 50 two top tables crammed into the place? Did you happen to notice that there were 200 more reservations than seats? Only amateurs go out on Valentine's Day. Like losers who think $100 qualifies you as some big time spender. On top of that, you STEAL money from some poor guy that has to work in this situation, that he knows is going to be a nightmare?

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Rob April 2, 2009 at 8:23 pm

If you want to spend your time, you should have reserved the table for the evening. Your average middle class restaurant has to pay rent, salaries, taxes…….and is not interested in your special evening. They are interested in making money.

Obviously a lot more money, but a waiter with 1 guaranteed client (and an added, not optional gratuity) will be happy as well.

A quick date with wifey does not qualify as romantic. Spend some time with her. She won't care if you have to make excuses later about budgeting. She will, if anything, remember that you took the time with her.

Go be selfish with your time on your own stove.

Personally, I've never found a cheese fondue, followed by a chocolate fondue, to be a fail on Valentine's Day. Eat like you're starving in the morning…..lol.

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jaymoney April 3, 2009 at 6:08 am

Yes waiters make $$ turning tables but they don't have to throw it in your face when you're seated! It's an unwritten rule to not over-stay your welcome. I agree with the actions of Spiteful Hearted (except the small tip). I was a waiter for 9+ years. Also, the waiters that have to work the Valentines shift are the lowest on the totem pole and are already pissed when they start their shift.

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Steve April 5, 2009 at 5:12 am

You value your time? You wasted you and your wife's time, and hurt the restaurant, by sitting for 3 hours to spite the waiter? Huh? That may have lessened the waiter's workload, but also showed you are a child. Your comment about the cost of the mail makes me think 1) you didn't look at the menu carefully enough; 2) part of your anger, and your decision to sit for 3 hours out of spite, was due to the meal costing more than you think it should have. Your wife puts up with your immature behavior. I hope you appreciate her.

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Recon June 11, 2009 at 8:49 am

A romantic dinner? At a restaurant? On Valentine's day? Only a true amateur would even consider the idea. It is the busiest day of the year for most restaurants, and they'll cram as many two top tables into the space available and take way more reservations than they could ever possibly handle ( since SO MANY people never show up for the reservation )

And wow !, $100 dinner for two, what did you order? Two glasses of White Zinfandel and split an order of cerviche? Get real.

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anony-mosity November 20, 2009 at 8:10 pm

really dude, 3 hours on Valenine's Day?? How freaking romantic was your dinner with about 100 other people crowded around you?? What a jackass. The manager may have mentioned to your server that he needed that table in an hour for another reservation, it's happened to me, and if th eserver was fairly new did't know any better then to not mention it to you. Dude may one mistake and you act like a classless clod for it? Next time order Take out Chinese good and eat it while sitting in front of a roaring fireplace with your girl, THAT'S romantic shmuck!

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Kel R July 26, 2012 at 3:41 am

Sounds to me like the waiter said 1 semi-snippy comment to you and you decided to be 1,000 times bigger of an asshole. I can't believe you're married to someone who actually wanted to spend 3 hours with you. I'd be so sick of you after 3 minutes I'd bolt.

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Ilovefyling February 9, 2016 at 10:48 pm

Heck considering they didn't get kicked out after an hour says something! Maybe it just so happened the other parties were sat at another place! At least they were eating! Maybe the other half is not like you kel r and they agreed to the 3 hours!

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