Time Waits for No Teen

November 19, 2010

in Server Stories

About a year ago, three friends and I were visiting a city a couple of hours from our home town. It was somewhat late at night but we decided we wanted to eat out. After looking up local reviews and searching for a place within walking distance, we finally chose a restaurant. We walked through the road entrance to find a sign stating that we had to be seated at the other entrance that was in the mall. That’s alright; we walked through to that entrance and went to the hostess. This is where it all started to go down.

After talking to the hostess and requesting a booth, she said the wait would be about 40 minutes, handed us a buzzer and acknowledged the next customers. We stood outside the entrance outside the window of another store and waited. And waited. And waited. It was about an hour and twenty minutes later when we noticed people who had arrived after us were being seated. We stood up and went to the hostess. I asked if our table was available yet and mentioned that we had been waiting for much longer than anticipated. She apologized, checked her book and then sat us immediately. Turns out our buzzer hadn’t been activated and the hostess didn’t even take our names down. It was a little annoying but didn’t matter that much, we knew it was busy and everyone makes mistakes.

We were finally sat in a quiet secluded booth and were told that our waitress would be coming soon. By this point the rush had slowed down considerably and about only half the tables were filled. She arrived about fifteen minutes afterwards and took our drink order. It took her another twenty minutes to arrive with our drinks and she then took off without taking our appetizer order, which we were ready with. Another twenty or so minutes go by and she finally comes back, takes our orders and takes off. This is how it went basically throughout the night. She would come, take our order or drop something off, then disappear for a long time. We weren’t able to get refills in between meals because of this and we didn’t see her at all until she came by. The food was great and at a decent price. The waitress’s manner wasn’t horrible, but it wasn’t the best either. The longest wait we had was between receiving our meal and getting the check and actually paying the check.

By this point, I was frustrated at how we were treated compared to others around us who were seated and fed in a timely manner. Now my friends and I are young, in our late teens. But I thought after this service, something needs to be said. Also, the manager may not know what’s going on and should be informed because they would lose customers if this was a common occurrence. None of my friends had ever complained officially before and were reluctant to do so. I stood firm in my belief and when we saw the waitress again finally for the payment of the check, I asked for her manager. After receiving a slightly dazed and confused look, the waitress said sure and took off. This time, it only took about ten minutes for the manager to show up.

After pleasantries were exchanged, I explained our situation to the manager. Now, I wasn’t hoping for a free dessert or a discount for our meal, I just wanted to inform the manager and maybe receive an apology. The manager, being about 22 or so himself, listened to what we had to say. What did he say to what happened? Thank you for telling me and then walked off. No apologies or explanation, just thank you and walked away without waiting for a response. After this the waitress gave us our change and an icy stare as she walked off. After leaving a very small tip (probably shouldn’t have left anything after that), we walked out to the glares of the hostess, manager, waitress and the waiter that had to help us out at one point.

Now, my friends and I loved the food there and the environment was great. I would love to eat there again, but with a bit better service and respect. We may be young but that doesn’t mean our opinion is any less important than any other customer. I felt like our comments were brushed off due to our age and I have suspicions that the man we talked to wasn’t even the manager. It frustrates me to think that such behaviour was allowed just because we were young. We ordered food and drinks like everyone else and paid like everyone else. Has anyone else ever felt like this? That you were treated disrespectfully due to your age? It’s annoying to say the least and does make me, and friends and family, question about going there ever again.

P.S. We figured out that after having received our buzzer to leaving the place, we had spent over FOUR HOURS there. Good thing we’re close friends.

{ 13 comments… read them below or add one }

Andrew November 21, 2010 at 4:04 am

It’s intersting that you felt you were being profiled because of your age yet you do it yourself to the manager because of his. The waitress likely gave everyone else better service because of your age and the assumption you would tip less(which in fairness to her was accurate…even if deserved) and you make the assumption the young man could not have been the manager(or shift lead) because of his age. Quite a double standard on your part.

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Reanjo November 21, 2010 at 6:08 pm

Just read it over again myself and I can see how you'd think that was what my assumption was. But the point of showing his age was more about how I wouldn't expect this treatment from someone who was close in age to us and wouldn't have as much of a "Oh they're just bratty teenagers" approach to what we had said. I was suscipicous of him being a manager due to his response to what we said, not because of his age. He was also dressed closely to the bartenders which added to the suspicion. Didn't mean any double standards. Get enough of those being young and female.

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Rachel May 30, 2011 at 7:45 pm

Not really. Kids get treated like crap in restaurants all the time. I hate to say it, but it is because such a large percentage of them do obnoxious crap like order off the kids menu and act like its the most huh-lur-ious thing eva, then camp out in your section for 3 hours…during the rush…being loud and annoying your other tables, and finish it off by 'tipping' you with either their change (if you are lucky) or whatever rounds the meal cost up to a dollar (if you are not). It's true. But it is no reason why mature young people should be treated like crap. And it is easy to tell the mature young people apart from the kids who should never be allowed in public….which is why it makes me angry when I see certain servers kick young diners around in ways I wouldn't even inflict on the obnoxious ones. They are paying money for their food like everyone else. They deserve to get their moneys' worth. Just like every business transaction they make.

Now, how many 22-year old restaurant managers have you seen? Me, too.

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emily November 21, 2010 at 7:54 am

he (or she) didn't profile him, just stated a fact.

Being stereotyped because you're a teen is a catch-22, and it happens to me too when I go out with my girlfriends. If the server gives us poor service, I want to give them a good tip to prove them wrong, but I definitely don't want to reward bad behavior.

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emily November 21, 2010 at 12:00 pm

nvm, re-read it. stereotyping the manager is definitely a double standard

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rerere November 21, 2010 at 10:30 am

Wow, only 4 hours? Congrats, You are very lucky.

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Andrew November 21, 2010 at 9:45 pm

Just to add I think your experience is unacceptable. But I'm not sure how you can jump to the conclusion your slow service was based on percieved age(or at least not solely). I would imagine that even though the restaurant was slowing down the remaining servers were in fact very busy lending to the slow service. Also if you were there at somewhat of a late hour(as you state) and were there for 4 hours(as you also state) doesn't that leave you in the restaurant well after midnight? From a server standpoint you HAVE to give a table that is clearly taking their time slow service otherwise you rush them. In the end I'm certain the restaurant felt you were camping at the table forever and being quite rude and you felt ignored…but the truth is likely somewhere in between.

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Jody November 22, 2010 at 3:28 am

I can sympathize with your story. I don't recall getting that treatment, but I have seen it happen. What's happened to me most recently is less than stellar service because I'm dining alone. I give the server the tip he or she deserves (sometimes exactly 15%) then complain to corporate management if it's a chain. I get better results by going straight to the owners than the restaurant manager.

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Poco November 22, 2010 at 10:11 pm

I wouldn't wait an hour and twenty minutes for a table at any restaurant. And if I didn't have my drink in hand and appetizer ordered more than a half hour after being seated I'd leave. You have a heck of a lot more patience than I do, that's for sure.

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Jack November 23, 2010 at 12:04 pm

You have a lot more patience then I do. I would have been outta there in about 15 minutes. Waiting 15 minutes for your server, then waiting 20 minutes for your drinks. No Way! As far as a tip goes, I wouldn't have left a penny, well maybe a penny just to underscore, and show my contempt for the service.

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Summn January 6, 2011 at 10:18 am

I'm sorry you're being subjected to scepticism from some of the haters on here! It seems like a black & white case to me.

I grew up early (was working two lousey-paying jobs to support a dying husband at 18) and I absolutely relate to your experience. People would assume I was just a "housepet" of mommy & daddy's and had no real-world experience, and it made my blood boil. On the other hand, I've known tons of people who are 25 or even 30 and still "housepets". My point is that assuming anything about a person because of their age is irrational. Yet it receives much less sympathy than racial prejudice etc.

It sounds like this restaurant could have had your group as regular customers for decades to come, so they really shot themselves in the foot not valuing you more. Judging by your patience, compulsion to tip in spite of everything, and how well-spoken you are, I'd say you would be an easy customer to serve. They drove away a civilized, generous customer with many years of dining out ahead of her…IDIOTIC!

Regarding Andrew's comment that they were possibly giving you space since you seemed to want to "camp out" and take your time: The only reason they were taking so long is the service! Nowhere is there a hint that they dawdled! They were ready to order appetizers right away had they been given the chance, which is not "camping out" behavior.

You may have been getting bad service for a reason other than ageism, like maybe your server was a rookie, but if you saw others getting better service, there likely was something odd going on. Many other people would have made a huge scene- kudos on your classy behavior.

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College Kid January 14, 2011 at 8:36 am

*sympathizes*

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Pilcha August 11, 2013 at 7:47 am

Me and a few friends had a similar experience to this in a pizza restaurant, we had all done odd jobs during our summer holidays and decided we would treat ourselves to a meal, out only to find out that we were seated next to a group of the rudest most chavvy people who we'd ever seen, they constantly referred to us as spoilt rich kids and on multiple occasions threw food at us when we told the manager he just shrugged

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