First Date, Second Time Around

January 8, 2012

in Couples Stories

In October 2010, I drove 300 miles to spend the weekend with my first love from high school, 26 years later (we had recently reunited after not seeing each other for over 20 years). I met him at the hotel and we left for dinner in his car.

We went to a fairly nice chain steak restaurant (think Texas). The food was great but the service was something else altogether.

We were seated immediately and the server came to our table quickly and asked if we’d like something from the bar. My (now) fiance ordered a commonly known beer and I asked if they had a riesling. My question was met by a blank stare. I said, “It’s wine.” She said, “I’ve never heard of it so I don’t think we have it.” So I replied that I would just have a chardonnay… any kind. No big deal. Again… blank stare.

Really… who hasn’t heard of chardonnay? Anyway, I again told her it was wine. She said she didn’t know anything about wine so she had no idea if they had it. I asked for a wine list, which she pulled out of her apron! (I don’t know why she didn’t offer it to me to begin with.) I showed her the chardonnay so she’d know what I wanted and she went off to get our drinks. My date and I laughed a bit… in a good mood and not easily annoyed.

Then came time to order our food… we still didn’t have our drinks… I ordered one of their salads. My date ordered steak, but he doesn’t like salad so he asked about the soups; specifically the “Steak Soup.” She said it was a just like a beef vegetable soup. (He ordered it… it was a thick beef stew!)

Finally she arrived with his soup and my wine. My date reminded her of the beer and she apologized and went to get it. While she was gone, he leaned over to give me a kiss. We were not making out or anything and it was brief, but a nice kiss (the restaurant was nearly empty and no one around our area). I opened my eyes to see her just standing at our table, basically watching us, with his beer in her hand… smiling. She was literally inches from him where he was sitting! I moved back quickly and she sat the beer on the table and walked away. You would think she would have just sat down the beer, or took a walk around to give us a second or at least cleared her throat or something… not just watch until we were done!

She never checked back to see how the food was or if we needed another drink (a runner brought the food). We saw her hanging out near the bar the whole time, chatting. We finally flagged her down to get another beer for my fiance.

She never asked about our meals and arrived with his beer nearly 15 minutes later! We asked for the check and he quickly finished his beer. Fortunately our mood really could not be ruined and we just laughed it off as her probably being new. He left her about a 10% tip.

We are getting married next month and seriously considering eating dinner there that evening just for old time’s sake. We still laugh about that “first date” all the time! But had we not been in such good moods, this would have been a REALLY bad experience!

~ ArtIsLove

{ 14 comments… read them below or add one }

flossiesdoll January 9, 2012 at 3:04 pm

A really bad experience? Really? You got what you ordered, the food was fine, nobody was abused and you think you had a really bad experience?

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Artis Love January 10, 2012 at 2:44 am

I never said it was a really bad experience. If anything I think I it portrayed as amusing, but yeah…I expect my server to know if they have a wine list and be familiar with the food and not dissapear and take 10 minutes to bring a beer. Jeez!

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Amber May 11, 2016 at 9:17 am

You specifically say that if you weren't in a good mood it "would have been a REALLY bad experience" so obviously you felt the experience was bad to begin with. Sounds like you got an inexperienced server, or they simply don't have many people ordering wine, you got your food and enjoyed it, you got your drinks and enjoyed them. The only thing worth complaining about at all is lack of server attention after she witnessed you kissing, which might have simply been her feeling you two wanted more privacy and space and leaving you alone to provide that.

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flossiesdoll January 10, 2012 at 3:30 pm

You said if you hadn't been in such a good mood it would have been a really bad experience. I think it was slightly iffy service, hardly a really bad experience.

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Rachel January 11, 2012 at 2:39 am

Eh, the not knowing what a chardonnay was made me think she was a kid who was brand-new to serving, but the sitting at the bar chatting the entire time inclines me to think that she was just lazy. If she wasn't even bothering to give you service, a 10 percent tip is too nice. Newbies tend to want to prove themselves.

But, seriously, how can you work in a restaurant and not know a chardonnay? It's like the most sold white wine where I work!

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Amber May 11, 2016 at 9:18 am

Could be a kid not familiar with wines, could be a grown woman not familiar with wines, it does happen. Wine may not be something ordered often at this restaurant.

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Ace November 27, 2016 at 1:05 pm

True, chardonnay is a white wine and this is a steakhouse…

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Caveman January 11, 2012 at 5:57 pm

It has to make you wonder who hires employees like that?

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ServingUpAnAttitude January 12, 2012 at 1:58 am

Oh, god, I wish I didn't know. Sometimes, I feel like the people in charge of my restaurant will hire anything with two legs that manages to walk through the door and fill out an application.

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The Jaded Waiter February 12, 2012 at 6:30 pm

As someone with restaurant management experience I can assure you that the talent pool that we are often forced to recruit from is very, very, shallow indeed. There are a lot of lousy servers out there and very few good ones. We grab the great ones when we can and do our best to retain them but they are few and far between. What we're forced to do after that is look for 'diamonds in the rough' and work with these servers in hope that they'll hone their skills and became what think they're capable of somewhere down the line. It's like picking stocks… they don't all pan out. I have some ideas on how to more or less eradicate bad service in restaurants all across the US.. but that would mean dining out would be more expensive and I guarantee people would gripe about that just as much as they do about bad service.

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Amber May 11, 2016 at 9:20 am

Good workers are hard to find, especially these days when so many just want everything for nothing. They don't want to put in the effort for their hourly wage, nor put in the effort for their tips, they just expect them. So often poor servers are being rewarded due to the tipping culture of the US, it makes them think they don't have to put in any effort and they'll still get at least 10% in tips for doing as little as possible. This is why bad service should not be rewarded with any tips. When they know people tip 10% for bad service they know they don't have to bother trying anymore, it makes the dining experience lacking.

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@MedReigns January 12, 2012 at 1:42 pm

Wow that's funny. We have a girl at my bar who is JUST like that. She's never served before and talks to people at tables like she's a robot. It's pretty damn weird… anyhow, story reminds me of my girlfriends mom and step dad. They were each other's boyfriend/girlfriend in the 6th grade and rekindled at the 20th high school reunion. They're now married!

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Cat M January 25, 2012 at 8:46 pm

My initiation as a server years ago was here's a pad go take their order. She was most likely new and NOT a drinker so of course she doesn't know the alcohol drinks. Plus if your kiss was NOT a make out type of kiss, she would not have been standing there waiting for you to finish. Leave that behavior elsewhere. She was probably smiling at you so as not to show off how creeped out she was. Also when she was completely out of her element about wine when you asked for Riesling and she was clueless, why did YOU not ask for a wine list?

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Kara March 20, 2012 at 3:35 am

I'm not a drinker, am in fact very anti-alcohol…very anti-smoking and anti-drugs too. Yet I still know what the heck "chardonnay" and "Riesling" are and I know things about smoking and drugs. Plus, I was born in Germany so even though I'm not good with the language at times I do understand some German and any person who's even half German should know what a Riesling is! Heck, even if you're not German…if you're at a certain age you should know some things about alcohol. As for the public display of affection, just because some people don't like it or it makes them uncomfortable – doesn't mean people are going to "leave that behavior elsewhere" If she was truly creeped out by it she wouldn't have just stood there like a creepy smiling idiot , she would've quickly gave them the bottle and then rush off again. You're right about one thing though, instead of asking for beverages by name first they should've asked if there was a menu or wine list first , THEN asked for something by name (and pointing it out on the menu / wine list while doing so since their server is apparently an alien from another planet or a being from another world / dimension – someplace where they don't have alcohol – hah! )

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