Photo Lady

November 2, 2013

in Diner Stories

It was a Sunday afternoon which is generally a very busy time for the restaurant I work at, as we receive a lot of lunch bookings. I was serving two large tables who were both celebrating something, so I really wanted to make sure that they received the best service.

I was in the process of getting the birthday cake out of the fridge for one of the tables, ensuring that it was prompt since they had to leave soon. On my way I was stopped by a lady who was dining alone and seemed like a tourist. She wanted me to take a photo of her at her table, which is a very normal request since our venue has very nice views by the window. I stopped and took a few photos and handed her back the camera. I was then stopped by another table who had a quick question about the menu when I felt a tap on my shoulder. I turned around – it was the photo lady again. I said, “I’m very sorry, I’m with another customer at the moment, but I’ll be with you shortly.” She tapped my shoulder again, clearly ignoring what I had just said and interrupted my conversation with the other table to complain about the photos I just took.

I had just finished talking with the other table, so I turned to her and asked her what the problem was. She picked up her camera and pointed at one of the photos. “See here, you can’t see the salmon on my plate. The chips are in the way. Can you please take another photo. I want to be able to see the salmon on my plate.” I was baffled at how idiotic this request was and annoyed since I had my birthday table in mind, but I took a few more photos anyway.

“How are those?” I asked. (BIG MISTAKE)

“Oh no, these are terrible, you made me look fat. Can you take more and make sure they are above the waist so I don’t look fat.” So again, I took a few more. “Please take some portrait shots too. They are for my family overseas so I want them to be nice.”

Five minutes later – she finally seemed happy with the photos so I went on my way to deliver the cake to my table (it had been about 10 minutes since they requested the cake, but they weren’t upset since they saw that I got caught up and understood).

As I was walking over, I saw the photo lady out of the corner of my eye getting one of my co-workers to take more photos of her. I was really frustrated since she had just wasted my time with these photos which now seemed even more pointless, plus the restaurant was still quite busy. Whatever. I just focused on my tables.

About 15 minutes later I happened to walk past her table again and noticed that she had now asked one of the OTHER DINERS to take photos of her. The other diners had JUST received their meals and it seemed as though they were on a date. She asked the male patron to follow her outside and take photos of her (I’m sure he was trying to be polite) leaving his female companion to dine alone. I was infuriated.

Another 15 minutes had passed and I was in the kitchen waiting as my other large table’s meals were being plated up. Another waitress then walked into the kitchen with the photo lady’s half-eaten salmon dish, saying that the lady had spilled her champagne all over it and would like a new meal. The kitchen didn’t skip a beat and began preparing one. The waitress then added, “Oh, but this time she would like salad instead of chips.”

This immediately rang alarm bells in my head, but the chef still prepared her a salad and sent it out. From the kitchen, I saw the waitress take the meal over to the photo lady and she seemed uninterested when it arrived. I thought that this was very rude after she had practically just received a free meal without a hassle.

Some more time had passed and my large table had all finished their meals when I noticed that the photo lady had BARELY touched her meal and was just playing on her phone. I walked over to her and asked her if everything was okay with her meal.

“No. The salmon is cold,” she said bluntly.

This infuriated me even more, but I remained calm and replied, “I’m sorry ma’am, but I was in the kitchen when I saw your meal leave steaming hot and it has been sitting on your table for over 20 minutes, so there’s not much I can do about that.”

“Oh,” she said, disappointed. She then began to slowly eat her meal visibly annoyed and pouting like a child.

At this point the lady had been here for 2 hours. She hadn’t had any other food except this salmon dish and the service was quite fast that day. I have seen people have 3 course meals in 2 hours, so this was just ridiculous.

Finally she had finished and was about to leave. She got up to pay and I was nearby when I heard the conversation she had with the manager who was fixing up her bill. She basically argued that her glass of champagne should be taken off the bill since she had spilled it on her meal (she had drunk half of it anyway). My manager calmly told her that it wasn’t the restaurant’s responsibility for the spillage and that he couldn’t take it off. She seemed very annoyed, continued to argue her point, but she eventually paid and left.

A while later one of the other waitresses revealed to me that she had witnessed the lady purposely knock the almost finished glass of champagne over her half-eaten meal, so it was clear that she was just trying to scam us into giving her a free meal and drink. She was easily among the most irritating customers I have ever experienced – and I hope all her 1000 photos turned out terrible.

{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

mrsjamiecbaker November 7, 2013 at 1:10 pm

This photo thing reminds me of an experience I had back in May. My husband and I were enjoying a day at the Navy Pier in Chicago, stopping to have a drink and enjoy the view. We were very into our conversation when a group of three older women interrupted us and said "Hey, take our picture!"
Normally, I'm always up for helping someone out, but these women didn't ask for our help, they demanded it. My husband responded with "No thanks, we're busy." The one who asked the question then popped a hand on her hip and said "Really? You won't take our picture? Just take it!" Another denial of their request resulted in a "Well, I never!" and the trio moving on to someone else, saying the request in the same exact manner.

Asking someone to take your photo is fine, so long as it's both done respectfully and quickly. I don't understand how some people can think it's perfectly fine to treat strangers, servers, store employees, etc. as personal photographers. This woman definitely abused your kindness with all these requests, not to mention the free food scam. I hope she looks fat in all her photos 😉


RedHead0186 March 6, 2014 at 2:23 pm

It's amazing how much a simple "please and thank you" can go a long way, as can a smile. I think people are really starting to forget that these days and just think they're entitled to everything.


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