Smart Phone Staring, Server-Shooing Patron

July 22, 2016

in Diner Stories

It was seven-thirty on a Saturday night and I was deep in the weeds due to our third server calling in sick. Every single table in the restaurant was full. All of my tables contained at least three people with the exception of one – Table forty-three.

My first impression of this older couple was not great. When I tried to tell them my name, the wife interrupted me with her drink order followed by very specific instructions on how to slice her lemon. Her husband just ordered coffee, but insisted I brew him a fresh pot which I had zero intention of doing.

I got their drinks, a lemon wedge cut the way I always cut them as I am busy, and extra napkins because I am sure they will ask for them. When I got back to the table, the husband smiles sweetly while his wife scrolled away on her smart phone. “We are going to need more time sweetie,” the husband said to me as he gestured towards his wife.

I tried to check back with them a few minutes later, but as I approached the table the wife shooed me away with her heavily gemmed hand. I focused on my other tables for about five minutes before being given a party of ten. I get their drinks as fast as I can, before walking a loop to check on my other tables before checking back with the first person to ever shoo me.

I apologize about the wait before explaining we are a server short on a very busy evening. They are ready to order. I take the man’s order first, and then with the best fake smile I could muster, I take the wife’s. She asks me at least three questions about every entrée we have, all of which could have been answered by reading the menu with the glasses sitting on top of her head. I have a party of ten along with about fifteen other tables because a coworker had called in; I didn’t have time for this game.

I finally get her order down after about seven minutes, and as I start to walk away she grabs the back of my shirt jerking it hard enough to startle me. I politely ask her what else I can get her and she starts asking me questions about the desert items… all of them. When I began to answer her first question she looked down at her phone as it lit up with a message. I was swearing at her telepathically as she began to scroll on Facebook after answering her text message. She assured me she was listening, but because of her lurking on Facebook while I was explaining the deserts to her, I had to repeat each answer at least twice.

After her taking up ten minutes of my time with round two of a million questions, I started to get a little agitated. She asked me to repeat myself one too many times and my happy demeanor dissolved. I cleared my throat and told her, “Ma’am, we are packed tonight. I have half of this restaurant to myself and you are taking up all of my time.” In print this may not seem so bad, but I was pissed and I have a very expressive face. “If you can’t make a decision I can come back, but I will not stand here anymore while you stare at your phone.”

She quickly ordered desert without looking at me and didn’t talk to me the rest of the night. When I was back in the kitchen getting ready to run food to my party, my manager told me somebody up front wanted to see me. It was the shooing woman’s husband. He handed me a twenty-dollar bill before thanking me for my “outstanding” patience.

I am not proud of getting upset, but anybody who has ever been a server for a good amount of time will probably understand my reaction.

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