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Irritating Server Habits


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I sit there and watch the servers bussing other tables and they pick up all the used dirty glasses at all the other tables by sticking their hands down into the glasses.  They handle used plates and silverware with bits of food clinging to them.  And then they pick up the glass I'm supposed to use and set it down in front of me. Whatever you call it, it's lazy, dirty, nasty, careless, thoughtless, whatever, not to mention completely unnecessary to handle my glass by the rim.

I don't think the servers themselves should be cleaning the tables. I notice in some restaurants they have different set of people cleaning the tables, who never touch the food on the way out of the kitchen. Servers should bring the food out from the kitchen; there should be busboys or whatever you call them to bring the dishes back to the kitchen.

"There's nothing like a pork belly to steady the nerves."

Fergus Henderson

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Serving a course when I've gone to smoke.

I take it that, with this particular irritation, you're referring to when you dine alone as well? Because honestly: if you're at a four-top, and the apps come up and out, and three out of the four customers are at the table, I gotta tell ya: the apps should be served. The server may think that you're in the bathroom, or heck, even that you're out for a smoke, but I don't think it's out of bounds to continue the service for others while you're gone.

Now, if you're just by yourself, I can see what you're saying.

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One thing always puts a smile on my face though. I love it when servers cut themselves cutting lemons or bread or something retarded like that. Shows how inept they are at even the most mundane of tasks.

Yeah, I'm a dick..................... :raz:

Drink maker, heart taker!

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I sit there and watch the servers bussing other tables and they pick up all the used dirty glasses at all the other tables by sticking their hands down into the glasses.   They handle used plates and silverware with bits of food clinging to them.  And then they pick up the glass I'm supposed to use and set it down in front of me. Whatever you call it, it's lazy, dirty, nasty, careless, thoughtless, whatever, not to mention completely unnecessary to handle my glass by the rim.

I don't think the servers themselves should be cleaning the tables. I notice in some restaurants they have different set of people cleaning the tables, who never touch the food on the way out of the kitchen. Servers should bring the food out from the kitchen; there should be busboys or whatever you call them to bring the dishes back to the kitchen.

This isn't always possible, but in restaurants where they can have enough staff to do this, if you are a good busser, you are everyone's favorite person! I made pretty good money doing this because almost every server would palm me cash at the end of the night on top of the tipout I already got. It made me an obsessive hand-washer, though. When you unload a buspan full of nasty dishes and are up to your elbows in half-eaten ice cream, it's not enough to run your hands under water and glance at the soap, you've got to get in there with a nail brush and everything! Nothing worse than someone waiting on you with dirty fingernails...shudder...

"An appetite for destruction, but I scrape the plate."

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I'm generally a very easygoing person, so it takes a lot to annoy me. Generally the only thing that would make me give a lesser tip is rudeness. Anything else isn't a big deal to me, as long as I got what I ordered and got it in a reasonable period of time.

However, there are two incidents that stick out in my mind. The first was about 10 years ago, so I don't remember all the details. My parents, my sister and I had gone out to dinner at a local place. The waitress took our orders, then returned 10 or 15 minutes later with everyone's meal, except my sister, whom she informed that they were out of whatever she had ordered. This was after the rest of us all had our food sitting in front of us. When I started eating, I noticed that the chicken I had ordered was steaming hot in some places, and cold in others. I tried to wave over the waitress to ask if I could get it heated, but she didn't notice because she was standing in the corner of the room reading a book. I ended up going up and handing my plate to her.

The other one was about 2 years ago. My husband (then fiance) and I had gone out to an expensive restaurant with several friends to celebrate a birthday. Both my and DH's dinners had asparagus as a side dish. I ate my asparagus, but only half of the meat because it was a large portion. DH had eaten his whole dinner, but not the asparagus which he didn't like. I happily took his asparagus and put it on my plate, so that I could have it later with the leftovers. The waitress came by to ask if we needed anything boxed, so I said I did and handed her my plate. The box that came back to me had only meat, no asparagus. Being too nice (or too wimpy) I didn't say anything, figuring that they had already thrown the asparagus out, so what good was it to complain? My sister (who I later told this story to) said that I should have demanded that they cook me another portion of asparagus. I don't think I could have done that, because as I said I'm a wimp and don't like to cause trouble, and I didn't feel like hanging around after we had already paid, just to get some vegetables.

But as I thought about it later, the fact that they threw away the asparagus but boxed the meat really irked me. Apparently they assumed that I hadn't eaten the asparagus because I didn't want any of it - but then why did they assume that I DID want the other half of the meat? I handed the waitress my whole plate - what made her think I only wanted part of the food back? Despite the fact that I'm a nice, easygoing person, I do hold a grudge. And to this day whenever we drive by that restaurant I say to DH "There's the place that threw away my asparagus." (We don't plan to eat there again, but that's just because we felt it was overpriced. If we otherwise liked the restaurant, I wouldn't let one bad service incident prevent me from going back.)

Edited by JaclynM (log)
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I sit there and watch the servers bussing other tables and they pick up all the used dirty glasses at all the other tables by sticking their hands down into the glasses.  They handle used plates and silverware with bits of food clinging to them.  And then they pick up the glass I'm supposed to use and set it down in front of me. Whatever you call it, it's lazy, dirty, nasty, careless, thoughtless, whatever, not to mention completely unnecessary to handle my glass by the rim.

I don't think the servers themselves should be cleaning the tables. I notice in some restaurants they have different set of people cleaning the tables, who never touch the food on the way out of the kitchen. Servers should bring the food out from the kitchen; there should be busboys or whatever you call them to bring the dishes back to the kitchen.

I don't think this is necessarily reasonable or possible in some places, give the narrow profit margins of a lot of places and the fact that there's no practical hygienic reason for this. Also, does this mean that the waiter can't clear plates between courses -- that they should walk past your dirty dishes while the busboy is busy with another task? Agree that proper clearing and rimless touching is appropriate, though.

I'm on the pavement

Thinking about the government.

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I went to a mid-town NYC restaurant tonight. It's well-rated by one of the main restaurant guides and I'd heard good things about it. The place takes special pride in their wines and what they are doing to promote wine.

Snip!

Another pet peeve is the over pour of glasses;1/3 full is OK but they either are trying to sell more wine or reduce refilling trips,I'm not sure which :sad: Many fine bottles get wasted that way IMHO.

my2c

Jorge

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I've never heard or used "how does it taste" though I have heard the "suggested spin" line, "Is everything tasting great for you?" which I think is stupid, but it doesn't really bother me.  I usually just asked "How is everything?" Or, if it was a nicer place or seemed a more upscale table, "Is everything to your liking?"

This is what I used to use. Or sometimes "is everything to your satisfaction". Once only and when they had only had a couple of bites - so you've got time to rectify something wrong.

it's interesting to see the difference between peeves in the US and poor service in the UK. As tipping isn't the norm here there is a lot less pressure to sweet talk the customer and in most restaurants the service is professional, nothing more. I cannot imagine ever kneeling down while waitressing, unless perhaps I was trying to talk to a very small child.

Over here most waiting staff try to interact with the diners as little as humanly possible :biggrin:

Edited by Fibilou (log)

www.diariesofadomesticatedgoddess.blogspot.com

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My husband's company takes us all out to a nice restaurant at Christmas and other times during the year--very generous, very nice. There's maybe eight to ten, twelve of us. I can tell you story after story of servers who fully freely take advantage. Because I am a guest of a guest I never put them to rights on the spot in front of everyone because I just want to have a good time too. Honestly my legs usually hurt--I gotta get up stand around wait for a manager--make sure my group doesn't see me hovering and complaining...Such BS

I'm not a steak eater and we often go to upscale steak places. I ask for some sauce for the fish. "What kind of sauce?" Fish sauce you little dweeb. Tartar sauce, remolade, sauce, fluid of some kind for the fish--"Oh we don't have any." grrr

"Oh the plates are three hundred and fifty degrees" Well don't put them on the table near me then, double dweeb.

"Are you finished with your starch?" said dweeb squared.

Then add in the usual other things, no refills, wrong this wrong that, they never check and just disappear.

From a server's standpoint--what is up with this? You know there are those who take advantage.

If it was me & my husband, if it was a smaller table I would filet them but I don't think they would try & take such advantage either. I do call back and let management know. I love to go out with them but I can't believe the service we get sometimes.

Servers?

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... I can't believe the service we get sometimes.

Servers?

So what's the fix? Start calling before we go? That whole automatic gratuity added for parties over 6 or 8 or whatever reeks. If I call first we're either gonna get the entire boh's dna in the soup or we might get some service for the unfair automatic charge.

I should call & say some chichifoofoo restaurant critic will be dining in cognito there that evening. Described as a crabby little grey haired lady walking soft & carrying a sharp walking stick.

:raz:

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These posts are the reason I hate waiting tables. Jeeze, people. Cut the servers some slack. They're just doing their job. :blink: What one person hates, another person demands, sometimes managers are complete assholes and FORCE you to say idiotic stuff like, "Hey guys, my name is Amy and I'll be taking care of you this evening." Trust me, I hated saying it as much as you hate hearing it.

-Sounds awfully rich!

-It is! That's why I serve it with ice cream to cut the sweetness!

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... I can't believe the service we get sometimes.

Servers?

So what's the fix? Start calling before we go? That whole automatic gratuity added for parties over 6 or 8 or whatever reeks. If I call first we're either gonna get the entire boh's dna in the soup or we might get some service for the unfair automatic charge.

I should call & say some chichifoofoo restaurant critic will be dining in cognito there that evening. Described as a crabby little grey haired lady walking soft & carrying a sharp walking stick.

:raz:

Speaking as both a former waiter and a current diner, I'd guess that the number of large tables who've screwed over a waiter outnumber the number of waiters who've screwed over a large table by a factor of at least two-to-one. It's an imperfect system, but it's there for a reason. Too bad the servers in Memphis are so quick to take advantage -- here in DC we generally get quality professional service (or no worse than usual :wink: ), and most servers I've ever known or worked with take enough pride in their jobs not to slack off just because the tip is guaranteed. And they know that every now and again a well-served table has added a little extra to the tip -- always a good incentive. I even slipped my waiter an extra $20 (not a fortune, but lifted the tip from about 18% to about 24%, I think) at the "service charge included" French Laundry because he was such good guy.

Amy's point is well taken, but everybody's allowed to have a little bitch-space, I think, and most people here are surely polite even when annoyed. At least for the first couple of annoyances. Heck, there are plenty of websites around that would lead you to believe that servers hold their customers in utter contempt, so we're just getting equal time.

I'm on the pavement

Thinking about the government.

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My husband's company takes us all out to a nice restaurant at Christmas and other times during the year--very generous, very nice. There's maybe eight to ten, twelve of us. I can tell you story after story of servers who fully freely take advantage. Because I am a guest of a guest I never put them to rights on the spot in front of everyone because I just want to have a good time too. Honestly my legs usually hurt--I gotta get up stand around wait for a manager--make sure my group doesn't see me hovering and complaining...Such BS

I'm not a steak eater and we often go to upscale steak places. I ask for some sauce for the fish. "What kind of sauce?" Fish sauce you little dweeb. Tartar sauce, remolade, sauce, fluid of some kind for the fish--"Oh we don't have any." grrr

"Oh the plates are three hundred and fifty degrees" Well don't put them on the table near me then, double dweeb.

"Are you finished with your starch?" said dweeb squared.

Then add in the usual other things, no refills, wrong this wrong that, they never check and just disappear.

From a server's standpoint--what is up with this? You know there are those who take advantage.

If it was me & my husband, if it was a smaller table I would filet them but I don't think they would try & take such advantage either. I do call back and let management know. I love to go out with them but I can't believe the service we get sometimes.

Servers?

What's wrong with asking what kind of sauce?

Big tables also seem to have the fussiest diners too..

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What's wrong with asking what kind of sauce?

Big tables also seem to have the fussiest diners too..

It went like this, "What kind of sauce." My husband and I replied with a few ideas. He said, "We don't have any sauce for fish" and sashayed off. So why did he need to know which kinds if there were none at all. Which of course they had some.

He wasn't a dweeb for asking which kind. But he so is on the story re-told.

If you are a server and you think that indicates a fussy customer and that producing such an item is outside your purview then you are in the wrong business. He messed up in the first place by not asking me what I wanted on it. The kitchen messed up sending it out with nothing on it. McfreakingDonalds slaps in a packet of tartar sauce. Aka mayo and relish.

The manager liked to have died when I told him how this jerk waiter set me up for that little one two punch.

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If you are a server and you think that indicates a fussy customer and that producing such an item is outside your purview then you are in the wrong business. He messed up in the first place by not asking me what I wanted on it. The kitchen messed up sending it out with nothing on it. McfreakingDonalds slaps in a packet of tartar sauce. Aka mayo and relish.

But not all fish needs or should be served with a sauce. Unless the menu specifically stated the fish came with a particular sauce, it would have been inappropriate to expect one.

That being said, the way the waiter responded, at least through your re-telling of the story, was also inappropriate. He could simply have said that particular dish did not come with a sauce. But would you have been satisfied with that?

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I still don't see why that was a problem. You just sound picky to me and took it personal. I've been a waiter and my dad owned a restaurant when I was young. So I've seen the waiters side and the managers side of the business. Picky people are picky no matter HOW the waiter treats them. They could have been the nicest person to them and they still have a problem. Maybe he wanted to know what sauce you want because they could substitute something for you or come up with something. I wouldn't ASSume that somebody is out to get you just because he may have asked a dumb question. I wouldn't also assume that a steakhouse would carry tarter sauce unless is specifies that fish should come with it. Not everyone wants tarter sauce with their 15 dollar fish.

Waiters are people, they make mistakes. My Dad used to tell horror stories of customers who just were out to get something for free. Sometime he did it and sometimes he just figure whatever and hoped that customer never came back. Sometime he threw the customer out. Better to take the loss than deal with some dumbass who may be disrupting other diners. Some customers are just really not worth it. Granted they may bad mouth the restaurant if they don't get what they want but I know that I take what a review or people say with a grain of salt. Especially after reading Ruth Riedel's book about how she gets treated for being a reviewer.

I have similar customers who call me rude just because I tell them no we can't do what they want. I'm polite and try to explain the reason but they can't take it that someone is saying no to them. I really don't agree with the "customer is always right" idea. Customers aren't always right and just because you want it your way means we have to comply. There may be other circumstances that make it so we can't. Usually I just bite my tonge and be polite but there are times when I want to tell them to go to BK if they want it there way.

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In a condiment happy dipping friendly nation like ours a request for any kind of fish appropriate sauce in an upscale restaurant that serves four or five different sauces anyway with the $40 beef entrees is not a trick question. I did not ask for wine reduced truffle crab and crawfish sauce no msg hold the butter served flambed. I order salmon everywhere and if it does not come with I can get something out of the kitchen. The other server I asked had no problem with this request.

We were thirsty all night our glasses were not refilled. The man was a piss poor server. It happens.

In general there are horror stories on both sides of this discussion. One horror story does not negate the next.

I can tell you about the time as a restaurant owner myself the many times I was stiffed robbed sucker punched and etc. So creative people can be when screwing you. I get it.

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