Burning The Souffle

"A Woman Happily In Love, She Burns The Souffle"

How Long Would You Wait? January 4, 2009

Filed under: the world around me,well shit — Rachel @ 12:55 pm

The other day, D and I went to a local restaurant for a late lunch/early supper.  We were having a hard time finding a place where we both wanted to eat, and this restaurant seemed like a good compromise- big menu, maybe not our very favorite things to eat, but at least there were lots of things to choose from. We go in and are seated immediately, the restaurant is not very busy. (Remember this detail for later, the restaurant was NOT busy.)

We were first offered a small table near the back of the restaurant by the hostess. Yes, there were only two of us, but no, we do not care to sit in the back near the restrooms and constantly have to dodge people coming out of the kitchen, going to the bathroom, etc. D politely asked for a booth along the side wall, and the hostess did seat us there.  She gave us two menus, and we sat  down to peruse them for awhile.

A long while.

Five minutes pass…no one has come by to offer us a drink.  This would not be so bad, if the restaurant was not so busy. A family with some children is seated near us. Their drink orders are taken immediately, we note, and their drinks are brought to them within maybe 2 minutes of ordering.

Ten minutes pass….we still have not seen the waiter. Actually, we have seen a waiter, but he has not so much as glanced in our direction.  We are starting to feel a little miffed.  I know ten minutes is not that long, but this restaurant was just not that busy.

Fifteen minutes pass…D decides to flag down the waiter, because this is getting ridiculous. We have other things we want to do besides wait for drinks.  “Excuse me,” D says, ” but would you happen to know who our server is?”   “That’s me.” the guy says.  “We’ve been sitting here for awhile” says D ” and we don’t have any drinks.”

“WELL,” the guy says haughtily,” I’ve walked past this table all day and I haven’t seen you.”

(So apparently, we must have forgotten we had our invisibility cloaks on? Shame on us! It’s ALL OUR fault that you cannot use your eyes and your brain to see which of the people in your section of maybe 4 full tables DON’T HAVE DRINKS!)

“Well, we’ve been sitting here for over fifteen minutes.” D said politely.

“Well, sorry, I didn’t see you.” (This apology is fairly insincere, I would like to add.) “So can I get you some drinks?”

“Actually, no.” says D. “We were just on our way out.”

Here the guy follows us to the door, apologizing, trying to get us to sit back down, offering to get the manager.  I would have felt bad, if the guy had been nice when we told him we had been sitting there for awhile, and this wasn’t just some last ditch effort to get us to not call the manager without his knowing it.

First of all, we might have actually stayed and had something to eat, if the guy had just apologized when told that we had been sitting there for a quarter of an hour. (Which again, we might have understood had the restaurant been busy.)  Maybe the hostess didn’t tell the guy he had more customers, since we were seated at a different place than she had originally intended.  (Still though, there weren’t that many people in there; and if some new people just happen to pop up in your section, they probably are not just sitting there for shits and giggles. )

My point is that all of this could have been remedied by a simple “I’m so sorry, I must have overlooked you, totally my fault.  Now what can I get you to drink?” He didn’t have to kiss our asses or anything, just apologize.  Instead, he was haughty and acted like it was OUR fault, instead of his fault.  I really can’t stand it when people do this. Sure, it’s easy to pass the blame to someone else, and it might even make YOU feel better. You have to remember though, that everyone screws up every now and then.  You just have to apologize and move on. One thing I’ve learned so far in life is that a well spoken (or well written) apology works wonders.  As the old saying goes, you catch more flies with honey than vinegar.

So how long would you wait for drinks if the restaurant wasn’t busy? How long if it was busy?

I think I would wait around 5 minutes if the restaurant wasn’t busy, and less than 10 if the restaurant was.  It’s just a drink order, it’s not like we’re asking you for the moon.

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3 Responses to “How Long Would You Wait?”

  1. AZ MOM Says:

    i think D handled it perfectly. the waiter was a total ass. i don’t care if he’s been walking past that table all year, it’s his J-O-B to recognize when fannies are warming the seats. you waited just long enough for D to sorta smack that a-hole down. but in a polite kind of way. i hope you found some place better to dine.

  2. Rachel Says:

    We did, we ate at a MUCH nicer restaurant, with MUCH better service. I might also add that the nicer restaurant was about 30 minutes away, so we arrived at a peak time. We were seated immediately, served drinks almost immediately, and the waiter apologized for not coming right to our table when we were first seated. I guess you get what you pay for!

  3. Arwen Says:

    I don’t know how long I’d wait, but I absolutely agree that leaving after the waiter was rude was appropriate. How hard is it to say, “Oh, I’m sorry. I’ll be right there.”


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