After some pretty abstract posts, let’s come back down to my petty complaints.
So if you’ve read my experiences as a waitress, you know that waiters and waitresses are people too, and deserve your patience and respect. I’d like to introduce you to the customers who don’t recognise this. They can come in many forms, but here I’ll list them into 5 categories and hopefully you’ll know what not to do in restaurants. For those of you who work in restaurants, I know you can relate!
1. Stingy Cheapo
Now I totally understand if you want to save money – I also have a habit of being a bit miserly. But if you’re going out for dinner or a takeaway, do you really think you will walk away with a free meal? Sure, if you have a valid coupon, use it! But don’t give us a coupon that’s clearly for the wrong restaurant, or is two months out of date.
Sure, if you have a valid coupon, use it! But don’t give us a coupon that’s clearly for the wrong restaurant, or is two months out of date.
Last Friday, I served this family who came in and as soon as they sat down, the mother asked if they could use a coupon that they had printed out. I said, “No, sorry it’s out of date and we don’t accept it anymore.”
They called me back to make their order and the father had exactly the same coupon but on his phone. I was like “No, I can’t accept it.” They were like “OK fine” and placed their order. After they placed their order they said, “It’s quite a large order, do we get a discount?” Umm… No.
Whatever, it’s fine, I served the family their large meal and busied myself collecting other people’s orders. When they had finished, they asked for the bill. I went over with the bill tray and the card machine, and they were about to pay when the father said, “Wait, is there a discount if we pay by cash?”
NO God dammit!
How Not To Be A Stingy Cheapo
Everyone loves coupons, let’s face it. Don’t be ashamed of using them! On the other hand, don’t be like couple #7:
Basically, don’t go way over the top with asking for discounts. It’s rude, it’s aggressive, it’s just plain annoying for everyone involved.
2. Crappy Liar
OK, the Crappy Liar is just a specific type of Stingy Cheapo, but they deserve a section all to themselves. Crappy Liars will try all the tricks in the book to get their money back.
Most of their tricks are variants of this:
- Eat and enjoy most of the meal, leaving 1/10 still on the plate/in the tupperware.
- Suddenly find something that ‘ruins’ your experience.
- Complain to the front-of-house and demand your money back.
After serving a customer who ate 90% of her meal, she suddenly called me over and pointed, horrified, at her plate.
“There’s a hair on this plate, it’s disgusting! I really expected better hygiene from a restaurant.”
“I’m sorry you found that on your plate -”
“I want a refund!”
I peered at the hair. “That hair isn’t from the chefs or from me, I can assure you.” She still made a big fuss, so I had to call my dad over.
He said, “None of my staff have blonde hair. Is there anything else I can do for you?”
That shut her up. She meekly paid the bill and left.
We’ve also had a couple of instances of people ringing us up and accusing us of giving them food poisoning. My dad always deals with the calls the same way: he asks them to go to the doctor’s to check up, and then return with the doctor’s note so that he can give them a refund. Needless to say, we haven’t ever seen a doctor’s note.
How Not To Be A Crappy Liar
Be honest. Simple.
3. Impatient Grasshopper
Now these are the people who think that their time is far more valuable than everyone else’s. I totally understand if you’re in a rush so you order a takeaway/delivery, but try to be patient with whoever’s serving you. Sure, it’s their job, but sometimes they make mistakes too!
Once, a customer rung us up.”
“Hello, Golden Kitchen!”
(V. fast) “HicanIorderavegetablespringrollplease?”
“Is this for delivery?”
“Yes, sure. What -”
He had hung up.
I ended up having to call him back, which just wasted more of his time and more of my time.
Even my mum had a great story to tell. Back before I was born, she ran a chippie in Tovil (near Maidstone in the UK. Got flooded back in December 2013). One particular regular would order a fish and chips after having drinks at a nearby pub, and whilst he was waiting, he would just repeat “Hurry up. Hurry up. Hurry up. Come on! Hurry up.”
To everyone, it was a bit of a joke, and she would just smile and nod and say “It’s on its way. Coming!” All the same, a bit rude!
Another type of Impatient Grasshopper that I really don’t understand is the eat-in Grasshopper. If you’re going to a restaurant, arrive with plenty of time to spare before your film or whatever, else it’s going to be a stressful night for you and for us.
How Not To Be An Impatient Grasshopper
It’s just manners really: don’t interrupt, don’t cut them off, don’t click your fingers or whistle at your waiter/waitress – we’re not dogs! Also, we can’t control the speed at which the chefs cook – we can do our best to encourage them to hurry up, but don’t blame your server if your food arrives slowly.
4. Obnoxious Megaphone
We like a bit of chatter in our restaurants; it creates a comfortable atmosphere for everyone. Loud laughter is OK too (just not too loud or too long).
Don’t shout or scream in the middle of a restaurant – have some respect for the other diners! Everyone wants to have a good time celebrating, whether it’s a birthday or a hen do, but that does not give you an excuse to shout. Most people want to just have a quiet dinner, and it’s not nice for anyone if they have to move because they can’t hear the person sitting next to them.
Shouting obscenities is definitely a no-no. More often than not, there are kids in restaurants. Loud talking on phones is also rude not only for your companions, but also for everyone else – do you not realise that everyone can hear your conversation?
How Not To Be An Obnoxious Megaphone
Make sure you maintain a healthy dose of self-reflection. If other diners and the staff are giving you looks, check yourself for yours and everyone else’s good.
Campers are people who sit at their table for more than two hours. Trust me, I’ve had people who stay that long – I once had to stay until 11:30 (1.5 hours after closing time) to look after a group of diners who just wouldn’t go home. Don’t you have anything better to do with your life? I certainly do.
Anyway, there are two main reasons why you shouldn’t camp at a table.
- Unless you are tipping your server 30+%, you are costing them money. They can’t turn the table over to new customers for another order.
- We’re not allowed to leave until all the customers have gone. If you don’t, then you’ve got the entire front-of-house crew standing there for 3 or more hours, which is as miserable as it sounds.
How Not To Be A Camper
I honestly don’t know how they manage to eat so slowly, it seems like they forget they have food in front of them. When you’ve received your receipt and you’ve paid, you’re welcome to sit there for up to another 20-30 minutes. But please vacate the table soon after you’ve finished up.
Well, rant over. So next time you go to a restaurant, I hope you bear these bits of etiquette in mind. I’m interested to know if any of you have witnessed one of these types of customers in action? What other types of diners annoy you? Let me know below!
P.S. The featured photo is taken from the Golden Kitchen website.