Recently, I went out to dinner again with my new lady friends. They chose a cute little restaurant on the river near a mill that supposedly is one of the most photographed places ever. We sat outside at wrought iron tables balanced on slate pavers. Red patio umbrellas protected us from the setting sun. When the sun finally set, white lights strung up all around twinkled their hellos. It was a lovely night filled with laughter and friendship. And then there was the waitress.
I realize I’m past my youth and smack in the middle of middle aged and that can affect the way I see the world. I try not to judge, but it is a fact we create an opinion of someone in the first 30 seconds we see them. If you’re going to have your arm covered in tattoos I’m going to form an opinion of that look whether you like it or not. But tattoos don’t make a bad waitress. Oh no. There are other factors to bad waitressing. Let me explain.
We arrived at the restaurant shortly after 7 pm and were seated right away. Obviously, not a busy night. Our food arrived an hour and fifteen minutes later. I didn’t realize the restaurant had to cross the state line to hunt down a few vegetables. Wait a second…don’t we live in the Garden State? But I digress. The waitress, whose name I don’t know and perhaps she doesn’t either, makes a stop at our table 45 minutes after we placed our order and says, “My brain is fried. Your food will be up soon. Sorry guys.” Really? No, “can I refill your drinks, here’s some bread, would you like fries with that?”
It’s a good thing we were enjoying each other’s company because we hadn’t completely noticed how much time had passed until my friend Linda leaned in and said to us, “Do you think our food is ever coming out?” The sun setting should’ve been the other clue. But hey, we were having fun.
So another 20 minutes passes when the Waitress With The Over Done Tattoo returns without our food to let us know it won’t be much longer. When we kindly remind her that the entrees were supposed to come with salads. She checks her little black book and says, “I’m really messing up tonight. It’s my last night.” And to that I say, “Who cares?” and “Probably a good career move.” Although, if she’s taking on a job that requires the use of sharp objects she may want to stick with waitressing. Just saying.
Our food finally arrives and three spiders from the river decided to join us. One spider made himself comfortable on my lap and if you know me at all you know I jumped out of my chair and screamed like a girl. The waitress brought our check and gave us a 25 percent discount for our trouble. Frankly, I think the meal should’ve been free. We tipped her on the discounted amount. Her response to our tip? “Seriously?”
It took all of my years of yoga practice not to give her a piece of my Italian mind. That and my friend Robin waving me out of the restaurant. Thank God for friends. They see who you are and like you anyway.
Why did the Waitress With The Over Done Tattoo think she was entitled to a better tip? Is it because we’re raising a generation of kids who always get the trophy that when they become adults they say, “Why try hard? Why do my best? I’m going to get the tip anyway.” Or is it just this waitress?
My friends and I didn’t let the bad service ruin our night. But we did walk back to our cars discussing the waitress’s inability to take responsibility for her actions. I don’t think we’ll return to the little restaurant along the river with the red patio umbrellas. If we’re paying for a meal aren’t we entitled to pick a better place?