You give hospitality a bad name (a story about a bad service experience)
I was craving a good beer so we decided to grab a quick drink at a local spot that carries craft beers. I made sure it was still open as I hate being the one that walks in just when last call is being given. We had an hour before the restaurant closed.
We sat at the bar. We weren’t greeted right away. The bartender walked by us four times and never said a word. I purposely waited until she spoke up first or until she did. Finally, she came by to place menus in front of us. That’s it, no greeting was voiced from her mouth. My spouse said ‘hello’ and she actually said ‘hello’ back.
I asked her for a taste of one draft selection — I wanted something new and I was in the mood for a pilsner. She didn’t describe it or engage in a conversation to ask me what I was looking for. Frankly, she looked pissed we were there. I didn’t budge though because I only had an hour and I didn’t want to use it looking for another bar. She set the taste in front of me. I didn’t care for it much, but instead asking her for recommendations, I just ordered one of my favorite farmhouse ales available by bottle.
We decided to share an appetizer. I had to wait until she gave me eye contact from the end of the bar where she spent most of her time socializing with the other servers who apparently were off the clock, or so I thought. I waved her down and ordered the dish while she made no attempt to make conversation or even try to seem pleasant.
I had a rough weekend, so there was no way in hell I was going to let a twenty-something year old make it worse. I maintained my cool and didn’t let it get to me.
Two minutes after we got our appetizer, she sat down (yes, I said sat down) at the end of the bar, kicked her feet back and placed them on the bar station in our view. She began conversing with the other servers, who were eating on the same side of the bar we were, laughing and smiling as if we were the thorns and her companions, the petals.
I still maintained my cool because again, she was not going to be the reason I was going to let my day off be ruined. We finished our food and drinks.
The fact is, I have never had such appalling service. I had to wait until she was finishing takes bites to ask her for the check. At that point, who was doing the serving, ‘her or me’?
How is it okay for someone to eat on the clock so casually in front of their guests? The more time that went by, I couldn’t believe it. I’m a service professional so I wouldn’t exactly describe my feelings as uncomfortable, but rather as embarrassed that people like this exist and are allowed to give my profession a bad name.
I contemplated calling today to mention the incident with an owner, but I changed my mind because I already knew it went further than that. I believe the owner condones this behavior, therefore he’s at fault the most. They are the bigger shame to the hospitality industry. They give us a bad name.
I will be sure to share my thoughts with neighbors that I know frequent that spot. Sadly, I don’t believe they are worthy of my business anymore. Our favorite server Ann works there and she always takes great care of us whenever we go for lunch on Tuesdays. I’d hate not to see her. But I just can’t shake off the behavior the owners wish to employ.
I will close this story out with one of my favorite songs from the 80s. Its name inspired me to write this piece. I hope you’ll enjoy the video.