Gut Rumbles

August 26, 2005

re: the post below

Once in St. Augustine, I took my family out to eat at a seafood restaurant. Samantha loved fried clams, so that's what she ordered. When the dish arrived, it smelled rotten to me. Sam took one bite and said, "Daddy, something is wrong with this."

I summoned the waitress. I did not cuss, pitch a hissy or create a scene. I simply said, "Darlin,' would you smell those clams and tell me if you'd want to eat them?"

She took a smell and became defensive. "I didn't cook them! I just wait tables!"

I told her that I was well aware of that fact, I wasn't angry with anybody, but I wasn't feeding that crap to my daughter. Could she please bring me an order of fried shrimp and take the clams away? She did.

The manager of the restaurant came over to apologize shortly thereafter. He offered to put our entire meal on the house and even gave us a bottle of wine for free. I took the free wine, and Jennifer and I drank it, but I paid for the meal, minus the clams.

The shrimp were good. I didn't show my ass in there and I don't think anybody pissed in my wine. The clams WERE bad. But I didn't storm the kitchen and raise holy hell about it (although any cook who made THAT dish needed to be dragged off and shot--- he KNEW the damn things were rotten). I minded my manners.

Too many people don't do that any more.

Get what you ask for. But be nice about it.


Comes under the heading of common sense. Never ever piss off someone who handles food you're going to eat while he/she's out of your sight.

One of the best meals I ever had was because of a kitchen error. I ordered a t-bone steak rare and was served a sirloin well done. I politely told my waiter, he told the chef, and fifteen minutes later, I was served a filet Mignon, rare and given a bottle of wine I could no way afford to pay for. My wife and I were given a complimentary dessert, and a discounted bill. I tipped that waiter 50% on the price of the original order and we still eat in that restaurant 30 years later. Good manners and a bit of patience got us a truly remarkable meal at a really cut-rate price and we made friends of the people in that restaurant.

My daddy taught me that good table manners aren't knowing which spoon to eat your caviar with, they're making other people feel comfortable in your presence, especially the waiters. Do that and you'll get good service every time. Tell 'em "thank you," and you'll be treated like royalty the next time.

Posted by: Gerry N. on August 26, 2005 11:49 PM

Sometimes we have to bite our tongue. I usually have to step on mine.. Murry

Posted by: Murry on August 27, 2005 02:04 AM

I was in Charlestown, SC last summer and we were having our last breakfast after a wonderful weekend visit. I ordered some eggs over easy and my gal ordered something with one egg over easy on the side. My eggs arrive and they're way undercooked, runny whites. I call the waitress and tell her, most politely, that my eggs were a bit undercooked. NBD. Well, she gets all offended, gets the manager over and they proceed to ream me out about what over easy means. All I want is non runny eggs, you don't need to create a scene, for fucks sake. Well after a minute or two of this, my gal, God bless her, pipes up and says, "I ordered 1 egg over easy and it's not runny, so which order got screwed up, mine or his?" You'd think that would shut them up? No, now they bring the farking cook out!! After 3 days of the most gracious people, it was like we stepped into some kind of warp.

It would have been so easy just to whip me up a couple eggs, and make nothing of it. But this? Did I get into some southern thing about eggs?

Posted by: MM on August 27, 2005 02:16 AM

Posted by: DaveJ on August 27, 2005 02:38 AM

Speaking as someone who waited tables for four years putting myself through college, I wish more people had your sensibilities when it comes to what the waiter does and does not have control over.

If I had a dollar for every time someone reamed me out for poorly prepared food, well, I guess my tips would have been better.

Posted by: Evilwhiteguy on August 27, 2005 04:28 AM

I don't make a scene. If the service is good I tip the server. But if the food was bad I leave a note saying so and never go back plus I ell everybody I know that the place sucks! And, if the service is bad I leave the standard penny and tell everybody I know the place sucks. I can put up with poorly cooked food but I will not tolerate poor and/or rude servers.

Posted by: GUYK on August 27, 2005 07:20 AM

Fuck waitstaff.

Talk about being overpaid for just lugging food and drink...........

There's nothing that chafes my ass like a surly waiter or bartender. Fetch my fucking food and drink and shut up.

What I'd like to do is give them the treatment they got on the Lonsome Dove film.

Posted by: gordon the magnificent on August 27, 2005 10:33 AM

Many waiters are surely because they mistakenly believe 20% is the correct tip for adequate service. I've never met a server who realized his service was anything less than excellent.

Sorry, most servers are only average, and 15% is an a perfectly adequate tip for them. If one develops an attitude every time one makes less than 20%, it's bad for the business, and therefore bad for your co-workers.

And they wonder why the kitchen staff doesn't love them.

Posted by: Brett on August 27, 2005 10:42 AM

My oldest daughter is putting herself through college by waiting tables. Rule #1 is that the customer is always right. It's far easier to work with a customer that is cordial but in the case of a really rude customer I advised my daughter to "polite them to death." It really work wonders. It might not change the attitude of the customer but it makes you feel better as person for taking the high road. As for food preparation, not everything that comes out of my own kitchen is perfection every time. Sometimes, shit just happens.

Posted by: Susie T on August 27, 2005 05:19 PM
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