To the two douchebags who decided to give me a “teaching moment” instead of a tip the other night:
First, spending five minutes listing what you perceive to be my service failures within earshot of several other tables is not a “teaching moment”–it’s a deliberate attempt at humiliation. And using the phrase “teaching moment” immediately brands you as a condescending douche, therefore negating everything else you say.
Second, when you begin our interaction by laughing in my face for asking a question about your drink order, I see what kind of customers you’re going to be, and I’m going to de-prioritize you. Then when you complain about the vintage of the wine–not once but twice–and ask for a discount, then gaslight the manager I sent over to placate you by telling her you had no problem with the wine, you’re going to the bottom of the list.
Third, when you demand special glassware and a litany of additional condiments for your FREE bread on a busy weekend night, you’re going to have to wait a little longer while I scrounge up the components of your request.
Fourth, I’m sorry I didn’t see that you were missing some silverware, but having to reach out your hand to grab a knife off the next table isn’t really that traumatic and doesn’t warrant a dressing-down of your server.
Finally, when I nod my head and apologize for all my lapses in service, and tell you I appreciate your feedback, I’m lying. I’m not even really listening because I’m only thinking about seeing to my other tables–the ones with diners who aren’t rude and unreasonable–and getting you out of the restaurant.
And when your behavior is outrageous enough to compel another customer to get up from their table, wait for me to come around the corner, pull me aside and tell me that they overheard the whole exchange and it was not my fault but yours, you have made a spectacle of yourself.
So you’re right–you didn’t get the best possible service, but here is a “teaching moment” for you. When you act like a douchebag, your service is going to suffer. Restaurants are full of personable customers who are a pleasure to wait on, and they will always get priority over a condescending jerk. Asking for special accommodations or off-the-menu items doesn’t make you a douche. Complaining about your food or the service you receive doesn’t make you a douche. Your attitude does.
Here are some tips you can use to ensure your next dining experience is a better one:
- Don’t laugh in your server’s face for attempting to clarify your order
- Understand that when you make special requests, fulfilling them may take a little extra time
- Don’t complain about your food in an effort to get a discount, then clean your plate
- Realize there is an actual human being lurking beneath your server’s servile facade; we are there to accommodate you, but are not required to take your abuse
- A nice customer is almost always right; a douchebag is mostly wrong
It’s pretty simple, really. Just follow the old adage “you catch more flies with honey than you do with vinegar,” and you’ll get your balsamic vinegar a lot faster.