Five Ways to Piss Off Your Server

Categories: Rants
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Of course, you think you're the perfect restaurant patron. You try to be polite. You tip according to set standards. What else is there to ask for?

Well, we've got news for you: There's a good chance you are still getting on your server's last nerve.

We spoke to one server at a local pub to find out what irks her the most. And quite honestly, it could be you.

5. Seat yourself when the sign says to wait.
You walk into the pub. It's busy. You are greeted by a sign, "Please Wait to Be Seated." Rather than obey, you walk past and seat yourself at an unoccupied table. Only problem: It's dirty. You flag down the server, "Hey. Can you clean off this table?" She quickly pulls the empty glasses and napkins that were left by the previous patrons, grabs a rag, and starts wiping. As she does so, she is squeezing between you and your friends to make sure everything is dry. And in the process, she is trying her hardest not to wipe whatever leftover debris -- drawn butter, ketchup, fries, sausage rolls -- onto you. It's just awkward and uncomfortable. What could have been an easy process is now a pain in the ass, thanks to you. You have already annoyed her and you haven't even placed an order. Next time, read the sign.

4. Force her to make twice as many trips as she needs to.
It's Friday night, and the pub is slammed. Customers are stacked out around the bar as servers dart through the crowds with drinks and plates of food. As with all of the servers, yours is also in the weeds. For those of you who have never been part of the industry, that means busy beyond belief. She is struggling to keep up on drinks, appetizers, entrées, or any other request that is being thrown her way. In the middle of juggling all of this for who knows how many tables, your friend asks for a drink. Specifically looking at your nearly empty pint, she asks, "Would anyone else like another?" You shake your head no. She politely walks off, orders the drink, and returns. By the time she gets back, your beer is gone. You need another. Yet again, she takes the time away from her other customers to run to the bar for you. Pull this again and again and you're slipping down the service totem poll.

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I take issue with #2:You offered to wrap it up and then want to bitch? If you, as a server, have a problem with wrapping up the customer's food: DON'T OFFER! It's not an expected practice in most places, so most customers won't think they're being slighted. But to offer and then curse it in your head is a little ridiculous.


These "articles" are always questionable.  You're criticizing patrons who are demanding, quirky, disorganized, perhaps even rude - yet there could be perfectly valid reasons for any of these supposed criticisms.  Here's some reasons why your article is ultimately pretty ridiculous:


Frequently patrons go to unoccupied tables without a hostess and/or server helping because they waited around for a few minutes and no one approached them.  If the front-end of this hypothetical pub is so busy that the hostess can't seem to get people to their tables then it's the establishment that needs help not the server or the customer.  Given that slow service to even GET to the table could be a harbinger of slow service when you're at the table, the fictional pub should feel lucky the customer didn't just turn around and leave.   


"Too many trips" - So you're criticizing a patron's supposed bad timing?  You've got a 4-topper and not everyone at the table is perfectly in sync?  So what.  Do you want everyone to be slamming beers in perfect synchronization?    This is a big reach.  Good, experienced wait staff handle demanding drink orders from 3-5 tables easily.  That's their bread and butter, especially at a pub or bar and grill kind of place.  You're not "forcing" her/him to make "too many trips" - you're "forcing" them to DO THEIR FRIGGIN JOB.


Interruptions are part of the job however if the customer is insensitive enough to not see their server is carrying a fat load of plates and is still haranguing them for details on the two-entree special, that's on the server for not politely asking the customer to hang on for a minute while he/she drops the plates.  Very very few customers would not be OK with this.


"Box up the burger" - ok this is just dumb.  You're saying it's wrong when the server OFFERS to box it up that you ACCEPT that offer?  I'd say at least 90% of places the servers don't offer to box up leftovers regardless, especially in a pub-type place.  Nicer restaurants they'll box up for you but the chain restaurants, bar and grill, sports bar, pub type place it's 90-95% of the time on the customer to box up their chewed-up remains.    If it's busy and the customer is asking for boxes the server would have to be an idiot to offer to box up the food for them. 


Tipping is a sensitive subject.  When I was a bachelor I always thought 10% was fine for a tip - I had read it somewhere but I just had no clue.  My wife used to serve and now she makes sure I always tip on the full price.  She served in Arizona, a so-called "right-to-work" State where wait staff make sub-minimum wage and therefore completely rely on tips to survive.  On the other hand, some people are just cheap and tip as little as possible whenever possible.  Some people just don't get it, either.  They're not trying to be cheap they're just tipping off the total on the ticket and it wouldn't even occur to them to go back to the menu to check the full price.  Ergo if they're tipping off $45 instead of $48 or $52 the net tip amount may not be all that different.  I'm sure it chaps servers but oh well.  



Oh, so all servers are females? And what makes you think that people are going to be regulars and that even if they do come back and have the same server they will be remembered???


CPC is awful now and just recycling same old piece after same old piece.

KennyPowersII topcommenter

How about 5 things servers do to piss off customers?


Server = service. That is what they get paid to do. I have never asked of anything out of the ordinary but I find some waitstaff to be lacking in their basic duties. I am simply talking about checking back on me when it is around time for my bill. I shouldn't have to hunt you down 30 minutes after my food has been delivered.

dantevida topcommenter

To "patron":  my experience is that almost all servers I come in contact with, and I dine out often, are sincere, hard working, pleasant and efficient.  They deserve appreciation and reward.  I always tip 20% or more, even for small errors.  For larger blunders, (most are kitchen mistakes) I don't punish the server, just will not return. 


From the other sise of the situation, South Florida is loaded with bartenders and servers that are under the impression that they deserve 20+ percent tip no matter how bad the service and how rude they are.


 @boethius All of these particular "issues" came from one server who was interviewed for this piece. As is the case with most jobs, some things can be wearing. She was merely griping about what oftentimes irks her. I doubt all servers feel the same way, but let's face it, right or wrong, some days people can be annoying. 

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