Monday, July 10, 2006

My Rant From

We have this woman who comes into our restaurant fairly often and she's blind. The ONLY reason I mention that is because it pertains to how and why she does certain things when she visits us.

She's never been rude or me. She's had problems with other employees though. I'm not sure exactly why she likes some servers over others, but I know that she has not left a tip before and asked to speak to a manager before. Normally, she comes in during the Saturday morning shift and she basically needs a babysitter (which ended up being me, but that's a story for another time). Because she would normally come on Saturday mornings during lunch and we weren't as busy as during the dinner shift, she could have someone take her to the bathroom and take her across the parking lot to another store (yes, EVERY week I had to do that...). Eventually, I got tired of having to take care of her like that every week and not get anything for it other than a "thank you" (which was fine until she started being rude to the servers). I switched to Saturday nights because there's more tips, cooler servers, and to get away from her. Not nice, but true.

A few Fridays ago, I'm working a double. Dinner time rolls around and we go on a wait. No biggie, being on a wait gives me an element of control that I wouldn't have normally and I'm more than comfortable running a waitlist. Then I see Her coming through the door with the dog and an escourt I didn't recognize. "Oh great" I mutter and pray that she doesn't need someone to walk her across the parking lot because I didn't have hostesses to spare on a Friday night.

Problem #1: She couldn't understand that we were on a wait and kept asking "You don't have a table for just one?" over and over again. I kept trying to tell her that first of all we had no tables for just one and they all seat at least four and there were no table open at all currently. No matter what I said to her, she couldn't understand that. She asked how she would know it was her turn to be sat and then didn't want a pager when I explained how it worked (it will flash, vibrate, and beep all at the same time when we page it). That's not a problem because there were no other blind ladies with dogs in the restaurant, she would be easy to find. She then kept insisting that she didn't want us to forget about her. I kept trying to assure her that we wouldn't forget about her and we were going down through the names on the list in order. Meanwhile, her escourt hasn't left yet and is watching her to see if she wants to stay. When it's clear that she's chosen to stay (and through all of this has not mentioned anything about being on a time restraint) the escourt says to call as soon as she's done eating (I guess so she can come pick her up) and then leaves. I have one of my other hostesses lead N (the blind lady) where there is a bench so she can sit while she waits.

Problem #2: After five minutes, N wanders out into the aisle (blocking other customer traffic) where another (very nice) customer imediately notices that she's blind and asks if he can be of assitence. She mumbles something to him, he comes back to me says that this woman's blind (like I can't figure that one out) and she needs help. I told him that she was already on the wait list and he shrugs and goes about his business. N starts asking my other hostess, C, if her table is ready yet. C tries to explain again about the wait list and N begins to demand "why didn't we tell her that while the cab was still here so she could have left" over and over with every explanation C gives her. That's when she starts telling C about whatever time restraints she has, not a moment before *shakes head*. N demands to speak with a manager. Manager comes out talks to her briefly, asks if there isn't a table we can get for her now (just to get her to leave him alone because he doesn't feel like dealing with her either). Her name is two from the top of the list at this point, she only has a few more minutes to go and her total wait time would be far less than the 20 minutes I orignally told her, more like 10ish. We seat her anyway, thankfully, we're a small restaurant and all the other waiting guests could hear and/or see what was going on and no one complained that she got sat sooner than they did.

Problem #3: She's been to our restaurant many times before, she's had the menu (the WHOLE menu) read to her many times before. I understand that she goes to other restaurants as well (I've even seen her other places when I've been off duty) and it would be hard to remember who has what food. She also has dietary restrictions which makes everyone else's life in addition to hers a little more interesting. The server, A, she's been given is one of my favs, absolutely nice and funny girl, she'll bend over backwards for you, so long as she knows that you're nice and worth it. A reads N the whole menu, twice. When N has questions about a certain dish, A answers knowledgably like with any other customer because other customers do ask the same/similar questions. N orders a dish with two (2) chicken breasts (important!). The dish comes out, A even cuts everything up for her so it's easier for her to eat. N accuses A of lying to her, saying that A told her 3 chicken breats not 2.

Problem #4: N gets over the chicken breats, finishes her meal, orders the cobbler for dessert. Accuses A of stealing some of her cobbler. Then accuses A of giving her child-sized portions of everything, treating her like a child, etc. N now wants to speak to the manager again. Manager comes back out and sits down across the table from her and listens to all of her rants about how bad her server was and blah blah blah. N doesn't want to leave a tip now, she gets Manager to tell her what her bill is and hands the money off to Manager and makes sure that Manager brings back her change. You would think that would be the end of it now that she's paid her bill.

Problem #5: She gets up from her table and waits out in our foyer (it's really a little box between our outer doors and our enter and exit doors) for her ride I guess. One of the other servers goes out to see if N would like help out to her car or something. N says something about not tipping her server and wanting her server to come back out and talk to her. Lol, like that was going to happen. As it happens, A had *just* gotten another table ( ) and was too busy to come out and talk.

N wasn't all bad. A's next table actually happened to ask casually if all of A's tables had been treating her right tonight. Of course A had to mention (in an abridged version of course) the whole episode with N. That nice couple happened to leave her a nice tip too. I had also just been "cut" (translates into "you can clock out and go home now") and my fiance was coming up for dinner with me when I let him know I was off. We sat in A's section and also left her a nice tip. It was the least I could do for seating such an SC in her section, I felt bad but it was the closest table we had and I thought it would get her off our backs. Oh well. A said that if it wasn't for all the employees in the back making her laugh, N would have made her cry.

The whole situation reminded me of another post before the boards went down, asking if an elderly woman was really an SC or should they have given her some slack. I said it then, I'll say it again now, it's not whether you're disabled or elderly, your race doesn't matter, it's your behavior, your attitude, and your outrageous demands that make you an SC. N has been moved from Minor Annoyance to an Offical Sucky Customer.

1 comment:

Judy said...

Definite SC. It would be helpful if you had a braille menu, but that presumes she's bothered to learn braille.

A blind person who has actually been assigned a guide dog has also learned to cut up his/her own food and, with minimal assistance, get to and from the restroom. It goes with the program. The drill is supposed to be that the server sets the plate down and says "Your chicken is at 6 o'clock, the peas are in a separate dish at 3 o'clock, your baked potatoe is at 12 o'clock, etc." Silverware gets put down in standard position. No need to cut up the food unless there is some additional disability.

I bet you've had other blind patrons and barely knew they were there.