What’s the most dreadful (or wonderful) experience you’ve ever had as a customer?
I’ve been wracking my brains, but I can’t actually think of a time when I was disappointed with the service I received in a restaurant. I’m sure things have happened, but obviously there was nothing that was so bad it stuck in my mind.
That obviously makes for a very short post, so I am going to have to deviate a little and refer back to an incident that happened when I was a waitress instead.
In my younger days I used to work in a local cafe. I much preferred being behind the scenes, washing and peeling the spuds in the spudder, before transferring them to the chipper, but usually I had to waitress as well. Looking back I would say I was probably not the best waitress in the world, but I got good tips for being a chatterbox and trying to provide service with a smile.
One Sunday, when I was still relatively new to the job, a couple came in. I took their order, passed the information to the chef and headed out to the rear kitchen to prepare the salad for the mains.
I’m fussy about salads, I’ll wash the lettuce leaves a couple of times just to make sure they are clean and will not provide any crunch from unexpected passengers like greenfly etc.
The meal was prepared, delivered and eaten by the diners, so I was surprised when I was called back to the table and shown a single leaf of lettuce which was serving as a presentation plinth for none other than a slug.
The customers were not happy and made a huge fuss proclaiming that due to this unfortunate event the meal should in fact be free. I offered my apologies and told them I had cleaned the leaves myself and was 100% sure there had been nothing on them. I then started to cry because at the time it seemed like the best outlet for my embarrassment and fear of getting the sack.
Hearing the discussion, my boss (who wasn’t all that nice at the best of times) came over, heard the story and said of course the meal would be free, whilst shooting me a look that would kill dead things. Inconsolable I decided to retreat and hide in the back until they had left.
My boss came in and found me, asking how I could have been so stupid and why did I not check the lettuce. I told him time and time again I had and I was positive there had been nothing on the leaves, that I was as shocked as he was. He basically told me in no uncertain terms not to let it happen again and to go and clear the table as the customers had now left.
When I walked back into the dining room, I was able to see the couple getting into their car and the lady gave a little kind of shrug and wave.
I started to clear the table and imagine my surprise when I found an empty matchbox, which when opened contained the unmistakable residue of a slugs backside. Even more remarkable though, was the ten pound tip left under the salt and pepper tray.