But the last time I was here...
“Yeah, this isn’t what I was expecting.” The woman at table 42 said to me as I checked on them.
She had ordered a veal dish served with a crab meat garlic cream sauce and garlic mashed potatoes, not really good make out food.
“Oh, I’m sorry, what seems to be the issue.” I asked.
‘Well this wasn’t what I was expecting, the last time I was here it was different.” She responded.
I rolled my mind’s eye, I knew exactly where this was going to go. She was three quarters finished with her entrée and looking for a comped meal, well I don’t comp unless absolutely necessary.
“Well ma’am, how was the dish prepared the last time you were here?” I asked.
“It came with pasta, like fettuccini or something, and it came with crab.” She said.
The dish had never came with pasta and while it had been garnished with small, split crab legs, they were only useful as a garnish as they had little meat, we had switched to several crab claws as the garnish for the time being as they add more color to the dish.
“Well ma’am, the claws have taken the place of the legs and there is crab meat in the sauce as well” I said.
“That’s not the way it was last time.” She said.
Now it is sometimes prudent to pick your battles, in the restaurant industry we might as well be the French Army since we surrender at the first sign of hostilities.
However I am neither French nor prudent.
“Perhaps you had a different entrée last time, perhaps a dinner feature.” I said diplomatically.
“No, no, no, I wanted pasta and instead I get this.” She said as she gestured toward the vague remnants of her potatoes.
Now I love it when the guest uses the phrase, “the last time I was here,” or, “well you did it for me last time,” generally the customer is full of shit when they utter this. Or if they’re right I don’t mind reminding them that this is this time, not last time. However, on this occasion I was sure, in fact 100% sure that the dish came out as it should have.
“Well ma’am I am confident that the dish was prepared properly, next time you come in if you want to request pasta instead of potatoes I am sure we can accommodate you.” I said. This was my last attempt at diplomacy.
“I don’t think I should have to wait until next time to receive what I ordered.” She snapped back.
“Ma’am, you received precisely what you ordered, would you like me to quote my written order?” I replied.
“No, I just want this to be what it should be.” She said.
“I can get you a menu to look at if you would like, the description is thorough and will match what you received.” I replied curtly.
“Well the menu has changed since the last time I was here, I was just expecting what I had last time.” She said.
“Ma’am, I assure you the dish always has been sided with potatoes since it was on the menu.” I responded.
“Maybe it came with pasta before you worked here.” She said, desperately trying to legitimize her claim.
“I’m afraid I have worked here from the first day we opened our doors” I replied.
“This still wasn’t what I was expecting.” She said stubbornly.
“Well that’s where we’re at then.” I said, recalling a compatriots way to end an argument. I smiled and left her with a quizzical look plastered on her face much like the drying mashed potatoes on her lapel.
This was one I was prepared to cut lose, sometimes you have to do that with a table. I wasn’t planning on much of a tip, but I wasn’t planning on comping her meal, which was prepared properly as well as eaten and frankly I didn‘t want to give her the satisfaction on any more of a debate.
Unfortunately she managed to flag down one of the managers, the writing was on the wall, we were going to pay for her dinner and I knew it.
Tim (not the same Tim from other stories, but all GM’s will be known as Tim) has sat with her for five minutes, as I traveled past the table several times, I caught pieces of their conversation, pretty much a replay of what happened earlier.
I caught up with Tim at the POS station (Point of Sale computer, or as well waiters call it, Piece of Shit).
“We’re not buying that entrée are we?” I asked.
“Sometimes you just have to smile and not, Secret.” Tim said.
“That’s horseshit, either she’s a scammer or an idiot, and I have respect for neither, we shouldn’t buy her shit.” I said angrily.
“Sometimes its best just to get them out the door, I’ll drop off the check.” Tim replied with a grimace.
“Fuck that.” I said, storming off. I made sure to swing by the table after they slid their shitty ten percent tip on their bill‘s discounted total.
“Thanks a lot folks, I hope to catch you next time.” I said with a smile and a nod.
The woman shirked back from me.
I patted the check, ”hope you got everything you wanted, have a good night,” I said still smiling.
I may have picked this battle and seemingly lost, but the moral victory belongs to me, I don’t comp shit unless its legitimate, and this certainly wasn’t