Vail Daily column: Lousy service in a service town
November 5, 2013
I was just waiting for my burger and the waitress threw it on the table after 67 minutes. Upon delivery, her eyes said, "I hate you for being here." And with her mouth she said … nothing … and she walked out of my life.
I, in turn, left the burger that had now lost its lid from the crash landing on my table and walked out of the restaurant.
As I passed the maitre d' ("hostess" in Goodland, Kan.) she smiled and said, "Have a nice night and thanks for coming in." I did not mention a word about not paying for the two Bud Lights, $16 burger or the free cable TV service that had been provided to me at the high top. (I'm not stupid and know when not to speak.)
And now I am prepared to suffer the consequences and do "time" at the Eagle County facility for "walkin' on my bill," "dining and dashin'" or "slippin'," whatever you choose to name it, but I'll be damned to accept an attitude from someone that takes offense with me because they're having a bad day.
What she could have said was, "Sorry the burger took so long, but my boyfriend is a jerk." For whatever reason, delivering a burger in a restaurant and associating trouble with your boyfriend would have seemed synonymous for some odd reason, and I would have accepted her apology. Or how about this: "No, my boss is a jerk. No, my parents suck." No … she took it out on me and threw a plate of food on my rented table. And all I thought was, "I'm not your boyfriend, boss or parent, and I don't need your attitude."
My mind was outraged and I continued, "I raised three kids and already own three attitudes like yours and certainly don't need another." And, "Oh, by the way, the menu did not suggest a dash of bitch on the side." (In hindsight, I really wish I had said that rather than thought it.)
Do you see where I'm going with this? I don't either.
But I will say this: No matter the chosen, given or the happenstance position you may be responsible for on a day-to-day basis (and when you're hired to do a job, your employer assumes you will be responsible), coming in with a demeanor that frightens your co-workers is not acceptable. When it spills over to your customers, clients, patients or guests, it becomes substandard. And what happens when you become substandard? People like me tell other people and then those people tell even more people.
Next thing you know, the owner can't pay the rent, the building is empty, good employees lose their jobs and everyone goes on to government assistance — all this because one person brought a bad attitude to work.
We are fortunate here. The working stiffs in this valley, generally speaking, are conscious, polite, good looking and healthy and would never consider biting the hand that feeds them (accept the compliment). The ones that are not usually move along to another place by their own admission or someone else's. I'm betting the next time I walk into that restaurant for a burger, two Bud Lights and free sports cable TV, my ex-least favorite waitress has moved to Alaska.
Greg Ziccardi can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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