My husband and I went out to dinner last weekend with one of our daughters as well as my mother-in-law who was visiting. The Chicago restaurant I chose is a well-established casual American eatery with a California beach vibe. I was very much looking forward to a relaxing meal and a glass of Chardonnay, after a stressful day.
When our waitress delivered our drinks, she brought my wine in one of those cute little one-serving jugs. I love that, as it allows me to pour a little at a time into my wine glass. Not sure exactly why I like that so much. Same when I order a Diet Coke and they bring it in a can. I like to pour it myself, a little at a time.
After I watched our waitress pour all of my mother-in-law’s Prosecco jug into her glass, I asked her to let me pour my own. She looked at me and scoffed, “You don’t trust me to pour your wine?” I was taken aback but let it go, thinking, maybe she’s joking or is being a little sassy.
I did tell her that we were ready to order, hoping she’d come back to us after delivering the remaining drinks on her tray to the table next door. But she ignored me, didn’t respond, and didn’t come back to us, instead checking on other tables.
After 10 minutes or so, I caught her walking by and repeated that we were ready to order, and she said, “I heard you the first time.” This time her tone could not be mistaken for joking and was certainly less than friendly.
I said, “You didn’t respond so I didn’t think you’d heard me.” She walked away, then my husband saw her talking to a colleague and pointing over at us. This new waitress came over and said she’d be taking our order.
By now I was fuming.
I am always very friendly with waitstaff, knowing how hard they work (and having been in their shoes once upon a time). But I felt this woman was being downright rude to me.
I had visions of confronting the waitress (“Did I do something to offend you?”), speaking to the manager, or docking her tip, but I refrained from any of this. And she handed the bill to my husband, which was smart! Maybe I held back because my daughter was there, and I could tell she was embarrassed by the whole interaction. Maybe it was because our waitress was pregnant, and may have been especially exhausted.
I tried to extend grace, and assumed she was a good person who was having a hard day, like me. Why make it worse all around?
Still, the exchange left me feeling pretty crappy. Saying something may have been overkill, but not saying something felt like a copout too. A no-win situation. I had to sit with my feelings and trust that over time, they’d dissipate, which they did.
YOUR TURN: Have you ever struggled with whether to speak up or not when confronted with rude behavior? What’s your advice?