Time to find a new “career,” chicky.

As a former server, I feel that I have a right to critique other servers. That being said, most of them do at least meet my expectations. Few exceed them. A great many servers fall short of what I believe are basics of waiting tables: greeting your table within 60 seconds, bringing their drink orders within 2 or 3 minutes (maybe a little longer if there are a lot of people or they ordered bar drinks), etc. My most recent restaurant experience fell WAY below that bar of reasonable dining-out expectations.

11:40 a.m.
On my way to our lunch date, my friend calls and says she and the kids are running late. She assures me she’ll be there by noon, only 15 minutes late (but still a quarter of my lunch break).

11:47 a.m.
I have arrived at the restaurant (which will remain unnamed) and am seated at a four-top and call my friend to see if I should go ahead and order at least the kids’ meals, so they would be ready upon their arrival. While I am talking to her, a random server brings me a water.

11:50 to 11:59 a.m.
I have completed my call and am looking around for someone to bring me a drink. Many servers pass by me, but none stop by and ask if I’ve been helped yet or offer to bring me anything while I wait. While looking around, I see three other tables; the rest in my immediate surroundings are empty. I glare at the two servers standing and talking in the server alley.

12:00 p.m.
The same random server asks me if anyone has been over to see me. I gesture at the table in answer. Does it look any different to you? She asks if I would like to order a drink or something while I wait. I say that would be nice. But before she takes my drink order, she turns to another server and the two argue about whose table it was and who should take the table.

12:05 p.m.
My friend and her kids arrive. I am beginning to fume. When they sit down, I tell her that I just ordered my drink. Seriously? she says. Yes, I’m afraid so. And it’s not over yet.

12:10 p.m.
My drink arrives. The server, who has finally decided to take our table, asks if my lunch companion wants a drink. She says yes. As an afterthought, the server asks if the children want drinks, too. Yes, they do, and they would also like to eat. She puts their lunch order in as well.

12:15 p.m.
My friend’s drink arrives. No kids’ drinks. The server scurries off as if she were busy. I count her tables: two, including ours.

12:25 p.m.
The server returns, briefly complains about how busy she is, and asks if we’re ready to order. My friend says, “Well, first of all, I’ve been here 20 minutes, my drink is here, her drink is here, but my children have yet to get theirs. Secondly, she (pointing at me) has been here nearly 45 minutes, and she’s on an hour-long lunch break. This is unacceptable. I want to talk to the manager now.” The server mumbles something unintelligible, stuffs her book back in her apron, and hurries away.

12:30 p.m.
The manager arrives and gets an earful. She promises to resolve the issue, put a rush on our meals, and take care of the bill. To her credit, she was very professional, apologetic, and delivered on her promise. Had she not shown up, I have no doubt I would still be there now.

More bitching to come later, when I will divulge the mini-story within this story.