Like most restaurants, a place where I worked insisted upon trying to up sell every item. In this case, it was encouraged that we always recommend a series of condiments that each cost about a buck with every food order.
One time I had a female customer order a dish, and after I asked if she would like to add these condiments she asked;
“Do they cost extra”.
“Yes they do”
“No thank you.”
After I took the gentleman’s order I was ready to retreat to the safety of my bar when the lady asked me;
“Do you get bonus points for selling add-ons?”
This is one of those condescending comments a customer will make where you lose the ability to just walk away from. As a younger man I probably would have just given a hearty fake laugh and said no. But as a bitter and jaded older server, my immediate reaction is to try and make the guest feel stupid.
“Yes we do” I said. “In fact if we don’t get them we get in a lot of trouble. I’ll tell you what… I really needed those bonus points, I could be out on my ass by the end of the night. You see, our masters are always finding ways to keep that carrot just dangling in front of our mouths. But if we don’t get those bonus points they really let us have it.”
As I was unleashing my sarcastic fury and taking it a little too far, she was making little comments but I can’t even remember what she was saying. The guy was just trying to keep laughing as much as possible in order to keep things from getting uncomfortable.
With perfect timing, the table beside them ordered shortly thereafter, and agreed to add the suggested condiments.
“Thank god.” I yelled. “You just saved my job and gave me some critical bonus points. “ I looked over at my new friend at the previous table and said, “It’s going to be ok, they gave me some bonus points. I’ll live to serve another day.”
Both tables were laughing now, although the girl had that look in her eyes that begged the question, “Is he still making fun of me or trying to include me in some light hearted banter with other guests.”
Only I knew the answer.
If you get the suspicion that your server is making fun of you, they are. Do not be suckered in by their fake laughs, hands on your shoulder, or comments like “just teasing.” They are making fun of you.
Worse yet, they are then going out to the kitchen to tell everyone they work with that they just made fun of you. That’s why there are servers, busboys, and a manager walking by your table and looking at you while they adjust silverware and napkins on empty table pretending to be doing work.
Don’t feel bad, it happens to everybody. I have servers make fun of me all the time (and I still tip them 30 percent). All it means is that you accidentally said something stupid, which we all do.
The difference with this guest was that she said something stupid on purpose. To her it sounded like she was being clever. She was blatantly trying to belittle me. Her comment was an attempt to drive home the fact that I’m a server who has to try and sell condiments and she is the guest who can say no and then make fun of me for asking.
After that she was fairly nice and considerate. Maybe she realized that there are some parts of a person’s job that they don’t like to do, but they have to do it.
Of course I don’t like asking if a guest wants to add something for an extra buck. I don’t care if they like sour cream or gravy! But it’s my job so I do it. As a guest all you have to say is no. You can even say no thank you. Don’t make fun of me for it. In fact, you should have more respect for me because I am doing my job.
I’m just doing my job. Like the Chapter’s cashier who asks you if you want a membership card, or the Mcdonald’s employees who asks you if you want to upsize your combo.
Just like the coffee shop girl who asks if you’re going to have a muffin with your coffee. It’s our job, just say yes or no and carry on as you were.
It’s like the time I was in line at the grocery store. The cashier asked the guy in front of me if he had one of those points cards that grocery stores try to get customers to acquire. The guy says, “No I don’t and I’d appreciate it if you people would stop asking me.”
This guy is a jack ass. Does he really think this cashier gives a rat’s ass whether or not he wants a stupid card that could help him save pennies a week on groceries? Of course she doesn’t. All the jerk had to do was say no. Not a big deal. The girl is just doing her job.
Believe me; a server does not care if you want to add something. Nor do they get bonus points or get to keep their job if you say yes. They are just doing their job. Also, chances are good that if they are diligent enough to perform some annoying task demanded of them by their manager, they are going to give you great service. They have an attention to detail that will ensure you`ll get everything you want in an efficient manner. So when a server asks if you would like any additional `flavour enhancers“ added to your order, just say yes or no and be done with it.