Revenge of the servers

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First Posted: 2/19/2015

The phrase “the customer is always right” is an emblematic one in the hospitality industry, typically used by businesses to ensure customer satisfaction.

When the customer leaves, it’s often a different story.

Anyone who has ever worked as a waiter, waitress, host or bartender is familiar with poor tippers; customers who shout drink orders before learning their server’s name; and getting blamed for situations out of their control. Meanwhile the customers often fail to realize how awful they’re being.

We gave servers from the area a chance to say what’s on their mind about those customers who have mistreated them, this time serving their customers a main course of some truth.

Here are five things that will piss off your server. Take note.

1. When you act like Kanye West

Victoria Letcavage is a beverage server at Mohegan Sun in Plains Township and a bartender at Stir Nightclub in Wilkes-Barre. The thing that really sets her off is when her customers are ignorant.

“I hate when customers have more ignorance than Kanye West and act like they’re the most important person in the building, like Kanye West,” said Letcavage, who dreads when customers act like they need their next drink as badly as someone who just ran a marathon.

While she loves her job and the excitement of meeting new people every day, the variety of people she comes across can be underwhelming at times.

“Wilkes-Barre is filled with diverse people. Everyone from the millionaire to the rodent’s second cousin that just rolled out of the sewer. Neither of them will tip, but the average local will throw a Ben Frank at you unexpectedly to remind you that you’re doing as good as you can,” Letcavage.

2. Snapping your fingers

If you’ve eaten at Chick’s Diner in Scranton at somepoint in the past 17 years, chances are you’ve met Gail Kakareka.

The long-time server said she has had too many encounters with rude customers over the years. She’s seen it all, she said, but nothing stands out to her as much as a customer who snaps their fingers to beckon her.

“I hate when they snap their fingers. People can be so impatient,” Kakareka said.

She recalled one man, who wasn’t happy about butter on his toast, as the least patient customer she ever had.

“I buttered a guy’s toast by mistake and he told me I wasn’t a good waitress. I told him that it would only be two minutes to get some new toast for him, but he didn’t care. He kept yelling at me. He couldn’t have waited two minutes for some toast. I lost it and flipped on him. I was like, ‘What do you want me to do? Shoot myself?’ I mean, really. He was going on and on about that toast,” Kakareka said.

3. When you blame them for how your food was cooked

If you’re steak isn’t cooked to the right temperature at Texas Roadhouse in Dickson City, don’t blame Amanda Moran.

“Customers never understand that servers do not cook your food,” the server said.

When one customer didn’t enjoy her steak, she took her anger out on Moran’s tip.

“I had a lady tell me that she makes the steaks that are shipped to the Roadhouse. She told me that I messed up her whole birthday because I didn’t cook her steak right. She didn’t tip me at all on a $90 check,” she said.

Many restaurants including the Texas Roadhouse Moran works at require servers to pay a percentage of their sales to other staff members such as bussers and hosts.

Stiffing your server requires them to pay for serving you.

4. Telling them they’re the “best” server

You’d think when a server is told that they’re “the best server ever” it would be a compliment. According to server Carol Jones at Rodano’s in Wilkes-Barre, that compliment is known to be the kiss of death when it comes to getting a tip.

“I don’t let rudeness bother me. That’s their problem, not mine. But when someone says, ‘Oh, you’re the best server I ever had,’ they’re not going to tip you at all,” Jones said.

Compliments may be nice to hear, but they don’t keep the lights on.

5. Asking for extra lemons

Lisa Barrett is a server at Eddie’s Place in Plains Township.

“I love people, but every now and again you’ll get that group of people that changes that,” Barrett said.

One thing that really pisses her off is when customers ask for extra lemons.

“This always happens: you’ll get a table of like seven people and they’ll ask for a bowl of lemons and make their own lemonade out of it so they don’t have to pay for lemonade,” Barrett said.

She calls it “ghetto lemonade.”

Somewhere, probably every day, a customer is getting pissed off at a server.

Maybe it’s valid, maybe the service was bad. Maybe the customers are being really rude and obnoxious, forgetting how to act in public.

If you’re one of those rude customers, next time you go out to eat, consider treating your server how you would like to be treated if you were doing something that paid less than $3 an hour.