Friday, August 19

Where My Business Is Your Business

Last night we went to dinner at a certain Italian chain restaurant whose initials are O.G. and rhymes with Bolive Rarden. As I've mentioned before, my daughter has numerous food allergies and because I still breastfeed her, I must follow her dietary restrictions as well. I can't order restaurant food, so I ate before we left. We were treating friends, Emily and Carlos, and a friend of theirs, Kristi, as a thank-you for helping us move last weekend. (THANK YOU!!!)

I had ordered myself a soda with the rest of the drink orders, but when the food orders came, I smiled and told the waitress, "I'm not eating tonight, thanks." She had been reaching to collect menus, but stopped dead and said, unsmiling, "Why not?"

My smile disappeared. WHY NOT? Did I miss the part where that was her business? At any rate, while I usually do not bore people with the details of what my kid can't eat or why I follow her diet, I was shocked into bluntness.

"My daughter has many food allergies, and because I breastfeed, I can't eat any of those foods either," I informed the waitress. Woe unto me, that did not shut her up. Rather, it opened the floodgates for the Slew of Unsolicited Opinions.

"Well, I'd give up breastfeeding then," she informed me. She tsk-tsked at Aurora (captive in the highchair) "Bottle time for you!" She went on (FINALLY taking the menus from everyone else), "I just like food too much for that. Time for formula." I shrugged, "We're happy breastfeeding." She said, "I just hate to see you sit there not eating!" "I'm just fine, thanks," I told her. She finally left.

I exchanged wide-eyed "Okaaaaay" comments with everyone else. Emily said, "She's a toucher, too. Did you notice she touched Aurora's head and she touched my arm twice?" Great. A touchy-feely nosy waitress.

When T-FNW returned with drink refills, she stopped again and asked me, "So what do you eat?" I humored her with, "Fruits and veggies, pork and poultry, rice-based pasta and breads." Her eyes brightened. "We have wheat pasta! You want that?" "Um, no. Can't have wheat. Really, I'm fine," I told her. "How about soup?" she asked. "No, soup usually has stuff in it we can't have," I told her firmly. "I ate before I came, I'm not hungry, thank you."

"Well," she said, "if you're not going to eat, I don't think you should have a drink, either!" She reached over and took my drink off the table. "Thanks for the unsolicited opinion," I retorted. She put the drink back down and said, "I'm just kidding," and took off again. Emily gave us an updated touch count.

Several minutes later (I kid you not) the waitress was back again, this time for the SOLE purpose of crouching down by my chair and asking, "Really, I want to know, what do you eat?" I really wanted to throttle this woman. "Fine, for dinner last night, I had chicken breasts breaded with millet and sorghum flours and fried in canola oil." Her eyes widened, and she left without a word.

Kristi then said, "Hey Meg, next time she asks you what you eat, could you tell her _I_ want more tea?" Poor Kristi had been trying unsuccessfully for several minutes to get a refill. Each time the waitress had returned she had ignored the others (except for Em, whose arm she seemed drawn to touching!) while she interrogated me about my diet.

After awhile, the kidlet was fussing and I took her outside to walk around a bit, so I missed out on spending much more time with the waitress . . . however, she did return later to stick around by our table while we discussed how much Rora looks like my husband. "You must have given her the allergies, too, then," she said to my husband. He blinked. "Maybe so," he said. "Well, you contributed everything else," she said, and elbowed Em in a heh-heh-heh dirty old man-type way.

I didn't see how much we tipped this lady, but I hope not much. In retrospect I really wish I had told her something extremely personal/gross/untrue to shock her into shutting up. You know, "I can't complain too much. With this diet I've lost enough weight that now I only need weekly enemas!" or "I would give up breastfeeding but nothing else cures my itchy nipples." Somehow, though, I don't think even that would have stopped her . . .


At 2:22 PM, Anonymous Jenn said...

I would so call their manager *and* corporate offices and complain. How unbelievably rude!!!

At 11:28 PM, Blogger christ*el #3tx said...

"I would give up breastfeeding but nothing else cures my itchy nipples."

comedy GOLD!

At 10:50 AM, Blogger snarflemarfle said...

Yeah, I had to laugh at the itchy nipples comment, too! The nerve of some people...and she probably thought she was just being sociable!

At 7:31 PM, Blogger LatinLez said...

I work retail, and, I've done the food industry. There is no way I would have put up with this woman's comments, especially if she were my employee.
Her comments were way beyond the realm of decent conversation, to say the least. Next time you swing by that place, you should grab the manager and make a complaint. Some people just don't deserve a job.

At 5:19 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

That was not a professional waitress, and probably not a very good restaurant either. Never socialize with those serving you during dinner; and if they persist call over the hostess and ask for another waitress; or another table. She was rude and too familiar no matter what subject was being discussed. Treat yourself to an evening at a nice restaurant with professional staff because you earned it!!

At 8:50 AM, Anonymous Karen in Ohio said...

Fellow POFAK'r here...thanks for posting the link. This was great reading. Loved the "itchy" nipple comment---you should see the looks I get when I ask the waiting staff to "re-wash" the I've got 3 heads! Hey, maybe your visit has started her brain thinking a bit....

At 7:52 PM, Blogger George said...

Here is what you need to do next time, when a waitress gets into your space, I am not usually a really crude person, but I had this incident happen like that one time, I had weight loss surgery almost a year ago, and had one nosey waitress ask me about the surgery. I told her that I cant eat that much. Well she insisted I eat a salad instead. And she loaded it down with veggies that give me gas. So I ate them, and by the end of the meal was shooting off really bad gas, I started laughing and doing it really quietly whenever she came around the table where I knew she would smell it. And then just before I left I ripped off a really loud one right near her as I got up and left. Bet she was not that talkative ever again!

At 10:21 PM, Anonymous a TTCer said...

I really admire your calmness in this situation and certainly your dedication to your daughter and continuing to bf her despite the struggles. You rock!!

At 2:35 PM, Anonymous littlesouthernmama said...

I almost peed on myself I laughed so hard...itchy nipples!!!!

At 11:00 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

As a past waiter, I apologize for your bad evening. I also have a "but" included.

1) "Never socialize with those serving you during dinner..."

Bite me. It depends on the restaurant and the client. One very nice restaurant I worked at, for years, was a very family oriented restaurant and I was expected to interact with the customers at a higher than "May I take your drink order." If the family complained it would be because the waitperson was cold.
At another, we weren't allowed to give our names - wayyyyy formal. And there's the bit about being professional. I personally feel OG is a bit more formal than she was acting but that's my personal opinion.

2) I am ADD/Bi-Polar. This means my brain (before controlled medication) has no brake on it - no question or answer is too far off the deep end. This waitress may be like I was before I got help. It's not an excuse, but a possible reason.

3) I don't think you are a "lightning rod" for bad service, you just notice it more than a lot of us do; especially due to the very detailed life you have. MOST of us can order a #1 and drive off. It seems bad service accompanies specialty things - not your fault, and only partial fault of the servicer. It really is the nature of the beast. In servicing 200-1000 different people a day, service to specialty orders gets tossed in the trash. It shouldn't but fast food restaurants play a numbers game.

4) The worst part to me about her behavior was doing anything more than "What can I get for you mam?" "Nothing, thank you." "Yes, thank you", takes order in. I used to get people all the time drinking a soda or even just water while dining with others - there was no need to ask or discuss anything more than "no thank you."


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