*This article is a work of nonfiction based on actual events recounted to me by a friend who witnessed them firsthand; used with permission
Dinner and great people to share it with are essential to having a good time, but sometimes nice music and a special atmosphere can't take away mistakes that get you so upset you can't think about anything else. Should you try your best to ignore the actual food you've ordered and just focus on the people you're with, or would you like to also enjoy great dishes, not just an interesting talk?
My friend Sandra has been married to her husband Jim for 22 years. They had three daughters, and they both kept working while their parents helped them so they could have successful careers while their little girls didn't miss out on anything.
"It was challenging, and it got very hard at times. But my mom and my in-laws did a great job at taking pressure away from our family; they cooked, they watched the kids, and they had them for sleepovers during the weekends. They even insisted we kept date nights and got a few free hours each day to be together," Sandra said.
As time went by, their daughter went to kindergarten, started school, and now they're all in high school in Phoenix, Arizona. Last weekend it was their oldest daughter's birthday. Tina is in her last year of high school. Sandra and Jim wanted to celebrate her birthday with all their family before she got ready to move away for college.
"I wanted to remind Tina how much we all love her and that she can always count on her grandparents and us, no matter how old she is. So, we decided to have this nice dinner at an Italian place she likes," Jim said.
The whole family dressed nicely and got into their cars, ready to celebrate as the evening began.
Sandra, Jim, Tina and her sisters got there first. Their grandparents showed up 5 minutes later, and they all went inside. They were promptly seated at three tables and ordered their drinks.
Their waiter, Andy, brought them the drinks they chose and appetizers to share while they decided on the main courses.
"The music was relaxing, everyone was in a good mood, and the waiter helped us with anything we needed. He even found a way to wrap my mom's glasses so they wouldn't get scratched while sitting on the table," Tina said.
They talked about memories and what Tina wanted to do for a future career, and she got a few presents and good wishes. After that, they chose their main courses and had more appetizers.
Unfortunately, Jim's steak was overlooked by the waiter. He brought the food for everyone else except him. So, Jim decided not to say anything about it and be patient.
"I just thought he forgot and put the order in a bit late. And that's ok; it happens. I wasn't going to argue with him about that. We were there to have fun," Jim said.
As the minutes passed and his food didn't show up, his family also began to wonder what was going on. Close to them, another group was celebrating as well.
And on the corner of their table, they spotted Jim's steak, salad, and fries.
"That was what I ordered, and no one over there touched it. When Andy came over with sodas, I asked him about that food. He admitted it was mine and then walked there, took the plate, and put it in front of me. That wasn't acceptable, and I told him so," Jim said.
The dad wouldn't take the food that had been sitting for over 30 minutes on the other group's table, even if no one had gone near it. He asked for another steak with fries and a side salad, but the waiter told him he would have to pay twice.
"It was his fault, not mine. He took the food to another table, then tried to bring it back. Why would I pay again when he took the food to the wrong table? I'm not going to have it after it's been sitting there," Jim said.
Unfortunately, the waiter didn't understand how he felt and, instead of arguing, Jim asked him to get his manager.
Once the manager showed up at their table, the dad explained what had happened. While he was sorry and apologized on behalf of the waiter, the manager still wanted him to pay for the salad again. He would get another steak and fries for free, just not the salad.
"That was too much. Now we were negotiating which part of my dinner I should pay twice. None. I hadn't done anything wrong. They had," Jim said.
He decided to give up on the steak completely and asked for another appetizer.
"I didn't want to upset my family, but I won't pay twice for something like that, not even just for the salad. I had my appetizer and focused on my daughter for the rest of the evening. I left no tip at the end, and the waiter wasn't surprised," Jim said.
His wife agreed with his idea to avoid tipping the waiter, and they don't intend to eat there again anytime soon, especially if it's for a family occasion.
What do you think about this situation? Was it fair for the manager to still ask Jim to pay part of his dinner again, even after admitting the waiter had made a mistake? Should Jim's food have been replaced for free and as soon as possible instead of bargaining what he had to pay for and what not?
Comments / 38