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Oct 23, 2006 02:28 AM

Sticky situation - What do you think

An incident occured today in the restaurant where I work, and I wanted to see if I could get some non-restaurant workers input. Essentially, a waiter and a kitchen guy were goofing off during lunch service(we have an open kitchen). The waiter(21 years old lovable but kind of clueless)threw a penny through the kitchen window at the salad guy. Salad guy,(typical 17 year old kid), threw a piece of cucumber at the waiter. Said piece of cucumber hit a customer seated near the kitchen. It is unclear exactly where the customer was hit, but it seems it was either his chair or perhaps his coat. He definitely did not take a direct hit. The customer was VERY MAD, and rightfully so. Nobody wants to be hit with a cucumber while dining. The owner severely reprimanded the two guilty parties, and made sure the customer knew this. Both the waiter and the salad guy apologized to the customer. The owner also apologized profusely and bought his lunch and the waiter personally bought their drinks. At the end of the day, the customer was still mad and shocked about the incident as was his dining companion.

I think that the customer had every single right to be totally PO'd about the situation when it happened. I also think that the restaurant did everything they possibly could to make it up to him. Clearly everybody cared about the situation and everybody bent over backwards to make up for it. The customer, at that point, should have just let it go.

What do you think? I'm not asking about how to deal with the staff members; they have both been dealt with. For the record, this was lunch at a cute little cafe in a very small town.

Also, as an amusing yet fitting aside, the penny showed up in someones salad tonight at dinner. Luckily, it was a laid back regular who know all of the staff quite well and was able to laugh it off. The waiter may not fare so well.

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  1. I think the restaurant handled the situation beautifully. Especially considering the type of establishment and the ages of the "perps," I doubt I would have been that upset as a customer. I can't imagine what else the manager could have done other than fire the two on the spot and/or flog them in public.

    1. So you're at lunch at a small cafe, nothing fancy I assume. A cucumber lands on your coat. Would I be surprised? Wonder what the hell was that for? Yes. After finding out it was two young guys goofing off and not a cucumber directed at me I doubt I could still be mad, especially if the owner did what was described. I mean really, it was a cucumber that I doubt would even stain anything. Maybe if it were a juicy tomato or a raw piece of meat, but really that mad over a cucumber slice? I'd have to say throw a cucumber on me if that means I get a free meal and free drinks.

      I remember what it was like to have a job through school and having friends at work. Yes we goofed around and I understand the situation.

      2 Replies
      1. re: Rick

        Couple of points.
        Was there an offer to clean the coat? Why didn't you guys look for the penny?
        That aside, It's hardly life or death! My son is head chef/kitchen manager of a small restaurant at the age of 21. I'll forward this to him to get his take.

        1. re: Oakland Barb

          No, there was no offer to clean the coat. It was a piece of cucumber, not a glass of wine. Plus, it was entirely unclear what the cucumber actually hit. But really, a piece of cucumber hitting your coat and then falling to the floor is hardly a cause for cleaning. yes, the penny should definitely been looked for. Probably, the salad guy was so crazed by being chewed out by the owner that he forgot about that step. The owner should have remembered, but he was a bit pre-occupied with the situation at hand. But yes, the penny should have been fished out. I only added that bit for amusement purposes. Perhaps only those in the biz will understand that humor.

      2. I think the owner and restaurant handled things properly and made sincere ammends with the apology and buying the meal.

        Yes, the diner was rightfully mad but com'n, if he's still mad after an apology and a free meal and drink (for a flying cucumber slice) he either lacks a bit of humanity, was never young and stupid, has other issues or has unbelievable standards.

        Hanging onto anger while dining is a big karmic no-no in my book. Makes the food taste bad and not good for the digestive track.

        1. If the guy was an adult, he would have told the knuckleheads that he’d be back next Wednesday and see if they could get him another free lunch with-out getting fired.

          1. I agree with everybody that it sounds like the situation was handled as well as it possibly could be handled and if the customer still chose to remain angry, then there's nothing else you can do--move on. And out of curiosity, as it's a small town, was the customer and companion known to you and if it's a small enough town, where else is he gonna go!