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She didn't see anything wrong with this, but I did

We have a locally-owned breakfast place that we enjoy a couple times a month. 99% of the time we have a great experience and the wait staff are really on the ball. However we had something happen that was really so bizarre that I can't seem to wrap my head around it.

Our server was pretty abysmal. No refills on coffee and water. Our food took forever to get to us, then it was cold. Also, our orders were messed up, but not horribly. Dh got an extra egg. No biggie. I did not order bacon and mine came with bacon on top of the eggs and hashbrowns. I told the server, "I didn't order bacon."

Before I could say another word she said, "OK" and proceeds to grab the bacon off of my plate with both of her hands and put it on the serving tray.

I was stunned. I said, "I can't believe you just did that. I can't believe you just touched my food with your hands." She was flabbergasted that I was flabbergasted. She said, "I just touched the bacon." I said it again, "I can't believe you did that." She grabs at my plate and says "I'll have them re-do it." We had already been waiting much longer than usual for our food. It was pretty obvious that she had let it sit in the window, as everything was lukewarm at best. We had things to do, and didn't have the time (she probably would have forgotten it again, anyway). I pulled the plate away from her grubby little hands and said, "No, I'll eat it. Leave it alone." She then said, "I didn't do anything wrong." and left the table. We had to ask another server for refills (both before and after the incident) and to have her bring our check.

Am I off-base here to think that grabbing my bacon off of my plate (whether her hands actually touched any other food or not) was really rude and totally out of line? She could have offered a plate or napkin for me to remove it myself.

For only the second time in my life, I did not leave a tip. But I also did not say anything to management. We are regulars at this place and I can always go back and talk to them. I will continue to eat here, but will always make sure I request a server other than "Carol". Next time I'm in there, should I say anything or just let it go?

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  1. I would have said something. The server should have never touch your food with her hands ever! I wouldn't have even eaten if a server did that to my plate.

    3 Replies
    1. re: vttp926

      This^ ....and the management needs to know that they have a server who is totally clueless to what service is.
      Your status as a Regular gives you more clout. Be not afraid, just straight-forward and matter-of-fact.

      Yeah...that server needs to go work at a non-service job.

      1. re: Michelly

        Absolutely. She's clueless at hygiene and equally bad, clueless at social signals. The fact that she could say "I didn't do anything wrong" after your (rightful) shock at her touching your food bare-handed is very bad.

        1. re: pinehurst

          I should tidy up my priorities.

          Recently, I spent some time in Cairo, a paragon of good hygiene. How does the average food service worker - that's an awfully generous title - handle an order? Let's take one of my daily ful sandwiches. There's no meat involved, so those pathogens get the day off. However, bare hands make up for it, whereas everything, say the vegetables, the fries, the money, passes by the same palm. Yet, I continued to eat, as did the locals, and they will continue to eat that way.

          Of course, that one scenario could just as easily be happening across thousands of kitchens (this might be where "ignorance is bliss" shines). But if it played out for me in the same setting that it did for the OP, I'd get quite upset.

          I guess the point is about taking responsibility?

    2. Depends on how you're still feeling next time you go. If still peeved (and rightly so), then speak to management. They will appreciate it - locally owned places are dependent on repeat business and they cannot afford to have servers acting inappropriately and pissing off loyal customers. That said, maybe next time you go, you'll hear she's already been sacked (rightly so, if acts like you experienced have been repeated).

      11 Replies
      1. re: Harters

        In a local breakfast place, we waited and waited and waited for coffee refills (we need our a.m. caffeine, badly). No waitress around, anywhere. I finally got up, went behind the counter, got the pot and refilled our cups. Waitress appeared, said "you're not allowed back here" and took back the pot. We paid for our coffee, left, and didn't go back. The manager was standing at the register & heard the whole thing. The place closed about 2 months later.

        1. re: pine time

          Was the register not near the coffee? If so I would have brought my cups over to the manager and said "we've been waiting for refills for a while". But I've been at a local dive (bar by night, go back to feed your hangover by day, servers probably in worse shape than you are) when no one was getting their much-needed coffee. One group went to the service table and grabbed a pot - we all passed it around and had a good laugh. Server didn't notice and/or didn't care. That place is alive and well, although I don't know if they still do brunch.
          Nothing drives me more nuts than breakfast places that don't refill promptly, or worse yet, leave you sitting at your table after arrival with NO coffee for more than say 5 minutes (10 at the outside!). I can wait 30 minutes to order if you just BRING ME THE DAMN DRUG!

          1. re: julesrules

            A dumpy coffee shop, when we were in college, always gave each table its own carafe.. Always thought that was quite civilized. Haven't seen any place do that in decades.

            1. re: pine time

              Just went to a breakfast place last week that did that, and I was a solo diner. Hadn't been there in years and I'll go back again if possible.

                1. re: julesrules

                  Absolutely true story......about 10 years ago, 4 of us went to a diner in Adamstown PA for breakfast. After waiting WAY too long for our coffee, I got up from the table and walked over to a gathering of waitresses and gently informed them of our need. The response was, "our computer is down".

                  1. re: grampart

                    I'm caffeine-dependent, so this made me laugh out loud. A corollary: I asked for water, no ice. The waitress brought water with ice, said "all of the glasses already had ice in them."

                    1. re: pine time

                      HOOT!!!! how does that poor girl manage to get herself out of the house each day?

                      1. re: hotoynoodle

                        Better yet, how does she manage to find her way to work?

                2. re: pine time

                  And this is the number one reason why I hate going out to breakfast. No one should be waited on at breakfast. I'd rather get my own coffee, thanks!

              1. the owner should be notified immediately, and the server reprimanded AND TRAINED. I'm sure the owner would want to know.

                She'll either change her attitude or change jobs soon - sounds like she's not cut out for this line of work.

                1. If you are a regular at this place and want to continue going there I would try to send an email to the manager or owner. I am sure that they would want the situation corrected.

                  1. As usual I like to chalk something like this up to a really good story. I was once at an upstate NY diner where the fork in my place setting had some "crud" stuck to it. I pointed this out to the waitress who proceeds to pick up the fork, scrape the crud off with a fingernail and then place it back in front of me. I win. Embrace the story.

                    Actually, in all honesty, it sounds like she may have been new, maybe even her first waitressing job. Hopefully she learned something or shared the story with a coworker who explained what was wrong with her actions. If I were a regular I might have mentioned it to the manager/owner phrasing the complaint in such a way that it was meant to educate rather than discipline the employee.

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: bobbert

                      +1. We had a lovely, but obviously new waitress one night at an Italian place. We told the manager nicely how much we enjoyed her service and attitude but... She brought the bread to our table under her arm (in a paper bag, but still) and hadn't been trained in the don't-pick-up-glasses-by-sticking-your-fingers-in-them art yet. The manager thanked us and said he'd make sure to train new employees in these little things better. Sometimes it's so obvious, but only once someone points it out.