Friday, February 22, 2008
Would you like some snark with that?
We went to PF Chang's last night. It's not necessarily my favorite restaurant ever, but it's within walking distance and the food (in my opinion) is really, really good.
Our experience last night was...fine, I guess. For some reason, our server had a chip on her shoulder from the moment we sat down in her section. Everything she said - everything - was said in this weird, taunting, semi-sarcastic tone. She was like "that girl," you know the one - the one who smiles while secretly hating you.
At first, Jeremy and I tried to pass it off as her disappointment in us for asking for water to drink (is there a worse thing you can do to a server? Sometimes I wonder). But we could hear her treating all of her customers the same way.
When she initially came to take our order, we weren't quite ready. No big deal, I thought. But a few minutes later, when she came back, she said in an exasperated, loud voice, "Ready for round two?!?!?" I don't even really know what that means.
So we were afraid of our server for the whole meal and did our best not to antagonize her, until the end. She brought out boxes for our leftover food and a bag to put them in. Now, every other time I have been to PF Chang's, they have cheerfully offered to include a container of rice in the takeout bag. I've come to expect it. So when she didn't offer, Jeremy decided to ask. He did so in a really nice, non-confrontational way. But our server just glared and mumbled something under her breath that might have been a reluctant "OK."
There was no way I was letting this go. I spoke up and said, "Is there a problem? Every other time we've been here, our servers have offered to include rice. If there is a problem with that, I wouldn't want you to trouble yourself."
Well, then the floodgates of sarcastic smiling/hating really opened. She fell all over herself to say that it was no problem and that she'd bring me back a big box of rice along with the receipt. The clear message underneath her gushing was that she thought I was a jerk for asking.
Oh, there's one more thing. We happened to have a coupon for a free appetizer as well as a $10 gift certificate that we were using. When she ran the card and came back to the table, she said in an extremely loud voice, "I had to have a manager APPROVE THAT FREE APPETIZER COUPON. Here's the check with ALL THOSE DISCOUNTS APPLIED." I could have sworn she was looking around the room to make sure everyone around us heard what cheapskates we were.
We seriously considered complaining to a manager at that point. I know it's not good form to leave an inadequate tip without follow-up, explanatory action. But they were so busy and we were in a hurry to walk back home that we just let it go and left a barely-15% tip. I'm sure she will not be at a loss to figure out why.
Her strange attitude hung over us like a cloud for the rest of the evening. It was just so bizarre! If she hates people for eating at her restaurant so much, maybe she should look into a different job.
(If any of you former/current restaurant employees have any light to shed on this situation, or advice on what we should have done, please share.)