Can I have fries with the rude?

By Ransom Cozzillio
April 22, 2011

Is common courtesy really too much to ask? Apparently, depending on your line of work, it is. I realize we are not living in the most genteel of times, but this ridiculous.

I, like many college kids, make ends meet by working at a restaurant. I knew when joining the ranks of food service that it was a relatively thankless job (who really applies at a restaurant for the praise?). But,  I did not realize that it would put me in such a unique position to see the worst of what normal society has to offer.

And let me tell you, I’ve seen some things no one should be proud of, yet miraculously, keep happening. To say that people walk out without tipping, or walk out without paying their check even would be too obvious to really underscore my point.

We all know there are jerks out there that don’t want to pay for their meal and have no qualms about refusing outright to do so. Those are not the people I’m talking about. Or, rather, I assume anyone reading this already knows about such people.

Rather, I want to bring light to the other idiots. The people who walk in like they own the place, ignore the hosts’ greetings and the “see host to be seated” sign, then snidely ask, “Well, I assume I can just sit wherever I want!?”

Have you ever been to a non-McDonalds restaurant where you could do that? If not, then no, you can’t.

I’m talking about the people who rudely demand to see a manager as soon as they heard that the wait is longer than 15 minutes. Honestly, if we had room, we’d seat you. There is no conspiracy to just avoid sitting you in particular, sir or madam. What you see is what we have. If it looks full, it probably is. There is no secret room in the back for VIPs so calm down.

In my particular situation too, I’m talking about the people who retort with “oh, well I have a reservation.” That’s interesting, considering, as part of company policy, we don’t take reservations. Nice try though.

And, I’m really, really talking about the people who order something, eat half of it (if not more) then complain it wasn’t good or wasn’t cooked exactly the way they like, and therefore need to have it for free. And of course, having something comped means you don’t have to tip because, you know, it’s the server’s fault that you didn’t like your food.

Don’t worry, I’m not blowing that last issue out of proportion. I’ve seen people order a shrimp pasta dish (with the word “shrimp” in the name), eat most of it, then go to a manager incensed because they are allergic to shrimp. Yes, this has actually happened, more than once in fact.

I apologize if I’m just coming off as bitter. I realize that courtesy towards those in the service industry is inconvenient and that you could fill a book with the things most people don’t know about restaurant work. For example, most servers only make $2.80 an hour. Before working with them, I had no idea.

Given that, at some point in their lives, pretty much everyone goes out to eat at least once, if not more. And, given that most people want to be able to properly comport themselves socially, I propose the following solution: everyone should have to work in a restaurant in their teenage years.

Congress, work with me on this, please. No one wants to be ignorant, and we in the restaurants don’t want to deal with ignorant people. I realize that legal process is a convoluted one, we are willing to wait.

In the mean time however, if you don’t know how to go to a restaurant appropriately, just stay home. And no, we don’t deliver. Thanks, come again.


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Ransom Cozzillio

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