One of my least favorite things about being a waitress is having to pretend to care and furthermore, to diffuse, things that aren't and shouldn't be your problem. This is also part of the job description for publicists. I am very good at this facet of both jobs. But I also kinda hate it.
Like tonight, when a bar guest decided to hold me to task for providing a sub-par level of service despite the fact that he wasn't even my table. What he expected from me, I'm not really certain: he+guest came in late for cocktails and ordered everything from the bar. They affirmed when they walked in that ordering from the bar was fine -- I would happily have served them if they'd asked since I didn't have much else going on, but since they didn't have that preference, in my mind, that was that. And the expectations were clear.
Then, right before leaving, the now intoxicated guest decided to inform me that I'd made him feel "dissed and ignored" all night (his words.) Gee, perhaps that's because I WAS ignoring him since I assumed he was all set with the lovely bartender's service? Apparently, he was upset with me for not clearing away his empty glasses all night.
I'm sorry, I didn't realize that was a requirement of NOT being your waitress, I wanted to say.
When I'm finished with a drink and being serviced by the bar, I usually put the empty glass back where I got it: on the bar in front of the bartender, I wanted to say.
I'm sorry, who are you and where were you sitting? I REALLY wanted to say.
Instead I apologized even though I'm not sorry, told them I'd have been happy to provide table service if I'd known that to be their preference and I'm so sorry, and that I really didn't mean to make them feel ignored, disrespected, or unloved (which is true -- I don't usually want to make anyone feel that way) and I'm so sorry.
What a minute, am I talking to a total stranger at the restaurant, or a codependent hypersensitive boyfriend? What do people expect when they go out for a drink? A pedicure and a neck massage while I hand-feed you peeled grapes and fan you with a palm frond despite NOT being your server?
And therein lies the root of the problem, I guess: unmanaged expectations = failure in the eyes of the people. But it still blows, because how am I supposed to read everyone's mind all of the time, especially when they SAY one thing and DO another?
I don't think he left any happier despite my profuse apologies and efforts to placate him, and this lame interaction totally ruined an otherwise pleasant and totally nondescript night. Thanks for taking a shit on my head, guy.
Do you see why this dynamic of my job is one of my LEAST favorite things?