I don’t know how to break it to you, but your insistence that you are right does not make it so. And yelling at me doesn’t help the situation. Trust me, in the big scheme of things it doesn’t help at all.
I’m truly sorry that you have brought 20 people to drink in our bar and have discovered that there is no where for them to go. The bar doesn’t hold large groups of people and you can’t be seated at a table unless you are eating. So what are you to do? You’ve ordered drinks for everyone and then begin to gather in what you consider open space and what the staff considers the path to their tables. At first you are up front, blocking the ay to get other guests to their tables. Eventually you move to the area right in front of Station 12. My station. And guess who has no tolerance for this at all? You guessed it — me!!
As I try to pass through, I explain that no on can gather on the right side of the counter. At which point someone decides she’s going to to speak up and says, “We were told we could stand here.” And I immediately asked her who had told her this. It only takes a minute to realize she is lying. So I tell them they can’t stand in the way. They will need to move. At which point Ms. Indignation speaks up and wants to know exactly where the hell they could move to. I don’t really have an answer to that question. All I know is that she and the 19 people accompany her can’t block the aisle. It’s a safety issue as well as a nuisance. And more than anything, it annoys me. I finally suggest they go to the lobby. There are seats out there and they’ll be out of the way. Of course the entire time she’s walking away she’s mouthing that this is unfair and uncalled for and that we should treat our customers better.
And then there were the two guys who sat down at my counter. I went up to greet them and asked them if I could get them something to drink. I was told no, they were getting it from the bar. I explained that they were sitting in my section and that if they wanted something they had to get it from me. At which point they insisted on getting it from the bar. I once explained this was not how it worked and then they got pissed. I finally left them. Of course I didn’t know till later that they’d complained to the manager on their way out saying that I’d been rude to them.
I’m not always right. But I’m also not always wrong. And I’VE NEVER believed that the customer is always right. I think to buy into that idea is undermining your staff and creating a culture where people think that all they have to do is yell a little and appear angry and they’ll get what they want. I think many times the offending customers should be asked to leave and told not to come back until they are able to behave themselves. This of course never happens, but one can wish.
And so I’m left with the indignation of the guests who want to make the rules and decide exactly how everyone else in the restaurant should behave.