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Column: The Flying Menu

I have the utmost respect for restaurant owners and employees.

Having worked a few years at a Mexican restaurant in college, I was able to see a couple pour their heart and soul into the business with countless hours of hard work. At this time, I learned that waiting tables was a stressful position.

At the same time, I still had a lot of fun and could eat world-class green chili daily, which was never bad. The restaurant I worked at was like a family, and that is something I see locally, and I absolutely love it.

In last week’s edition, I had a column about visiting my hometown but did not mention a real downer for the trip. I saw behavior at a restaurant that was uncalled for, and unfortunately, this is something that happens a lot more than it should in 2022.

I had stayed up Friday night a little too late with my friends, and when Saturday came around, I was in no mood to get up off the couch, let alone put on an apron and grill steaks. Instead, it was decided I would get some Chinese takeout. I was certainly not dressed to impress for the trip to for some of the best Chinese food I’ve eaten.

It was only around 4:30 when I made the short trip to get the food. Since I was leaving on Sunday morning, I filled up my tank before getting the food, putting me in a foul mood. Seriously, it’s about time for gas prices to drop.

With my wallet significantly lighter, I walked in to get the food and was happy there was not anybody I knew. Usually, I will run into someone I knew at a stop in town, but there was a restaurant full of strangers.

While waiting for my food, I played around on my phone, probably looking up something stupid. Suddenly, I heard someone getting upset and looked around to see what was going on.

A customer was in a rage because her server told her she could get soup or rice, not both.

She was screaming at the top of her lungs that the menu said you could have both. With each word coming out of her mouth, it was getting more intense, and finally, she took her menu and threw it at the server.

Another server told her they were training a new person and he had made a mistake, but the lady kept screaming. She picked up the menu again and started to show other patrons that it said she could have soup and rice. I had a lot I wanted to say when she showed me, but I kept quiet and hoped my food would arrive soon before she tried to burn the place down.

Having waited tables for a few years, I had seen this behavior before, and it always upset me.

There is never any reason to get that upset about a simple mistake. All these years later, I am starting to see people upset like this.

There are a lot of places that are short-staffed and don’t just throw food in a microwave and serve it to you. It can take time. That’s just the way it is. Employees and owners do not need to be treated like this.

I’m sick of seeing it.

If people are going to explode over a minor thing, maybe they should stay home. Or better yet, open a restaurant and see how hard it is. I love going out to eat so I would not miss the people who get upset at all.

I’ve also noticed that many people who may have waited a while for food get upset and leave a review. They will the one-star review by saying I have been going to this establishment for years and have always loved it, and then discuss how they had to wait ten more minutes than usual. If you love going to the place, do not demean it online and potentially hurt the business.

Be patient. Sometimes good food takes some time, especially if it is busy.

And quit throwing menus.

I hope that lady got either rice or soup, but not both.

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