When I was a server, happily I very rarely had customers who were not happy. The ones who were seemed determined to be dissapointed from the moment they walked in. *sigh*
So, as a server and burgeoning cook in a steakhouse bar & grill I was well aware of the challenges of the job sometimes. When 16 of our staff, after a weekend together in Niagra Falls, stopped on the way home for breakfast in a little diner we expected to wait. A large group, mid morning on a Sunday... we walked in with reasonable expectations.
What we got was a very young server, by herself, that spent most of the time we were there chatting with the owner in the attached bar/lounge. She would take a few orders, wander over to ask a question (presumably) and lean on the bar for a while giggling. It was clear she was having trouble so we agreed to place very simple orders. She came back eventually, took a few more orders (and yes, we were all sitting at the same table... they were physically equiped for our large group...) A half hour went by and one of our party got up and went to the coffee maker at the server station to put on coffee. A couple more of us got up and gathered cutlery to set the table.
We discovered the cook on that morning was a very confused little old lady. When she finally got orders in she didn't know where to start. In truth, she didn't even get all of the chits... as we found out later. Four of us went into the kitchen and got to work. Yes, we cooked our own breakfast. The owner looked at us but didn't say a thing.
When we were finishing up the server came by and dropped a pile of checks in the middle of the table and walked away. It had become beyond absurd to the point of hilarity, so we actually scraped and bussed our own dishes. It seemed otherwise the little old lady would get stuck doing it all by herself. So, then began the saga of trying to figure out who's check was who's. Seems the server, if she didn't understand what we were ordering ('cause bacon n eggs sunny with brown was too confusing) just rang up the most expensive item on the menu. Repeatedly. Nothing matched with what we had ordered and eaten, but she seemed to think we should pay without question.
The owner finally got involved. He also decided we should pay whatever bill we had been given, and actually started to shout at us. Perhaps he thought he could intimidate us but we were well beyond that... and a few of the staff with us were our bouncers, so it was just silly.
We agreed among ourselves how much we should pay for our meals... it worked out to a few dollars each. We did slip a $50 tip to the poor cook. I hope the owner didn't get it.