The other day I was having lunch at one of my local restaurants and I was REALLY hungry (I had waited too long to eat). I sat down and when the server came to take my drink order, I ordered my drink and my meal. I asked for a BBQ Burger, no bacon and substitute a veggie burger for the meat. At least.... that's what I meant to say because I don't eat meat. When the sandwich arrived, it came with the veggie burger but also had bacon on top. I corrected the guy that brought it to the table and told him there was a mistake, I don't eat meat. My server came over to me and asked me if I wanted them to prepare it again. I said, “Yes, because I don't want them just pulling the bacon off the sandwich because I don’t eat meat.”
While I was waiting for them to bring my order, I started thinking about what I might have said when I placed my order. Perhaps I forgot to tell her "no bacon" because after all, I have ordered that sandwich many times before and they always seem to get my order right! I also knew how hungry I was and that my concentration may have been off because I was also responding to emails on my phone when I placed my order! When she brought my sandwich to me, I apologized and said, "I am so sorry if I forgot to tell you, no bacon. I must have thought it in my head but didn't say it out loud and I believe the mistake was all mine.”
The server looked at me and suddenly broke out into a huge smile and she said, “You know, some of us in the kitchen were just talking about when customers make mistakes on their orders and a lot of us have decided that it happens when people are hungry. But usually people get angry when the order is wrong and I really appreciate you being so patient and understanding.”
I thought this situation was a great example of how people often blame others without stopping to think about how they may have blamed someone else for their own mistake.
We can all be a lot less judgmental and a lot more understanding to how we react in any given situation. My server was concerned about giving me quality service because it’s her job and she believes her tip will depend on how I view her service. I had a choice, I could blame the extra wait for my food on the server, the kitchen staff or the restaurant or I could take 100% responsibility for my actions and make the whole situation as pleasant as possible.
I tipped her more than normal, asked to see the manager, told him that I had awesome service and I truly appreciated how his staff took care of me, and then made the manager promise that he would praise my server before the end of her shift.
Let’s all work on treating others as we ourselves would like to be treated!
Nancy Mueller ~ Empowerment Sensei for Women
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