Friday, October 12, 2007

My quest for ethical perfection

Who knew my ethics would be questioned during a lunch date with my girls at the Olive Garden?
My ethical wielding waiter and I engaged in some twilight zone worthy dialogue the other day. Here is our conversation...

Me: I would like the soup and salad and then I would like to split a kids meal between my girls, shell pasta with Alfredo sauce.
Waiter:I cant split that
Me: Okay, then can you just bring an extra bowl and Ill split it?
Waiter: Well, its just not right.
Me: Whats not right?
Waiter: You cant just split a meal, (again) its just not right.
Me: Sure I can, we come in here often and order the exact same thing. Its not an all you can eat pasta bowl.
Waiter: Of course not.
Me: I'm not sure what exactly is not right
Waiter: Well, you cant have a big group of people come in and order just one meal to split.
Me: Actually, yes you can. I could invite 200 of my closest friends and order one bowl of soup if that's what I want to do.
Waiter: Its just not right (again with that)
Me: Well, what about appetizers, you order 1 appetizer for an entire table of people.
Waiter: But that's an appetizer.
Me: Okay then, I would like 1 kids meal appetizer, shell pasta with Alfredo sauce.
Waiter: Well, Ill do it for you, but I just don't think its right.
Me: I'm still really confused as to what I'm ethically doing wrong.
Waiter: Ill do it for you, Ill let you split it.
Me: Its not a matter of letter me do anything. I could order this pasta and then throw it away if I wanted to. Its my complete choice what I want to actually do with the food I am paying for.
Waiter: Ma am, Ill put your order in.

For a slight millisecond I actually started to second guess myself. Only because it was one of the strangest most wasted effort of breath conversation Ive had with an adult in a long time.
Normally I would have totally asked for the manager and in the end received my meal free and complimentary appetizers for our next visit. But, it was noon, busy, I had my girls with me. I was in a good mood.
But, for the record, I actually do not appreciate being called a thief by less than minimum wage tip seeking waiter freaks. He acted like he was holding the door for me as I ran from a bank robbery with an armful of marked cash. Or looking the other way as I snuck 12 friends into a movie, or helped me steel pennies from the tin cup toting Salvation Army senior citizen during the holidays.
Correct me if I'm wrong but I think he might be the only misinformed waiter out there that actually thinks restaurants make their money per person rather than per meal. So, if I had been there with a friend and she wanted a sip of my soup was he going to chase me down and make a citizen arrest?
I have his name, I'm planning on going back this week during slow hours to chat with the manager and receive my complimentary stuffed mushrooms.
The rest of the meal he was overly nice, he realized my irritation and went a little overboard. But I still never got the sensation that he had an aha moment and realized how wrong he really was. Oh well, I'm still going back and I'm still splitting the kids meal. And if I feel the urge, next time I'm inviting 15 of my dearest friends to split bread sticks and marinara sauce. Ahhh, the joys of fine Italian dining.


heather said...

what a nerd! You can't split a kids meal? Its not like you were asking for 2 helpings for the price of one!

I'm with you, when you agree to pay for ti you can do what ever you want with it.

Ask for a different waiter if you get him again!

Sara said...

Hilarious, Jenny! I know adults who split a meal all the time. I love how you could think clearly to even argue with the guy. I'm not good at that.

April Lady said...

That is too funny! He sounds just as stupid that Target associate that kept repeating himself. And, yes you are right. You can split a meal. Ryan and I did it for years when we were newlyweds. We'd binge on bread sticks and salad and split the taste of italy. I don't know how you kept your cool. I would've told him he was ridiculous and most defintiely would've had my meal free! I think I got a guy fired once from Garcias once becasue he was so inept. He had no business being a waiter. Anyway, way to go keeping civilized. This must be a result from your keeping your opinions to yourself around your friends. What a skill to have! Let me know if you want me to be included in your 200 friends sharing an appetizer. MMMMM!

royaloaker said...

Ugh! I would have been raging. You sounded like you did a great job holding your ground. Bravo! What did you do for tip???

What a d-bag. It's idiot servers at chain restaurants like that that make me NOT want to eat at chain restaurants. Lots of places have a shared meal charge-- if you don't have that indicated on the menu, FAIR GAME TO SHARE in my book! GAWSH!

JRV said...

10% tip because other than the strange and wasteful initial conversation, the service was actually really good. But by no means was I going to leave my usual 20% or 40%, depending on the clarity of my math skills that day.

Rick said...

I'll go -- if we can order a salad. I really like their salad.

LeAnn said...

Hmmm... probably WHY he is a waiter, and not doing anything that required more thinking skills. Although, he is obviously not doing great at it. If I owned that restaurant and found out my waiter was insulting returning patrons I would be more than pissed.

Mom said...

You could have really thrown an ethical question at him, like 'is it alright to copy video tapes a friend loans you'? I see you are still trying to make the world think before they speak. Good for you.