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Accused of being a racist (waitressing woes)

CanItBeChristineCanItBeChristine Posts: 6,343Registered Users
I've been waiting tables at a little family bar and grill for two months. I've never waited tables before, and I feel like I picked-up on it pretty quickly and well. Some nights my tips aren't great, but only because the place gets slow. My tips are ALWAYS above 15%. I've never had a complaint or any kind of a real issue about my service.

Tonight, a family came in around 9:30PM (it was slowing down.) It was a father or grandfather with a woman, teenage/20-something young lady and a cute little boy (around 4.)

I took their drink orders immediately and brought them-out within two minutes.

I took their dinner order, and the man ordered for the little boy. I made smalltalk with the little boy, like I always do with little kids. (I love little kids!)

I took the menus and told them their soups would be right out.

The SECOND I got to the computer to punch in their orders, I realized, "Waaaaaait, the man didn't give me an order..."

I thought, "Maybe he just didn't order anything, since a lot of people don't order dinner that late at night" but I went back to the table and said, "Sir, I am so sorry, but did you want to order anything else?"

He literally looked at me with his arms folded across his chest and said, "I WAS but I do not WANT anything NOW. You TOOK my menu away without ASKING me."

Me: I'm so, so sorry about that...I took your menu after you ordered for the little boy and I honestly just forgot to specifically ask you what you wanted. But I didn't put anybody's orders into the computer yet, so you can just tell me what you want now and it will come-out with everybody else's food.

Him: I don't WANT anything NOW. It's TOO LATE.

I apologized again, went and put their orders in, came back and checked if they needed a drink refill, brought their soups and walked away.

I brought out their dinner, and one of the women said, "Just bring us a check for the drinks and we want to speak to the manager."

I was like, "Oh good lord, what are they even complaining about?"

I went to my manager in the kitchen and briefed him on what happened. He told me not to worry about it, that he's SO used to this and always sticks-up for the waitresses when the diners are a bit out-of-line.

Wellllllll, he told my manager that I was VERY disrespectful and must have a problem with black people.

Like...what what what?????

I admit, I was wrong in overlooking his order, but WITHIN THIRTY SECONDS I CAME BACK APOLOGIZING PROFUSELY.

-He could have spoken-up and said, "Hey, I also would like to order..."

-I brought-out their drinks and soups RIGHT AWAY.

-I was perfectly nice and polite and helpful and peppy. I always am.

They left, and then the table I had right next to them asked me to get the manager for them. He came over to them, and this couple told him that they really hoped I didn't get into trouble at all, because I was perfectly wonderful to them and to that other table.

My coworkers teased me about it because it was kinda ridiculous AND the two women both had ordered steak dinners which were never eaten, so four of the girls I worked with dug into the steak and baked potatoes and said it was the best part of their day to get free steak dinners!

Glad something good came out of it.

I'm, of course, pretty hurt/insulted that people would make that assumption of me.
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Comments

  • curlypearlcurlypearl Posts: 11,970Registered Users Curl Novice
    With some people it's like a knee-jerk reaction to assume that another person is racist/sexist/ageist etc. It's so unfortunate that there is so much real prejudice that people begin to see it even where it doesn't exist.

    Screw them and put it out of your mind.
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  • cymprenicympreni Posts: 9,609Registered Users Curl Neophyte
    Don't sweat it, some people look for something to complain about. It doesn't matter if you do everything right or if it's their mistake. You can't please them and you can't prevent it. Some people use it as a ploy to get a free or discounted meal.
  • juanabjuanab Posts: 4,037Registered Users
    CIBC, considering the fact that I truly have encountered racist treatment, IMO, you didn't do anything wrong. Mistakes happen. You tried to remedy immediately, but weren't allowed to. Their problem, not yours.

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  • The New BlackThe New Black Posts: 16,738Registered Users
    Yes I agree with CP and I say this as a Black woman. And I hate to be too cynical BUT some people complain and speak to mgmt to get a free meal. Who knows if that's the case here. The complaint just seemed so disproportionate to the minor mistake that was made. IMO it was either a strategic move on their part (or they just seized an opportunity) or hypersensitivity to racism.

    A good mgr will recognize you did nothing racist and won't ever even mention it again. Sounds like that's what your mgr did so chalk this one up to experience and don't give it a further thought.
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  • CanItBeChristineCanItBeChristine Posts: 6,343Registered Users
    Thank you!

    And if I really DID have any issues with them, why on earth would I be so attentive, bringing out the soups and drinks and taking everyone else's orders and apologizing like crazy when I realized my mistake???

    If I was really such a racist, wouldn't I have told somebody else to take the table?
  • jmartinezjmartinez Posts: 126Registered Users
    Omg, those people were crazy. Everyone forgets stuff and you went back to correct it. I dont see any racism there. Sounds like what the other posters said....they were looking for a free or discounted meal. Or, like some people, they prey on people that work in customer service rolls and abuse them. I work in a busy call center as the only spanish bilingual rep and sometimes people yell on the phone or say things like " you will do what I say!" because they feel so important. Its funny sometimes.

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  • LadyV69LadyV69 Posts: 3,397Registered Users
    I wouldn't sweat it too much. Sometimes people will hide behind racism/sexism or whatever ism because they feel entitled, while actual racist/sexist incidents get ignored or dismissed. And I say this as a black woman.

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  • AmnerisAmneris Posts: 15,117Registered Users
    To be clear, I don't think CIBC did anything racist and should not worry about that.

    However, I completely disagree with the contention put forward by several people on this thread that people complain about racism just to complain, or get a free meal or whatever (sounds like a free meal wasn't the issue, since it seems they didn't eat the food and left it for the other servers, nor did the man order food.)

    I think they genuinely perceive racism, even if others can say objectively there is none, because they have experienced so much of it in other areas of their life and so they come to expect that whenever they feel slighted, it is racial, because it often has been in the past. Racism in restaurants and similar places is still very common.
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  • SariaSaria Posts: 15,963Registered Users
    Amneris wrote: »
    To be clear, I don't think CIBC did anything racist and should not worry about that.

    However, I completely disagree with the contention put forward by several people on this thread that people complain about racism just to complain, or get a free meal or whatever (sounds like a free meal wasn't the issue, since it seems they didn't eat the food and left it for the other servers, nor did the man order food.)

    I think they genuinely perceive racism, even if others can say objectively there is none, because they have experienced so much of it in other areas of their life and so they come to expect that whenever they feel slighted, it is racial, because it often has been in the past. Racism in restaurants and similar places is still very common.

    Thank you. I was biting my tongue because I'm not saying CIBC was at fault at all, but stories like these make me think of how many times people have endured racist service.
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  • luvmylocsluvmylocs Posts: 7,578Registered Users
    sorry that happened to you. glad your manager stood up for you. i always wondered if people ate food that looked untouched in the back ;) a little restaurant confidential, lol

    i agree with both sentiments expressed here, racism in restaurants can and does happen but sometimes it's just forgetful or bad service that happens across the board and not race related.

    i also agree that some people use the slightest mistake to justify getting "something free" or justifying not leaving a tip.

    don't worry about it or take it personal. race stuff is on high alert now so just know what happened may not fully be about you and the order situation.
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  • medussamedussa Posts: 12,993Registered Users
    I'm sorry that happened to you.
  • CanItBeChristineCanItBeChristine Posts: 6,343Registered Users
    My manager didn't offer him a free meal. That doesn't mean this man wasn't hoping he would.
  • ursulaursula Posts: 1,461Registered Users
    Thank you!

    And if I really DID have any issues with them, why on earth would I be so attentive, bringing out the soups and drinks and taking everyone else's orders and apologizing like crazy when I realized my mistake???

    If I was really such a racist, wouldn't I have told somebody else to take the table?

    I don't think you did anything wrong or anything that would warrant the suggestion of racist treatment, but I don't totally agree with the above either. Racist treatment isn't always direct and obvious, especially in customer service. Some racists might refuse to take the table, but some wouldn't. And a waitress doesn't have to be KKK-level racist to treat customers differently based on race.

    I still remember going to a chain restaurant when I was a child that we basically had to boycott because we experienced what my dad perceived as racist service. It was a restaurant we'd been to several times before. Party after party got seated while we waited and waited. And who knows? Maybe there was some reason, like those parties had one person more or fewer than ours. I don't remember the details because I was too young. But I also know that my dad isn't likely to imagine these things. Racism in restaurants can be subtle.

    But, again, I'm talking generally. It doesn't sound like you did anything unusual.
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  • murrrcatmurrrcat Posts: 9,596Registered Users
    People WILL complain about anything to get free stuff. OMG.

    at work me and this girl had two little girls to make over, and we had a great time, the moms were laughing the kids were bouncing off the walls happy. High fives around. Mom came back because she didn't like something. We immediately fixed it, told her we're sorry, don't worry about it blah blah smiles smiles smiles (i have teeth problems from SMILING so much at work)

    3 hours later, she accuses the girl I work with (poc) of stealing her daughter's headband...and no one can find the headband that was supposedly stolen. Daughter's favorite headband. Manager gets mad at us because she told them apparently we were rude people, didn't smile, didn't talk to them? WTF/!??! Find the head band the next day, it's like something from the dollar tree. I can't even with people. They be on complete b.s. I want to say that lady was racist because I have an attitude? Of course I do, I'm black.

    :sad3:

    I can name a billion stories where people complain over something to get free stuff. It's so easy to get free stuff if you complain. So why not.

    Some people do have horrible experience in places. if So, I don't complain, I just put extreme kindness on that person. I only tell management if the person does a really well job because not enough positive feedback is given in places. I had a waitress complete crap talk me and someone because she thought we weren't going to tip because we didn't write the amount on the receipt (we were going to use cash). I almost didn't want to tip her at all BECAUSE I'M NOT HARD OF HEARING DUMMY I'M 15 FT AWAY, but I tipped her more than enough because I was pissed.

    Anyway your post made me realize I hate people. So I just hate people and thats the end of that.
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  • RedCatWavesRedCatWaves Posts: 31,258Registered Users
    I'm not certain racism wasn't involved.

    This is someone who freely labeled a "friend" as a slut, and fiercely clung to that being an OK thing to do for hundreds and hundreds of posts saying the opposite.

    I'm sorry...I just have a hard time believing that the patron had such a strong reaction for...absolutely no reason at all...
  • CurlyCanadianCurlyCanadian Posts: 10,780Registered Users Curl Connoisseur
    I'm not certain racism wasn't involved.

    This is someone who freely labeled a "friend" as a slut, and fiercely clung to that being an OK thing to do for hundreds and hundreds of posts saying the opposite.

    I'm sorry...I just have a hard time believing that the patron had such a strong reaction for...absolutely no reason at all...

    Seriously?????
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  • SystemSystem Posts: 39,059 Administrator
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  • medussamedussa Posts: 12,993Registered Users
    I'm not certain racism wasn't involved.

    This is someone who freely labeled a "friend" as a slut, and fiercely clung to that being an OK thing to do for hundreds and hundreds of posts saying the opposite.

    I'm sorry...I just have a hard time believing that the patron had such a strong reaction for...absolutely no reason at all...

    That's so unfair, RCW.
  • SystemSystem Posts: 39,059 Administrator
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  • NYCurlyGirlyNYCurlyGirly Posts: 1,012Registered Users
    I'm not certain racism wasn't involved.

    This is someone who freely labeled a "friend" as a slut, and fiercely clung to that being an OK thing to do for hundreds and hundreds of posts saying the opposite.

    I'm sorry...I just have a hard time believing that the patron had such a strong reaction for...absolutely no reason at all...


    You've said plenty of ridiculous things in the past, but this takes the cake. You can't be serious. How are those two things even related?? My eyes are rolling so far back in my head right now.
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  • RedCatWavesRedCatWaves Posts: 31,258Registered Users
    medussa wrote: »
    I'm not certain racism wasn't involved.

    This is someone who freely labeled a "friend" as a slut, and fiercely clung to that being an OK thing to do for hundreds and hundreds of posts saying the opposite.

    I'm sorry...I just have a hard time believing that the patron had such a strong reaction for...absolutely no reason at all...

    That's so unfair, RCW.



    There's definitely more to the story...
  • SariaSaria Posts: 15,963Registered Users
    Speckla wrote: »
    I'm not certain racism wasn't involved.

    This is someone who freely labeled a "friend" as a slut, and fiercely clung to that being an OK thing to do for hundreds and hundreds of posts saying the opposite.

    I'm sorry...I just have a hard time believing that the patron had such a strong reaction for...absolutely no reason at all...

    You're right. The couple could have been racist.


    I know you're trying to lighten the mood, but no, the couple couldn't have been racist against a white woman.
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  • SystemSystem Posts: 39,059 Administrator

    @RCW


    LEAVE IT: Please don't start new threads to continue an argument from a thread that was locked. New threads created for this purpose will automatically be locked. By the same token, don't take arguments or drama into other, existing threads either; that, too, will result in threads being locked. Members violating these rules will be subject to warning, timeout or banning.

  • wild~hairwild~hair Posts: 9,890Registered Users
    I'm not certain racism wasn't involved.

    This is someone who freely labeled a "friend" as a slut, and fiercely clung to that being an OK thing to do for hundreds and hundreds of posts saying the opposite.

    I'm sorry...I just have a hard time believing that the patron had such a strong reaction for...absolutely no reason at all...

    What is with you today? You seem to be dragging old business with posters from thread to thread.
  • cyndicyndi Posts: 3,341Registered Users
    I'm not certain racism wasn't involved.

    This is someone who freely labeled a "friend" as a slut, and fiercely clung to that being an OK thing to do for hundreds and hundreds of posts saying the opposite.

    I'm sorry...I just have a hard time believing that the patron had such a strong reaction for...absolutely no reason at all...

    I've met CIBC many times. She is sweet, caring, and accepting of everybody. I highly doubt there was any racism involved.
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  • SystemSystem Posts: 39,059 Administrator
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  • EilonwyEilonwy Posts: 12,389Registered Users
    ^^^ In sociology "racism" refers to bias against stigmatized groups. Under this definition, Black people in the US can't be racist against White people.

    In recent years, this definition has become more popular for general usage, and may become the primary definition of "racism." It's useful because it helps shut down derails about "But one time a black person was mean to me!"
  • CGNYCCGNYC Posts: 4,937Registered Users
    medussa wrote: »
    I'm not certain racism wasn't involved.

    This is someone who freely labeled a "friend" as a slut, and fiercely clung to that being an OK thing to do for hundreds and hundreds of posts saying the opposite.

    I'm sorry...I just have a hard time believing that the patron had such a strong reaction for...absolutely no reason at all...

    That's so unfair, RCW.



    There's definitely more to the story...

    I have worked a lot of retail, which isn't food service but it's much the same - you deal with everyone. Some people honestly think you're not helping them because they are Black/gay/pierced and some people are going to complain about SOMETHING, no matter what you do. So no, there isn't necessarily "something more" to the story. Some people are justifiably defensive and some are jerks and misunderstandings happen. Have you ever worked in the service industry? You can't possibly please everyone.
  • SystemSystem Posts: 39,059 Administrator
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  • CanItBeChristineCanItBeChristine Posts: 6,343Registered Users
    Also, just want to add that I say OFTEN at work/to my coworkers things like,"Most of our customers are so nice and laid-back!"

    It's a pretty diverse area...people of all races, religions, sexual orientations. They definitely weren't the only Black family that I waited on that shift, but they were definitely the only table that has issued any kind of a complaint about me in two months.

    And, yes, RCW, the more to the story was that I got distracted playing with the little boy and grabbed the man's menu too soon. Your comment was rude, inflammatory and uncalled for and I haven't the slightest idea how my calling a friend's behavior slutty two years ago somehow makes me a racist.
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