If you’ve ever had the misfortune to dine at a restaurant with someone who likes to complain about anything andeverything to the wait staff, you’ll know what an uncomfortable and unpleasant experience it can be for everyone bar the person complaining. They are often completely oblivious to the embarrassment they cause to the people they are eating with and the staff that bear the brunt of their criticisms and finickity requests. One man, faced with his wife’s extremely annoying behaviour at restaurants came up with a way to covertly apologise to the staff.
Sharing his story on Reddit the man explains:
My wife and I (in our 30s) dine out every once in a while but not too often because of my wife’s annoying habit, inherited from her family. She always complains, sends food back if it’s not absolutely perfect, and makes needless requests/substitutions (she doesn’t have allergies or sensitivities). It can easily take 5 minutes for her just to order her own food and sometimes I’ve already finished my meal by time she gets her food because she sends it back, asks for modifications, etc. I know restaurant staff don’t appreciate it. I’ve tried talking to her about this but she doesn’t see an issue with it.
Anyway, we make decent money and we use our combined fun funds on dates/dinners. I recently started writing what my wife does on the receipt and then calculating a tip (in addition to the normal gratuity) to compensate. So, to a receipt I might add:
– Complained about not having ___ beverage, +$5
– Asked 5 questions about a single menu item, +$5
– Asked for new drink because too much ice, +$5
– Sent meal back, was exactly what she ordered, +$5
She didn’t notice me doing it the first two or three times but last night she noticed I was spending a lot of time on writing a tip amount and asked why. I showed her what I wrote. She’s been mad at me since, saying I’m embarrassing her to the staff. I told her she’s embarrassing us both.
AITA? Petty, maybe, but an AH?
ETA: My wife is otherwise a very nice, caring and generous person. She does always say please and thank you even for her most absurd requests. Annoying each other like this is our love language, but this time she’s pretty mad. Oops.
Notably, the wife didn’t illicit any sympathy in the comment section. In fact many people thought that the man’s itemised tips on the bill was hilarious and would be greatly received by the wait staff who had to deal with her ridiculous requests.
NTA. This is great. Maybe seeing it written down will give her some perspective.
These types of patrons are the worst, and it’s such second degree embarrassment when they are at your table. (HeirOfRavenclaw)
NTA. I’m a former server who worked at multiple restaurants. I would have HATED your wife, no matter how polite. I have other tables and she sounds like a time drain who’s impossible to please. Your embarrassment isn’t an overreaction, the servers are definitely judging and gossiping about it. I appreciate your itemized receipts. They would have made me laugh and been shown to work buddies.
Too much ice? Really? Get out. (pumpkinspicenation)
As a former server, it can make you feel like absolute shit when someone acts this way, and it can make you/the kitchen/the bartenders look bad to your manager. The extra money helps compensate for all the extra work, and the itemized list makes it clear to everyone exactly who/what the problem is. (Malayati)
Some people even suggested that rather than making the couple unpopular at restaurants, kowing that the husband tipped well to compensate for his wife’s behaviour may even make wait staff more keen to serve them.
“Oh, it’s my favourite couple to wait on!” “Why, are they really nice and easy going?” “Oh God no, one of them is an absolute nightmare. But the other one tips way extra when she is!” (Tired_Engineer_1953)
Other people did not agree with this sentiment.
Not all servers like putting up with bullshit just because you are going to throw a few extra dollars at them. Most have dignity and self- respect that does not have a price. (Suspicious_Tank_61)
In fact, some people thought that he was an a-hole for ultimately justifying her behaviour because she was always ‘polite’ whilst also being a massive pain in the arse, and thinking that he could throw money at the people on the other end of her behaviour – rather than expecting her to modify her bad behaviour.
ESH. YOU the way you are dealing with it.. HER for doing it (Spiritual-Wind-3898)
100%. Someone who does this shit all the time in a restaurant shouldn’t be going out to eat, and while it’s nice the server is getting paid, that’s really not enough to deal with a time sink table. That server is constantly running back and forth for a lot of other tables, and time wasted dealing with these nightmare guests is lost tips from people who actually are polite to staff. (Firm_Lie_3870)
Being polite does not justify her juvenile and entitled behaviour. (NansieAllen)
Hopefully the following explanation from a restaurant owner opened the couples eyes up to the knock-on effect such behaviour has.
YTA, unpopular opinion but read it until the end and you might understand. I own a restaurant and given the situations you explained I believe her first time dining with us would be her last regardless of tip size. No matter how “polite” all of your wife’s requests are, they are not at all polite to the staff or the establishment.
When she is brought food exactly how it was ordered and exactly how its supposed to be prepared then sends it back to modify it? We just lost any money we made off that table remaking her food and giving other customers a poor experience by pushing back their orders to accommodate hers a second time (not to mention people waiting extra long to order, get their food brought out, get their drinks, get cashed out, get boxes or literally any form of service because you wife just held the server hostage for 5 minutes to order a grilled cheese).
After these interactions staff are being nice to you as not to jeopardize their job (most incompetent management would fire them for standing up to rude/ridiculouscustomers). Restaurant managers/owners are being extra nice to you not for your sake, but for the sake of their image and their brands image they need to be extra nice and accommodating to you in front of all those other customers watching this go down. Not only are you both the staff’s gossip for the night but the rest of the patrons as well.
Your wife is the reason that people in the foodservice/hospitality/customer service world are so miserable, burnt out, and the industry as a whole is struggling to find good help. You are enabling her by not telling her to stop and be polite. (thatwasgaybro)
Have you ever had the misfortune of having to eat out with, or serve, someone like this?