I must be getting old. I am far less patient than I used to be, and I am much quicker to jump to unwarranted conclusions. This nearly got me in trouble last week when I went out with my family as we bid adieu to my youngest for the summer.
Given all our various obligations and opportunities, we had to work hard to find a time and place that would work, but finally settled on a nice upscale restaurant with an 8:30 reservation on a Thursday night. A couple of us arrived a bit early and told the hostess that the others were on their way. Still, she seated us at a nice 5 top in the middle of the dining room, and we waited a good 5 minutes before anyone resembling a server bothered to stop and greet us. This is where my lack of patience nearly got me in trouble.
I started to get a bit snarky with our server but noticed the disapproving look on my oldest daughter’s face and backed off. Our server then took a moment to apologize for neglecting us. Apparently, there was some confusion over who was going to serve us and they thought we wanted to wait until all of our party had arrived before ordering. Obviously my snark was a bit premature, but I held it in reserve anticipating further missteps.
When I did order my beer, she pointed out that there was another new item that was similar to the one had ordered, and offered to bring me a sample. Okay, so I admit it, a bit of free beer always takes my edge off, and it was a nice alternative to my usual EPA.
As we continued to wait for my wife and second daughter to join us, we ordered a couple appetizers – the bruschetta plate and 1 lb. of the steamed mussels. She made a point of clarifying the order because most groups our size would have the 2lb platter and would not pass up the “world class french fries”. We thanked her for the suggestion but felt that the one pound would suffice. With that my wife and youngest walked in, a bit bedraggled from a public transportation snafu. Realizing their state, she welcomed them and attended directly to their glasses of wine.
When the appetizers eventually arrived, our server apologetically placed a two pound platter of mussels on the table, saying that she was only charging us for the one, but felt we really needed the larger platter. Needless to say, we ate them all. In the midst of devouring the mussels, another server brought us a small plate of the “world class french fries”, in spite of our protests, she put them on the table and told us that our server had decided that they tasted so good with the mussels that she could not let us leave without trying them. Again, no charge.
So…what would have happened if I had gotten on my righteous pedestal earlier on? After all, I had every right to display my dissatisfaction after having to wait 5 minutes without a beer…even if there was a reasonable explanation for the delay. I learned a great lesson that night. If one is patient, one just might get free beer, more mussels and “world class french fries”. I am glad my daughter wiped the snarkiness off my face before I had a chance to enjoy the meal.
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