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The Blue & Gray Press | May 22, 2018

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The Customer is Not Always Right

By KIERAN MULLARKEY
Staff Writer

Every weekend I drive about an hour to Fairfax, Va to work in a relatively classy restaurant. The waiters wear starched shirts and aprons, and it has an excellent wine list, phenomenal food, and ridiculous customers. After nearly three years in the restaurant business, I can tell you that some customers are not always right.

I have had customers spit gum on the table, play bridge for three hours at a table without ordering anything, and pick their nose in front of me. None of these instances compare to this one nightmare family I had on a memorable Saturday night.

A middle-aged mom, a grandmother, four toddlers, and one infant were all seated at my table. The toddlers were out of control. They threw the salt and pepper shakers at me, slobbered all over the nicely refurbished table, and jumped up and down on the cushion seats while I was trying to tell them the specials for the day. The mom was the worst.

When her kids acted up, she yelled at them loudly, interrupting every other diner in the table’s vicinity. She did this while breast-feeding her infant child.

The grandmother was drinking her glass of wine, smiling as though this family was normal. Needless to say, the breast feeding mother took about 10 minutes to order a chicken salad. When I brought bread to the table, the obnoxious kids threw the bread on the floor so I had to get more at the behest of the bad mother. I finally put their order in and figured that the worst was over.

When I returned to check on this hellish table, the mother had just finished putting a forkful of grilled chicken salad into her mouth and was changing her infants diaper at the dinner table. She was actually eating while changing her child’s diaper on the dinner table.

I could not believe my eyes. She glanced at me as to suggest that everything was fine, but I was flabbergasted. Now my restaurant is not a four-star restaurant, but it is pretty fancy.

Needless to say, changing a child’s diaper at a dinner table anywhere is just disgusting. Waiting on a table like this is enough to make Sarah Palin pro-choice.

They eventually left and despite their 20 percent tip, I hoped that they would never come back. I put on some latex gloves, sprayed the table and seats with rubbing alcohol and disinfectant and checked my watch. It was 5:57 p.m. and my Saturday night shift had just begun.

None of my other tables that evening were quite as rambunctious as this one, but I started to think for a moment. People come into this restaurant to eat, drink and relax. Some customers abuse common courtesy and behave selfishly. The mother with the family was selfish. She did not care if her rowdy kids would interrupt other patrons trying to enjoy their meals. She definitely did not care about other people who would eat at her table where she changed her child’s diaper.

This woman had every right to come into the restaurant with her children, but she had no right to breast feed and change her infant’s diaper in a public restaurant at her table. Some may argue that breast feeding is completely natural and should not be frowned upon if someone does it in public. I respect that opinion, but I should not have to see a mother breast feeding when I am asking her if she wants her salad dressing on the side. The customer is not always right.