Let me give you a little background on myself that you may or may not be aware of. My name is Arienna, that’s my real name. My mother fell in love with the Jewish boys’ name Ari (which means lion) and named me for it. For that reason -alone- I’d be fascinated with the Jewish culture and people. I had a Jewish caretaker for awhile when I was little, and I’ve done some quiet reading and studying up on ‘em. I adore them in that same goofy, admiring way that I and the rest of my generation tend to adore Japanese pop culture. If someday I happened to decide I wanted to marry a Jewish man and have children I would convert without fuss, and be very happy to raise my children in the faith. But I’m not Jewish. In fact, I’m a couple inches of height away from being a total Aryan dork. I used to worry when I was trying to hang out with the Jewish kids that someone’s ancient grandmother would see me and start screaming at me for killing her family. :/
And I love my name. Totally. And everyone else loves my name! At work I go by Arie because asking a table of American diners to accurately pronounce “Arienna” just isn’t going to happen. ^_~ I bounce up to the table and chirp “Hi there, my name’s Arie! I’m going to be taking care of you today” and half the tables go “Ari? What a pretty name!” and I say “Thank you! It means Lion in Hebrew! Suits my fearsome nature.” and then I say ‘Rawr!’ and everyone giggles because I’m little and blonde and adorable. And then the table tips be really well because I’m little and completely adorable.
Well… -today-… man. I was working the Lounge at work – a set of tables around the bar where people can choose to seat themselves at rather than waiting for a table in the main dining room. The restaurant was unexpectedly busy and we’d been running ourselves ragged for most of the night. Well this couple saunters into the restaurant (and I say that because I’m pissed at them, they probably didn’t really saunter) and sat themselves at one of my tables -immediately- after the occupants left. I hadn’t even gotten a chance to pull the credit card slips off the table. So I hopped over to them, apologized for the mess (Even though they’d chosen to sit there) and quickly cleared the plates and mess off the table. When I came back, I cheerfully announced “Hi there! My name’s Arie, I’m going to be–” And the guy interrupted me, saying, “Is that -Israeli-?!”
The tone of voice, boys and girls, completely flattened my ears. But the truth is I’m a submissive little kitten at work so I just raised my chipper level up a notch and cheerfully said that yes, it was a jewish name. And the fellow looks over at his female companion and does this… pucker of his lips thing. o.O O_o
And then, boys and girls, everything started to go wrong. They wanted some of the sweet mashed potatoes that we only carried for an autumn special and I had to explain that we didn’t have any and that instead we’d replaced them with the winter specials, which included the delicious cheesy au gratin potatoes… But -no-, that wasn’t acceptable. And they wanted the potatoe soup but our soup of the day was the cheesy onion and -that- irritated them too. And then they ordered their steaks cooked medium and I began my explanation that our medium has a good red center… And they interrupted me to snap that they’d -been- there before and they -know- that. So I got their drinks, doled out their bread, and mostly gave them their space while I handled my other tables and chores. Their food came up while I was in the kitchen so I got to run it out – and I asked my usual “Does everything look good? Do you need any sauces or anything?” And the lady began cutting into her steak and announced it needed to go back for “just a little bit” (for reference, she wasn’t so bad). It was a tad on the medium rare side but not much so I tried to explain to her, again, that our temperature scale has medium at a really good red center and so if she likes it cooked a bit more she can always tell us to aim for medium plus. It’s been done, it works.
I was interrupted -again-, before I could even get into it and told that they’d -ordered- medium before and they -knew- what it was supposed to be and to take it back. Oookay. No problem, really. I was just trying to clear it up a bit. The terms rare and medium and well are all so variable that if a server can get a description of what a person wants “a lot of pink and a little bit of red…” or “Charred dead!”, they can -nail- the cook temperatures with the kitchen. Nonetheless, I took the steak back to the kitchen (first scooting her potatoe onto an appetizer plate so she’d have something to munch on while I was working on it. I’m such a good waitress girl. <3) and handed it to my head cook, telling him the lady wanted it cooked more. He asked how she wanted it, I told him medium, he said it -was- medium. I told him more medium, less rare please. So he took it from me and loaded it onto the grill… And handed it back to me a couple minutes later. I had no managers handy and I didn’t want to leave it waiting so I got another baked potatoe, loaded everything up, and ran it out to her. She sliced into it a couple times and said it was fine. I told her to “Enjoy!” and bounced off to find a manager to go do the schmooozing thing they do so well.
My manager goes to talk to them while I playing with the table next to them… And… omg. They -complained- about me. First they sent the steak back again (which is cool! No problem! I waited to see if it’d be okay specificially so they wouldn’t be stuck with a poorly suited steak! Argh!) And that guy? He began complaining about me. o.O I didn’t stick around to listen to what all he was saying (“worst server I have ever had”), I was too busy blushing hotly because I was standing two feet away. I excused myself from the antics of my other table’s children and ran into the kitchen to do some busy work.
My manager came to find me a few moments later… Now he knows me, I’m a good little waitress and I genuinely enjoy my job so he wasn’t raking me over the coals. But he said “Listen I don’t know what happened but something you said -really- hit a nerve with that guy. So… for the rest of their dinner, why don’t you practice your silent service, okay?” And I was left feeling kinda awkward and miserable while I did my ninja refills on their drinks. And I was -seriously- tempted to scribble “shalom aleichem! ^_^” or something on their bill… But, you know. Sweet, submissive kittens can’t do that sort of thing.
Anyway. It sucked. It sucked slightly less when the table who was next to this couple demanded to see my manager so they could tell him I was absolutely -fantastic- for them and tipped very well. Thanks guys. <3