Excusing a Behavior

“Please stop talking now and listen to me.”

I actually said this to a general manager of a very fine dining establishment in my hometown last week. I’d taken a dear friend of mine who was in town out to brunch at one of our favorite local restaurants. I have loved this place for years. It has awesome food, great views and is really a lovely place to dine.

We showed up for our reservation – right on time and were seated promptly. I’m not going to story tell the entire brunch episode because I’m afraid I’d bore you to death with the play by play, but below are the bulleted highlights:

  • Waiter arrives and is literally dripping sweat into our water glasses
  • Water glass has bright pink lipstick on it
  • Waiter disappears for over 15 minutes between taking our drink orders and returning with our drinks
  • Waiter disappears for the next 45 minutes.
  • There are no coffee or water refills
  • There is not a single sighting of him
  • Other waiters take pity on us and refill water
  • Food finally arrives
  • We ask for an additional water glass and some non-buttered toast
  • The waiter tells us that there is no toast on the menu (there is)
  • We realize that the yogurt parfait is missing a spoon to eat it with
  • Waiter returns with buttered toast
  • We send him away with the buttered toast, asking for a spoon and the additional water glass (2ndtime)
  • Waiter returns with the original buttered toast – it has simply been flipped over so that the butter was on the bottom of the slice
  • We send waiter back with the toast, asking for a spoon (again) and the additional glass of water (3rdtime)
  • The manager arrives and tells us that the cook sent him out because apparently he was the one who realized that there was something wrong with our table.

So – let’s pick up the story there. The general manager walks over. He asks me if there is something wrong.

I, in a very friendly tone and with a smile on my face, start to give feedback to him about the about the experience we’d just been through. I get about 20 seconds into my story and he interrupted me. He stopped me and said, “He’s been on the job for only one week.” This is when I raised my hand and actually said to this human: “Please stop talking and listen to me.”

If I’d been able to explain my woes uninterrupted, and without the GM excusing the behavior, I may have been able to get my level of unhappiness off of my chest. Because he interrupted me, he literally put a stall in my ability to forgive. I won’t be back – and it wasn’t because of the entire experience, it was because of that one moment. I felt so disrespected that I’m officially done. All because of that one moment when my feelings were disregarded when the manager excused the behavior. Learning: take it. Listen to the feedback. Even if there is a reason behind why something happened, doesn’t mean that it didn’t upset me when it happened to me. Just listen.

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