Thursday, July 26, 2007

Zen to Me (Part II)

So, after I had written the previous blog, I went to dinner at Romano's Macaroni Grill with colleagues.

The waitress was serving drinks to the table behind us. A glass of red wine slipped from her hands. It hit the table and splashed onto the man, who was wearing a white shirt, of course.
(of course.)

She apologized profusely and tried to clean up the mess, as the wine had fallen into the food. The man was in bit of shock at that moment and shook his head. She ran for towels and another waitress helped her. The man got up and walked to the front to get a manager.

He was a tall guy, late 20's/early 30's and he had on white shirt with a pair of perfectly faded jeans. He was there with a woman and a boy. He strode back to the table shaking his head.

When the manager came to his table, he bellowed, "Look what she did! I want all this comped! My whole night is ruined!"

The waitress was actually scared to return as long as the man and his party were still there. Other servers brought out the food for other tables. We ended up waiting quite a bit. My colleague who was facing that table whispered updates as to what the man was doing, since our backs were to him. Once that table left, the waitress came back and apologized to each table. Everyone at 3-4 tables just nodded and said they understood.

OK.. my Zen moment.

While no one particularly enjoys having red wine splashed over them (at least not in public!), was there a real reason to get that upset? She did not come to the table with the intention "Oh look at that guy! he needs to cool off a bit." Accidents happen.

Of course, like I said you don't know the baggage people are carrying - was he with a new girlfriend? were they planning to go somewhere else afterwards? will they be late now that he has to go to the mall to buy a new shirt or go back home?

Instead of receiving sympathy from other patrons, his negative energy made 4 tables and the waitstaff feel uncomfortable. If he had maintained his cool and calmly asked for the complimentary dinner, they would have definitely complied.

It's how you handle such situations that speaks volumes about you. I always remember a particular incident after college graduation. My friend Monika and I had gone to a Thai restaurant with her brother and his then-girlfriend in DC area. I was immediately impressed with the girlfriend because she had such an elegant and mature air about her, while I still had that fresh-from-the-dorm look about me.

At the restaurant, she noticed a bug in her food. She didn't scream. No "eeeewwwww!" She didn't make a fuss. She didn't call the health department to shut them down.

She said "Oh, no" quietly and showed it to her boyfriend for a second opinion. He confirmed it was so. She waved the waiter over.

"Excuse me, can you please bring me another dish. There's a bug in this one." and pointed to the plate. The waiter was shocked and immediately replaced it. She continued the conversation as normal.

She handled the situation so gracefully. I wish I could remember her name, but I remember her actions more. That's what I mean about leaving an impression.

By the way, I've gotten notes about the quotes in the previous blog. We have a corporate website that has a daily quote. Whenever I like the quote, I copy/paste it into my Quotes.txt file. So, it's great to have a handy collection that has grown over the years.


Anonymous said...

I think we have a trendsetter here.
all of you..please state your zen moments

Love It Ashini..

Waiting to hear more zen moments


Unknown said...

I agree completely, irrespective of the negative energy angle, the guy had no reason to be so wound up. These things happen. It takes a lot to come to every table and apologize. People take customer service for subservience some times. Any ways, how are you doing?


Anonymous said...

Wow!Thanks so much!
RS: get ready - I have a lot to say on this!

// - you nailed it with "People take customer service for subservience some times."

I've seen this with a lot of people who get nitpicky and try to get "justice" when it's time to leave a tip. I've done customer service work so sometimes I'm more sympathetic, but I also have higher expectations since I've done the same job.