If Customers Would Just Say What They Mean

Customers very often do not say what they really mean. It’s as if they think we are clairvoyants with aprons who can delve deep into the their subconscious and read their minds as if it was a Kindle. It takes years of experience to be able to decipher what some customers are saying, but once you become versed in their hidden language, life at the restaurant is so much easier. Allow me to be your Rosetta Stone of customer communication and tell you what they actually mean when they say something.
What they say: We come here all the time.
What they mean: Since we come here two or three times a year, we think we are special and should be treated better than anyone else.

What they say: I like my steak cooked somewhere between medium rare and medium well, but with just a little pink inside but not too dry.
What they mean: I don’t know what the fuck I am talking about and as long as there is plenty of ketchup, I will eat the steak however it comes.

What they say: Can you make my margarita a little stronger?
What they mean: I’m too cheap to pay for an extra shot of tequila.

What they say: I don’t mean to complain, but…
What they mean: I am totally about to complain…

What they say: No, it’s fine, I’ll eat it this way.
What they mean: I’m not going to leave you a tip and I’m going to write a note on my credit card receipt saying that the food sucked.

What they say: It’s my birthday today.
What they mean: Can you make everyone who works here drop what they are doing and gather around me to sing an off-key version of “Happy Birthday?” But only if you’re going to bring free dessert for me and everyone at my table.

What they say: We know the owner.
What they mean: We met the owner once but we don’t remember her name but we’ll get a free round of drinks now, right?

What they say: I’m gluten-free, what can I eat?
What they mean: I read something in O Magazine about gluten once and I want to be cool and trendy, so I’ll have you leave the bun off my burger but I’ll still drink a beer and then have a piece of cake for dessert.

What they say: We are in a really, really big hurry.
What they mean: We are really, really hungry.

What they say: Do you have a restroom?
What they mean: Where is the restroom?

What they say: What do you recommend?
What they mean: Can you tell me your three or four favorite things off the menu so I can completely ignore you while you talk and then I will order the thing that I wanted as soon as I sat down?

What they say: You are the best server I have ever had. Really, you are truly amazing and I am am going to ask for you every time I come here.
What they mean: I complimented you so now I don’t have to tip you.

This list could go on forever because customers are are really good at double speak. Thankfully, I’m really good at sifting through bullshit. You’re welcome. Also, click here to buy my book because if enough people buy it, I can get rid of my Thursday night shift.

4 thoughts on “If Customers Would Just Say What They Mean

  1. Alan

    What they say: We know the owner.

    What I’d like to say (#1): Yeah, the owner knows you guys. He thinks you’re all assholes, too!

    What I’d like to say (#2): Really? So you and Richard are old friends, huh?

    Their response: Yeah, yeah, we’ve been best buds since the third grade!

    My response: He happens to be here right now! I’ll have him come over when he’s got a free moment!

    (I go to the manager’s office)

    Me: Hey, Harold! Some guy at table 6 is a friend of yours! Said you’ve both been besties since grade school. He’d like for you to stop by!

    Harold goes over, thinking as he gets there “Who the hell is this guy?”

  2. yeesh

    Ugh. The verbal tip… Don’t fucking bother. My landlady doesn’t let me live here for free because I tell her how great she is at land-ladying. Just leave. Don’t add insult to injury.

    Had three women tell me they come in all the time but this time the food they ordered was really disappointing, despite them ordering off menu, totally modified custom salads. Of course everything was great until the check came. Two of them asked me where the washroom was on the way out… WTF? I thought you were regulars.

    I said it was past the salad bar and vaguely gestured toward the door. We don’t have a salad bar. Bitches.


  3. Dammit

    Holy crap, it’s all too true. F***ing people. I never hated people as much as when I started waiting tables. Did it for almost 20 years, and I’m sorry I broke both hips, but at the same time I’d love to be sweeping Cheerios off the floor and doing pre-shift shots with my coworkers

  4. Clarissa

    The last one reminds me of my cheap, embarrassing, liar of a step-father. For years as a kid whenever we went to restaurants he would ask for a manager at the end of the meal so he could praise the waiter so excessively it was humiliating for all because the manager would always be so greatful for the praise he’d give my dad a voucher so my dad would get something free. It was so phony and insincere but he did it every time for years.


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