Over the weekend my friend went to a nice restaurant with some friends. He has been doing a “dry January,” raising money for cancer research by abstaining from alcohol. By this point, he was just a week away from finishing the month.
During dinner he ordered a virgin cocktail. He made it clear to the waiter that he did not want any alcohol in his “mocktail.” The waiter took the order and brought the drink back, specifying which of the table’s drinks were not alcoholic. My friend had finished most of it when the waiter rushed over to the table. He told them that he had served my friend a drink with alcohol instead of a virgin version. Somehow his order had been mixed up with that of another table.
My friend was understandably annoyed. But instead of offering a sincere apology or offering to cover a portion of the bill, the waiter joked that he was surprised that my friend hadn’t tasted the alcohol in the drink. He also added that he too had recently broken his vow of January sobriety, suggesting that my friend should get over it.
My friend didn’t want to make a scene, but he found the service to be appalling. When he told me this story, I was horrified. Mistakes happen, but what if the alcoholic drink had gone to a pregnant woman or a recovering addict? The waiter clearly seemed to be careless and there could have been serious consequences. What’s more, his attitude suggested that he didn’t really care about the issue. At the very least the drinks should have been comped. It’s sad to see poor customer service go unpunished.