I used to like the name Lena. I just liked the way it sounded as it casually rolled along the tip of my tongue. Le – na, I would repeat to myself as I appreciated the cadence of the two syllables. Perhaps the name also conjured up nice memories for me, as one of my family’s dear relatives held that moniker. But, after my unpleasant encounter last weekend with a surly waitress named Lena, this name is not so much a favorite of mine anymore. Instead, it actually elicits for me that high energy ping one feels upon remembrance of a person they do not like.
So, what happened this time to cause this visceral response in me? My family and I had ventured out for the evening to enjoy a quiet dinner with one another. We had just driven six hours from our home to visit relatives for the weekend. We were tired, and ready to savor our tranquil time together before we engaged in the much anticipated chatter with our clan the next day. But, serenity was not to be. Along came the unexpected Lena factor.
That night, we decided to try a new Japanese steakhouse that came highly recommended…both for the cuisine as well as the service. The food did not disappoint, but the service…..well, that was quite a different story. Looking over the menu, we decided on chicken teriyaki sushi as an appetizer. Because we don’t eat shellfish, we asked the waitress if we could have only chicken (no shellfish) in the sushi. She assured us that would be no problem. Then, we requested a bit more time to look over the extensive menu before finalizing our order.
We were finally ready to place our order, when we saw that our original welcoming waitress had turned our table over to another server…who, of course turned out to be the churlish Lena. From the beginning, we noticed that Lena’s demeanor was brusque, even unfriendly. There would be no chit-chat with her. That was okay with us. We were hungry and just wanted to eat. We ordered the chicken teriyaki sushi (with only chicken), along with other delicious looking menu items. The wait for our food commenced.
The sushi arrived looking very appealing. I enthusiastically popped a piece in my mouth. Mmmmm! It tasted delightful. As I went to spear another chunk with my fork, I noticed an unfamiliar taste lingering along my taste buds. Upon examining the sushi more closely, I saw that it contained what appeared to be shellfish. Uh, oh. This was not prepared as we had requested. We called Lena over to our table to resolve the problem.
We explicitly explained our predicament to Lena, who informed us that the sushi did, indeed, contain crab meat. At this point, we expected her to exchange the sushi for one that was made according to our expectation. But, boy, I couldn’t have been more wrong. Little did I know, this was only the beginning of one of the most heated waitress/customer confrontations we had ever experienced. A great battle was about to ensue.
Lena contended that the mistake was ours, and that the menu stated the inclusion of the crab meat in the sushi. “Didn’t you read the menu!?” she sputtered at us in a condescending, angry tone. We answered in the affirmative, but maintained the position that we had asked our original waitress if it was possible to order the sushi with ONLY chicken and no shellfish. The first waitress had confirmed that our request was perfectly acceptable, which is exactly how we ordered the appetizer from Lena. Yet, a fire, completely unexpected, continuously emanated from Lena’s lips as each minute progressed. We had no idea what could be fanning her flames over, what seemed to us, a minor miscommunication. Gee, what happened to the old adage that the customer is always right, anyway, we wondered? It simply was not in play here.
Nevertheless, no matter how much we protested, Lena was utterly unbending. She was completely unwilling to correct the problem, and told us so in the most disrespectful, rude way possible. “If you return this sushi appetizer, I will have to pay for it!!!” Lena now almost screamed at us with steam seemingly blowing out of her ears. What in the world was she talking about, that SHE would have to pay for it, I thought? That was odd. Nevertheless, I didn’t quite care what Lena meant at that point, because I was also having a little heat rise up within me as well, as if I were having a menopausal hot flash! Lena continued to make it abundantly clear that there would absolutely be no crabless sushi for us. Well, that was quite apparent.
At the height of this now brawl, Lena rudely turned her back on us and abruptly exited the verbal boxing match, while still offering no resolution. We were suddenly left staring at the plate of sushi which remained sitting on the table. After all the fracas, we were right back where the whole mess had started in the first place. I had tried my best, throughout, to keep my cool, and my U Love meter on high. But, this had gone too far. Now, I was feeling anger begin to replace temperance. How dare Lena treat us, the customers, in such a boorish manner over such a minor issue! Things like this happen all of the time in restaurants. Why was this particular incident eliciting such a deplorable response from our waitress? It was definitely time to bring the manager on the scene, and unleash my response to this offensive situation. Lena’s awful behavior would not go without consequence. I would make sure of that.
For the scoop on the lively, concluding events to this story, please check in next week. There’s much more to this scintillating saga for you to enjoy. See ‘ya next week!
Please join our U Love chain here.