I often wonder about the sanity of the people I share this world with.
A group of young people recently gathered for some face time and food at a local restaurant.
They appeared to have some idea what manners were, but they used them to speak down to the servers waiting on them.
Nothing was apparently right about the free appetizers provided because I watched as they were returned twice within a few minutes of my arrival.
I sat next to them for 35 minutes. It was an eye opening experience to say the least.
The server for that table was also the server for our table. He was pleasant and prompt. Answered our questions about the menu with ease, I didn't have an empty glass during my meal, the food was served promptly and he checked on us frequently.
We appreciated the young man's attention and tipped him well.
This was the same quality of service provided to the table next to us.
However it wasn't appreciated, and I think it was on purpose.
They kept changing their minds while ordering and tried mercilessly to confuse the waiter through three attempts to get their food order.
Each time they would tell him they needed more time - "And oh yeah, could you bring us more appetizers and refills" - and then laugh at him when he left.
When he'd return with their requests, they'd change their minds about who had what drink, complain about the appetizers or about dirty silverware. Off he'd go to fix yet another complaint, and they'd laugh at him while playing on their cellphones. (They even asked the people in the booth behind them to move out of the way of their selfie.)
Order taken and food delivered to the table, they would torment him by saying he had the orders wrong. Plates were passed and exchanged a few times before they finally let him off the hook to leave and do the rest of his job.
It only took this group a few minutes to start another phase of terror when they took turns eating a little bit of their food and then find a reason to send it back to be redone. One was too cold, another had a hair on the plate and another one said they did not order peppers in their dinner.
I can tell you honestly, I heard their orders, and no one said anything about allergies to peppers.
When he came around with a pitcher of tea for refills, one person at the table nodded yes and then complained he gave them tea after the glass was filled.
Then they began to stop other waiters from serving customers and ask them to fix the things that were wrong with their food and drinks. (There wasn't anything wrong with their plates, food or drinks. I could hear them plotting to make a scene.) They complained loud enough other customers could hear them.
I felt so bad for the waiters. Yet he, along with the others who got drug into this drama, kept a smile on his face even when one of them left the table and complained at the entrance, which led to a manager coming over to the table.
"Is everything all right?"
"Oh we love good Mexican food," one said in a way that dripped like honey. "It just must be a bad night, that's all. I think our server is tired or not feeling well."
The manager apologized and told them she'd take care of their bills.
I couldn't believe it! But the show wasn't over.
"See, what did I tell you," one of them laughed when the manager left. "You complain enough, they'll comp your dinner."
I'm still speechless.
The thought of purposely setting out to do something like that is beyond belief.
They didn't care about the consequences for the waiter or the loss to the restaurant in revenue or possible loss of customers, who didn't really know what was going on and assumed the worst.
If they did, will they come back? Probably not.
I still don't know what to think about this behavior by a group of young people. They were probably high school or early college students but immaturity is not an explanation for this - is it?
What do you think?
What would you do if you watched this happen?
Because honestly I'm at a loss for this situation.