Next time you walk into a restaurant, be kind to the staff. Smile, order your food and wait patiently and if you can, tip them. It’s not only courteous; it could save you a whole lot of unpalatable trouble.
‘The customer is always right’, is the unwritten rule of the service sector, but when customers in eateries push it too far they could be setting themselves up for a vengeance most distasteful.
Many people have heard whispers before about waiters and baristas who taint food by spitting in the food, putting hair strands, maybe also putting mucus and sweat in food ordered by rude or annoying customers who complain or make their lives miserable.
No one wants to imagine that there could be some truth in these unsavoury rumours.But the confessions of people who work in the industry leaves a bad taste in the mouth.
Riley Odhiambo confesses that in the last hotel he worked as a chef was really bad. They would do pretty crazy things, especially to customers who were up to no good. He admits that they were disgruntled, especially since the pay they were getting wasn’t much.
“I was fresh from high school and saw working in the hotel as a great honour since it could supplement my pocket money. However, the kind of clients we were serving were ungrateful; they could be impatient and shout at us, especially if you got the wrong order. I must admit wasn’t the best way to go about a problem,” says Riley.
At some point, Riley who has been a chef for two years now, confesses to have stored one of his client’s food in the restroom. He claims the client was so rude to him while ordering food yet he hadn’t done anything to him, so he didn’t deserve any harsh treatment.
So, he figured that a way out of it was putting his food in the toilet for some time. When the client’s food was placed before him, he dug in with enthusiasm as Odhiambo relished the feeling of sweet revenge.
It’s not any different for Angela Orina, who claims to have done the same to a customer. She alleges that at times the customers push them to the limit. “I have never wanted to treat anyone badly, so I try my best to control myself.
During our training we are advised to make sure we control our temper, just in case someone attempts to cross our paths. So, the moment people decide to treat their fellow human being badly, then we cannot sometimes control ourselves,” says Angela.
She claims to have had a few runs in with bad customers.
“So, there is this time I took one of the client’s order, upon serving him he denied placing the order and made it look like I had served him the wrong food. Of course, I felt offended because he involved the manager, which to me meant a salary reduction. He was a nightmare.
He kept asking: “How hard is it to get an order right?” At this point I felt really bad, so I went back to the kitchen cut my nail and tossed the nail clippings in the food. I made sure I did it in a way that would not be noticed. Oh yes! I felt relieved after serving him,” says Angela.
Sociologist Ken Ouko says the fact that some people are too proud and are not considerate of others leads to these unfortunate events.
Ouko says hotel staff offer an essential service, yet restaurants or hotel patrons hardly ever pay them more than a passing thought.
He says a waiter may appear to most as a simplistic food courier, but he is responsible for the health, the happiness, the satisfaction and even the life of the diner or client.
“Waiters may not be directly mistreated by restaurant clients because they are relegated to transitory service providers with whom interaction is strictly transactional and short-lived, but there are cases where waiters bear the brunt of abuse and unwarranted vituperation from uncaring clients,” says Ouko.
He says that this tempts waiters to partake in deviant acts such as retaliation.
“Some are known to piss in the client’s beer, some even go to an extent of spitting in your soup, while others will do unbelievable things such as mashing insects into your food,” he says.