Over The Line:  

By Amy Reon

If You've Ever Been To An Eatery...

If you have ever been to an eatery of any sort, I'm sure you can relate to this story. Have you ever found yourself listening to another table close to yours conversation? You don't mean to listen but sometimes you can’t help but overhear a few lines here and there. I mean let's face it, conversations are hardly ever non-stop. Even if it's a married couple, dating peeps, or even a first date, there will always be a pause in the chit-chat (if not, one of you has wordvomit). Everyone gets a little distracted from time to time. My favorite distraction or interruption is the loud group of ladies or friends out for the evening. They end up laughing and cutting up so much and loudly that you can’t help but look over from time to time. It's also assumed wine or other adult beverages are flowing at their table.

Recently, I introduced my sister to a fairly new restaurant, a Vietnamese place I immediately fell in love. She was excited to try it, trusting me when it comes to food. The night we went, the weather was terrible (one of those 30% chances of rain that turned out to be a hurricane of sorts). Fueled by our stomach’s desire and the promise of excellent cuisine, nothing would stop us- we were going. No ifs-ands-or-buts about it. 

I Got Buddies Who Died Face Down In The Muck So We Could Enjoy This Family Establishment

When we drove up, the parking lot was empty (assuming from the weather). Once inside, we notice we are the only people there besides 2 employees. We chit-chat and order our food, which was a little challenging because neither employee spoke English very well—which everyone knows is a good sign because that means the food is authentic.

Then an older couple walk in the door...*DUN DUN DUNNNNNN*

Immediately the lady asks 'do ya'll have red wine?' My sister and I look at each other with BIG eyes because this woman was clearly tanked-up. Who waltzes into a restaurant and before even getting a table demand to see the wine list? This was not a bar atmosphere restaurant. After being seated, they discover there is no alcohol served. The woman then attempts to whisper (and fails miserably) to my sister and I, 'Do these people speak English’? Being the polite young ladies we are, we reply ‘yes in fact the staff does speak English but not extremely well’. Returning to our own conversation, our food arrives and we ogle and drool over the steaming feast of deliciousness. Shortly thereafter, the server walks over to 'the other table' where he is asked about ‘vegetarian options’. I don’t know what the hell kind of place they thought they were in but most people know that besides a special made spring roll, there are not many vegetarian dishes at a Vietnamese place. 

Do Y'all Have Red Wine?

The man at ‘the other table’ receives a phone call where he loudly exclaims, “we are somewhere in New Orleans”. (INSERT BIG EYES OF DISBELIEF HERE) It’s decided they are both drunk. He continues, “yeah-she wanted to stop and get some kind of Chinese food. It rained the whole way here”. For the record, we were NOT in NOLA, we were in North Lake Charles. The poor server walks back to their table, and really tries to take their order. After much confusion, when their food is served, the woman proceeds to lose her mind, “Hey boy, there is meat in this”.  When the server walks over to address the table, she says “just pack it all up to-go I'll feed it to my dogs”!

I'll Feed Them To My Dogs

I was in complete disbelief. I mean really? What an insult to the server and establishment. I was so embarrassed for the server. This is not an uncommon scene, most people have witnessed something similar at least once. We found ourselves thinking; what does one do in that situation, apologize for 'the other people'? Why people feel that they can treat service industry employees as second class citizens escapes me.

Nothing can make up for what we just witnessed but we tried by leaving a sizable tip that night. I somehow felt that it was the least I could do to make up for that horrible couple.

Being a former food service employee, I have dealt a great deal with customers like the ones mentioned above. Servers, on average, make $2.13/hour which all goes to Federal, State, and Social Security taxes. They essentially live off tips alone. If a table doesn’t leave a monetary tip (the bible verses and Thank You’ s on receipts are nice but they don’t pay the bills), the server essentially paid for them to sit there. Be kind to everyone, but make an effort to be especially kind to people in the food service industry. 

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