We’ve all sat in a restaurant waiting for our order…and waiting and waiting and waiting; sometimes even when the meal is ready. In this article, let’s look at how to politely and effectively gain the attention of the waitperson, and in such a way that he or she will feel glad to serve you.
Marilyn writes: “Yesterday at lunchtime I was sitting at the counter of my local diner and sandwich shop. I could see my sandwich sitting on the counter for at least five minutes, maybe longer. The waitress was oblivious to it, since she was talking with her friend who just came into the restaurant to see her. Here I am, rushed for time, and she’s talking away. I felt myself getting more and more irritated, yet I didn’t know what to say to get her attention in a way that wouldn’t seem overly aggressive. Do you have a suggestion?”
Marilyn, I’m pretty sure we can all relate to your sense of frustration. As human beings, it bothers us that someone would be so inattentive while on the job (especially when it’s “we” to whom they are being so inattentive :-)). At the same time, you don’t want to offend them by “calling them out.” First, because you’re a nice person. Secondly, because you know that yelling at them will not get you any better service the next time. In fact, if anything, the opposite will happen.
The easiest, most effective course of action is to simply get their attention with either a polite wave (or, if necessary, walk over to them) and, with a smile, humbly say, “I’m sorry, I know you’re busy – I can see my sandwich waiting over there for me, and I’m just a bit on a schedule. Thanks, I really appreciate it.”
This is one of those cases where how you say it is just as important as what you say.
The chances are better-than-great that he or she will apologize – often, even profusely – and take great care of you from that point on.
By the way, you might have an almost irresistible urge to say to them, “I’m WAIIIIIIIIITING!” or “Hey you, have you ever heard of the website, “Move your rear end.com?” 🙂
Instead, handle it the way we discussed and you’ll both live happily ever after.
Have you done that yourself? How did it work for you?