Most of us, even the more introverted among us, can agree that going out to dinner at a restaurant we love is generally a fun experience.
But sometimes another customer or a server can really ruin the night, agreed the “Am I the A**hole?” (AITA) subReddit.
Redditor Junior_Gap2129 was confused when the woman serving his table refused to interact with him and focused solely on his girlfriend instead.
But when his girlfriend pointed out that maybe she had a traumatic past with men, the Original Poster (OP) wondered if he was wrong to complain to management.
He asked the sub:
“AITA for having a girl reprimanded and possibly fired because she kept ignoring me?”
The OP was out on a date with his girlfriend.
“My (22 Male) girlfriend (21 Female) and I went to this local restaurant near our campus two days ago that’s pretty well known in our university. Right now, it is empty-ish because most of the people are away with their families.”
“So, my girlfriend and I went there by 8 pm, and the things on the menu were pretty basic: pizza, burgers, fries, etc.”
The female server demonstrated some unusual behavior.
“This girl came to take our orders (she was 20-ish? maybe younger than me), and she talked to my girlfriend first to take her order, no big deal.”
“When I thought she was going to turn to me, she just said, ‘And what’ll he have?” while asking my girlfriend and not me.”
“My girlfriend just looked at me, confused, and I answered for myself.”
“The girl wrote it down and then said, ‘Something else?’ while still not looking at me.”
“My girlfriend said, ‘No, that’s all.'”
“She left, and we were like, ‘What the f**k was that?'”
The behavior continued.
“A few minutes went by, and then she came back with our orders. She asked if we needed something while looking at my girlfriend, and we both say no.”
“She came by a few times to check if we were good, but she didn’t engage with me at all, she didn’t even look at me, and I was starting to feel uncomfortable.”
“I asked for some napkins, and she brought them but gave them to my girlfriend.”
“When my girl went to the toilet, I called her to ask for the bill, but she just ignored me, straight out ignored me.”
The OP decided to confront the server.
“I just got up, went to the counter where she and a few other girls were taking some orders, and I asked what her problem was.”
“She finally looked at me, and before she could speak, I asked for her manager.”
“She then brought an old lady, and I explained what just happened. I explained that while the overall service was good, she didn’t even look at me once, pretended I wasn’t even there, and ignored me when I called her for the bill.”
“The girl muttered something, but the old lady said they would talk later and offered to cover the bill for me.”
“I say, ‘Nah, just bring the check,’ which she did, and I paid and waited for my girlfriend outside.”
His girlfriend wasn’t totally okay with how he handled the situation.
“When we got back home, she asked me what happened, because she saw the girl being reprimanded, and I told her.”
“She called me an AH because the girl might have some trauma regarding men or, I don’t know, and that she might get fired.”
“I was okay with my behavior until that point.”
Fellow Redditors weighed in:
- NTA: Not the A**hole
- YTA: You’re the A**hole
- ESH: Everybody Sucks Here
- NAH: No A**holes Here
Some theorized that the server was trying to avoid drama by focusing on the girlfriend.
“Honestly, she’s probably had a really bad experience serving couples. Any waitress knows that just doing your job and being polite to a man while on a date can really mess up your experience and ruin the situation if the girl gets jealous.”
“She was probably overcompensating. It was a bad move, but I’ve seen too many people burned to really give her too much s**t about it.” – IronikGames
“It’s either trauma, or she knows that often servers will only address the man at the table and ignore the woman, and being 20 years old she decided to be a vigilante for sexism in restaurants.” – Is-abel
“Before I waited tables, I had no clue how many people are apparently insecure in their relationships.”
“I waited tables for years and had numerous experiences with women getting straight up offended that I smiled at or spoke to their boyfriend or husband to take his order.”
“I never ignored a man, but I would usually primarily look at and speak to the woman of a man-woman couple to avoid drama, or getting stiffed, or getting called a s**t (or various other names), and/or getting left nasty notes telling me to ‘get your own husband.'”
“I had numerous female coworkers over those years who did the same. It’s more common than people think, some restaurants will even include it in their training. But completely ignoring OP, even when he spoke directly to her, was excessive and out of line.” – RedRose_182
“The person training me for a waitressing job literally told me to try and speak to the women with couples because too many women consider polite or good service when directed at their boyfriend-husband, a threat or blatant attempt to steal them.”
“She literally had glasses and plates thrown at her. She said it just wasn’t worth it and to always try to be cautious.”
“If this was the reason, she took it too far, but it’s an absolutely reasonable fear and precaution to take.” – wheredMyArmourGo
“I have a feeling she’s had a bad experience with a jealous girlfriend or two and figured it was best to speak to the female when it comes to couples.”
“I used to do the same working in customer service. I never ignored a man, but I either addressed them together or spoke to the woman 90% of the time, and if she seemed like she had an attitude, I’d throw in a little ‘oh, I love your hair/nails/outfit’ to loosen her up. It keeps a lot of drama from going down.”
“But she completely ignored him, only spoke to the girlfriend, and even wouldn’t talk to him when the girlfriend wasn’t around. I’d say that’s a valid complaint and NTA. I wouldn’t complain myself, but I never really do unless their errors or attitudes end up massively inconveniencing or offending me.” – Green-Spirit9133
“As a female server, I learned quickly to establish rapport with the female halves of couples, but you don’t ignore anyone at the table, either.”
“From an ‘I have to make a reasonable tip per table’ perspective, giving polite attention to the whole table is just good business. Going too far in any direction is just a bad idea. I did see a few servers who focused on the ‘who is paying the check and therefore tipping,’ and they just didn’t last long.” – NiceJabThat
But others pointed out that shouldn’t have impacted the server’s professionalism.
“Maybe she does have some trauma with men… or maybe she was told that focusing on the girl in a couple would result in better tips… neither of those is an excuse to ignore you.”
“If she can not handle speaking to men, she should not be working in a field that demands she speak to anyone and everyone with courtesy.” – JustASplendaDaddy
“As someone who has had men cause me trauma and worked in customer service, it’s no excuse to act a certain way towards strangers in a professional setting.”
“If it’s really a bother, explain to your manager you’re having issues and take some time off, and get some therapy if you can. Don’t take it out on strangers when doing your job.” – Wtf_did_I_get_into_
“Angering a customer is a reasonable fear for a server to have, which is why I doubt OP’s complaint alone could have gotten her fired.”
“Something like this should’ve led to a, ‘What’s up? Why did you do that?’ conversation (or chewing out, if the manager is more volatile), and some retraining. Maybe the manager would have watched her extra-closely for a few days or weeks, to make sure the behavior didn’t repeat.”
“For her to be fired immediately, it’s likely that this server had a history of other problems. (That, or a really terrible boss; that’s always possible.) Either way, OP is NTA.” – Ok-Rabbit1878
“I’ve had that happen to me before (with genders reversed). I went out to dinner with my (ex)boyfriend, and the male server barely acknowledged me. I didn’t complain to the restaurant because I didn’t want to cause a scene, but I sure as hell told everyone to avoid that restaurant.” – Mellbxo
“The whole time I read the post, I kept thinking of how many of my female friends have complained about male waiters who did that. They would ignore them and only speak to their boyfriends or husbands as if they couldn’t speak or decide for themselves.”
“Honestly, I think too many people are assuming trauma when it sounds like she was just repeating some classic sexist behavior.” – NeonArlecchino
“I have an aversion to men in some spaces due to extreme abuse and I feel that if you cannot do your job because of that, you shouldn’t have that job. Imagine if it was you and another male? Do you not deserve service based on your gender presentation?”
“For those on the fence, if a man chose to not address a woman and only spoke to her presumed partner to order for her and all, they would be lit on fire in the internet town square.” – EmilyTheValiant
After receiving feedback, the OP shared a brief update.
“I came here to say that my girlfriend went to the restaurant to pick some food and found out that the girl was indeed fired.”
Though no one disagreed with the OP’s decision to complain to management about what happened, the subReddit agreed that there might be something more to the woman’s behavior, such as a traumatic past or previous experiences with dramatic couples at the tables she was serving.
That being said, the sub also agreed that her past shouldn’t have impacted the woman’s performance and professionalism. The couple at her current table wasn’t responsible for her past experiences, and they shouldn’t have been treated as such.