The tables may have been right next to each other physically, but, personality-wise, the two tables couldn’t have been farther apart. One table was sullen and stand-offish; the other table was jovial, boisterous, and in the mood to talk. Both tables were in my section. And I gave both the same level of service: keeping their drinks filled, making sure their orders were correct, etc. But, I interacted with each table differently, operating under the assumption that the one table wanted to be left alone and allowed to eat without being bothered by their server, and that the other table wanted a server who would join in their frivolity. My ability to read tables and adjust my personality as needed usually served me well, but not that night. After both had left, I retrieved the checks. Upon opening the sullen table’s check, I saw a big fat “$0” written on the tip line. Irritated, I glanced up to see my manager laughing his head off at me.
“That table complained that you were friendlier with your other tables than you were with them,” he scoffed out while shaking his head.