Most people with social anxiety/phobia would love nothing more than to be ignored in busy social situations. But if you’re doing your best to overcome your social anxiety by eating alone in a restaurant, the very worst thing you can do to that person is ignore them. Such was my experience today.
I usually am okay to dine alone in a restaurant. Today I was craving a certain restaurant’s unlimited soup, salad and breadsticks offer. I’d been there before, and had no problems getting in and out during my lunch hour. Today, however, I was seated and waited for a while before anyone came by to acknowledge me. Other tables around me were tended to, but the servers all ignored me. I began to watch the clock. Another five minutes went by.
They had these little machines on each table, with games and menu features on them. I tried to see if I could just place my order on the machine. No dice. The thing I wanted wasn’t available, no option to order just water. I pushed the “call server” button. And I waited. Another five minutes went by, and I realized I was forgotten. No idea how long it would take for someone to get to me, and by now I was angry and hungry, but most of all, embarrassed.
Some of the tables around me cleared out. Bussers came to clear the tables and gave me a sideways glance, but offered no help. I felt tears spring up and I didn’t think I could stay any longer. I brought my menu back to the hostess stand, and told her I’d been waiting too long, and no one came. My voice cracked, I could feel tears form in my eyes. I realize it’s stupid to be upset about something like this, but it wasn’t about the food. It was about being treated like everyone else, and clearly, that wasn’t happening today. She didn’t say a word as she took the menu back from me. Not even an apology.
I guess maybe the servers thought I was waiting on another person, but I only had one menu on my table. Maybe they didn’t want to take a table of one, because I may not order much or tip well. Wrong on both counts, by the way guys. I always tip extra when I dine alone because I know that servers count on the tips they make from each customer. I did send corporate a note, because I really enjoy going there and I’m sad that I wasn’t “treated like family.” Well, maybe they treated me like my family, which is to make me go through ridiculous hoops to get the stuff I need. Maybe that’s what upset me more than anything. Maybe I was just hangry.