April 26, 2011

All He Wanted Was A Muffin

My husband, Bruce, gestured toward his meal and asked, "Isn't there supposed to be a muffin with this?''

The waiter had just delivered our four-year-old granddaughter's meal ten minutes after everyone else's.  She looked at Bruce and said, "Raspberry or strawberry."

He frowned.  "Is that all you have?"

"Yes.  We're out of raspberry, so strawberry or apple," she said.

His frown became a look of confusion. "The menu mentioned blueberry."

"We're out of blueberry.  You can have raspberry or apple."

Fighting laughter, I glanced at my daugher.  Amusement danced in her eyes.  I looked away and bit my lip.

Bruce tried again. "What do you have?"

"Raspberry, apple, or blueberry."

I fought back a chuckle and forced a bland look on my face.

"Blueberry," he said.

"Ok," she said and walked away. 

She returned with a blueberry muffin that she handed to me and asked me to pass down the table to Bruce.  I have no clue why she didn't bring it to his side of the table, but I wasn't going to ask any questions.

I'm not kidding, this really happened.

I teach communication and customer service skills on a regular basis, but I'm hard-pressed to explain what happened here.  Often, miscommunciation occurs because the words or phrases we use carry a different significance to the other person in the conversation.  I don't see how that would apply here.  As for listening, she answered him everytime, but she gave him a different answer with each breath.  Was she senile?

If I hadn't known better, I'd have said we were being punked.  The waiter really seemed to want to give us good service.  She didn't, and this example is just the tip of the iceberg, but you could tell she wanted to.  It could be a job-training issue, but how hard is it to remember what types of muffins you serve?

So, since logic doesn't apply in this situation, I've come up with a writer's explanation:

Aliens abducted our real waiter right after she took our drink order.  That's why we waited fifteen minutes for her to return with said drinks and take our food order.  The alien replacing the waiter struggled to adjust to her new role- or maybe its new role.  The alien could be gender-neutral, I guess.  That's why so many things went wrong during this meal.  And boy did they!

Anyone else want to take a stab at it?  Let's have fun and create the best story to go with this.

10 comments:

Susan M. Boyer said...

I think she had word salad that day. Her words were mixed up--she thought she was saying one thing when she was actually saying something else. This happens to me all the time. Like, when I'm sure I've said, "Sugar, there is no way I'll EVER go tent camping again," then later I find out I enthusiastically agreed to go... :)

Barbara V. Evers said...

Haha! Sounds more like mind games than word salad, but it's a good explanation.

Valerie Norris said...

I have no explanation. It's one of those moments when you just have to muddle through and enjoy the laugh after!

Barbara V. Evers said...

Ahhhh Valerie! No creative ideas? No similar experience? Give me some of your southern humor girl!

Wayne G. said...

Barbara, Barbara, the answer is so clear. You even pointed it out. "Often, miscommunication occurs because the words or phrases we use carry a different significance to the other person in the conversation." You called her a WAITER, and all along she thought she was a WAITRESS. How confusing!
We can't expect her to keep her muffins straight when she is struggling with every overloaded brain cell to figure out who (or what) she really is. Alas, poor thing, you probably had her thinking that she was the muffin man.

Barbara V. Evers said...

LOL. That's what I get for trying to be PC in my reference to our food server!

Thanks for a great comment!

Carole St-Laurent said...

Next time try to order something that absolutely don't go with the item.

"We're out of raspberry, so strawberry or apple," the waitress said.

He was confused. "The menu mentioned blueberry."

"We're out of blueberry. You can have raspberry or apple."

He tried again. "What do you have now?"

"Raspberry, apple, or blueberry."

"Ok, I'll have lemon and poppy seed."

Barbara V. Evers said...

Carole! That's great! I'm trying to imagine the alien, er, waiter's face with that one. Not sure that she'd get it, but I would have cracked up at that point.

Julie Mallory said...

Sorry, late entry!
This is all a big conspiracy. She really doesn't like blueberry muffins and she is trying to get the restaurant to stop serving them by making them appear unpopular. She does this by completely confusing the customers. In most cases, this works out and they let her get whatever she wants to serve them. Bruce was too persistent and caught her in her own web of confusion. She resented his foiling of her plan and would not actually hand him the muffin, although she was required to get it for him. Don't think there wasn't something wrong with that muffin, though...she'll have her vengence.

Barbara V. Evers said...

Hmm, wish I remembered how much he actually ate of it.