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.