My recent experience at a restaurant brought me closer to the “Karen” archetype than I think I have ever been.
I have since had a very hard reality check on the state of our economy and, by extension, society in the Covid era.
I am not that hard to please and consider myself easy to manipulate, especially if its sympathy you’re looking for.
I have very low expectations of other people and I am the kind of hair salon customer who would rather walk away stifling the sobs after a bad haircut.
Or maybe I was like that before the pandemic stole most of my emotional maturity, because I have lost all manner of chill lately.
After my family and I were seated at the salad and pizza joint up the road, our drinks order was taken by one of only four waiters on duty.
At the time, I hadn’t noticed how understaffed the place was, but I did notice there were less than 10 occupied tables in the double-storey restaurant.
It was an hour before we saw our waitress again – and she showed up with three drinks for four people. I then made the mistake of asking how far our food orders were.
Our waitron, lets call her Squirrel, was a small-framed, softly spoken lady who bore the obvious signs of being new on the job.
She flashed me a terrified look like I had just asked her for homework before wordlessly disappearing into the kitchen. By this time, my family was gently coaxing me to calm down.
The poor soul was back less than a minute later, like a begging orphan, informing me that the kitchen had not yet started with our orders.
I was enraged. Another waitress noticed my distress and I wasted no time informing her that I was leaving and she would have to figure out who was paying for our orders because I certainly would not.
I let off about 15 months of pent-up anger onto that waitress.
Miraculously the recipient of my ungodly tirade was not only patient with me, but she apologised repeatedly. She promised that the kitchen had begun with our meals.
We waited another 20 minutes before our food arrived and, lo and behold, Squirrel forgot to order one of the meals!
The other waitress sprinted to her rescue to inform us that the forgotten meal would arrive soon and would be taken off our bill.
We did not see Squirrel again until she came to deliver the bill. By this time, my sugar levels had returned to normal.
The forgotten meal was taken off the bill. I had a chance to really scan the room. What I observed was a restaurant that was a shadow of its former self. Before the lockdown, this place would have been packed.
There were a few other families, as well as one sad looking lady having a beer by herself. Besides Squirrel and the other waitress, there were only one or two other people dressed in uniform.
I had completed the rage-shame cycle and I was feeling like an idiot. So, I did what any accidental Karen would do … I tipped the lady enough to cover the amount she was expected to pay for our forgotten meal and then some.
I apologised for screaming at her, but with the caveat that I was not rewarding her incompetence but I now understand that things may be a bit difficult nowadays.
OWN YOUR LIFE