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July 01, 2012


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A waitress in Murfreesboro once spilled sangria all over me/my very light brown shirt. I swear she must have psychically signaled the manager, because before I knew it, I had moist towels for shirt triage and an arrangement for free dry cleaning.

I was waiting tables at Friday's on Elliston in Nashville in 1987. I didn't even have the excuse of a tray. I was walking by table 43ish and swinging my arms. Somehow my hand caught the water glass on a luncher's table and ice water went everywhere.

The only time I've gotten upset after a spill like this is when the restaurant staff didn't react. You're absolutely right - it's only tea, and only pants, but it is an inconvenience and when there's no response to help, that's when it turns really sour. Who could get mad in a scenario like yours? Everyone reacted just perfectly.

Don and I were dining at Outback as guest of our next-door neighbors. We all ordered our drinks, three sweet teas and one water. The nice young waiter was very prompt getting the drinks to our table. However, when he picked up one of the teas, all of the drinks tipped forward and all poured onto Don and the table. We were sitting at a booth and most of the liquid went into the seat, so we are both sitting in the wet seat as the young man, as you, is totally mortified. Wait staff came over to help him, extra napkins were brought over, and the manager came over to help make it better. The only thing the manager said was, "I am sorry. We have just had the floors refinished--see how shiny they are and how good they look. I guess they are a little slick." The floors had nothing to do with the spilling of the drinks. The manager must have skipped the training on how to help tea-drenched customers. All this time Don is sitting in tea-soaked pants and underwear, socks and shoes. We were moved to another table, and the liquid continued to drip off Don. We dined and drove home. Almost two hours later, he was still wet.
We never said an unkind word to the waiter who was so, so sorry. However, we did expect the manager to ask about us and if Don needed anything--like dry clothes or a towel, or something.
We have not been back. I would not want to risk messing up their " new shiny floors."

Years ago at the old location of Exit 4 Cracker Barrel in Clarksville two waitresses managed to pour a whole barrel of steaming hot tea on Crystal. She looked like she had entered a wet tee shirt contest. Her hair was matted and I was terrified as the steam rose from her little body. All her clothes were ruined and everything in her purse was unusable, including a big book of postage stamps she had just purchased. Miraculously, she wasn't burned. We were nice, of course, and Cracker Barrel gave her some new clothes from their "store." Our meals were comped and apologies flowed about like the tea. Now it's a funny story we tell.

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