I’m sure one of the things they teach you in customer service is not to identify customers by their race.
Like a waitress at Patrick’s Westport Grill in Maryland Heights, Missouri, did recently. She labeled customers as a “black couple” on a restaurant receipt.
She did this to identify them to herself and other employees. It’s not a very good idea, but is it a fireable offense?
It is to Kimberli Wilson, who was at the restaurant with her friend. When she saw “black couple” printed on the receipt. She was outraged.
“I was frustrated,” Wilson told KTVI. “I was angry. I was thinking, ‘Really? Are we still doing this in 2015?'”
The waitress, who was fired, said she used the label to help remember her table numbers. But Wilson said the waitress should have chosen a different identification. “She could have said first table, table at front door, man with coral shirt,” Wilson said. “There are so many other options that she could have chosen other than that. That’s unacceptable.”
The owner apologized on Facebook too.
I, Patrick Hanon, sincerely apologize for the unacceptable act that is not symbolic of our company values or beliefs. We do not tolerate this behavior and have a zero tolerance for this behavior. This is not our management style and have addressed this issue. We are reevaluating our hiring, training, and screening process so that we develop the most professional of individuals. This was an isolated event which we do not and will not tolerate. Patrick’s is a family owned business and during our 33 years I have always treated my customers as family and encourage my employees to do so as well. We appreciate our loyal family members and our new family members.
To top it off, Hanon met with Wilson and her friend to apologize in person and offer them free food for life. For that, and subsequent to the video above, Hanon’s great sin was forgiven and he got a hug.
The waitress didn’t say “two niggers,” or “two darkies,” or even “two coloreds.” It wasn’t racist, and it was accurate? Was the service subpar?
In case Wilson didn’t realize, we identify people by race all the time. The government mandates it almost everywhere. Is she ashamed to be black? If I was in a Southern restaurant in Montgomery, Alabama, and I was the only white person there, I’d almost expect to be identified that way.
No, it’s not the smartest thing to do, but when you’re offended for simply being identified by your race, we’ve taken a step too far.