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Dublin: 9 °C Tuesday 19 March, 2019

Let's talk about the time... a waitress told my table she hated us

Sound, like.

I ONCE HAD a waitress tell my table she hated us.


Of all the exchanges – good, bad and indifferent – that I’ve had with wait staff over the years, I couldn’t get this one out of my head.

And I’m even including a time a few years back when my party realised that we had been charged (and stupidly paid) almost three times the correct bill, and returned to the waiter only to be told:

Oh yeah, I know.

You know? What do you mean you know?

You know because that’s somehow correct and this place does actually charge almost €100 for some sandwiches and a few pints?

Please say no, please say no.

No, it’s wrong.

Well, thank Christ for that.

But wait; it’s wrong and you waited until we realised and came looking for a refund? You knew, but you didn’t think to tell us?

On this particular day as it was the first of a new year and none of us were operating at 100% cerebral functioning, we actually found it funny.

Well, we did when we got our money back.

Going by the waiter’s response that day, it was clear he wasn’t firing on all cylinders after the night before either. And look, as it was 2011 and we weren’t out of the recession, at least we knew it had to be a mistake.

Small mercies, you know?


Fast-forward a few years and I wasn’t really finding the whole ‘I hate yee’ remark all too gas.

There’s no doubt that over the last five years or so, service staff in Dublin have gone with the ‘more is more’ approach.

We get first-name introductions, we get questions about our plans for the rest of the evening, and we get a – let’s just say – more ‘Americanised’ service approach.

And on the whole, I like it.

Yes, sometimes it’s vaguely embarrassing, especially when you’re barely in the mood to speak to the people at your table, never mind shoot the breeze with an over-enthusiastic member of staff, but that’s your problem.

They’re doing their job, and Christ knows they’re doing it with a smile, so the least you can do is engage, chatter back, and everyone goes home happy.

Maybe it’s become I’ve become so used to this approach that being told I was hated was a little startling.

In case you’re wondering, she hated us because we had forgotten to tell her we had a gift voucher before requesting the bill.

Yep, our mistake; no doubt about it.

And in that moment she probably did hate us, but that’s what work WhatsApp groups are for. Go for it the minute my back is turned – you can even throw in a remark about the hack of me – but don’t tell me to my face.

At least get to know me before hating me.

And in the 11 seconds it took her to void the original bill and calculate the new one, I kept replaying the remark in my head.

Uh, I hate yee. Uh, I hate yee. Uh, I hate yee.

Let’s get something straight here; unlike her counterparts all over the city, this staff member hadn’t attempted to create a rapport with my table, so to end the evening with that particular declaration felt a little jarring.

Had she been especially warm all evening, created a bit of banter with us and then threw that out there, I might have thought little of it. 

In fact, we’d have probably laughed and agreed we were melts.


Sure, we’d have known well she didn’t hate us! Hadn’t we spent the last 90 minutes becoming mates? This one; she’s only gas!

But she hadn’t.

She had paid the standard-level of attention and then finished the evening with those three words.

And yes, of course we fecking tipped.

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About the author:

Niamh McClelland

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