For the first time in a very long time, I experienced bad service on Friday night. Thursday, I went to this Italian place near the conference I was attending and had a terrific experience. Then, I found some friends on Friday and we went back to the same place because I was so impressed. We were in a different section than I was the previous night, with a different waiter. He was slow to bring out the drinks, even though we were clearly in a celebratory mood, and then he didn't tell us the specials on the fresh sheet, took our orders without even prompting us for salads or starters. He didn't smile, and we had to ask him to repeat himself several times because he spoke softly. The table next to us got their salads, ate them and got their entrees before ours came--and they were seated after we had been served our drinks. The night before, my salad was in front of me in five minutes. I flagged down our guy as he served the table next to us their meals and he looked sort of confused but ran off instead of coming over. One of my friends said "He forgot to put in our order....has to be it." he came back over and said,"yours will be right up." and ran away before checking our rather enough glasses or anything. This is at least 45 minutes....he did come out moments later with our food--except one of the orders was totally wrong--Mussels, not tagliatelle....really wrong. The food was delicious once we got it, but two of us were halfway done before the correct dish came out.
The bill came, and it was for full price. He didn't even comp my friend a glass of wine. When it came time to tip, we all three had the same response...he gets a bad tip. So we went with 10%. Which was still a tip, but none of us felt right leaving nothing. The waiter I had the previous night came over to collect the check and I said to him,"I wish you'd been our waiter tonight..." he asked what happened, apologized profusely and explained that the other guy was on his second night and offered us free tiramisu.