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Friday, April 15, 2011

Whaley's Bar - Edisto Beach SC

Good Times at Whaley's
Whaley's quickly became our go-to place on the beach. It's located on the south end of the island. It's a couple of blocks back from the beach, near the water tower. I use the point in the road where it changes from 4 lane to 2 lane as the point to turn in, and go back a couple of blocks to Myrtle St, where it sits on a turn in the road.

Our first waitress, whom we got to know by name, is very pleasant. I think she said her name was Tomikaa, but I'll have to run this by my wife - she's better at names than I am.

We typically go at lunch, while we are out on our walks. We sometimes eat a late lunch, but usually just pop in to have a beer. The locals seem to arrive around 3 PM, which makes having a beer more fun.

The food is OK so far, just bar food. But we enjoy going here. I've had the Buffalo Chicken Sandwich twice, and my wife has had their cheeseburger twice.

The Prancing Waiter
On one occasion at about 1 PM, I think it was a Thursday, we stopped by for a beer. Our favorite waitress was no where in sight that day. We were told by some skinny guy in his 60s, that was waiting on tables who yelled at us over his shoulder, to sit anywhere we wanted. This is a different guy then the older guy that serves the bar. The old guy behind the bar is an institution.

So we proceeded to a 2-top bar high bar table with 2 stools. We placed our order for 2 beers with this same guy. It took a while to place the order, but that's OK - we are retired!0

He sort of pranced around a lot, with a lot of wasted motions. By this I mean he would walk around a lot, but never consolidated any of his trips from tables to the kitchen area to bring water, etc., so he was moving around a lot without actually doing anything. For instance, if he had brought a pitcher of water along once every while, he could have filled up everyone else's tables with water at once; instead, he fills up a table, returns the water, then walks back into the dining area, where someone else asks for water, so he walks over and gets it, walks back to the person requesting it, fills up that person, walks it back and puts it back.....over and over. He never did more than one thing on a trip, so he was overloading himself for no reason.

After we had been there a long time, we began to take note of him a little more, as just how long does it take to bring 2 beers in a place with people just sitting at a few tables? We realized he was struggling with the Point of Sale (POS) system, so we figured he must be new, and to cut him some slack.

Since nothing else was really going on, we watched him. He just continued to prance around. By now he is yelling back over his shoulder at tables that he's sorry it's taking so long, while standing at the POS. He does this several times. He appeared to be getting more and more upset with the POS, and moaning at the people dining about it. We noted he would clear the POS a lot and just start over. Our previous waitress never had any issues, nor have any of the one's since - just him. While he's standing there with the POS trying to get it straight, another server would come up to the POS next to him, and badda-bing, badda-boom it's entered and done with.

But not this guy.

It took a long time to get our beers. We noted that a lot of people were having problems, either not being able to order, not being able to get their food, or not being able to get their checks, or their change. So rather than order another round of beers for a long wait, we decided to just skip any more beer and set up our exit strategy. I mean, we had to plan on our exit!

The next time he danced our way, I asked for our check. He didn't say anything at all, just stopped and starred at me, so I assumed he hadn't heard my request for our check. So I repeated it. He got upset, saying loud enough for the entire place to hear that he was doing all that he could. What!

Well, there's several ways to do 'all that you can'. One is a normal person with normal skills being overloaded, while another way is someone with poor skills to be trying to carry a normal load - all are doing all that they can, but having to do too much. He appeared to be just barely functional to us, so we assumed he was not capable of doing much and was therefore doing all of that type of 'all that he can'.

Some younger guy with a beard, I think seeing my surprised look and having heard the dancing waiter's outburst, came out from behind the bar, came over quickly and gave us our check, along with an apology for the wait, and a wink. We told him it wasn't any problem, but thanks!

At no time had we complained about the wait, but that younger bearded guy had observed what was going on, and was starting to pick up some of the customers.

I was still going to leave the dancing waiter a 15% tip, as I really felt he was probably new and was going to cut him some slack.

However, after the check had been delivered, the old dancing waiter came over to our table, and told us, again loudly, that we were sitting in the wrong place - since we weren't having any food, we should be sitting at the bar, and that was "your fault" and next time, if we weren't ordering food we had to sit at the bar.

The place is about 1/3 to 1/2 full. There are tables everywhere. We had sat at this table on our last three visits to the bar, and had never had anyone say anything other than "sit where ever you want", including from him. Our regular waitress had never complained - I suspect she appreciated the tips for beer, since we greatly overtip if we are just having a beer.

Several people from other tables turned around to stare as he was so loud with his complaint. This was embarrassing to us, and pissed me off totally.

Remember, when we came into this place, he told us to sit anywhere we could? Now he's bitching about where we sat? He's a clown waiting tables and he's going to bitch at us for his personal issues?

We left. I left him with $0.50 for his troubles.

We've since been back to Whaley's several times, and have never seen him since. I don't know if they let him go, he danced out of here, or if our schedules just haven't lined up yet. If I go in and see him, I'm going to get his name so I can post it as a dancing waiter to consider missing.

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