UnderCover Waitress: What Would You Do?

Friday, April 22, 2011

What Would You Do?

Remembering a time quite awhile back that a pregnant woman came in by herself and was seated in my section.

Approaching with a smile, I greeted her and she politely requested seeing the wine list. This did not phase me; lots of people want to peruse our wine list for fun. We have a relatively eclectic collection of fine wines from France and California, as well as local wines and less expensive, table wines. Being a small establishment, we cannot stock a wide variety at once, so the wine list changes often. Also, we have a little grocery down the street in which you can purchase bottles, and the wine list indicates what is kept in stock down there. Lots of people want to look at the wine list for lots of reasons.

What did phase me was when she ordered a glass of wine. I know that my shock registered because after a moment, while I was standing there dumbfounded, I noticed she was giving me a dirty look. I left table side and approached the manager who was standing next to one of my most seasoned and experienced colleagues.

I asked what I should do. I was told refusing to serve her based upon her pregnancy would constitute a violation of her civil rights. If, however, I was uncomfortable serving the table, it could be transferred to another waitress.

I decided to keep the table and brought the lady her glass of red wine.

Normally, I am a champion for women's rights. A uterus is not a disability, pregnancy is not a disease, and normal people have children. Families need to be accommodated in their places of employment. Breeding is normal. And I will add to all that: a woman't body is hers and hers alone. The choices a patient makes are between a doctor and her patient.

That being said, I was grossly uncomfortable with the situation, and remain conflicted to this day. Sometimes having a value means letting other people do things that seem wrong. Would be hypocritical of me to expect the law to prevent a woman from choosing what to eat and drink based upon her "condition."  Without the freedom to make choices for ourselves, we live in a dictatorship, and nobody wants that.

I hope her alcohol intake during pregnancy was minimal, and I hope the baby was not adversely affected. 


  1. If I was you I would've transferred the table because you obviously feel strongly about it.

    If it was me - I know I am not the woman's doctor and if she wants a glass of wine, so be it. I am not the one that has to pay the consequences for poor decisions on her part. And I certainly would not want to run afoul of the law by refusing to serve her [not table switching, but out right saying "no" to the glass of wine.]

  2. I understand how you felt. It's always uncomfortable when we're asked to do something that feels wrong. However, in case you're still feeling badly about it, you should know that many doctors and experts on human development now state that one glass of wine a day is acceptable for women who are past their 1st trimester. I actually researched this on my own when I was put in a similar position by a table.


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