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‘I am never coming back to Olive Garden again’: Man who doesn’t drink says Olive Garden server tried to push alcohol on him, sparking debate (updated)

‘As soon as you say no, that should have been the end of it.’

 

Braden Bjella

IRL

A customer is claiming a server at an Olive Garden location attempted to persuade him into buying alcohol, even though he does not drink.

In a video with over 50,000 views, TikTok user Steven (@thecoppertrinity) recounts the experience, chastising Olive Garden for what he perceives to be undue pressure put on the customer to drink.

@thecoppertrinity Hey @olivegarden never going back again. Told your #waiter I don’t drink and he was still pushing #alcohol on me and my #employee – told us our #boss won’t find out if we drink. No #tip and never coming back. I couldn’t even get the #manager to come to my table. Saw the #waiter ♬ original sound – Steven

“If I tell the waiter who is trying to push alcoholic drinks on me that, one, I don’t drink, and two, the employee that’s with me, we’re still working, you don’t keep trying to push them,” he explains. “I am never coming back to Olive Garden again, because that’s the kind of B.S. that they want to push. No. That’s not right.”

In a follow-up video, Steven offers more details about what he says happened.

In this video, Steven says: “Usually when someone asks me if I want something to drink, I tell them, ‘No, I’m good. I’ve had a problem with it in the past, so I don’t drink.’ And everywhere that I’ve been, they take that for an answer and they let it go.”

This Olive Garden, he says, was different. When the server came, Steven says he and his colleague ordered Dr. Peppers. He says that as they were looking at appetizers, the server interjected, saying he wanted to “get some alcohol started” for the pair.

Steven says he again refused, citing his past issues. His colleague, he notes, also refused.

Steven alleges the server continued to push for alcohol. Steven says he then pivoted, acknowledging both people at the table were currently on the clock. The server allegedly continued to insist the pair order alcohol.

“I finally had to put my hand down on the table, and I said, ‘Look, no. We don’t want anything. We said no. Can we just get our drinks?’” Steven recounts.

“As soon as you say no, that should have been the end of it,” Steven says. “I shouldn’t have to give an explanation about why I’m not drinking, neither should the guy who was with me.”

Steven also says that he does not care whether people who work for him drink, so long as they do not do it on company time. He also claims he contacted Olive Garden, who informed him that its policy was to respect a customer’s initial refusal. This server, he says, did not do that.

Under the first video, users were initially critical of Steven’s response to the situation.

“Man chill out and have a drink,” wrote one user.

“Jesus I hope that’s the worse thing that happened to you that day,” added another.

However, after Steven explained his story, the sympathy on TikTok grew.

“What if someone is a recovering alcoholic? you don’t know that. if he says no it needs to be respected,” stated a commenter.

“I don’t drink either so I understand your frustration,” noted a second.

“U don’t have to feel obligated to explain why you don’t want it,” exclaimed a third.

Other commenters offered explanations as to why the server was pushing alcohol so strongly.

“Olive Garden waiter is required to push items. Manager give them a hard time if they don’t hear them ask,” claimed a user.

“As a fellow server there, it’s not the servers fault it’s corporate. They push us to do it,” alleged a second.

The Daily Dot reached out to Steven and Olive Garden via email.

Update 2:36pm CT October 28: In an email to Daily Dot, Steven elaborated on why a “no and go” policy is so vital.

“Simply put, the wait staff does not know what the diner is facing. In my case, I am trying my hardest to remain sober. Fortunately, I am to the point where I cannot be tempted by someone pushing drinks on someone,” he wrote.

“…Seventy (70%) of people struggling with alcoholism will relapse at some point, and that percentage rate declines the longer someone stays sober,” he continued. “Picture someone coming into that restaurant, or any restaurant, and the waiter pushes a drink. After hearing the diner say no, they continue. What if that diner thinks that just one drink won’t hurt them, so why not? That’s what happened to a friend of mine. Drinks were pushed on him, he gave in, and two days later, he died in a single-car accident involving alcohol.”

In addition to those maintaining sobriety, Steven says the server’s insistence also poses an issue for those who remain sober for religious reasons.

“The other side of this coin is a religious issue. What if someone is a Muslim or a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints? These two faiths say that you cannot drink,” he noted. “Does wait staff need to continue to push drinks then as well?”

“There is also a more significant issue here. Looking at the comments on my original video, there seem to be more than a few people that excuse the wait staff for not taking ‘no’ as an answer. Most say that the manager pushes them to sell the drinks,” he shared. “Still, shouldn’t someone saying no be the end of it? What other nos are being excused by saying it was pushed on them or someone else’s fault? We need to learn, regardless of who is pushing what, that no should be the end.”

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