Tuesday, December 9, 2014

The customers who made me cry.

The other day I waited on a couple that honestly, I expected very little from. She ordered hot water with lemon, and he ordered water with no ice. When I brought the waters he remarked, "Oh! She remembered!" in an undertone to his wife. They then ordered an appetizer and a house salad to share. With a small bill, I expected a corresponding tip - not because they were rude or anything, but just because 15% of $10 is $1.50, you know?

When I gave them their ticket, the husband handed it back to me with a twenty, and then asked if I had to share my tips with everyone in the restaurant. (This is a surprisingly common question.) I told him no, and then said with a smile that I'd be right back with his change. He stopped me by handing out a crisp one hundred dollar bill.

I froze. I didn't know what to do. My brain had made the connection between his question and the money, but I didn't believe it and didn't want to assume. I think I stared at him for a good twenty seconds before asking in what must I think was a confused croak if he needed more change.

"No, that's all for you." he said with a smile. His wife beamed at me ... and me?

I cried. I'd been so fucking stressed out about money for days - I felt like I was hallucinating. A hundred bucks isn't a fuckton of money, but it was exactly what I needed that day. I cried, and I thanked them so many times they must have thought I had some thankful version of Tourette's, and I hugged them both.

And after the shock wore off, I soaked up the jealousy of my coworkers with great enjoyment, because in eleven years I had never before gotten the "holiday" tip.

Monday, December 8, 2014

Just like Henry Rollins, I'm a liar.

"Do you do anything with AARP?" a woman asked me yesterday, as she handed me the cash for her bill.

I know damn well what AARP is. I knew she was asking if we had a senior discount (sadly, we do). I looked at the $2 (five percent) tip she had already spread out on the table. I thought about all the raspberry lemonade and cherry Pepsi her adult grandchildren had slammed down. I thought about how every time I tried to ask her a question she refused to make eye contact or speak directly to me - until now, when she wanted money off her bill.

I thought about these things and then I smiled right to her face and said, "No, no we don't."

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Restaurant karma.

For the last week, my tables have been surprisingly low-maintenance. Nobody has really been annoying or rude, no crazy requests, basically it's been smooth sailing.

So naturally, I paid for that today. It started with a speeding ticket on my way to work. I was doing my best to regain my equilibrium but it seemed like the restaurant gods wanted to throw every annoying thing possible at me. 

I had the "I'll just have HOT water with lemon" bitches who had their own tea bags. 

I had the "my friend will be here in just a minute" people taking up three of my tables for two hours.

I had every single person at my first five tables just flat out interrupt me in the middle of a sentence - I guess they just couldn't stand those annoying little sentences like "how do you want you steak cooked."

I had screaming children who mashed their cereal in to the carpet and squished applesauce on the walls. 

I had a woman who let the other two order and then just started a conversation, completely ignoring me as I stood there, having given me no indication what she wanted. Her friends were as confused as I was. 

I had "don't you have any VEGAN options?" (to which I wanted to reply "Bitch, you're at SHENANIGANS.") followed by a house salad with eight mods. 
(You thought for a second that I was going to give me the real name of where I work, didn't you?) 

I had a woman, when I offered her raspberry tea, respond with "No, I don't like raspberry tea." She then perused her menu until I finally said "then what WOULD you like to drink?" She ordered water, of course. Then her husband informed me he can't drink our water so he brought his own "and that's just how it is." He later ordered coffee. Okay. 

I had a dumbass who waited for her friend for twenty minutes and during that time she studied our gluten free menu. After her friend showed up, she proudly informed me that "I'm dairy free too, do you have a menu for that?" It took her another twenty minutes to figure out what she could eat. Hmm, if only there had been a time during which she could have looked at that menu too ....

I had two tables who laughed at me when I offered beverages, laughed heartily as if it was the funniest fucking thing they'd ever heard, and then ordered "a happy hour water! Hahaha!"

I had a couple of women who special modified the fuck out of their order and followed it up with "we need separate tickets and don't you forget our senior discounts!" and a glare. 

I had 90% of my tables want separate tickets. 

I had three tables order water and split a salad. With special modifications. And separate checks. 

I had a woman get up and walk a few steps across the restaurant and yell, while waving her arms, "WAITRESS! I said a minute! It's been a LOT longer! Did you forget us or something?" I calmly told her I was helping other guests and she huffed, "well! It took quite a while!" Her husband, who had not even cracked his menu when she first shooed me away from the table, seemed mortified. 

I had the idiots who made eye contact while I said "I'll be your cashier" and immediately said "okay, do we pay up front?" and then after I repeated no, no you don't, they went and stood in the lobby looking like lost puppies. 

I had the people who tried to trick me in to forgetting to suggest a certain thing - because every table has a card saying they get free dessert if I don't offer it - and then fucking pout like children when it didn't work.

And, as if that weren't enough little annoying shit, I had a table of fucking bitches from hell. They were pissed off that they couldn't order happy hour drinks fifteen minutes before happy hour, so they said they'd wait. I brought them water and they asked me "what are spirits?" and "what's a house margarita?" If you don't know the answers to those questions, you shouldn't be drinking in public. 
I returned to their table after the clock struck Cheap Bitch O'Clock, I mean happy hour. One of them was sitting at the empty bar looking like she was sucking on a lemon, while the other two stared at her. She came over and informed me "there's no bartender and we have QUESTIONS." I politely examined the bartender was doing something in back and I could answer their questions - which were just as fucking stupid as before - and they finally ordered two Long Islands and a margarita. No food. 
A while later they asked for three tequila shots and one wanted another beer. A while after that, while I was delivering food to another table, I saw that once again one was at the bar. "We asked her for a drink and now she's nowhere to be found!" 
Well, that was because Bug was in the back looking for more nasty Michelob Ultra. We were out so of course the woman was pissed but settled for a Coors Light with Bloody Mary mix.  They also ordered a basket of fries. 
A bit later, one asked for her ticket. I brought the tab for all of them, split up, just in case. After rolling her card around in her hands for ten minutes, she finally gave it to me. Meanwhile the Coors Light woman kept staring at the bill and frowning. I'm sure she was wondering why she was charged fifty cents for her Bloody Mary mix but she didn't ask. 
The one who paid left - and left a whole dollar - and then another woman replaced her. She asked for water and when I brought it they all ignored me like I was a slug. I asked if they were ready for my to take their checks because both had credit cards out and they snarled no. 
Fifteen minutes later, my shift had been over for an hour, so I asked someone to take over. She agreed so I approached the table and smilingly asked if they wanted anything else right now. They said now, so I politely said Angie would take care of them as I had to leave. 
The new chick huffed and said "Fine! But can we get some of this off the table because I'm feeling claustrophobic!" I just said of course and picked up a beer glass and a water glass while they all scraped up and angrily threw their silverware in to the not-empty fry basket. They then went back to talking as if I weren't there. 

Imagine my surprise when they flagged down the manager a bitched to her for ten minutes about how they were very angry and they had a very bad experience because they claimed I was rude, didn't clear their plates (WHAT FUCKING PLATES YOU FUCKING TWATS), and sighed and rolled my eyes when they asked me to do so. Yeah. Okay. Sadly, said manager (a fill-in) bought in to their crap and gave them half their drinks free.

Now most of this list is small things. But it kept my irritation level slightly elevated all day. And then all the special requests and stuff took up so much time that I constantly felt like I was behind and like I could do no right. Then there were the lying bitches. So when I counted my money and it was a measly fifty bucks for the day, I nearly cried out of sheer frustration. Here's hoping tomorrow is better. 

Friday, November 14, 2014

The Shit List

Much like everybody in a restaurant will recognize the pain in the ass or cheap table, there are certain addresses that every delivery person at a pizza place will recognize. Oh, we know people think we don't remember them. How could we possibly do so, when we deliver to an area with thousands of houses? Oh, foolish customers, how they underestimate us.

Some addresses, we all just know right off the bat because the order so frequently. There's one address that I have occasionally manipulated the driver assignments to get, because if the husband pays he tips five bucks - but if the wife pays, it's anywhere from ten to twenty-five dollars. And then there are a couple of addresses that we all know immediately will be a big fat zero tip, and so we try to take another order at the same time as that one so it's not a total loss.

Of course, some don't order often enough to just be a known quantity. For the first year I was delivering, I didn't keep track of those houses in any way. But a few months ago, there was an infuriating upsurge in the number of times I was stiffed. It went from one or twice a week to ten times in three days, and I got pissed. So now, at the back of the notebook where I keep my delivery tags, there resides The Shit List. It's not like a fuck up their food or anything, but I like to know what to expect.

And, okay, there are a couple of seriously repeat offenders who I will take my sweet ass time delivering to. If they haven't tipped the last five weeks, they can wait while I stop at 7-11 for a refill. And okay, maybe a time or two I've "accidentally" left the warming bag open so their food isn't as hot as it could be. What can I say. I'd rather those people stop ordering from us.

Anyway. Most drivers have such a list, but most are also more liberal about adding people. All the coworkers I've talked to note anybody who tips less that two or three dollars - I normally only note those who do less than a dollar or zero (unless they're incredibly assholish in another way).

However, this week, I decided that there are certain times when the threshold will be raised. Yesterday night, it was fucking -4 degrees Farenheit here. And we are not allowed to wear our own coats - only company jackets, which are of course $50, and are really just shells that provide so warmth. So when it's that fucking cold, and I'm saving someone from having to go out in that shit? They'd better be fucking appreciating my frozen nipples and numb toes with more than two bucks. Otherwise I will remember. Oh yes. I will.

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Thoughts on Veteran's Day.

Today was actually not bad at all. I went in to it somewhat anxious and stressed out - bad juju from the last V Day I worked. Which I realized today that I never actually wrote up, and that was a big part of why I left the restaurant last time, so let's go back in time to 11/11/11 .....
These were the dark days, when Chicken Little was still in charge. Lapdog was constantly on the verge of a mental breakdown. Bitter Divorced Man had left a couple of months before; his replacement had died in a car crash soon after; his replacement was Junior. Pot Smoking Manager had left just weeks before and been replaced by HotPants.
At that point, I think we were still one of only a couple of restaurants doing the free food for military thing, so it was an insane day. We opened an hour early and were full for the next twelve hours.
CL was psychotically in to Veteran's Day. If there were a base around here, she'd be a total barracks rat. Instead of doing useful, managerial things on V Day, she would wander the restaurant, talking to military people and literally fucking crying over their stories. Now, it's not like she lost her father in Vietnam or anything like that - there was no military connection in her life. She was just in to it in a creepy fucking way. So she'd spend her time talking to customers and then go in the back and have one of her spectacular fucking meltdowns when she found out the kitchen had high ticket times or whatever.
I wasn't having a very good day. I'd had some really rude customers - and I don't mean veterans, I mean people coming in demanding they get a free meal because their son was in Iraq, or their husband died in Korea, or whatever. I'd gotten some really shitty tips. Half my section had been taken up by a big top - one of whom showed up at 11 and the rest of them didn't wander in until almost 1. At two in the afternoon, four hours after we opened, I had made fifteen dollars.
As that big top was finishing up, I was cleaning a table next to them. Junior was helping me bus it, and asked why I was so quiet. Now, at this point, Junior was still a sleeper agent - none of us realized she was in CL's pocket. So I very simply and quietly said "I don't want to work this day next year, it's not worth it." That's it. I wasn't scowling, I wasn't bitching, I answered her question.
Her response was "It's not about you today. It's about honoring veterans."
(More on that later.)I said she was right, I was just stressed about money, smiled at her, and went back to the kitchen.
A bit later, Chrissy came storming up and slapped a receipt down next to me and went on a rampage about the two dollars she'd gotten off a four top who all had free meals. She went on about how they were cheap bastards and they could at least tip when all their food was free. I remember my exact response: "Yeah, that sucks." I knew better than to say anything else.
Well, after that, my day got better. People were nicer, they started tipping, the big top left, and my smile was no longer fake. Right up until CL gathered us in the back with the evening floor chart. She told this person they were staying where they were, told this other person they were moving, told this person they were cut ... and then pointed at me and said "And you are going home."
I thought it was a mistake; I was clearly scheduled for a double and politely told her that. She told me I was cut and I told her I'd really like to stay if I could.
"You're leaving and we'll talk about it later."
Everyone was looking pointedly away from me; I was completely confused. My confusion didn't lessen when I was taken in to the office and told I was being sent home because of my bad attitude. Apparently I was saying "disrespectful" things about veterans, and I wasn't welcome there any more today. I was told that my statement the day wasn't financially worth it was inappropriate. CL also said she "didn't like" how I treated my big top - I never did figure out what the fuck she was talking about there, those Korea/WWII vets loved me and tipped me excellently.
Obviously I knew Junior had to CL what I said about money, but she wouldn't explain what she was talking about with the "disrespectful" stuff. About a week later I found out that Chrissy had gone to CL and told her that I was the one ranting about the bad tip and calling people cheap bastards! And of course, because Chrissy was so far up CL's ass, she believed her.
And that was the beginning of the end of my job. After that, CL started cutting my shifts, giving me shitty sections, sending me home early, refusing my attempts to pick up shifts ..... and very soon I didn't work there anymore.

I practically feel like I'm breaking out on hives just from writing about how the place used to be. Anyway, fast forward to today .... and it was awesome. The kitchen was in absolute top fucking form. Lapdog and Harley were working their butts off right along with us. Our new (and so far awesome) district manager stopped in to help ... and then left after half an hour because we didn't need him. It was great.

Oh, except for the dishwasher freaking the fuck out because someone asked him to wash silverware. He walked out. And then came back later with a baseball bat. I'm not sure what scared him off. It was an interesting interlude.

Anyway - super smooth day otherwise, smiles all the way around. The only thing that kind of sucked .... was I only made $63. There were three reasons: We slowed down in the afternoon and I was cut, I had two tables (half of my section) that thought it was totally fucking cool to camp for an hour when the lobby was jam-packed and they were sitting right next to it, and then probably 75% of my tables tipped a really crappy amount. If you go by what my final sales were, my tips were 25% - but if you go by what they were before the comping off veteran meals, it drops down to just ten percent. I was pretty disappointed by that, I'll be honest. 

Because here's the thing about Junior's statement from 2011, which I heard repeated several times - yeah, the day is about honoring veterans. That's awesome. If it were a volunteer to work day, I would have no problem with all the managers and corporate people repeating that over and over. 

However .... it's now a mandatory work day. So they're telling us "you HAVE to come in, and don't expect to make money because it's not about you." And I'm sorry, I have to call a little bit of bullshit on that. I can't tell my credit card company "I can't pay my bill, but I honored a lot of veterans!" And not only because that sounds kind of dirty, but because it just wouldn't fly. This is my job, not community service, and I don't think there's anything wrong with wanting to make some cash. I would never say a word against a military member because of their tip today - but I don't see what's so wrong with being disappointed that, on the busiest day of the year, I made about what I make on an average Tuesday lunch shift. 

When I handed in my checkout, Harley asked what I made. I was immediately nervous, afraid when I answered I'd sound pissy or something and I'd get in trouble (the trauma from CL hasn't completely healed!). I told her and her jaw dropped. "Are you serious? I'm so sorry!"

I love her.

Sunday, November 9, 2014

Money problems.

I've had two people in the last two days who just don't quite get how the whole "paying the bill and getting change" thing works.

The first was when I delivered a pizza to a woman. Her total was $15.85. She handed me two dollar bills and said "keep that." Then she gave me a twenty and said "give me change but keep a dollar." Okay ....

The second was possibly even weirder. This rather old gentleman paid his bill with a twenty and a five. His total was $21.11 ... and he told me to give him back one quarter. His son was as baffled as I was and said "Just let her keep it, Dad." But the old guy shook his head and said "No, it's okay." and held out his hand for his quarter.

Whatever, people.

Saturday, November 8, 2014


My inner monologue in this entry will be shown in (what else?) purple.

A woman and her two friends took up a six-seater booth for most of the lunch rush. When I brought the ticket, the woman snagged it and insisted to her friends that she would pay. They were done eating and she wasn't, so they left and she spent another twenty minutes painstakingly masticating. Finally, she had her credit card on the edge of the table so I went over to pick it up.

"I'll be right back with your card!" Thank god, it's been hours.
She grabbed her wrist and stopped me immediately. Do not touch me! 
"Is it really NINE DOLLARS for a BLT sandwich?" she asked, pointing at the appropriate line on the bill.
No. No, it's not. I just hacked in to our corporate computer system and changed the price on your bill, just to fuck with you personally. "Yes ma'am." I said with a smile.
"Well!" She huffed. "I just can't believe that!" She then stared at me expectantly.
"43 bumper stickers and a YOLO license plate."
You're not getting anything free. "I'm sorry ma'am," I gave her my best rueful smile, "I wish I could set the prices."
"Well, doesn't it come with the salad?" she pointed at the next line down, the $1.49 sub salad upcharge.
Have you never been in a restaurant before? "It comes with fries, but he opted to upgrade to a salad." I explained patiently.
She finally shoved her credit card toward me and muttered "take it." Gladly, you tacky bitch. Don't offer to pay for someone's food without looking at the bill, and then bitch about the cost!

The total bill came to $32 (for three people). She wrote a big zero on the tip line and then left me one dollar bill and two quarters. I'm sure she felt like she'd proved a point - and she had: At the end of the day, I am not you. VICTORY IS MINE.

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Things that annoyed me today.

  • "Hi everyone! How are you to-" "I JUST WANT WATER. *snarl*"
  • "Okay! How about everyone else, can I get you a raspberry tea or lemonade?" "*eye roll* WATER." "YES. WATER."
  • At a different table: "Oh, I'll have iced tea!" "And I'll have water - and there's another person coming - so THREE waters."
  • Two of those three waters being untouched at the end of the meal.
  • While I was walking directly toward a table and making eye contact with her, a woman picked up her receipt and credit card and started dramatically waving them at me. 
  • "Have you all decided on lunch?" "THIS is what I want. *stabs finger at a multi-choice item and shoves menu away* So I was telling Janice ....."
  • "We need separate checks and we're all seniors!"
  • "Can I order [item x] but get [item y] instead for the cheaper price?"
  • The breadstick thing.
  • That all this happened between my first two tables after I'd had a fight with my father before work and I was in no fucking mood for customers.
What didn't annoy me: The 50% tip on a bill of $50. Thank you, kind sir! You turned my day around!

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Truly insulting

I had used a previously started draft from July when I originally posted this, not realizing it would put it back in the archives. Re-posting so it's in its proper place!)

I had a table today of six. One of them, a woman around twenty, was in military fatigues. They were nice enough, unremarkable ... Until the end. After I had already run their credit card and returned it to the table, the older gentleman (fatigue-wearer's father) waved me down. 

"Do you have a military discount?"
I told him we did, but it would take several minutes to do and I'd need to re-run his credit card. Usually that discourages people, but not this time. 
"That's okay. We'll wait!"

So I took the card and got Fester, who first of argued with me and tried to say that you can't so discounts on tickets that were pulled back after being closed. He got even more grumpy when I told him yes you can, you just can't void things. Eventually, be pulled the ticket back and did the discount - for the person in the military, who was not the person who paid - and made the comment "she's not supposed to wearing her uniform in public like that."

So I re-ran the card and returned it to the table, with a copy of their receipt. I continued waiting on my other tables, noticing out of the corner of my eye that the military girl and her parents were all crowded around the receipt and talking to each other in hushed tones. But they didn't stop me as I walked slowly by, so I shrugged it off. 

When I next came out of the kitchen, military mom had cornered Fester and was almost yelling. From across the restaurant I heard her say "that is truly insulting!" and then his reply that "a ten percent discount is insulting?"

Apparently she stormed up to him and demanded to know why that ten percent discount didn't apply to everyone at the table - and then told him it was insulting that her daughter only got ten percent off of her personal food "after all she's been through."

("All she's been through," it turned out, was basic training.)

Fester refused to give the rest of them a discount and when he went back to the kitchen he unloaded about how insulting he found it that this family was trying to use their daughter's military service that way. "They're the kind of people who show on Veteran's Day and think having a kid in the military entitles them to free food!"

I wasn't as pissed as ex-Army Fester, but I was still annoyed. My grandfather was a career soldier and he would never have asked for a military discount. My aunt is in the Navy and my cousin is Army, my best friend's brother is Air Force, etc etc - none of the military people I know would have allowed a family member to make a scene that way. Maybe if they were treating the rest of the family to a meal, they might have asked if it applied to everything - but they'd never demand. 

I'm okay if that family doesn't come back. They left a bad taste in everyone's mouths. 

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

I need a 'duh' discount.

Nothing seemed amiss when the lady at table 12 ordered a Pepsi. I mean, it's Pepsi. It's pretty universal. Right?

Apparently not. After I'd already rung in her order, she waved me over and asked for something else to drink. "I'm diabetic," she said, "so Pepsi is just too sugary for me."

Reminds me of the bitch who sent back a ham sandwich for being "too hammy."