I was in a good mood when I headed to work. Happy and singing, and I'd actually put my makeup on before leaving instead of in the car! I got to work early and had something to eat, talked with my coworkers, etc. My first few tables were fine; nothing memorable.
And then .... I saw it. The hostess putting two of my tables together for a big top. FUCK! I hate big tops! They never tip me well--and some corporate douchebag decided years ago that we can't add gratuity, no matter the size of the party. There's not even a button in the computer for it.
As any server knows, a big top during the dinner rush can make or break your night. This was only a group of eight; and one of my coworkers knew one of the first four to show up. So I wasn't too worried. Of course, the hostesses are morons and gave me a five at the same time, and then kept my two boots turning as fast as possible while I was juggling the big table--who turned out to be a giant pain in my ass. So much so that I remember their exact orders seven hours later!
Three of the first four ordered margaritas, rocks, salt. Simply enough. The fourth ordered "Margarita. Strawberry. Frozen. Sugared rim (accompanied by one pointy finger making a circular motion)." No problem. After I ring those in, the rest of the group shows up--another young woman who orders a strawberry margarita, two kids, and two snotty teenagers. I go get their drink orders, but first tell the first four their margaritas are on the way. As I turn to get the other side of the table's drinks, Pointy-Finger Girl interrupts me and asks for one of our dips, but with breadsticks instead of chips, and the second girl (Margarita Copier) asks for the same thing. I ask twice more before I manage to get their drink orders. From then on it was just run, run, runrunrunrun.
The snotty teenage boy had tons of Mountain Dew refills; one of the kids spilled his Oreo shake and I got them a new one free of charge after bringing a giant stack of napkins and a towel for the mess (it was under the table). They didn't think they got enough breadsticks for their dip, so I had to get more of those.
It took ages to get their order, and then it took even longer to ring it in. At the end it looked like this, taking up our entire expo screen because of all the mods, plus I had to type stuff out so the brilliant kitchen workers could understand it. It all came out right; they got everything promptly including all their margaritas and refills.
At the end, their bill was $154 (four half-price, appetizers, two sirloins, one New York strip, a chicken rollup, chicken strips, a burger, and two kids meals; two sodas, ten happy hour margaritas, and two non-happy hour margaritas; plus various add-ons like mushrooms on steaks). They asked me to split the bill in two; which I did promptly.
The Margarita Copier paid for $50 of it and left me six. Despite not asking for split tickets, two of the other four paid individually. Two paid together, and left $7 on $55. One left two on $25. One left ... nothing, on $25.
Fifteen dollars on one-hundred and fifty. Ten percent for perfect service for demanding people. FUCK YOU, ASSCLOWNS.
I tried not to let it bother me; it could have been worse. But by the time they left, the dinner rush was over, so they'd cost me money through taking up my tables as well as being cheap. Still, I was closing, so I tried to stay positive. We actually stayed fairly busy through the rest of the night; not so busy I couldn't sit down to eat, but busy enough that by the end of the night my sales were $556--at first cuts they were only $230.
Unfortunately, my tips didn't measure up. Mostly 10% tonight, and I really don't know why .... I was giving people the same service as days I've made much more. I was a bit stressed a couple of times when I was busy; but I made sure I smiled, I got refills, etc. etc. By the end of the night, though, my crankiness was starting to wear me down .... and that's when I got the people I just wanted to scream at.
The little girl was absolutely adorable, I wanted to pick her up and squish her! She was about eight, and very sweet. The father didn't talk much; I think he said two words the whole time. But the mother .... ugh. She had a snotty look on her face from the beginning. She had long hair pulled back tight,; she had that peculiar black eyeshadow older Hispanic women like smeared all over her eyelashes, plus a nasty maroon lipstick wearing off her lips. She just looked uptight and pissy.
So they come in at 10:45--we close at 11, naturally. But I don't let that bother me--it's not like I was going to be able to walk out the door at 11:01 anyway. I trotted over the greet them, and offered them an iced tea or Pepsi--just the first things to pop out of my mouth. Eyeshadow says "you're not serving alcohol?" I assured her we were, I just didn't happen to list it. She asks what beer we have, and orders a Coors Light for her husband. The little girl orders a Dr. Pepper; Eyeshadow asks me what something on the menu is and orders that.
So I go forth and get their drinks. The little girl orders a Caesar salad, the dad points at a shrimp salad. Eyeshadow then asks me "This ribs and fajitas, what does that come with?" It took me a second to understand. See, there's a section of the menu with the heading "ribs & fajitas" with short ribs, baby backs, and fajitas listed separately.
"You freaking idiot, can't you read?" I snapped. No, of course not really! But I wanted to. I just politely told her we don't have a ribs and fajita combo. So of course she didn't know what she wanted, and I had to come back. She finally orders a burger. Everything comes out in record time, because of course the cooks want to get the hell out. But still, everything is cooked right, they say it's good.
Later, I stop by to check on their drink levels. The little girl starts to ask for dessert, but Eyeshadow cuts her off and says later. Then she asks me when we close. I say 11. She asks what time it is, and even though I know it's quarter after 11, I just say it's about 11. So they order a sundae and another beer. As I'm taking their dinner plates, the little girl smiles at me and says "I'm sorry I made a mess!" She hadn't even made a mess. I smiled and said "Oh sweetheart, you're fine!" At least I got along with one of them.
So I get the dessert and the beer, and I give them their bill. After sweeping a bit, I see the little girl playing with the book and looking at me. So I hop over, and she hands me the book and says, "There's forty dollars in there!" So cute. I say I'll be right back with their change, but Eyeshadow tells me to keep it. I didn't know what their total was until I got back to the kitchen. $39.43. Are you fucking kidding me?
Still, I held my temper until they'd left and confirmed they'd left nothing. Then I started ranting and getting really pissed off. What the hell! They come in right before close, stay until 11:30, and don't tip? Fuck them! I did say some nasty things in the kitchen, which I feel bad about--I try not to say racist things, even though the more Hispanic people I wait on the more I understand the non-tipping stereotype. It's nearly always true, whether they're first or second generation immigrants. Of course, it's also true of white trash, bitchy old people, stupid teenagers, etc. etc.
I'm sure that all seems like an over-reaction, especially the double-finger I brandished at the parking lot. And it was. But while I was waiting for them to leave, I'd run my check out, and had seen what I made. Twenty-two percent of my sales were alcohol (I had drinkers allll night), so I owed my bartender a huge tip-out. I made $49 for seven hours of work, on $556 in sales. That's slightly less than nine percent. So after seeing the disappointing haul for the night and then confirming they'd actually left me nothing, I let all my frustrations come out.
Here's hoping tomorrow is better--it's another closing shift.