I didn't go in to work cranky. I liked my section; two booths, two two-seaters, and one high top by the bar. Perfect for me since I do better with lots of small tables than big ones. I wandered around greeting coworkers, ran some food, braided my hair, and eventually got a table ... of four old people who were that sort of nice that you know means they'll be easy to wait on, but not worth a decent tip.
My next table was parents and a child; they flat-out said the only reason they were there was because the kid had gotten a coupon for a free meal for reading ten books or something like that. They weren't excited to be there, and it showed.
My next table was two guys at my high table by the bar. Three feet from the bar, actually, and they each ordered a happy hour beer and no food.
And that was it. The next 45 minutes consisted of waiting for people to leave. The old folks eventually gave me a verbal tip and $5 and left. The pissy parents left me $2. The two beer drinkers sat there and ordered another beer right before happy hour prices expired.
A guy sat down at one of my booths and ordered a margarita; he was waiting for two other people and had a bunch of papers and notebooks. Awesome. Two very slow moving, slow talking old people sat at my other booth. They were no trouble, they just took an hour or better to eat the smallest meal we have, and left ten percent.
My only two decent tables were two middle aged couples, one at each of my two-seaters, who both left me 20%. Meanwhile, a woman had joined the beer drinkers and ordered a margarita. That was at 6:15. At 6:45, they finally ordered an appetizer after bitching about so many of the appetizers having tomato products. And then they continued to sit.
Two more joined the guy at my booth; they ordered beers. When I came back there was another woman there, who also wanted a beer. When I came back, she asked for water, and they informed me they were "just having a meeting, we're not eating!"
It took all my self-control not to tell them "This isn't a fucking meeting hall."
I got them all waters, as I knew that was coming, and dropped off their bill and more or less ignored them other than asking if they wanted another round.
And then I waited around some more. At seven, I had made five dollars. My two two-seaters left, which tripled my tips. And I waited around some more. I was so pissed off at that point that I gave my second-cut shift to another server--after two hours, eight tables, and $150 in sales, I just wanted out.
The meeting people were still sitting there; the drinkers were still sitting there; the old people had just left; I had nothing to do. Then the drinkers demanded "dinner menus" .... literally thirty seconds before the manager cut the floor. I was livid--they had been there for two and a half hours at that point! I waited, out of their sight, until the server who now had that section was done ringing an order in, and asked to pass them off to her. She was royally pissed about something else, but said she'd take them. I then walked out the kitchen door to tell these people I wasn't their server anymore....
And saw that another woman had joined them! The first one did that bitchy finger crooking thing at me, and it took all my diplomacy not to go off on them.
"We're ready to order," she tells me.
"Okay; unfortunately it's time for me to leave, so (new server) will be taking care of you from now on and I've told her you'll be ordering dinner." I gave them my biggest fake smile. What was running through my head was "Now that you've sat here literally my entire shift screwing me out of money, I'm done. This isn't a fucking coffeehouse, it's a restaurant, and I'm not wasting any more of my time on you! You can stare at me like you need something all you want from now on like you have been all night, I'll be ignoring you from this moment forward."
They didn't really respond, so I just walked away. I blasted through my sidework, which was done before they got their food, and then I went to talk to the other camping fuckers, who were still having their meeting. I planned to tell them they could either pay up or be passed along, but they had their card out. So I dropped it off and went back to pick up the slip as soon as I saw they'd signed it. They'd deigned to give me $3 after sitting for an hour and a half at my table.
I got my sidework signed and then I very loudly said to my coworkers "I'm leaving before I kill somebody!" The people who'd at that point been there for three fucking hours were just outside the kitchen, so I'm sure they heard me; one of the bitches gave me a hateful look as I breezed by, purposefully all smiles, and was out the side door.
Twenty bucks on a Tuesday night shift, all because people think it's okay to sit around taking up space through the dinner rush.