Sunday, September 27, 2009

Fuck me, I hate homecoming.

I didn't like all that crap when I was in high school, and I really hate it now. Since I work at a thoroughly average-priced restaurant, we had swarms of high schoolers in last night. Luckily, we also had a decent number of non-teenagers or I might've killed someone.

My section last night was less than ideal. It has two booths, two two-seaters, and one round high bar table. I don't mind it, exactly, because I've always preferred to have several small tables rather than big ones. The problem is that everybody in the universe thinks they need to sit in a fucking booth, so if there's not a wait people will demand to be sat elsewhere.

Last night we had wait for quite a while, so I didn't get screwed in that department. I did get screwed, however, in terms of customers. During the entire freaking dinner rush, I had nothing but old people and teenagers. The teenagers were a big group of them, and it was a total clusterfuck.

My round table was one of four in a line; the other three belonged to Brainless. It just so happened we had a table of nine come in and request to sit on the patio and be waited on by her at the same time we had a table of "8, or maybe 15" teenagers in ugly dresses and rented tuxes show up. There was nowhere else to put them except at that line of high tables, but there was a problem: 1, 2, and 4 were open, but 3 had two guys sitting there drinking beer instead of moving three feet over to the bar.

So tables 1 and 2 were pulled together (as much as round tables can be), and a bunch of the little jerks sat there. The rest sat at table 4, after the manager said that after the drinkers left we'd have them move. I'd no sooner gotten their drink orders than the beer-drinking realized they were surrounded by shrieking teens and hurriedly left. I pretended not to see and went in to the kitchen to pour my drinks--I did not want to be part of that particular shuffle.

When I came back out, the manager had gotten them all consolidated to one table, and of course most of them had moved. I managed to get most of the drinks to the right people unaided, but I wasn't really concerned about it--I'm not going to bust my ass trying to impress a bunch of idiot high schoolers.

They decided not to wait for the last couple of people before ordering, so I went through the long process of trying to talk over them to get orders. I have a system for dealing with teenagers: instead of going around the table in order, I take orders in groups according to the tickets they want their bill split in to, and I get a name to go with that group of orders. It's too difficult to ring things in on guests 1-howevermany and then try to match up seats at the end when they're constantly moving, after all.

It's especially difficult when they've all moved around and their all too stupid to recognize their own food order when it comes out. Seriously, how difficult is it to remember that you ordered pasta? That was really fun. Then there's the billions of drink refills; and the fact that they're annoying the shit out of all the regular people around them. I was also annoyed by their late-comers, who didn't order anything--the dude was fine, but the girl was a twiggy little thing with a giant shiny multi-colored septum piercing hanging out of her tiny nose, and she was either incredibly stupid or incredibly stoned. She couldn't seem to understand what I was asking when I tried to determine if they were ordering anything--and every time I walked by she looked at me like I was dog shit. I wanted to grab that fucking nose ring and rip it out by the time they left.

As far as teenagers go, I've had to deal with worse. I didn't display any irritation, I got them all their refills in a timely mannager (although they ranked lower than the rest of my tables), I talked to them a little, complimented a couple of girls on their dresses, etc. When it was time to pay, I had four separate tickets that I handed out. Naturally, they all gave me their wads of cash and different times. Only two wanted change; the first one to hand me money said she didn't need change--"It's only like a dollar." I ground my teeth. The next two didn't want change--43 cents. The last one did, and when I plunked his $2.56 down on the table they were all starting to get up and fidget with purses and such. There was not a dime on the table, and I was tired of being polite. I very loudly said "Just so you all know, gratuity is not included in those totals." Then I turned around, leaving them all staring at each other in confusion--especially the one I heard ask "what's gratuity?"

Eight crumbled up dollar bills showed up on the table after that. With the "keep the change" crap, I got $10 on a $120 check. Of course, that's $10 more than I was expecting, so I was just glad to see the back of them--and that they were my only group of homecoming jerks. I was also very grateful that both managers were too busy helping other servers who were flipping out to really notice what I was doing--otherwise they probably would've made me give my other four table to Perpetua, who was on the other side of my station. As it was, I was able to keep rotating my other four tables while taking care of the kids, so it could've been worse for sure.

Of course, 95% of those other tables were old people who tipped 12% max, so I only walked with $80; but it could've been much worse.


eternalcarryoutgirl said...

At least one of the waitresses at The Restaurant will write the total on teenagers' bills with the words "+TIP" next to it in block letters. Or they ask me to remind kids to tip when I take their money (awkward). So, you're not alone.

Aunty Pol said...

At least they didn't moon you..that's burned on my retina's now.



Anonymous said...

As a former waitress I have DRILLED into my children the 20% rule when they dine out. And I make sure they have the money for the entire group.

I have also taught them to leave a tip for the hotel maids when they travel on school trips.

I wonder if other parents do this and make sure the kids have the money, but the kids just keep the extra? And tip poorly - or do are they truly just little sh$%^ that tip bad?

Sorry about homecoming - at least Prom is 9 months away ;)

Anonymous said...

Okay, I'm going to go completely out on a limb here, and being anonymous, I gonna really not hold back. What the heck, call me a coward, I'll get over it.
To give you an idea of how often I eat out, here are some facts. I have never gone out for dinner with my parents in my life. I have been married 17 years to my hubby, and having 4 kids has seriously affected our finances, in that we go out for fast food maybe once every couple of months, and for a 'nicer' meal, like Swiss Chalet, once or twice a year.
I have to tell you that my jaw is dropping when I read your and other blogs like this. I thought you all were paid minimum wage, which as far as I know here in Canada is getting close to a very respectable $10per hour. I know that the polite thing is to tip, and we do, generally not more than 15 %, but here's my point. I thought that getting a tip was exactly what the word sounds like, an extra little something something for a job well done. From what I read here, it is tantamount to giving your waitress the finger, if you don't tip at least that regardless of service or quality of food. We work hard for our money, AS DO YOU, but is it really the case that when you don't tip (enough) you are really the lowest scum out there?

The Printer said...

Love the entry. Teenagers in general really irk me. Teenagers in a restaurant are worse. Teenagers en-masse in formalwear in a restaurant... horror! And I don't even work in food service, I'm just a general restaurant customer. I stay in on purpose rather than go out to eat on prom/homecoming nights.

purplegirl said...

@eternalcarryoutgirl - I can't imagine how uncomfortable it must be to have your servers expect you to be the tip police!

@AP - I had an experience like that once, I was driving next to a van full of teenage boys and they slid the van door open to present a line of butts. Lovely.

@Anonymous the first - thanks for the ray of sunshine, but we have three high schools in town who have all their dances on separate consecutive weeks, so I've probably got another two weeks of this! Gah! :)

@The Printer - I know we were all teenagers once, but seriously, they're just out of hand these days!

@Suzanne - I'm going to respond to your comment with a post later today so I can give a thorough answer.

Masquerade said...

Oh god. Oh god above and all the things that are right and good with the world.

THIS POST is one reason I quit my waitressing job. Any child of mine will damn well KNOW what a tip is, and, more so, what a GOOD tip is and when it is deserved. There's a regular that goes into my old job all the tip with his kid, who's a little cutie. Even if you just get him a root beer, he'll pay for it and tip you like a dollar. I love people like that.