Everybody at the restaurant knows Shrimp Man. He's been coming in for ages, and for the longest time would only ever order shrimp glazed in this nasty freaking sauce we used to have. Our branch of the company stopped carrying the sauce, actually, but GM kept ordering it specifically for this dude for three years. Then corporate axed it completely--and I for one was hoping he'd just quit coming after that, he was so angry about it. No such luck.
My last shift before Christmas, I once again had the dreaded three table section. Table one was sat when I arrived. In fact, they were finished eating when I arrived. It was a couple and their baby, and they had already paid, and yet they were just sitting. The baby was awake; they weren't talking to each other; they were just sitting, looking in opposite directions. It was a little odd.
I got a family of four at table two, and then something horrible happened. Shrimp Man and his son came in, and as usual sat themselves--at my table three. Because naturally two guys need a six person booth, right? I was furious, because now I was essentially down to a one table section. Shrimp Man (who I've written about before, dammit, and can't remember when) always sits forever.
When I saw them sit down, I stomped back to the kitchen and got Shrimp Guy his Pepsi with light ice. Then I got his son his iced tea with an extra glass of ice. They said they would have the usual, so I rattled it all off and they were suitably impressed.
Shrimp Guy now always orders the southwestern salad. No sour cream, no southwestern ranch, no salsa; extra guacamole, extra pico de gallo, sub extra honey mustard. Maybe a side of plain unseasoned broccoli--after he tastes his son's to make sure it's okay, or something.
His son gets the mini burgers with a side of shredded lettuce (not leaf lettuce, shredded), three tomatoes, raw red onion, and mustard. His fries have to have no salt, pepper, or other seasoning, and be cooked fresh; his broccoli has to be plain.
After dinner they had a dessert, and Shrimp Guy kept telling me he needed another spoon even though they each had one. Then he said he wanted to get a $50 gift card, because then he gets a decent coupon to use later. Okay, fine. Unfortunately, he tried to pay for the gift card with the gift card, because he couldn't seem to understand he hadn't paid for the gift card yet! Just trying to get them checked out took about ten minutes, between trying to explain that, finally coaxing his Visa out of his hands to buy the gift card, then the gift card to pay for the food. At the beginning of all of this, he said he wanted a gift card envelope--and asked for it every time I was at the table trying to deal with his senility. Then I bring him the gift card envelope and he promptly says that's not what he wanted, he wanted a card holder slip that would fit in his wallet--which we don't have. Finally, finally, we get the bill squared away and then they sit for another half an hour, not talking, the son fiddling with his Crackberry, and Shrimp Guy fiddling with things in his wallet.
The younger couple had left while all this was going on, and was replaced by two middle-aged yakking twits who were waiting for four more people. They had Christmas gifts with them, which immediately told me I was screwed. And I was right. The two women finished their first drinks before a third showed up; a beer later a fourth showed up; two beers later a fifth arrived. They were there for two and a half hours total, essentially my entire first cut shift, and kept ordering drinks after I was cut. I only had a three table section, so that was 33% on my night's income being sucked up by these bitchs. At the end they left me a ten percent tip and a sack full of wrapping paper. Lovely.
I also had two more less than congenial tables once Shrimp Guy left; they were both ten percent or less on their $70+ bills. Merry Christmas to me.