Tuesday, January 5, 2010

No way, there's a world around us?

The last two nights we've had an early rush and then fuck all after nine o'clock. I closed both nights; last night we had everything done twenty minutes before close. All we'd've had to do was lock the door and flip the light switches. We would have been out of there at 11:02.

Except, of course, douchebags had to come in. There's this family that comes in at least once a week on a random night, and the earliest I've ever seen them is 10:40. The daughter is a whining, screaming brat; the mother is just sort of .... off, somehow. The dad looks like he wants to be a Sopranos extra, with the shorts and belt and polos. They're just strange all the way around.

They know damn well what time we close, because they've watched us lock the doors plenty of times. Yet they come in, shortly before close, and act like they're doing us a favor. If they do dessert, they order it after close. If it's just the parents, they sit and snuggle and kiss and giggle to each other. I once waited until quarter after midnight for these assholes to leave. Last night, they left "early", only forty minutes after close.

If I was annoyed then, there are no words for how pissed I was tonight. Tonight business died even earlier than usual. Cali Girl and I had 99% of our closing work done by twenty till ten, more than an hour before close. We'd even pulled the booths along the southern wall out so that the morning crew could vacuum behind them. That left us five small booths, three large, and ten other tables open.

We knew we might get another table or two, and that was fine. We got one, a table of three, which was Cali's. And then, two hoity-toity looking women walked in. The bartender went to greet and seat them. They told her there would be eight of them, and then they absolutely refused to sit in the bar area, where we could accommodate a larger group just fine. They insisted that they had to sit at the low long tables, on the closed side of the restaurant! Plenty of tables open, and they make us move the heavy booths back against the wall, and pull the long tables out. I was infuriated.

I pushed two booths back against the wall, making juuuuust enough room for their table to fit in to a sort of nook. I could walk back and forth just fine, so I left the rest. I hope they felt like assholes sitting there in the obviously closed area of the restaurant.

The first two to arrive couldn't decide what they wanted to drink. On the first trip, one of the bitches informs me there are more people coming. Really? I never would have guessed! I made two trips back, only to be met with blank stares. On the third trip, they started bitching about how the drink prices aren't listed on the menu. The bitchiest of the two says something like, "I can't believe the prices aren't listed on here! Don't you think that's so rude? Why aren't they listed?"

I fought not to roll my eyes. "I think it's because alcohol prices change depending on what contracts we can get, and it's too expensive to re-print the menus all the time." Yeah, I was totally bullshitting.

"Well!" she snaps. "They they should print it with $7 to $9!"

"Maybe," I try to pacify her. "I'm not sure why they do it, corporate doesn't confide in me." I said it with a smile, not at all sarcastically.

"Oh, they don't, do they?" she got all snotty and sarcastic about it, before running me to find out the prices of four different drinks. They finally ordered a sangria and a Long Island; then a third woman showed up. She, at least, knew just what she wanted. Once she had her beer and the other two had their drinks, they ordered a dessert and an appetizer. Another woman showed up and also ordered a beer.

By this time it's 10:40, twenty minutes to close. I'm fuming; Cali Girl wants to leave but feels guilty; the cooks are pissed; the bartender is ready to tear her hair out because our brain-damaged regular won't stop following her around the restaurant (even in to the kitchen) blathering; even Lapdog is irritated, and usually he's all about extracting the last drop of cash from anybody who comes in the door.

At ten minutes to close, I walked out of the kitchen to ask them pointedly if they wanted anything else before the kitchen closed. Well, Miss Bitch-About-The-Drink-Menus had finally surfaced from her Long Island long enough to want another appetizer. And instead of waiting for me to walk by, as I'd been doing every few minutes, she'd come to the bar and interrupted Lapdog's inventory counts.

Just before we were going to lock the doors, the carpet cleaners showed up. None of us knew they were coming, so me, the bartender, and Cali were suddenly scrambling around removing silverware from tables, putting chairs up on tables, etc. My table just sat there, oblivious, laughing and talking as if they were in their own private universe. For another fifteen minutes they sat, while the carpet cleaners dragged in equipment, starting turning booths on to their ends, starting moving tables, etc. They finally left when me, Cali, Lapdog, the bartender, and the two carpet cleaners were all just standing around because there was nothing we could do until they were gone.

It wasn't that late, really; but the fact that they demanded we open a closed section, ran me around, bitched at me about things not my fault, hardly ordered anything, and then camped out all combined to make me want to jam something pointy in each of their eye sockets. I personally think they didn't have eight people coming at all, they just wanted a big roomy table--because they never said anything to me about "oh, they're not coming" or "we're not going to wait for them".
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    Steven Nicolle said...

    What a headache! You know I think January is going to be slow. Was dead where I was last night too.

    Waitersfriend said...

    Painful, painful people! I can feel your anger!

    JumpIt said...

    Yikes. There is no way I would have reopened a close section. We have a closed portion of my restaurant that we only pull open when we're busy and have enough servers to staff that portion. We get people all the time demanding they sit there. We tell them sure, they can sit there, but there isn't a single server covering that section so they won't get any service. Usually that's enough to say.

    purplegirl said...

    WaiterE, that night was slow, but last night we were kept hopping. I'm hoping against hope for more nights like last night--I could pay my bills with no problem if we had more nights like that!

    Waitersfriend, they were so painful I wanted to cause them pain! :)

    JumpIt, if I'd greeted them I would've refused! The bartender is a bit timid, though.

    Naseem said...

    I know nothing about the restaurant business...So this may come as a silly question...Do you have to open up a closed section just because a few people waltz in right before closing?

    purplegirl said...

    It depends on who greets them. I would've just set up a bar table and left it at that. But the bartender is a pushover, much as I love her. And the managers will just freaking bend over backwards to get people whatever they want--we've had to serve people on the patio in the dead of winter because they wouldn't just tell people it was closed!

    Mary Sheehan Winn said...

    Outrageous not to mention insensitive. I've said it before and I'll say it again. Some people just feel better about themselves mistreating restaurant help.

    purplegirl said...

    Everybody wants to feel superior to someone, I guess!