Monday, January 18, 2010

Sometimes, people get to me.

Monday (or was it Tuesday? I forget.) wasn't a good night for me. I had an excellent section--five round tables around the bar, four of which are high-top tables. I tend to get better tips in that section (I have a theory on why, if you want to know.), so I was excited.

We weren't having a super busy night, but it was slightly hectic. That was not helped by the fact that Lapdog was stomping around like a thundercloud. For first few tables were cheap, ten percent tippers and campers. Still, I was trying to maintain my mood, but it didn't work.

First, there were three teenagers. I knew I was screwed when I offered them dessert and they asked for the bill first to see if they had enough money. Their bill was $40.

Next to them was an older couple with their daughter and son-in-law. They were pleasant enough, but the old man asked for the bill and I just had a bad feeling. Their bill was $56.

Two tables down was a family of four. They demanded to get the special price on appetizers, even though it was after the cut-off time; they claimed they had been waiting to be seated since before the cut-off. Freaking liars, that table had been open for twenty minutes before then. Anyway, Bitter Divorced Man acquiesced and gave them the discount. So this family ordered four appetizers, and then a full meal each! And then the parents ordered a full-size dessert. I try not to judge, but hello, gluttony. Their bill was $65.

Right next to them was a table of people who just screamed "white trash"! We're talking missing teeth, Skoal cans, Larry the Cable Guy t-shirts, etc. One of them had ordered a cheeseburger; apparently, he'd never had a burger with real cheese on it, because when they got their food his wife asked me "what's wrong with his burger?" Well, nothing was wrong with it--it just had real cheese on it, and the cheese had been melted under the broiler, so it looked a little translucent. As real cheese does when it's melted.

I sort of stuttered, because I was harried and didn't know what to say. The man ripped a chunk off the burger, jammed it in his mouth, and immediately started bitching. "No, that's awful!" So I offered to get him a new one, but he just kept ranting. "If I could make better at home, I'm not eating it! This is like cardboard!" Again, I asked if he wanted another one. "That's not meat and potatoes as I know it!" What? Finally he handed me the oh-so-offensive burger and asked to see a menu.

The three tables I was talking about before were ready to pay; as I scuttled back and forth cashing them out I could hear this guy still bitching! "That beef was terrible, blah blah blah." Every time I passed them, he was complaining. Bitter Divorced Man was attending to him, so at least I didn't have him hollering me as I closed out my other tables.

I ran another server's food to a table next; and the woman at that table promptly started complaining that her boneless wings had the wrong sauce on them. They did not. These two sauces are totally different colors, smell totally different, and I know the damn difference. I politely told her it was the right sauce--it always has red pepper flakes in it, she just hadn't noticed (although I didn't say that). She ate a tiny piece of one and started making a hideous face and flipping out. So I took them back to the kitchen, told Lapdog and the woman's server what the "problem" was. Then I took a piece of chicken she hadn't touched and ate it. Yep, goddamn it, it was the right sauce. I hate it when people act like I'm stupid or lying to them.

Two of my three tables that had cashed out were gone; I went to pick up their books, and found that "meat and potatoes" man was still fucking complaining! At this point, I was just really irritated. Then the old man with the $56 bill handed me a four dollar tip. Then I opened the other two books and said $1 on $40 and $5 on $65. And that guy was still complaining. I got a little overwhelmed at that point, asked someone else to watch my station, and went in to the bathroom before I started crying. I do that when I'm frustrated, and I hate it. But $1 on $40, $4 on $56, $5 on $65, ten percent the rest of the night, and expecting nothing from the bitching man just undid me for a few minutes.

Then I wiped my eyes, pulled myself together, and went back to work. Burger man didn't order anything else; they left, and surprisingly left me $8 on $35. Then the old man at the next table was getting ready to leave, and he stopped me.

"What was that man's problem?"
"Oh, he wasn't satisfied with his burger," I shrugged.
The old man laughed and smiled at me. "Oh well, I guess you get all kinds, huh?"
I just agreed, because he was a nice clueless elderly man. But I so badly wanted to say, "Sure do, like old men who tip $4 on a $56 ticket."
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    Steven Nicolle said...

    What a night! To get one bad tip is enough but 3 like that in a row. It is like working for free. Hang in.

    P. F. Blogger said...

    I know what it is like to feel defeated on a shift. I've come to realize that some people are going to cry and mess their diapers regardless of how far you bend over backwards for them.

    Here's how people like the burger guy get handled if I wait on them. I do what you did at first, offer to "fix" whatever "went wrong" with their food. If they don't like round 2, I give them their options. If they are there just to be unhappy... well, I let them be. I will literally either ignore their table until everyone looks like they are done eating and drop the check or... continue to wait on other members of the table, and basically ignore the person complaining.

    Just remember... in a lose-lose situation, you can't win.

    Naseem said...

    I'm sorry to hear you had a bad night. It's not easy dealing with such characters on a daily basis. Hang in there!

    purplegirl said...

    Thanks guys. I got over it, but when you're getting screwed left and right it's easy to lose perspective, I guess!

    Biz, I did ignore them--after I sent Bitter over to deal with them. That's his job, right? :)

    AZWaitress said...

    Im sorry you had a bad night PG- happens to the best of us right? :) Sometimes I too get frustrated and have to visit the restroom.

    Just remember you are a great server and you did great with everything YOU had control over. Unfortunately we cannot control other people's tipping etiquette. :(


    purplegirl said...

    Thanks; I try to remember that some people just suck. But like you said, sometimes the best of us gets overhwlemed!

    SkippyMom said...

    This is why I smoked when I was a waitress. Nothing more soothing than popping in back and taking a drag. It was they only way to keep my sanity some nights.

    Sorry it was a tough night - I hope it gets better. And just think - Valentines Day is just around the corner :D Aren't you glad I reminded you? j/k Take care

    purplegirl said...

    I'm always telling my coworkers, "I don't even smoke and this place makes want to smoke!" :)