I had my least favorite section tonight, because I hate any section with a high likelihood of getting sad with a large table. The bastard motherfuckers at my company don't let us add gratuity, and most of the time that's a very bad thing. But sometimes, with that section, I luck out and get a steady flow of smaller tables.
Of course, that couldn't happen tonight. Early on, I heard Lapdog saying we had an 18 top coming it at 5:30. Fuuuuuuck. There's exactly one place in the restaurant where a table like that will fit, and that was in my section -- or half of it, anyway, plus half of another server's section. Normally in that situation I'd cheerfully shove the large table off on the other server and take their smaller tables; most of my coworkers feel like big tops are a fair risk. Sadly, the other server in question was Wannabe -- who can barely manage her regular tables. Her working an 18 top solo was so not going to happen.
Technically, according to the last corporate policy update, a table that size should be shared between servers. At least two, possibly three, servers in fact. But I already knew what would happen. If Wannabe had 9 guests at the big top, plus her other two tables, she would be flipping out and useless. I would end up doing all the work for the big top, my other two tables, and likely her other tables, and would still have to share the tip with Wannabe. Fuck that. Fuck it right in the ear.
So instead I mournfully agreed to take the entire table myself. When they showed up, I still had two tables of two; Wannabe would've melted down in a panic. For me it wasn't a problem, especially since the 18 top showed up in groups -- including an extra two people. They were nice people, although sometimes hard to talk to -- they were quite busy babbling amongst themselves. Luckily they were all adults, so I wasn't dodging flying bits of macaroni and cheese. They did have seven separate tickets though. I hate separate tickets on big tops. Everyone always thinks somebody else will make up for their shitty tip!
When my other two tables left and were re-sat, I gave them to Wannabe, even though she didn't really want them. She doesn't like having more than two tables at a time. But they were both sat as my big top was getting ready to order; plus I don't trust Wannabe not to run to Chicken Little claiming I took over her tables and "wouldn't" give her mine! Plus it would probably have set Lapdog over the edge. The entire time I could see he was watching me, hovering, offering to help, worried it was too big a table for one person. HA! No problem. I even had time to run other peoples' food and drinks, because I am just that good.
Okay, not really. It was a just case of being well-organized and anticipating needs. It might have taken me a couple of extra minutes to get their order, but I knew nobody else wanted salad before dinner; I knew who wanted what sauces; I knew who belonged on tickets with whom. It all went very smoothly.
I hate putting in that much effort not knowing if it'll be worth it; so many times I've ended up getting screwed. This time, I got $40 on a total bill of $226. Not as much as I deserved (is it ever?), but at least I wasn't screaming with fury in the dishpit again.