|FEAR THE PICKLES|
Oh no. Not this time.
I rolled up to this house with seventy dollars worth of pizza, and when I knocked on the door it was promptly flung over by a five year old chubby-cheeked little cherub of a girl and her diaper-clad, penis-fondling, binky-sucking little brother. They were immediately joined by a tiny little bundle of black and brown fur that I soon learned was named Mister Pickles.
Just as the little cherub started squeaking about her dog and how they were watching Frozen, an older girl (maybe ten) came rushing up. She took the pizza, then took the credit card slip around the corner. So far, so good - pretty normal. Binky Boy was still staring at me with his hands in his pants and Cherub was blathering on about something about a snowman. The older girl came back with the slip signed, but with no tip or even total written in.
Nine times our of ten, when I point that out to people, they tip me. So I politely told her I needed her mom to fill in the whole thing, and I even circled the tip/total lines. So she took the slip back around the corner ... and that's where everything went terribly wrong. For the next ten minutes, I stood in their doorway waiting. The older girl kept walking by saying "I'm sorry it's taking so long" and "just a minute" and "my mom is checking her bank balance" and "just a second."
Meanwhile, another little girl and two other boys have materialized and are standing around staring at me. Cherub is still trying to get me to tell her my favorite part of a movie I've never seen. Binky Boy has wandered out the door past me and nearly faceplanted right off the stairs, except I caught him. Two of the other boys started wrestling and I intercepted one of their heads right before it met the doorjamb. Mister Pickles was the best of the bunch - he kept licking my ankles and then making a break for freedom. At one point I chased him out to the street and retrieved him.
Ten minutes later - actual time, I checked my phone - the girl comes back with the clipboard and says, "My mom doesn't understand what you need her to do." I almost just let it go but I felt like I'd come too far to give up at that point. So I told her the tip and total needed to be filled out and away she went again. Another five minutes went by; another girl of maybe 12 had appeared and was restraining Mister Pickles at that point, but the rest of the herd of children was still wrestling and screaming.
Finally, finally, the girl comes back with my clipboard .... with the total only filled in. No tip. Fifteen minutes of basically minding this woman's kids and dog, and no tip.
I gave serious thought to snatching Mister Pickles as a tip and running away.