The holiday season brings out the best and the worst in people--from generosity to complete frugality, from utmost kindness to outright ignorance, I feel I have seen it all this year! The last week was full of ridiculousness when it came to waiting tables--people are so stressed, and they can't help but take it out on their waitress.
I have many notes...I'm just going to start with the first and work my way through as quickly as possible...although, I may get carried away...
Note #1: People who ask for stuff and don't use it!
It is amazing how many people ask for "extra" stuff right when I deliver the food. For example, I deliver a salad with Ranch dressing. Before the cup of Ranch in my hand has reached the table, this bitch is asking for extra. People really do consume a TON of Ranch dressing, I know, but at least start using your allotted portion before asking me for extra. It's annoying and sometimes ridiculous, especially when I see the "extra" portion unused at the end of the meal. Please.
Note #2: Ignored again.
I know servers tend to be invisible to patrons. Whether it's when the table doesn't stop talking to observe their server's presence, or at the end of their meal during the server's final salutation. Just acknowledge us, and we'll go away! Promise. This particular day annoyed me because I had this 14-top, whom I had had a decent rapport with, and as two of the gentlemen were leaving (I was about three feet away), I wished them "Happy Holidays" and they didn't even nod. They didn't even look up and smile, they just kept walking and talking, immersed so much in their own world to observe human presence and kindness. So, I (obnoxiously) say to a fellow server, "Am I invisible??" At which the two gentlemen turned around, but I scurried off.
Note #3: Table write-off.
One busy lunch last week, I was sat with a two ladies. I approached the table, all smiles, of course, to which the younger of the two (by younger I mean probably 35-40), shooed me from the table. They were talking, which is fine, but DON'T FUCKING SHOO ME! Are you kidding? If you are having such a private or intense conversation, don't get out of the fucking car. If you don't want to be bothered by a server, don't come out to a place like this in the middle of fucking lunch. Immediate write-off. When they were finally ready to converse with their server, the young one waved to me. At the time, I was rolling silverware. She saw me look at her, but I walked off in the other direction with a handful of silverware. I definitely took my time putzing before finally approaching them. I gave them bare-minimum service, and just didn't give a shit about them. Evil, maybe; deserved, absofuckinglutely.
Note #4: When walking through a restaurant, please be AWARE and ALERT!
If you are a patron in a restaurant, please try to be aware of your surroundings. There are people carrying things, running around trying to give above-adequate service. If you are in the way you are not only pissing us all off, but you may get hurt. Seriously.
As a side-note: Parents, we are NOT Romper Room and shouldn't be treated as such. Please be aware that small children are liable to get trampled.
Note #5: Flustered people.
When your waitress comes to your table, you don't have to be ready. Don't be scared that she won't come back--she wants you to get out of there faster than you want to be out of there. I had this table that the women were so flustered by my presence and the concept of a beverage that they ALL ordered waters. Then, when I returned, each of them ordered another soft drink! And it wasn't the "diet and a water" deal--they didn't even TOUCH the waters. Bitches. If you're not ready just say you are NOT ready. It's okay...really. We're a lot more understanding than you think.
We have a lot of regulars who don't even need the menus anymore. So, they sit down, and are immediately ready to order. So, sometimes when I approach a table with closed menus, I automatically ask if they are ready to order. This gets tables all riled up if they're NOT ready and they start flipping their menus open frantically, saying they haven't even looked, what's good here, I don't like spicy, apologizing for their lack of preparation. Don't be stupid. Just tell the waitress...she's a nice lady...er...Miss.
Note #6: GET THE FUCK UP!
If you are sitting in a crowded restaurant, on an obvious wait, and you have paid, Get The Fuck Up. It's fine if you want to sit and chat, but get up and go to the bar. Go get coffee at Dunkin Donuts all fucking night.
There are ALWAYS exceptions! If you want to sit in my section for hours upon hours eating chips and salsa and drinking water, I WILL allow it on the condition that I am monetarily compensated for the time spent. It's not difficult to understand. Servers make next-to-nothing per hour (for those non-servers out there). Servers make their money on the tables they turn or upselling, or whatever--either way it is your tips I rely on when my checks are VOID. Even when I do have a check, I don't think it's exceeded $40. Please people.
Note #7: Free Tee-shirts with service.
I always say that I don't wear my emotions on my sleeve, I print a fucking tee-shirt and spell it out for the world. It's not hard to tell when I'm completely annoyed. Especially with motherfuckers who try to do my job or who think they know more than I do. The customer is NOT always right.
Example: Older, dirty couple sits in my section, menus closed, hungry as hell. Harmless at first, until they stressed that they have forty-five thousand sides of Ranch dressing. They wanted a quart for their chips and three gallons with dinner. Whatever. So, I bring them their request (charging them accordingly), and bring them their meal. I check on them many times because I'm busy, so I'm constantly in my section. I would just peak over most of the time and occasionally ask them how they were doing. When I saw that the man was finished with his meal he tells me that the "wrap" he ordered usually came with a different tortilla. I told him that the wrap he ordered came with the tortilla he devoured. He insisted that every time he has come to our establishment this "wrap" was made with this other tortilla. "I've been here for the better part of a year, sir." "I've been coming here for 10 years," he says. "Sir, this establishment has only been here for six." That shut him up for a nano-second. Then, I sarcastically say, "Did you request a different tortilla?" Of course he did. "Oh, I'm sorry, sir, I must have missed that when I heard your request for Extra Ranch." Luckily they left cash, and the tip they left was surprisingly fair.
The other example, and I think it was from later that same day, I approached a 7-top with chips and asked for drink orders. Before my schpeal was out of my mouth, the old crotchety man at the head of the table interrupts me to ask for an extra cup of salsa. Annoyed that he couldn't wait three seconds for me to finish talking before he asked for his precious salsa. So, I immediately left the table and brought him back three large cups of salsa and placed them directly in front of him. Then, I took his drink order last. He and his family seemed unfazed by my behavior, but it felt kinda good somehow.
It's just like the other day, I had this table of grown men (30s/40s) order cherry cokes. We don't have it from the fountain, I have to add grenadine, so it's kinda annoying, and it doesn't really taste the same, in my opinion. Well, I was even more annoyed that I was making these kiddie drinks for grown men. So...I drowned their cokes with grenadine...I bet it was kinda gross. But, they drank them, promptly order waters. Really, though, these people just caught me on a bad day. There are other days when I'm very patient and accommodating.
Note #8: Closed Section = No Server = More Patience
A 12-top comes in (no reservation) and requests a table in a closed section. The host seats this table (with only 4 members present) and asks me to pick it up. I don't have a problem picking up the table, but I am pretty busy, running with six tables toward the end of a Friday mid-shift. So, I nod to the table (my way of acknowledging that I see them), but apparently they missed it. After about 4 minutes, one woman stands up craning her head, looking toward the kitchen, peering into other sections, obviously looking for a server. I go over, pretty annoyed, "Hi folks." The woman, still standing, says, "I was looking for our server." "Well, Miss, this section is closed, so I'll be taking care of you until the next shift comes on." If you seat yourself in a CLOSED SECTION you NEED to be patient when waiting for your server...
Note #9: Paranoid Patron
A few days before Christmas, the modem for our credit card machines was running so insanely slow, that we had to bust out the manual credit card machines. There were some very angry patrons. Not only was our modem slow, but our manager didn't want to break out the manual machines until it was absolutely necessary. Servers were running credit cards and waiting 15, sometimes 20 minutes for a tiny slip to print saying that that particular card has been "Timed Out," so they have to swipe it again. I was unaffected by this little snafu for the better part of the day, which was lucky. During the middle of the dinner shift, I get sat with a one-top (boo). This man told me from the beginning that he was in a hurry, so after I delivered his dinner, I also delivered the check. He and I had had a delightful rapport up to this point. So, I go to run the credit card, and it turns into 20 minutes of waiting for something to print--I got nothin.
So I approach the man, state our problem, then tell him that the next step would be to run it through the manual credit card machine.
"What do you mean by manual?" he says suspiciously. I explain how our manuals work, to which he replies, "Oh, so it will open me up for credit card fraud." What do you say to something like that? "Oh, sir, there's nothing to worry about, we've had to do it all day, I assure you nothing like that will happen here." (I was totally talking out my ass, but I wanted this man to pay--he was a one-top taking up my four-top at my window seat! Get out!) He then tells me that there is NO reason for our modems to be running slower than any other day. I reply, "It's Christmas, sir." "That has nothing to do with it," he tells me. "People are using their VISAs like crazy right now, we had this same problem on Black Friday." He rolls his eyes at me and finally agrees to let me run his card manually, when his original slips printed. I went back up to him, waving the credit card slips, "It's your lucky day, sir." I said sweetly, then walked away. Then, it occurred to me that he probably really thought I was trying to steal his credit card, especially after I gave him his slip coincidentally after I had asked him permission to run it manually...I don't know. He'll probably never come back.
Note #10: Are you Fucking Serious??
This bitch had me so angry. Actually, this whole table pissed me off, which is why they made me angry. Very trashy 5-top (four adults and a child; four adults = three women and a man). They know exactly what they want--they modify it to be whatever their hearts desire. Annoying. The father is bathing in his diet coke (which means I had to bring him THREE refills before the meal arrived--and we have gi-normous glasses), the small child is making an unbelievable mess while she is dissecting all of the complimentary crayons we provided for her entertainment (guess we never specify how to use them), and the big girl is getting annoyed that servers are walking behind her chair (she did get bumped twice), but rather than do something classy (or even more subtle), she (and diet coke man) stand up and shove the table over--now the table is totally infiltrating on another table, but I don't say a word because they're trash, and I'm pretty sure they know they are trash. Well, the other girl doesn't order a beverage the entire time she is sitting at my table--not even water. Nothing. But after I dropped the change from their bill, she asks me for a small to-go iced tea. I'm pretty sure I rolled my eyes, but I got her the iced tea and went on my way. I come back probably five minutes later, and the table is just leaving. The woman with the to-go iced tea is standing right in front of the wait-station, so I approach her, "Is there anything I can get for you?" "Oh, no, she's taking care of me, it's not a big deal." So, I look at who she's referring to--the other server is getting her ANOTHER to-go iced tea. I don't mind giving people a to-go cup, but this bitch didn't even PAY for a drink, so in my mind she didn't deserve ANY iced tea. (Even if she had asked for water, it wouldn't have bothered me as much.)
It's good to be back.
Dinner shift tonight.