2.09.2006

Charlesrant

I feel that I have done a good job not imitating Waiterrant so far. Unfortunately, that streak is going to end, if only for one post. The creativity will come in making this as google-proof as possible. Let me warn you, this is long and probably only serves my mental health, so read at your own risk.

So the restaurant I work at has a cheap hamburger day every week. Once a month, a large group comes in. They usually call and reserve about 12 seats or so. In addition to having a large group on what is usually one of our busiest nights, they also manage to combine all of the traits of bad customers into an unholy melange concocted for the sole purpose of driving me completely insane. They don't all show up at the same time. They all want separate checks and numerous substitutions. They don't listen to the specials, forcing me to repeat them over and over again. My favorite is that other people at the table will not stop talking while other people are ordering. Also, they only come one our cheap day, and only order items that are reduced in price.

The worst characteristic is that this group exhibits no consideration for the fact that their are other people in the restaurant, and that many of these people are expecting me to bring them food. I have waited on these people numerous times, and had gotten use to their behavior, until their most recent visit.

They called and requested a table for 12 at 7:30. They started straggling in at 7:20 or so. I would take one person's order, bring out their drink, and find two or three waiting for me upon my return. Eventually they all show up, get their drink orders, and I take their food orders. At this point things are going fine, I have their orders in and I can go check on some of my other tables.

Then in about 5-10 minute after I have gotten all of their food orders in, 3 more people in their group show up. I should explain that my restaurant has a large projection screen against one of the walls. The table that the group is sitting at is directly to the right of this screen. Well there is no space at the table for these 3 people to sit, so they decide to plant themselves beneath the screen and wait for me to show up.

I walk up to them and inform them that they cannot sit with the top of their heads obscuring part of our screen. They don't actually have a table in front of them, that table had been moved to clear space for the screen, and to clearly imply that people shouldn't sit in front of it. They ask if they can pull a table up next to the larger table, and I tell them that they would be blocking the screen. They then ask if they can just pull up some chairs next to the table, and I inform them that they would still, in fact, be blocking the screen. They then ask if they can take a table on the other side if the large rectangle that their group is occupying. I inform them that there is not enough space. At this point they just continue to sit in front of the screen. I offer them another table right behind their group's table, granted it will not by physically connected to their group's table, but it is only about 3 feet from the main table. They remain steadfast, this solution is clearly unacceptable. We just look at each other in silence for about 5-10 seconds, and I tell them that I am going to get my manager.

I walk away and take a quick look at my tables. Fortunately, the are politely sipping their drinks and don't need refills, and their food isn't up. I go find my manager and inform her of the situation. She sees that these individuals will not accept my seating authority, and goes over to talk to them. Before she leaves, she tells me not to serve any people who are not at a table. So she goes over and talks to them, and I attend to my other tables. About five minutes later I look over, and the people are still sitting in front of the screen! They are sitting there determined to be served. I have no idea what they think is going to happen. Do they believe that I will come to admire their determination and reward them with a $4.00 hamburger? Or maybe I will realize that I am the one who is being unreasonable? Nevertheless, a cold war as started.

The food for the original group is ready, so I bring it out. While I am bringing out the food, the screen blockers stand up and announce that they are being thrown out and start to dramatically say their goodbyes. Most of the people in the group are unaware of what has been going on, it is nice that they are as insensitive to each other as they are to other people. Some members of the group ask why they are leaving, and the screen blockers explain. Some of the original members tell the people leaving to just sit at the table that I originally offered. Some people even offer to go over and sit with them. This seems to appease the screen blockers, and they sit down.

My manager goes over and takes their order. She wanted to wait on them because, according to her, she doesn't have to put up with them. When she told them that they had to move, or they wouldn't be served, they said that they were leaving. My manager responded by saying goodbye and wishing them a good night. I think they found this surprising.

After this is all finally sorted out, I have been forced to neglect some of my tables and lost two or three tables that the other waiter had to pick up. The result is that he is slammed and I am ready to kill somebody. The sheer insensitivity to the fact that there are other people in the restaurant who are watching the screen astounded me. These people have been selfish in the past, but this really took my breath away. Their actions had an effect on the whole restaurant. I understand that they don't realize that everyone else gets worse service because of them, but I just don't know if they would care.

As a side note, the thing that links this group is that fact that they own fucking boats! They own boats and only go out to eat together when my restaurant is having its cheap burger day. Seriously, we are talking about $10.00 checks after a hamburger, tax and two beers. I am sorry, but people who own boats don't care about what is on special. A few people in the group saw items that looked good, but they didn't get them because they were not on special. So either they are cheap or they can't afford anything else. I suspect the former based on my tips, but if the latter is the case then maybe, and hear me out here, you shouldn't have bought a boat.

So after they have all eaten, gotten their 11 different checks, and had each person pay with a credit card, they just remain in the restaurant. They aren't eating anything, don't want anything, they just think of my restaurant as a shared living room to talk about jibs, or tacking, or knots, or whatever. Although I doubt they would leave as much garbage on the floor in their own living room. They probably stay for about an hour or so after paying, just hanging out.

After they finally leave, my manager tells me that I no longer have to wait on them. She is going to wait on them from now on because she doesn't want to subject her staff to them anymore. That is why I love my manager.

3 comments:

  1. at least they didn't bring their kids, they always order soup then crumble the crackers all over the floor and table.

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  2. Kids are the worst. We have a few regulars who just let their kids run wild through the restaurant. Usually crawling with pasta in their hands. The parents seem to think that tipping me is a better solution than hiring a babysitter.

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  3. oh, charles, that was a rough night. my favorite part of it was when mom (sitting at the next table, of course) kept stage-whispering "what fucking monons" they were, and maybe did they need their asses kicked...

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