I worked in bars and restaurants for years. During that time I developed too many pet peeves to count and left the industry with a huge chip on my shoulder and enough trauma that I still have server nightmares years later. I miss liking humans. This is the story of how I served a table very very badly because they were stupid and shitty. And because I didn’t work there.
Despite no longer working as a server, I guess I still look like one. I went through a phase where I only owned one pair of black converse, two pairs of black jeans and seven black tee shirts. I called it my “Batman wardrobe”. It made getting dressed in the morning very easy but it made walking through a restaurant very difficult.
With this outfit in mind, I will absolutely concede that in some restaurant settings, I might have been bringing this on myself. But as common as this outfit is among service staff, it certainly isn’t what most servers in most restaurants wear. It’s also a very normal outfit to see on the street.
Most of the time, if I’m just trying to walk to the bathroom and someone at a table tries to order from me, I’ll just quickly let them know I don’t work there. But one time…
I’m tempted to try and justify this by outlining for you the laundry list of shitty behaviours I had already witnessed from this table. In the interest of saving time, I’ll just assure you that this table of 6 absolutely knew who their server was and had absolutely been treating her poorly. They were one of those groups where the first guy orders his beer and by the time the other five finally tell the server their orders, the first guy is already complaining that his beer is taking too long. When the server hasn’t even left the table side. Yeah. This actually happens. A lot.
While returning to my table from the bathroom, one of these winners stops me with a, “Hey. Get me a [shitty beer because I’m an amateur with bad taste]”
I give him a cheerful, “Sure!” and proceed toward my table. Quickly, his repulsive girlfriend pipes up with a whiny, “And I want another of one of this!” gesturing toward some pink sludge in a cup because of course that’s her taste in beverages. I decide to stick around and let the whole table place orders with me before returning to my table and wait for them to notice me sitting there with my friends.
I really didn’t think this would go on long. I’m seated in plain sight about two tables away. They don’t notice.
Their server is tableside again within moments and their round is promptly ordered again since they’re definitely the type to double order items from different staff. So my prank goes unnoticed.
Later, I go to visit the bartender, have a brief chat and grab a couple drinks. I’m walking back to my table with two beers in hand.
“Is that mine?!” A voice asks as a hand reaches out to snatch it.
“Nope!” I reply and carry on.
My actions had the potential to make life harder for the staff and I’d feel bad about it if I wasn’t friends with all of them and if they hadn’t been in on it. This table is so badly behaved and have been determined to have a bad time since before they arrived. They’re really a lost cause. Any attempt to clear things up for them wouldn’t be worth missing out on the entertainment of messing with them.
So I start looking for excuses to innocently walk past their table. I take a few more bathroom visits than I really need and go visit my friend at the bar a couple more times. I never initiate contact with these clowns but if they take the bait, I’ll take the order. They are becoming increasingly agitated and abusive with each encounter. They tell me how bad I am at my job and I just cheerfully correct them, “No. I’m actually really good at my job.”
They are more infuriated at how unfazed I am at the abuse than at the several drink orders I’ve failed to bring them.
Remember, my friends and I have been seated in plain sight a few feet away drinking and laughing it up all night.
Anyhow, they drink three rounds despite having “ordered” about nine and decide to leave. Naturally, when their bill arrives they try to contest it arguing that, “We didn’t actually get most of the drinks we ordered so they shouldn’t be on the bill!” The manager informs them that the bill represents only the drinks they did receive. They try to argue the point and I just can’t stand to watch my prank escalate too far so I pipe up.
“Your bill represents the drinks you ordered from your server.” I don’t even have to say it that loudly since I am seated SO close to them. They all turn to look at me and I want to say they realize what’s going on but that’s giving them too much credit since one of them immediately lays in with the threats to call my boss. I offer them my boss’ phone number and dare him to try and get a jeweller to fire their assistant for being bad at table service.
He then tries to accuse me of putting items on his bill that shouldn’t be there. You know, with the access card I use to log into the POS at the restaurant where I am a customer.
He still hasn’t figured it out.
Edit: Don’t worry. Those people wouldn’t have tipped well anyway and my table more than made up for it.