Ladies from Hell, Part 2 (Guy's Waiter Blog, Ch 14)
Thanks for coming back for Part 2! I had to eat something.
You must stop here, and go read PART 1 of this if you haven't already, then come back, before proceeding.
My blog. I make the rules.
Please try to ignore the cute girl on the left below, and go read PART 1
(Not the ladies from hell btw, just an image I found, from The Neon Tea Party blog)
So if you've read Part 1, you'd know I have "an 8-top" reserved for today, and my hopes are high for making some nice cash based on the higher sales large groups usually bring :)
In this case, the ladies start showing up one or two at a time. Sorry to sound whiny today but this is always kind of a pain for us waiters - you have to get drink orders, run back and forth, and maybe "spiel them" and offer appetizers (policy) again and again.
It's like being sat four tables in rapid-fire progression sometimes, which would be okay, except that before they've even half-arrived, it's already my turn in "rotation" again. I'm also being seated more people wayyyyy out on the patio by the time they all file in, and I am becoming busier than I like now (as far as being able to give good service to all, and stay on top of things).
Oh, did I say they "all" filed in? That would be inaccurate, as only seven showed up, which means no automatic 18%. No biggie (I'm lying, I'm a wee bit disappointed).
It's seven women, which will most likely (and did) mean separate checks. And while not trying to be stereo-typical or sexist - it's just a fact that you can ask any server about if you don't believe me.. but statistically speaking women typically tip less than men.
Not all women, of course, I'm just speaking from long-term experience and a generally proven pattern. Again, ask any waiter you want to. Google it for that matter. And no offense meant either! If you're a woman who knows the industry and tips 20%-ish, I'll bet you even know that you're "above the norm." And I'll bet that your servers typically love you and are SO glad to see you again...
What's worse or better (always hard to tell), these are apparently women with TONS of money. They all parked via Valet (which already equals several future trips for me, to validate them). Most of them have outfits that - even for lunch/day-time apparel - you'd likely compliment and possibly drool over, if you saw them yourself.
Every co-worker who gets within 5 feet of the table comments to me on the various perfume odors that cannot be missed. I'm looking at a couple of the the rocks on their fingers and thinking
"Wow... that's larger than my first apartment." IMG via Pixabay
They're all seemingly ESL also (English as a 2nd Language). Columbian, South American, or just native Miami or even Orlando residents, I don't know. But over the course of the day, a couple of jokes from my co-workers got dropped about the possible amount of drug money that was possibly represented at this table.
Whatever. I'm new enough to Florida to not catch on to that line of humor. But okay, maybe mafia wives it is.
Adding to the above detail tho, it's a general fact that despite the amount of money at their disposal, white collar people almost always tip worse than blue-collar. So obviously, my financial hopes for this table and this day are falling fast. Which would be okay, that's just the business... Hey I'm still good (I'm lying again).
So at this point, it's all up to me. My only hope of making any money today remains completely dependent upon the size of their check. The total dollar amount I mean. Of their seven separate checks I mean...
I do what I can to suggestively sell some appetizers, but they're not going for it.
Okay. Alright. It's all up to them.
So let's go, ladies.
"She and I-i-i-i-, are going to split the xyz salad. No blue cheese on her half, and put mine on the side. Extra for me tho. Put hers on the side for me in fact, hahahahaha!"
NEXT : "We want to split the abc soup."
"A bowl or a cup ma'am?"
"A bowl, but can you split that up for us?"
"That would be two cups ma'am."
"But we want to split the $8.95 bowl, instead of paying for two cups. Can you do that for us sweetie?"
"No ma'am. Because of the portion size... A bowl is 10 ounces and a cup is 5.. so I have to order that as two cups."
(I'm pretty sure about that anyways. Actually, I'm totally making it up, while trying to not let myself get irritated at how cheap they are. It sounds good anyways. I'm going to remain firm, and stick to this story. Making up policies on the spot is one of my more handy job skills.)
NEXT : "We want to split the mno sandwich. What can we get besides the cucumber thing that comes with it?" (Repeat long list of sides here.) "Okay, I'll have blankety blank" .. "And I want that other thing."
I am not making this up people. I have my order pad from today right in front of me as I type this, to make sure I am reporting this to you accurately and without exaggeration. I'm leaving stuff out in fact, to keep this from being longer than it has to be.
What they, and probably you, don't know, is how much time I'm going to have to spend at the computer typing all of these extra special instructions in. Oh well, the Canadians at 107 are just going to have to wait awhile for me to get back to taking their order. Lucky for them, they've got appetizers coming.
NEXT : "I'll have the Chicken Sandwich."
Finally - a whole entree!!!
"But I have an allergy to eggs. Does the bun use any eggs in it?"
"Ummmm, I'm honestly not sure. But I will check for you before letting it be served, and leave it off, if so."
"Thank you! What about the sauce on the sandwich? 'Cos I can't eat that either if it has eggs in it."
You see to me allergen issues are of course serious. I mind having to go through this with her less than anything else the group has thrown me so far. Altho it's time-consuming, I am sympathetic, and of course don't want to kill the poor woman, by being lazy and not (first finding .... a task in itself sometimes... and then) checking with the kitchen manager before allowing her to eat anything that could make her sick. Or dead.
But those poor kids on the hot patio who drained their sodas in about 45 seconds, are just going to have to wait a little bit longer for refills while I look into this.
NEXT : "I'll have the Chicken Sandwich too."
Wait for it...
Oh, silence? Clearing my throat now, "Any special instructions?
If I had time, I would totally kiss her.
But I don't, and so typety-type-type away I go on the computer. Right about now the soups for a couple of them (that I didn't mention above) are coming out, and my co-worker Jake (not his real name, but one of my most and least favorite servers here whom you would already know much more about if I had begun this blog in December)) is onto me for not having their soup spoons on the table before their soups arrived.
Yeh he's right. Totally my bad. And I really don't want to hear it right now Jake, just shut up bring them the damn things will'ya. I'm still typing and busy and have to concentrate so I don't kill this lady OKAY?
Okay good, that's done.
When I get back to them, it turns out the Canadian family knows exactly what they want, and orders extremely quickly, with absolutely no special instructions. I would like them, except for the fact that they're Canadian. Again not to be stereo-typical, but we American servers know too well that Canadians usually tip even worse than Europeans (a big ha ha, if you're a reader of my blog - see Chapters 4-6).
I take soda refills to the kids/family on the patio, and in just the 30 seconds I think (wrongly) that I have to make small talk, I find out they're from Europe.
I am not making this day up people.
WAIT! I've sincerely learned NOT to stereo-type in all the years I've been doing this and honestly, seriously, really I DO try to give the absolute best service I can to everybody and just let the money take care of itself. Really, that's me.
Anyways, where I work, we have a food-runner or two scheduled EVERY shift (very different from most restaurants btw - he's one of the people I have to tip out every day in fact).
He's been running food to my 7-top of ladies - and going back and forth a whole lot himself - and finally I get some sympathy. He says "These -expletive deleted- are asking me me for something else EVERY TIME I go by the table!!!"
Yep. That's a fact. They are me too. "More of this..." "Another side of that." And my favorite.. "Can you take this away?"
I've tried to remain quiet and calm about it all and just do my job without complaining, but this guy's young.. and now thanks to him word is spreading about about how high-maintenance these ladies actually are... My manager has I think quit judging me for the smaller screw-ups I made earlier, and at this point is both feeling sorry for, and laughing at me, at the same time.
Like any day, I've already got my next three steps (the things I need to be doing, and am kinda behind on today actually) planned out, but now one of them tells me that she needs to leave early, and would like her check.
Of course you do... About this time, the hostess (God bless her) tells me about a new table I have. I'm running back and forth for these ladies too much to be able to take the table honestly. Jake's right there as she tells me this. He's greedy - or needy, I'm not sure which. I ask him to take the table, and he does.
Are you following this? This is my situation...
I'm so busy with the tables I have that I know (believe) I'm not going to make much money off of, that when a new table ($$) comes in, I have to give it away. That's pretty frustrating, ya think?
Okay... she's paid and gone now. I'm nearing being caught up (altho both my tables and my co-workers might tell you differently, considering someone - I still don't know who - had to carry a Sangria* out to the patio to the Canadians because I let it sit at the bar awhile, while running the credit card for the lady who had to leave early) ...
*Quick aside :
See my own delicious Sangria recipe from one of my earliest Steemit posts
So I've cleared the plates, the silverware, and even the breadcrumbs for these ladies as best I can while they stay and talk .. and stay and chat .. and stay and gossip .. and just overall stay. Then suddenly (!) about 30 minutes after not needing anything but more water, they tell me that they want to see the deserts (Now) 'cos it's one girl's birthday.
Yeh.. I of course will, but that's gonna have to wait a few minutes, sorry.
Long story short (too late, I know) I spend a few minutes showing off our super-fabulous desert tray to them...
...and they choose the Pina Colada Cake (with a candle yes, but no, we don't sing happy birthday) and yup, five forks. (Image from Yelp, Tommy Bahama Mauna Lani, Hawaii)
Five people, wanting to split one piece of cake. Okay, whatever. I'm in my forties, been waiting tables and bartending over twenty years, and there's a first time for everything I suppose.
Plus one fruit cup, for the one who has the egg allergy.
And then guess what else? Over twenty years in the food-service industry, and now here's another first for me. These ladies ask me for .. six cups .. of ... Coffee? No. 2 decafs, 1 coffee, 1 espresso and 2 cappuccinos? No. Which would take a lot of time, sure, but is really nothing new, I'd be okay with that (I'm lying again.)
But no. In addition to their desert order, they would like.. six cups ... of ... hot water.
Really? No tea bags? No sugar? No.. just six cups of hot water. With lemon.
WHO DOES THAT? This will take me .. 2-3 minutes that I don't have right now to prepare, what with the saucers and spoons I know will be needed to just make it look right .. and makes me $0, percentage-wise. We can't charge for hot water, can we? What are you even wanting six cups of hot water for? To add powdered Lipton's Cup-of-Soup to when I'm not looking?? (Hey, I've had it happen before.) Did you bring your own tea bags in your purses?
Six cups of hot water .. okay .. and I know I need to do this before the the desert makes it to the table.
Meanwhile, I've been seated again and long story short, Jake snakes it (meaning he greeted and took the table because I was taking too long to get there.. Again, I'd argue that in this case he was right to do so, for the sake of prompt guest service). But again, I just want you to keep in context that I've now lost another table and even more $$ on behalf of these ladies.
There's just no lie I can tell you that would cover up how I'm really feeling about all this now, is there? Even if I wanted to?
Back to the computer to order their desert. Back to the Europeans for another round of sodas for their kids. Back to the Canadians to clear out their plates, talk a sec, and get a to-go box and their check. Back to the kitchen to make.. six hot waters.With lemons. The desert for the ladies gets taken out by the food runner, and the hostess comes to me (God bless her, yet again) to tell me that I've been seated again, BUT that she'll give it to another server if I'm too busy to take it right now (like I said, word about these ladies has spread).
I'm feeling kind of in limbo right now. I could take the table, or not. I'd give better service all around if not, but I'd look like a true slacker and a really weak server if I give away now a third table on what seems like to everybody else to be a slow lunch. Based on that alone, I should take it, really.
I look over to the table she's talking about, and it's a "Black-African-American-Negro-Whatever you need me to say" woman and her two small kids. The choice is easy. If I pass on this table, while completely justified because I'm "kind of" too busy for another table at the moment, I'll just look prejudiced.
I walk up to them with all that I've got left to offer today, smile big and and welcome my new guests, stating that I'll be right with them. And I'm grateful that the hostess gave me the chance whether to choose this, or not, largely because I don't want to deal with the other servers accusing me of "passing this one" onto them.
Oh, and did I mention that the hostess is also black? She's at least half black anyways. Yeh, true story. How I handled this one could have serious long-term implications on how she feels about and treats me, for the rest of her/my time at this place together. Very good call on my part overall, I'd say.
Then Jake (of all the #$%&ing people) walks by me and says "Oh Guyyyyy..... Your girls need you again..."
What now?????? I already put desert forks down .. and a spoon for the egg-allergen fruit cup lady....
"Why?" I ask. Extra plates maybe I'm thinking, but if so, why didn't you just take them to them for me dude? He just walks off laughing. Now what? Errgh!
Against my common sense, I go to see what they need. Another first...
"Can we get this cake cut up? We'd do it ourselves, but I it would look rather messy. Can we get this piece of cake cut into 5 separate plates?"
Okay that's it. I quit. I'm just going to walk straight out the door now, and jump off the nearest bridge. At least that's how I feel. For whatever variety of reasons, I don't. Instead, I pick it up, and finally go greet the lady and her kids who have been waiting.
She's super nice. After much deliberation and not a few questions later (with the cake still in my hand), she finally orders a Mai-Tai. I could've let it slide, but whatever else, I have to cover my ass, and I take the time to card her anyways. She digs it out. Virginia ID. 1977 huh? Whoa. Could've fooled me.
Ring up her cocktail on the computer, then go back to the kitchen to ask them to cut the cake into 5 pieces, to much loudness. I would have normally run away to anywhere else after asking this, but I had to make chocolate milk for the kids.
Turns out, it's not just me. Nobody there has ever heard of such a request.
If I weren't so crazy-busy, I might've tried to just quietly do it myself, and been done with it. Based on past experience - assuming I'm here this long - I will not live this one down for 6 or 7 years. (I'm still "living one down" from my third week here in fact. Don't ask.) I will now also always be known as the guy who ordered a desert split into 5 pieces. Later this day in fact, I ordered another desert for guests, and of course got asked sarcastically by the kitchen "... And just how many pieces do you want that split into?"
I gotta hand it to them, tho. If it were left to me, those five plates would have looked really, really messy. Will (yeh, his real name, giving him big props here) threw out the first desert, and took the time to make me five new thinly-sliced pieces of new qrs cake for these ladies, and gave all five of them a personal dollop of our made-from-scratch whipped cream as well.
Whenever I got around to taking it out (and not immediately, mind you) it was a beautiful presentation, and all the annoyance aside, I was really proud of the final product. Gonna have to buy that guy a beer someday, now that I think about it.
So work politics aside .. The Europeans are gone now, leaving me $9 on a $100 tab (rounded it to $110). The Canadians nicely surprise me, with an industry-standard 20% ($32 on $160ish). The other Canadians (I haven't even mentioned them here yet) don't surprise me, with a near perfect 10% ($6.60 on $66 and change) so it seems it's all coming down to my ladies now...
Interestingly, one of them takes charge of the whole table. She takes the check, and later hands me 5 cards and tells me exactly how much to put on each one, averaging the birthday girl's total into the five checks herself. Kind of a pain, yes, but I'm otherwise impressed with not only her take-charge attitude, but her math skills as well. Using a cell-phone calculator, she nailed it. Things are looking up, other than the fact that I now have to run 5 cards with different totals than the computer tells me that the 6 of them owe (a little over-ride action), while still taking care of the other table (Miss Virginia and her kids).
Miss Virginia by the way (buzzing from her Mai-Tai) right about this point needs some personal advice. Turns out she's experiencing this really strange sensation after a few days in Florida. She tells me her symptoms, and I confirm for her that "Yes" this sounds like "sunburn" to me.
As a black woman, she's not used to this exact type of pain on her face, arms and shoulders.. No, not at all. I tell her all about Aloe (and give her directions to the local Wal-Green's) and about hot showers too - and the science behind why hot showers can help her, to boot.
Meanwhile, the other ladies can now see me paying more attention to this one woman than I am to all six of them combined (while they're waiting for their cards back from me, okay, yeh), and NOW a couple of them are acting ansty? After being here over 2 1/2 hours you suddenly have to leave?
So.. Kind of winding this down (not sure yet), I bet you're looking for the big happy surprise ending.. like where the take-charge girl slips me an extra $100, right? Or $50? Or even $20. Yeh, me too. Well, this is real-life. That didn't happen. She used the calculator to figure out 15%, and they all left me $3.63 on their vouchers. Nobody left behind a diamond ring or anything either.
For just a second, it's hard not to feel gypped. 15% is less than we expect as you may know. Plus, this day started with me "expecting" to make 18% from 8 people, which could have easily been a $300 check. 15% on about $130 is a far cry from that.
But I'm too professional (and by that, I mean jaded) to let this bug me for long. I have to keep things in perspective. These ladies did not come to our restaurant to pay my bills. They apparently didn't come because they were hungry either!
No, they came to celebrate their friend, and I can tell my inner dialogue monster that wants to rant about things to just shut up.
I need to be grateful that I work at a place so nice, that women of this stature would choose to come here, and trust us with their special event. There's only a thousand other places in Orlando they could have chosen from, and they look like they could afford them all.
I mean to buy them, not just eat at them.
Another thing - the take charge lady? Maybe she knows her friends don't know how to tip, and maybe that's why she took charge of everything and told them how much to tip me - to make sure I was taken care of. I gotta consider that.
Anyways, when lunch slows down here, servers need to check with our manager for permission as to whether they can "go have a smoke" or "go ahead and order something to eat now?" They all knew what kind of day I'd had by then, and today I asked the manager, "Is it okay if I go have a nice cry now?"
I was just being funny tho. It's been twenty years or so since you people literally made me cry ... I mentioned that once already.
OKAY .... TO BE TRUE ... NO, this is not by any means a "typical day" for me. It was rather a-typical in fact, which is why I'm still here writing about it.
And you're still here reading about it?!?
Sorry for the lack of pics, I was in a rush to get two posts out in one day.
I don't need you to feel sorry for me or anything. It's the lifestyle I've apparently chosen, and what I've reported here is just ... what happens. I do want to thank you for hanging with me this long, and for hearing me out tho.
Some days, this job is way harder than we make it look, or you ever thought it could be, huh?
Okay, Miss Virginia, btw, left me ten bucks on thirty-something... and that's well over 30%.. for those of you still looking for a happy ending.
Thanks for reading Guy's Waiter Blog : Chapter 14"Ladies from Hell, Part 2"
Read other chapters starting at TheWorkingGuy.com's Table of Contents page