As a server, I've been accused of many unflattering things, most of them true.
However, when it comes to unsanitary ways of punishing naughty customers, I've always refrained from tampering with the food (with one great exception, one that won't see the light of day as long as I'm still employed by my current restaurant).
So imagine my insult when two back-talkin' female customers accused me of putting a hair in their salsa bowl, a hair that looked like it had seen better days in a Bronx roller rink in the late '70s; a hair that, logically, was longer than all of my short hairs combined.
I knew I was in for a sassy time when one of the two asked me for a drink upon being sat. A free drink, that is.
"Hi, how are you to..."
"Can I getta strawberry raspberry passion fruit blue-colored cherry-garnished nectar-infused bubble gum-flavored margo-daqua-colada?"
"And I don't think I should hafta pay for it 'cause last time I was here, I didn't like my food."
"I see," I replied cautiously, knowing that my every response was being meticulously deconstructed for 'tude. "Did you talk to a manager last time? Did he give you a free drink token?"
"No," she retorted, like I'd just asked if Big Bird had taken a crap in her mailbox that morning.
"Well, I don't think there's any way I can get your drink for free."
"May I bring..."
"Strawberry margarita. Two. Make them good or we'll send them back."
"Oh my pleasure!"
After I brought the drinks (to which I had the bartender add an extra shot each, free of charge and as a a possible pacifier), the ladies seemed settled. They ordered their meals with no fuss. I checked in after the food had been delivered, and everything seemed okay.
And then, when I made my final quality check, at which point both meals were nearly 95% consumed, one of the ladies sought my attention with an unhappy, "Uhmmmm, excuse me?"
She pointed to a long, dark hair that had been carefully placed not in the salsa bowl, but on top of the salsa bowl.
"Ahhh," I replied, quite familiar with this song and dance, knowing exactly where we were headed.
"Would you like a new bowl of salsa?"
"Uhm, NO. Now I can't eat the rest of my food. I feel nauseous. I think you should take this off the check."
"And what exactly is left to consume on your plate, the cilantro garnish or the fluorescent logo?"
"Y'all need to be careful and make sure your nasty hair doesn't end up in customer's food."
"That...is so not my hair."
"WELL IT AIN'T MINE!"
"Then I guess we'll agree to disagree."
Inevitably, the restaurant owner was brought into the picture (a man not exactly famous for his people skills or tolerance). He gave them one free drink token but refused to comp any portion of their meal.
As a result, with a $39.80 bill, they left $40. I followed them to the parking lot with their 20 cents to ensure they didn't need change but was instead met with a gesture that expressed exactly how I felt.
I know I've said I don't tamper with people's food, but when those bitches come back to redeem their free cocktail, I'll inadvertently help their cause . Because you can guarantee if it's a hair they want, it's a hair they'll get.