If you haven't yet gathered, my restaurant is neither the most expensive nor posh of dining establishments. And perhaps that's why it's a comfortable fit. Like most things in my life, I know I can show up and put forth a meager amount of effort, and no one's going to expect any better from me.
Occasionally I'll meet servers who work at much finer restaurants. They brag about serving champagne to De Niro or being invited to rob Tara Reid's trailer in exchange for free food. These A-list waiters inevitably ask where I work, and when I mention my restaurant they smile at me as if I'm a 45-year-old who's just bragged about passing the G.E.D.
One night I had a foursome of them in my section. Whereas their respectable place of employment closes at 11, mine is open until the wee hours of the night. They arrived in pristine server's outfits that showed no signs of stain, sweat or wrinkle. I, on the other hand, looked like ass.
We hated one another immediately. Bearing an eerie resemblance to the cast of Glee (strike two), they sat left to right: bitchy gay server, condescending actress server, douchey frat boy server, and token polite server. They made it abundantly clear that they'd deigned to dine at my restaurant only as a last resort.
"I can't BELIEVE no other place is open!" the bitchy girl ("Dianna") said.
"I know!!" the gay one ("Curt") sang. "This place is traaaagic."
"Hey BRO which draft beers do you have?" the douchey one ("Puck") inquired.
I made up three beers.
"Is that Firestone the Pale 31 or the Union Jack?" he asked.
"We have both," I lied.
"DO YOU KNOW HOW TO MAKE A SKINNY GIRL MARGARITA?" Dianna asked in a tone of voice that implied English was my second language.
"YES...YES WE DO," I shouted.
Curt ordered a skinny margarita as well, and the token nice one ("Emma") politely requested a Diet Coke.
In between setting down drinks and trying in vain to spill something on Dianna's shirt, I surmised that they were grabbing a quick bite then heading to a birthday party near my restaurant, hence their journey to uncharted territory.
Dianna scowled at the menu.
"What do you recommend for a gluten-free vegetarian?" she asked.
"A salad," I responded.
"Ewww," she ignored me. "You all have ground kobe beef? That's so tacky! Does anyone ever order that??"
"EWWWW, that sounds disgusting!" Curt sang.
"Whoa!" Puck concurred.
Dianna caught me mouthing "Go fuck yourselves" and must have mistaken my hatred for offense at their critique of the menu.
"Oh, well, I'm sure it's probably REALLY good," she said insincerely. "Do you like the ground kobe beef?" she asked me.
"Me? Oh God no. I'd never eat here."
They laughed nervously.
"Hey BRO are you new here?" Puck asked. "You seem a bit stressed. You should buy yourself a shot."
"Oh no thanks," I replied. "I think it's really tacky when servers drink on the clock."
I turned in their food order and ran to vent to my co-workers. In between chugs from our flasks, we thought of a hundred brilliant ways to fuck with the A-listers, but due to a combination of apathy and fatigue, it was all talk.
I returned much later to find them studying their food layer by layer, bite by bite.
"This is, like, all lettuce," Dianna commented on her salad.
"I can't tell the spinach from the cilaaaantro," Curt sang.
"This steak sucks balls," Puck said with a mouthful of food.
Sweet Emma smiled kindly and said nothing.
After two more rounds of drinks, they requested the bill.
"Oh, and we're kind of in a hurry." Dianna said. "But take your time!!!"
I returned with the bill.
"Separate checks, bro," Puck said while demonstrating his tooth pick skills.
"Sorry," I said. "We can't do separate tabs."
"Oh really!?" Dianna asked.
She took to pen and calculator wrote down who owed what and how much to put on which credit card. The bill in its entirety was $125.65. After their collective math efforts, however, only $100.65 was accounted for.
"So sorry," I said, "But you all still owe $25.00."
"That's impossible," Dianna said.
"Nope," I replied with a head tilt and a big grin.
"Did you see that she wrote down how much to put on which card?" Puck asked.
No, asshole. I grabbed my abacus, shook the beeds fervently and let their random formations tell me which amounts to put on your credit cards.
Sweet Emma double-checked the math and informed the group that they were in fact $25 short. She offered to pay the difference, but fortunately the others stepped up. This $25, however, did not include tip. And whether it was intentional or not, they left no tip.
Despite "being in a hurry," they loitered for a good 20 minutes after stiffing me.
As I cleared their mostly full drinks from the table, I couldn't help myself...
"So. Where do you all work?"
Dianna replied with the name of a typically highfalutin, overpriced restaurant in a fancier part of town...a restaurant that I guarantee you I'll be visiting soon with a group of my most obnoxious, drunken friends.