I don't mind the rude customers if I find their curt behavior to be part of a larger, rather eccentric personality.
At first, at least.
We'll call him Stephen.
So Stephen (a testy realtor) and his terrified assistant Haley sat themselves in my section just as our dinner shift was picking up. He was gay and stylish, and by stereotype a good tipper (he was), so I forgave the self-seating and greeted them.
"I know you all are Mexican," Stephen said while rubbing his temples without looking at me for even a split second, "but is the bartender competent enough to make a good dirty vodka martini?"
"Oh yes," I said, "I can vouch for that as recently as two minutes ago."
Stephen smirked as if his reaction were a kindness and perused the menu.
"Grey Goose," he said with intentionally clear and protracted diction, still without a glance.
"Haley?" he inquired.
"Oh, hi," she said. "I'll have a wine. Uhm, a white one. Please." Those are the only words I heard from Haley, ever.
I returned with two waters and the beverages. Stephen was on his phone, yelling at someone about being "dyked over" on the price of a condo. Haley was awkwardly resting her chin on her right shoulder.
I attempted to walk away but Stephen snapped from his phone call, "Do NOT go anywhere, we're ready to order!" He continued seamlessly speaking to his business associate. I waited for five seconds, at which point the phone convo was clearly nowhere close to finishing, and I walked off, haughtily of course.
I returned at my convenience. Stephen immediately began ordering, still no eye contact towards me, and ordered for Haley as well.
Later, after their meals had arrived, Stephen flagged me down with animated urgency.
"You changed the dressing," he said while forking through the offensive plate with disgust.
"If by 'you' you mean our cook," I countered through rolled eyes (not that he was looking anyhow) "no, neither he nor anyone else has ever changed the dressing for that salad. It's a balsamic vinaigrette. Always has been, always will be."
"Mmmm no," he countered while nonchalantly sampling a bit more from his finger. "I want the old dressing."
And with that, he slid the bowl towards me.
Just to be completely certain, I paraded the bowl in question back to the kitchen and asked Raul, Juan, and Cristobal if they'd ever changed the dressing. Knowing how many times I'd supplied them with free shots or looked the other way when they were getting stoned in the walk-in freezer, I knew they would actually answer my question instead of brushing me off like my needy, non-Spanish-speaking co-workers (no offense guys).
They swore that, no, no one had ever given a shit enough to think about changing the menu. The dressing was the same as it had always been.
I returned and stood by my story.
"Send the manager," Stephen said, with gesture.
My current-in-a-long-line-of-many manager, who I had to fetch from the Banana Republic next door and whose bitchy flamboyance sparkled brighter than anyone else's, listened impatiently to Stephen explain his frustration.
They came to some weird plot twist when they realized they had a friend in common. They went from passive aggressive chit chat to hearty laughter. I even think they exchanged info, which I found super gross, but I also didn't care because they're both unattractive, so I returned to the table shortly thereafter.
"I seem to have been mistaken," Stephen said while handing me a wad of cash.
Mistake, my ass. You were ready to douse me in denim and burn me at the stake. You didn't really give a shit about the dressing, you just needed to be difficult, and now that you've eyed that coked-out, sassy, slender rail of a power bottom to bed this evening, you have to play nice. Oh I'll take your blood money, bitch, but I won't forget your theatrics.
"No change," he said, which all said meant a 50% tip.
And even then, no eye contact whatsoever.