Most of the time, my haughty behavior is (in my irrational opinion) called for because of the offensive nature of many restaurant diners.
Other times, however, I am simply in a bad mood and ready to be difficult for the sheer purpose of my own entertainment.
Take last Thursday for example. After an early morning argument prior to my shift, I arrived at the restaurant with my horns already exposed, eager to trample on anyone and everyone's good mood.
The antics began with the whaling of a fat Mexican woman seeking a high-chair for her offensively ugly, shrieking newborn (a high-chair seemed a less appropriate request than, say, a mask and some sedatives). It wasn't so much that she asked me, it was how she asked me.
For starters, I wasn't her server. Second, I had my hands full of three scalding hot plates for my own table. Third, the tone in her voice implied that I was responsible not only for her having to wait for a high-chair, but for all the horrible things that had turned her into an obese, loud-mouthed alarm siren, as well.
Her request was met with no direct eye contact and a particularly curt, "Ask someone with empty hands."
As I brushed past her en route to my table, I noticed I'd been sat with a group of regulars every server tries to avoid. These businessmen, with their habit of wolfing down chips as if participating in some eating contest at a fair in the deep south, always tipped $1 per person. They demanded constant iced tea refills and barked at the small portions on the thrifty lunch specials.
I became erect in anticipation of ruining their day.
I approached their table with a facial expression and body language that said, "Go fuck yourselves." But before I could fire off an incendiary introduction, I was met with:
"Hey pal, we need extra chips. And I think this booth is broken. It sinks. Can you fix it?"
"Yeah, let me go grab my toolkit and wood supplies out of my Honda. I'll be right back with iced teas and three discounted soup and salad meals."
"Whoa bud, don't need the attitude. And besides, we're celebrating. We'll take three carne asada steaks, well done."
"You are aware that those are on the regular menu, and you won't be able to get a discount?"
"Why don't you send over your manager and we'll discuss a few things with him, like getting a new server."
"I'll dab my eyes and get right on that."
I immediately sought my manager, who is as indifferent to customer complaints as the day is long. Unfortunately, he was otherwise engaged with the whaling woman who still hadn't found a high-chair. I stood there, like a blank canvas, listening to the conversation. He assured her that he would take care of her concerns with all the sincerity and conviction of an automated customer service recording.
"I think table 16 wants to see you," I warned. "And I'm pretty sure you'll want to transfer them to another server."
As I walked back to my station, I noticed the whaling woman writing a lengthy note on the back of her check. My prayers were answered when she angrily handed it to me on her way out. I expressed my gratitude with a shit-eating grin and gathered my other servers to participate in the reading. In closing, I leave you with the original, unabridged works of an angry customer:
You have alot [sic] to learn about customer service. When a guest askes [sic] for something, your [sic] supposed to help out and not have a bad attitude. People like you are mad that you have to wait tables because you can't do anything else. You should quit and become homeless if you don't want to deal with people. Me and my family won't be coming back to this restaurant. You lose business when you act like you act. Don't be so bitter."