Tourists are among the many groups of stereotypes I immediately categorize as People I Don't Want To Wait On. You can spot them a mile away regardless of nationality. Look for at least three of the following when spotting these notoriously obnoxious folk:
(i.e. "The Five Dumbest People I've Waited on All Month.")
4. White trash Brittany and poser cohort
You can imagine the fine clientele that my restaurant attracts on Monday evenings, when all food is 30% off. Every cliche, minority and starving lower-class family endure the almost-hour-long wait in a scene straight out of Schindler's List, all to save a couple dollars on Mexican food.
And inevitably, before I drop the check at least five people different people will ask:
"Now the discount's already added in, right?"
I assure them, with my stoic disgust, that it is. In most restaurant situations, the customer feels he/she has the upper hand. Not so on Monday nights, when I can sense the desperation and penny-pinching. I almost feed off the misery of the broke.
Last Monday, Brittany and her boyfriend/gay partner/tragic poser friend came in to split one beef burrito, two waters, and a never-ending supply of gratis chips and salsa. I could smell their bad tip coming from a mile away, as evidenced by their complete lack of manners and deodorant.
I begrudgingly refilled their waiters (to no "Thank you," of course) and made 5 or 6 trips to refill the chip basket that their dirty little hands couldn't empty quickly enough.
The total for this grand feast came to $7.57. Brittany paid using her credit card and left no tip of any sort, just a salsa smudge and the parting refrain of her Rite Aid knock-off perfume.
This is Brittany's myspace profile. Finally, you can see what I have to deal with. Notice the painfully self-proclaimed depth, the inevitable angst and loneliness, the myriad of misspelled words, and the awfully misinformed nickname "Penny Lane."
Thanks Brittany! Always remember that Taco Bell is a few miles north of my restaurant with a menu tailored much more to someone of your class, intellect and financial status.
As a server, a certain sight can strike the fear of God deep into my hateful heart...namely, the site of a host or hostess setting up a large party in my section.
It's not that I can't hang with a large group. Regardless of what a rookie waiter might tell you, most servers worth their wages can deftly handle the pressure of a few extra people.
No, no. The nausea induced by big groups stems solely from the fact that I can't stand people. Multiply the obnoxious neediness of a typical guest by the amount of high-maintenance requests and divide by my almost palpable indifference and you've got an equation for disaster.
Last week, one such party wobbled into the restaurant to test my patience and rouse my ire. Eight rotund women of various ethnicities (namely, the ethnicities that servers try to avoid by stacking dirty plates on clean tables) checked into my corner of Hell for a birthday party.
Knowing that fat people love chips and salsa, I prepared four or five baskets and bowls and "greeted" my guests, half of whom were texting and calling their other overweight friends as fragments of food did the Roger Rabbit out of their munching mouths.
I took the drink order, which consisted mostly of blue drinks and cocktails with a lot of grenadine. I didn't bother to see IDs, knowing that the revelation of their respective weights would make me bellow with laughter.
Then I headed to the service station to prepare ice waters. I came back to the table with my tray of eight glasses in one hand and carefully began to set them down. Before I could get the second h20 out of my free hand, one particularly vile and sassy Latina waived her emtpy salsa bowl in my face like she was collecting alms for the poor.
"Yo, I need more salsa."
My insides felt all warm and tingly. A prayer had been answered. This was the chance I had been waiting for to express that I was wholly better than this virus that East L.A. had unleashed in my place of work.
Very, very dryly, I asked, "Do you think I could maybe finish setting down these waters before I refill your salsa?"
Sassy did the one finger across the face, as if to say "Oh no he didn't." I immediately left the table to grab their array of colorful cherry-garnished cocktails from the bar. No sooner than you can say "strawberry daquiri," a manager had been summoned to my table. I joined the conversation a bit late, but heard
"An' he haad an aaaaatt-tude from da start. He don't need to be like that. We want another sar-ver."
Before my timid superior could say anything, I looked at him (while setting down their Midori-laden goodness) and said, "Yeah, it's not really working. Maybe someone else could deal with them? Ladies, enjoy your drinks!"
And with that, I lost my eight friends to my poor co-worker. Over the course of their evening, the finicky fatties sent back five different entrees, went through three more staggered rounds of banana martinis and then split their bill eight different ways.
Sometime later in the evening, I think I was given a lecture about the importance of customer service. Though I can't remember the details of that particular pow-wow, rest assured I'll be a lot nicer next time...