Nothing screams "big tip coming" like a customer whose questions are all cost-related.
"What's your cheapest margarita?"
"Are the chips and salsa free?"
"Does it cost extra to make the drink stronger?"
100% of the time, these tedious inquiries beget (at most) a 15% tip.
And, oh! Did I know I was in trouble when one particularly thrifty lady plopped her penny-pinching ass in my section...
We'd met before. I never forget the face of cheapness, and I always bring my mental Rolodex of grudges to work. And in that Rolodex, under "bad-tipping whore," is a picture of this woman (whom I call Penny Pincher)
On this day she was accompanied by her equally unpleasant friend, who'd left no bin unturned at "New to You" in her search for modest footwear.
"Anything to drink?" I asked.
"Oh hiiiiiii!" she said, all peaches and cream. She was about to ask me for a favor.
"I knoooooow it's not happy hour yet (big smile), but maybe you could just bring out my drink and then ring it in once it's happy hour?" she asked.
"Oh, BOO!" she said. "Come on, I come here all the time!"
No, bitch, *I* come here all the time.
"Happy hour doesn't start until 4," I said, grinning. "And besides, it's only available at the bar. Not in my section."
"Well then," she countered. "I'll just order my drink from the bar when it's happy hour."
"Then you'll have to sit at the bar."
"Why are you making this so complicated? I just want a happy hour drink! Isn't the customer always right?"
"I'll just have a margarita," her friend said, instinctively adding "the cheap one."
"Of course," I said. "And for you? Drink?"
"Well if you're not going to give me a happy hour drink I'll just have an iced tea."
Ah! The sting of her vengeance is MERCILESS!!!!
I dropped off the drinks and took their food order. The ladies each ordered a cup of soup and a chicken caesar salad.
Upon delivering the meals, Penny Pincher looked at me with a shit-eating grin and said:
"Uhm. This salad has dressing on it."
Very astute. Please, continue with your declarations of the self-explanatory. Tell me which utensils are on the table.
"Yes, it does have dressing on it." I said. "Would you like more iced tea?"
"But I always order this salad with dressing on the side."
"You didn't tell me you wanted dressing on the side."
"I just assumed you knew because, you know, I come in here all the time and I always order my salad this way."
"But you didn't tell me that today..."
"I just assumed..."
I grabbed the salad from her miserly hands and stormed off mid-sentence. Minutes later I returned with the salad, dressing on the side.
"You know what?" she said. "I think I would like a margarita."
"The cheap one?" I asked.
Fast forward to bill time, and Penny once again called me over.
"I notice I was charged for my salad," she said.
"Well...yes. You did eat the entire thing, didn't you?" I asked.
"Yes but I don't think I should be charged for it. You messed up my order. I wanted the dressing on the side, remember?"
"I do remember, because I wasn't aware of that fact until after you received your salad."
"Well...I think I should at least get my drink for free."
After nearly 20 seconds of awkward silence, through which reciprocal levels of disdain were conveyed, I said I'd "consult" with my manager and get back to her.
I asked the owner of our restaurant (a fellow penny pincher) an ambiguous question about giving away a free margarita. He gave me a curt "No," and I returned to Penny with the verdict.
"Yeah, no, sorry," I said. "I talked to the owner himself and he said we won't be taking anything off the bill. May I bring you two anything else?"
Penny threw down exact change for the bill, and she and her cohort left abruptly. Days later, Penny returned. And while she wasn't sat in my section, I heard her ask the server, "I knoooooow it's not happy hour yet, but maybe you could just bring out my drink and then ring it in once it's happy hour?"
As for the price difference between a regular margarita and a happy hour margarita?