Sunday nights are usually very long, annoying shifts. The one I had yesterday was no different. To start things off, I get a 13 person party. The manager, off the bat, gives them three free appetizers. When managers do that, it’s like taking money right out of the server’s pocket. When there is a party of 8 people (or more), I can add an 18% gratuity. This 18% is before tax. I still tip out 3% to the house, so let’s call it 15% before tax. The total of these appetizers, before tax, is about $35.00. 15% of $35.00 is $6.30. That’s $6.30 right out of my pocket.
The time is 3:45 PM. Even though I hate waiting on big parties, This isn’t a bad way to start off the shift. I’m guaranteed a nice little chunk of change during a time when the restaurant has slowed down. I’m working a 4 table section and this table is taking up 3 of them. I’m trying to “turn and burn” my other table, but it’s hard because all my time is consumed by the demands of the large party. If any of you are wondering, yes, the party is black. Fortunately, this isn’t a party full of ghetto people. They’re all really, really nice. Well, almost all of them are nice. The one, fat, 13ish year old is annoying as hell. Of course, he’s guzzling down strawberry lemonades and pulling me to the side to ask me the stupidest fucking questions. Parents, your kid is fat as shit. Why are you letting him guzzle down buckets of sugar? I hope you enjoy the costs associated with having a kid with diabetes. Poor kid. I feel bad for him.
The appetizers are being eaten. The drinks are full. They tell me they’re ready to order. I know this isn’t going to go smoothly. By my estimations, these 13 people took approximately 15 minutes to order. Why oh why do people say they’re ready to order when they have absolutely no idea what’s even on the menu? The whole time I’m looking at my other table, with their empty glasses and patience growing thin, hoping I spot another server who can help me take care of them.
Here are a few highlights from my big top ordering. Keep in mind, this party is comprised of about 6, elderly people, 4, middle-aged people, 1, fat, talkative 13 year old, a dude who looks like he’s about 21, and the couple whom the wife is celebrating the birthday.
- “Can I get thick catfish?”
- “What’s good?”
- “Can I substitute (a really expensive item for a cheap side item)?”
- “Are refills free?”
- “Why is there all this stuff at the bottom of my Strawberry Lemonade?”
- “Do you have Pink Lemonade?”
- “What’s your seasonal iced tea?”
Fast forward about 1 hour and everyone is ready to box up their food. My gratuity is at around $52.00. I figure, “$52.00 for 2 hours of work? That’s not bad.” That’s when the sneak attack uppercuts me right in the wallet. “We’re ready for the cake”. Fuck me. They have a cake. Now, not only is the mess going to be even bigger, I’m about to run out 13 side plates, 13 spoons, find a knife suitable for cutting and serving cake, and walking out with a cake and lit candles. Oh, did I mention that I’m about to do all of this for free?
Fast forward another hour, and these people are ready to leave. My section is a mess. I hand the birthday girl’s husband the bill. He smiles, tells me I did a great job, shakes my hand, and throws me a few compliments. I don’t give a shit about verbal compliments. All you’re doing is holding me up and forcing me to fake smile when you compliment me. If you want to compliment me, give me money. Verbal tips don’t pay the bills.
After everyone leaves, and I collect the check, I get no extra gratuity, a comment card, and a huge mess. People, when you bring a birthday cake to a restaurant, you should be a decent human being and give a little extra to your server. It’s pretty messed up you think you can get someone to wait on your for an hour (usually how long it takes for people to slice up cake, eat it, give out presents, etc.) and this it’s okay to not pay them. They didn’t even offer me a slice of cake.