Wednesday, December 19, 2007


I’m aware that people talk down to servers. It upsets me that they think they have the right to do this. In all the years I have waited tables, I’ve dealt with the little comments that make me feel like I’m somehow less of a person, but I’ve never had someone as cruel as I had last night.

I had a table of 8 girls come in. They all looked very young. I honestly wouldn’t have put a couple of them past 17. They wanted to order pitchers of margaritas, and my bartender and my boss informed me that I had to ID them. I rarely ID people. I know it’s the law, but in New York, for the most part, we just don’t do it. As it turns out one of them didn’t have her ID. There was one woman who was much older then the girls, and she flashed a badge quickly saying “I can vouch for all of them." I was OK with that, so I rang the drink order in. I mentioned the situation to one of the other waitresses, who suggested I run it by my boss just to be on the safe side.

He talked to them for a couple minutes, chatting about where they worked. Apparently they were all interns at the medical center nearby. I served them their drinks, and they ordered a couple of appetizers. About two hours later, an older man joined them who I presumed to be the doctor they were interning with. He was very friendly, ordered some food and drinks, and asked that he pick up their tab.

“I’ll pay the $193 because I’ve got to leave. They can take care of anything they order afterwards and I’ll let them know they also have to give you the gratuity. I’m not paying that, it’s on them. I didn’t like the sounds of this but what could I say. He told me he would inform them of this plan, and then he and the woman with the police badge left, the girls remained and ordered another pitcher. They had reached the point where they were louder than anyone in the restaurant.

A couple hours later, they had finished their last pitcher, and I brought them the checks. Since they were clearly not in the right state of mind, I gave them the check for what they ordered, and showed them what their boss took care of.

“Ok ladies, the guy that was here earlier took care of everything on the large check except gratuity, so all you have to worry about is what you ordered after he left.”

“So gratuity isn’t included?”

“No, it’s not." I repeated, and one of the girls handed me her credit card.” I ran it. She signed it, and all hell broke loose. I went to pick up the slip off the table, and she had left 10$. The total of both checks was 250$. I took a deep breath and tried to stay calm.

“Girls, I’m really sorry and I don’t mean this to be rude at all, but the gratuity wasn’t included on the large check either, and you have been here for five hours. Your boss wanted me to tell you that he had only paid the bill.” The restaurant its about 20 people. 8 seats were taken up for 5 hours by these girls and we had a full house and had to turn several tables away. Ten dollars was in no way acceptable.

“Yes, I know that. I was going to live you a great tip. I have a platinum Amex card. But you had to be a rude little bitch and ID all of us.”

“Well, I apologize about that, but it is my job. It’s the law. Our restaurant can loose their license , and I just started here and would like to keep my job.”

“Well, you should have thought about that before you had your manager harass us for ten minutes. Our friend was a cop, there should be no questions.

“Like I said, I’m new here so I wanted to double check. And if your friend is a cop, that is all the more reason to ID you because if I don’t I can get into trouble. Was your service alright? Were there any problems with your orders?”

“I have nothing more to say to you. If you don’t like what we left you, get a different job. You chose this one. Deal with it.” At this point they all got up to leave, and I called to the bartender to go get the manager. The girl who had been arguing pushed by me and said “Have a good night,” in the most sarcastic tone ever. My manager met them outside. I opened the door after a few minutes to see if he was having any luck reasoning with her.

“You are pathetic to be out here arguing with me about a tip," I heard her say. I guess there was no reasoning with her. She looked past him and saw me in the doorway.

“That little bitch there should not have ID us. She can deal with what she got. Let me tell you something, I am a college graduate. You choose this profession. Why don’t all you stupid people go to college and get yourselves a real fucking job.”

Up until this point, I had tried to be professional, despite the fact that I wanted to beat the shit out of her. Those words hit me so hard, that I lost it. Luckily my boss grabbed me and pushed me back as I lunged at her. He saved me from some serious assault charges seeing how she had seven other witnesses.

“You stupid ignorant bitch. You don’t say that to people. You don’t insult people like that as if you are so much better.” One of the other waitresses pulled me inside, as the girl was screaming at me. It wasn't worth it. She wasn't worth it, no matter how much satisfaction it would hav given me, it would have been short lived.

“What? Are you going to fight me? Let’s go bitch.,” said all 85 pounds of her. She then proceeded to punch our window. “Come on, you want to fight?” She kept hitting the glass until one of her friends pulled her away. At this point I was shaking with anger. I didn’t care about the tip. It’s money. What really bothered me was what she said. I wonder how many people actually think like that? When did we become a society where what you do for a living makes you less of a person? And what makes someone think they can treat other people like they are nothing?

I went inside to learn that everyone in the restaurant was aware of the situation. I could feel tears welling in my eyes because I had taken her words to heart. Everyone was so supportive. All of my tables kept telling me that I don’t have to listen to anything she said. They all left me amazing tips, in fact one of my regulars handed me her credit card slip with a 57$ tip on a 43 dollar check.

Here sweetie, happy new year and don’t ever let people like that bring you down.”

And as for my manager, he handed me a shot of Jameson and said “Cheers to good people, and thanks for not punching her.”


Blogger Ospite said...

People often ask me:

"If you can sing like that, why are you still working here?!"

I usually rattle off something about regular money and a day job and then list what I do 4 days a week outside The Trattoria. But I think from now on I'm going to ask them why they think waiting tables isn't an honorable profession...why it's below them to serve others. The world's greatest leaders have been servants of the people. Try it yourself sometime, see what humbling effects it may bring about.

9:30 PM  
Blogger INNER VOICES said...

cheers to you!!! i could never work customer service. my girlfriend does and i hear about it all the time... ida punched her. kudos to you!

9:54 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Boy you were lucky!You just don't get it obviously. Yeah they should have tipped you more but obviously they tipped you plenty on what they ordered $10 on like $55. You actually should have beeen fired, there is no excuse to confront about a tip NO MATTER WHAT. I worked in the business and you sound so immature. Tell them not to come back but you were an example of rude employees that they said you were! Bad example for servers. Ugh!

8:18 PM  

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