Well yesterday I served the MEANEST lady of my entire life, and it really shook me to my core. Would you like a story, bitches? Well get a snack and some napkins cuz this shit is juicy.
I wait tables. At a restaurant. We have a very popular weekend brunch. People come in and get SHITTTTTY. So shitty. So cross-eyed. Ok? Unfortunately, due to our high influx of hungry, drunken buffoons, our kitchen tends to get backed up. Like. WAY backed up. Like a table can be waiting 30 minutes for their first round of food. Alright let’s just get to the story, shall we?
I have a pretty large section for brunch, but I’m holding it down cuz I got it like that. I get seated a three top. The manager tells me he knows them somehow, so I should take good care of them. I start them off with a FREE round of champagne. This is NOT included in the brunch. Then I explain to them the rules of brunch just so they understand how it works. One of the rules is that you can only order plates every 15 minutes. (But I’m supposed to only fire an order 15 minutes after the first plate hits the table; NOT 15 minutes after they give me their first order.) So I bring them all their drinks. I bring them waters. I bring her her random glass of ice. I bring them a pitcher of liquor just to be nice. I’m workin’ it, Jesus.
Then another person joins them. Their first order of food hasn’t come yet, but this newcomer would like to order. I told her she can’t order because they already ordered without her, and their first round hasn’t come yet. Yes, it’s been a while, but I can’t make the kitchen move any faster. (Even though I tried! I went back to the kitchen and begged for ONE plate for my table just to calm them down, cuz I knew they were getting hungry.)
So this makes them a little mad:
Me: I’m sorry, miss, but you have to wait fifteen minutes.
She: Well, it’s BEEN fifteen minutes. It’s been 30 or 45 minutes and we haven’t seen any food yet.
Me: Let me go steal some food for you. (It’s only been 20 minutes. I just checked the computer.)
She: Thank you.
I talk to my manager. He tells me to put in her second order. I do.
She gets mad again, cuz after her whole first order arrives, it’s missing her french fries. I tell her I’m gonna find them.
I go back and check the computer to make sure I sent them. I’m thinking, “fuckfuckfuckfuckfuck”. But I check the computer and I see that I sent the order. Phew. So I go back to the food line to find my ticket. It’s a hot mess, cuz there are SO. MANY. ORDERS. I see that they don’t have my order of french fries so I just write them a note telling them I’m missing some fries.
I write the note a second time.
This is not going well for me. But I do everything in MY power to keep them satisfied. The next table over is a little crabby, too, but they’re my gays so I’m just getting them as drunk as possible so they stop being mad and start being pukey. But this woman will NOT be assuaged with liquor. Her temper just grows.
She: Excuse me. Where is our food?
Me: I’m sorry, the kitchen is so backed up. I mean, look at this restaurant! It’s full! But let me go check on your food.
She: Yeah, it’s been an HOUR since we put in that order!!!
Me: *walking away while shaking my head*
Now. I probably shouldn’t have shaken my head. But lady. Miss Lady. An hour? Surely, you jest. It’s been 30 minutes. Yes, that’s a super long time, and I’m more frustrated than you are cuz I’ve been dealing with YOU’s all day. But I shook my head. She’s being ricockulous. But I go check on her food anyway cuz that’s all I can do. There are so many runners at the food line that it’s hard to see. But I can see that her ticket is slowly working its way to the expo dudes.
So there’s nothing I can do, so I’m talking to a drag queen telling her how I’m avoiding my table. Well. Then I hear someone say indignantly, “Um, excuse me!” I turn. She is standing there. And oooo girl, she be MAD!
(Pretend I’m typing this whole next part in CAPS. I can’t actually do it cuz it would stress me out too much. So just imagine a self-righteous mad hungry lady)
She: Excuse me, but this is the WORST service I’ve ever had! I’ve been here several times before and I’ve NEVER had service this awful before. We are here for my friend’s birthday and you have done nothing but treat us like SHIT! We have watched plate after plate after plate pass by us! And our food is nowhere to be found! And you’re just standing over here chatting! I am friends with the manager! I am friends with the bar manager! Oh, and I am a foodie, a blogger, and a lawyer! So take your pick. But you need to figure it out and find our food instead of standing over here doing NOTHING!
Now. I would like to insert this interlude called, “All The Things I Wish I Would’ve Said”:
Listen. I’ve broken the rules for you several times. I brought you free champagne. I brought a you a pitcher of liquor when I shouldn’t have. I put it too many food orders for you even though it’s against the rules. And I am a good server. I kept your glasses full of water and liquor. I’ve begged the kitchen to bring you food. I asked my manager to come calm you down. And you’ve done nothing but treat me unkindly. Oh, and you know the manager? And the bar manager?? Oooooh, what are you gonna do; get me fired?! Please! Do me a favor so I don’t have to serve entitled assholes like you anymore. Oh, poor me, I lost my serving job in NYC. Wherever will I find another?! And don’t come screaming at me like you’re the Princess of Manhattan. Who are you? You’re a nobody. You want to be treated like you are a queen, get the fuck out and go somewhere that doesn’t have unlimited liquor. Open your eyes; no classy establishment has freeflowing drinks. People are here to get googly-eyed and that’s it. Oh and you’re a foodie? Why, cuz you eat food? Well then bitch, I am THE foodie cuz I eat like a cow! And you’re a blogger? Congratulations, you know how to use the internet. Welcome to 2013, hoe. You’re a lawyer? Cool. Sue me cuz you’re food took forever….? Get out of here and go write about it in your stupid no-one blog where you complain about food online to make yourself feel better about being an empty bag of shit. But if you’d like to know what scrambled eggs and angry spit taste like, sit down and gobble up, bitch. Bon apetit, motherfucker. *ended with a passionate bitch slap*
Ah, yes. If only I had the bravery and stupidity and lack of temper to talk to a customer like that. Instead…
She walked away. My manager looked over at me, saw my face and cocked her head. I started shaking my head. She said, “What’s wrong?”
Then I started sobbing uncontrollably on the floor. A look of fright washed over her face, she grabbed my by the wrist and pulled me into the kitchen followed by a hostess who saw the whole thing. I told her everything. She tried to calm me down but I was doing that loud sobbing thing that you do when you’ve been holding back tears for a couple of months. It was bad. The bussers in the kitchen were scrambling to gather timber to construct an ark because I was crying so hard. My manager walked away to get the main manager. He came in and pulled me aside. He told me I didn’t have to deal with her anymore. He grabbed someone else to take care of her. He said he was gonna go talk to her, because he would rather that she leave than I cry. He told me not to worry about it.
Everyone had a slew of bad things to say about her. All I could say was, “She was so mean!” And everyone said, “Don’t let it get to you, James! Don’t take it personal!”
Listen, I don’t think I’m a bad server. I actually think I’ve very, very good at my job. That isn’t what got to me. What really hurt me was her capacity for unkindness! I could NEVER bitch someone out like that!! Never! And it’s impossible for me to not let it bother me. That’s like telling someone walking outside in the rain without an umbrella, “Hey, don’t get wet!” I’m sensitive. I’m a cancer. I cry. It’s fine. And if someone is mean to me, I’m gonna cry. And when someone is like that to me, I’m gonna sob.
It took me awhile to recover. I tried to go back on the floor, but I started crying and I couldn’t see the computer through my tears. One of the servers told me to go chill in the back, and she would take care of my tables. I still went and tried to talk to another table but I started crying again. I accidentally broke their hearts. They all looked at me with the saddest sympathy faces, and one of them said, “Oh my god, I will never be happy again!” They were sweet. The host was sweet, too. He said, “What happened? You need me to kick someone out?! Cuz I will!” The staff was all really nice to me afterwards.
Anyway I sat in the back and I cried for a little bit. I tried to cry in the bathroom but someone needed to pee, and since the bathroom is meant for pee and not tears, I let them use it.
I’m still really shaken up by this lady. I couldn’t sleep. Her words keep running through my head. And I realize the absurdity of it all. I told Kelley and she said, “You are a good waiter and a good person all her yelling proved was that she doesn’t have good character. And she was yelling about what? French toast? Yeah that’s what I thought. You are a star, James. Act like it.”
Well alright then.
Onward and upward.
(Also I submitted an application for counseling through the graduate program at Columbia. They have sliding scale sessions with their students. If anyone knows of anywhere else, please let me know.)
I end this on a joyful note cuz I choose to. Here are the cool things happening in my world: