Tuesday, May 23, 2006

server type rant ahead. Last exit for at least one hundred words.

Last night, there were two servers and one bartender on. It was game 7 of Mavs/Spurs. We work in a wine bar. We do not have a television set. Ergo, we were going to be slow. So, when a five-top came in at 5:45, I happily took the table. They were drinking a chard from Chilé. Had some snacks. Fairly simple table, as far as taking care of them went. So, we come to the end. Their tab comes to $186.20. Since they've all announced plans to do various things (i.e.--"we're going to dinner." "really, I think we might go next door and see 'Hard Candy'"), I immediately note that they're going to have payment issues. They'll want split checks, which we don't do, or they'll want to give me five different credit cards and random amounts to charge said cards (i.e.--"can you put @12.83 on the blue mastercard and $0.91 on the gold amex?"). Head Bitch in Charge whips out a miniature red Sharpie. They're doing long division. They're heatedly discussing. Ten minutes elapse. I offer the use of our large calculator. She declines. After 15 minutes tick by, finally, HBiC hands me three credit cards and says "Put $48 on the blue Citibank, and then $34 and $34 on the other two". I repeat her instructions, reading the names on the cards. She confirms her proclamtion with an emphatic "yes!". I go run the cards. As I am placing them back on the table for signatures, I say to the HBiC, "the balance on your tab is $70.20." I turn around and my general manager is right there. I say "I need to go check my outside tables and they still owe me cash. Please keep an eye on them." I go out and get drink orders from the patio. As I am in the well, getting the wine, the GM comes over "they just left and they're all still by the door. Go get the check presenter." I race over to the table. I grab the book. I count twice. There's $67 in the book. They've shorted me by $3. It's really not a lot, but it's more than I am willing to give up for people I do not know. I go stand outside, just at the edge of their little group. I do not interrupt. I do not even speak. I just stand there, until HBiC looks at me and says "yes?!?!" in an extremely condescending tone. "Your tab is short. I told you that you still owe $70, and there's only $67 here." Someone hands me a $20, I say "thank you" and head back inside, thinking that's over. As I am settling the tab in the computer, this cunt jerks my arm. "Excuse me, but we don't owe you any more money and I am extremely displeased with the way you handled that." I am slightly incredulous at the gall of this woman, but my manager and the bartender are both right next to me. I calmly say "ma'am, I explained the remainder of the tab when I dropped off your cards, and there wasn't enough cash to cover it." She begins yelling: "I'm a business woman, and this is a business dinner, and you've embarrassed me in front of clients! I eat out all the time and I've never had something like this happen. I want back the money my client gave you. There's enough in the tip to cover this bill!" I attempt to explain that no, the tip has naught to do with what you owe me in cash. What you owe in cash is what you owe to the restaurant. Tip is extra money for Heather for taking such good care of you and for making sure that your four bottles of wine were poured and enjoyed and your snack complimented the wines and your water glass was never empty and your conversation was never interrupted. HBiC just keeps yelling "I eat out all the time and I have never had this problem! There's enough in the tip to cover it! I wanted to leave you 20%, and I cannot believe how you're bahving! I AM A BUSINESS WOMAN!" My manager, who's been standing there the entire time, tries to explain the difference between tab and tip. The bartender, who is also standing right there, tries to explain. She still isn't getting it. She throws her credit card at me for the remaining three dollars. "Here!" I run the card, hand her a presenter to sign. She begins to write in a $37 tip on the card. I should have kept it, but AGAIN, we explain that the $3 had NOTHING to do with a tip, or a lack there of. If she will just sign the tab, we're all good. I don't even care if I make money at this point, I just want this woman to leave. She signs the cards, and storms out of the restaurant. She stands directly in front of the door, and begins loudly criticizing my skillz as a server. Three of our regulars, who'd been at the bar during the whole show, walk outside, loudly proclaiming "Man, Heather is so awesome! If it wasn't for Heather, we'd go somewhere else! WE LOVE HEATHER!" I kept my calm and said nothing during this whole festival.

Then, later those three bought me a shot as we were all watching the game later at the Italian restaurant next door and the Mavs won, so my boss opened a bottle of champagne. God, I love working in a wine bar. So, HBiC, where ever you may be today: calm down or you're going to have a stroke. I know from whence I speak.