After a nice but rainy weekend in the town that houses the hapless Twins (Minneapolis for you slower readers) I came back to work to one of the worst nights in many years. All the possible bad tables came to my section like moths to light. I have bad tips here and there, but nothing like tonight. It was crappy table after crappy table, and then of course the worst of all to end the night on. I waited on a punk band on tour. Bands SUCK (unless they are big time, and then don't come to Red Lobster). Punk bands suck worse. Especially when you card them and they conveniently forgot their ID in the hotel down the street. Sorry pal, no booze for you. That Long Island Tea was just going to run out of your piercings anyhow. So while they ate well, and were actually pretty nice as far as bands go, the pricks need to learn how to tip. 5% is a sucky tip whether you are John Bon Jovi or Bon Ron Novi. Spend less on ink and holes in your body, and more on showers, shampoo, and your service staff.
Then to close the night I had a table come in, clearly looking a bit shady. The two men ordered two expensive dinners, and then an extra "big ass" lobster tail to boot. $83 worth of food. 10 minutes after close, the first guy gets up and goes to the bathroom. Never comes back. I'm keeping my eyes on the second one. I've seen this play out way to many times in my career, and I'm not about to let this guy walk on his check. I cleaned every table in the area 3 or 4 times. He kept trying to get me to run to the kitchen for things, but I was onto his game. I was going to wait him out. He boxed up his food, and sat there, with one arm in his jacket and one on his food box for 15 minutes. Then he picked at his salad. Then he pretended to be on his cell phone (the guy with him earlier had 2 cell phones that never stopped ringing). I actually saw him dial and then whisper into the phone. I know the other guy was waiting in the parking lot. He fidgeted. Picked some more at his salad. I closed out all my other checks. He was getting nervous. The more jumpy he got, the more I stayed in his section. I kept cleaning tables between him and the door, and I could see him glancing at me from time to time. He'd ask for a box for something, not realizing I had them stored in his section. He would ask for a new drink, and I'd get it from the beverage station where I could see him, and he could see me. I would close out other table's checks without turning my back to him. The game was on, and I wasn't about to loose. After an hour of messing around with his salad, rearranging his food in his to-go container, after 2 extra glasses of ice, and at least 5 faked phone calls I could see he resigned himself to paying. People trying to walk on a check get really nervous, and this guy was sweating bullets. He was looking like a greyhound on meth he wanted to run so bad. 3 times I saw his pal pull up to the front door in his hoopty with spinners. The doors were long locked, and I knew I was going to out wait him. Eventually he pulled out some cash, $85. He kept his eyes down, he was ashamed, I could tell, and he knew I was watching him. The check was $83.12 and the prick wanted change. So I worked the last hour for free, because you know he wasn't asking for change back so he could add money for a tip. The guy got great service, especially before I caught on that he was going to try to skip the check. I did special requests for him, and even saved him some money by knowing how to get him what he wanted in a way cheaper than he had in mind when ordering.
Stereotypes exist for a reason. It's too bad the good people of this guy's race get categorized because of his trashy ass. There's nothing more that I would like than to erase racism, but this guy is setting the cause back 40 years. Before I waited tables, I was aware of stereotypes, but I didn't have much of an understanding for why they existed. Oh to be so naive again.
Related Tags: Red Lobster, Seafood, Restaurant, Seafood Restaurant, Food Service, Service Industry, Management, Leadership, Bad Customer, Customer Service, Bad Tips, Rims, Spinners, Punk, Band, Punk Band, Tatoo, Piercing, Hoopty