Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Surly Waitress

Late Tuesday night, I arrived at Applebee’s with a large party of friends. A woman rushed over to the table as the hostess was having tables and chairs arranged and began taking our drink orders, even before the last person was settled into a seat. (Later, we would discover that she was intruding on another waiter’s table in hopes that a large party would translate into a large tip.) One diet coke, one water, and then my friend who had been the first to be seated and had already set his heart on a dessert ordered the cheesecake shooter (a tiny portion served in a shot glass). Well, in the tumult, my friend did not realize that she was only accepting drink orders at present. A polished waitress would have taken the order, or at least pretended to and then asked if he would also like something to drink, but not this gal. Her voice seemed to mock his stupidity as she sarcastically questioned him, “Cheesecake?! To drink????” Her intent to embarrass met with sure success. Having vanquished him, she continued the orders and showed marked disappointment when most of the party ordered water. It was 11pm and most of us just wanted a bedtime snack, so we merely ordered appetizers and desserts. This gave me pleasure, knowing that her scheme to cheat her coworker out of a large take would be thwarted by a meager final bill. She mustered some energy and tried to be polite while serving everyone. We were a happy talkative group and she had some difficulty checking on our progress at intervals, but still managed to interject with some antidote about her dog when the subject of someone’s new pet came up in our conversation. She was bussing a nearby table at the time, so I found it rather intrusive. Then the checks came. One 18 year old young man paid for his tiny dessert with a credit card. The waitress looked at him as if she was being pranked and demanded, “don’t you have $2 in CASH?” Then she suggested that someone else in the party might cover his bill with cash. I said, “Yeah, you can take it out of the tip we were going to leave.” She snatched the credit card greedily and finished our transactions.

I really have a difficult time parting with my money under such circumstances.

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