I am not perfect. ("No shit, Sherlock," says Anonymous and that guy from Tortilla Flats). Usually, I am calm under pressure. Challenges roll off my back like water on a duck. People don't get my goat because my goat is chill. I am cool as a cucumber. But then came table 28 who got all under my skin and on my last nerve. Seriously, I had one nerve left that night and they fucking found it and rode it like a pony. I lost my cool and I am ashamed. Allow me to explain.
If someone makes a reservation for ten people and then all show up together as a group, I am going to assume that they all know each other. Consequently, I am going to put them all on one check. Sorry, it's just the way it goes. I approached my ten-top to get drink orders and when I got to the last lady, she asked for a separate check. Okay, fine. I'd rather know now than later when ten people are throwing money at me and telling me they just want to pay for their two Bloody Mary's. When she asked for the separate check, I stopped and wondered if all the other folks would want their own checks too. "Would it be easier if everyone had a separate check?" I asked to the table who all ignored me. I asked again. One man answered on behalf of the table.
"We're all friends. We can settle it ourselves. One check is fine." Famous last words.
At the end of the night when I placed the bill at table 28, the lady who had her own check handed me cash and said "Thank you. Keep the change." Another lady flashed a twenty dollar bill at me and said, "How much is mine?" And so it began.
"Miss, you are included in the bill with your friends." Suddenly everyone is paying attention to me for the first time all night. "What? We're all on one bill? Oh my God! That's not good. Oh my God! The sky is falling, the sky is falling!" Everyone wanted separate checks. I glared at the man who assured me one check was fine. At this point, I had twelve other tables to deal with and now they wanted me to split a nine-top? Deep breaths, calming thoughts. I explained to them that I would do it, but I was going to have to deal with my other tables first since this was going to take some time. They were not having it. At all. They yelled at me and got pissed off and had mini conniptions. Brows were furrowed. Veins were throbbing. Friendships were falling apart before my very eyes. I picked up the check and began the ordeal of splitting it nine times. But they were all in a hurry, of course and the next thing I knew several of them were surrounding me at the computer and throwing credit cards and money at me.
I gave a newly separated check to the host so she could run it out to one woman who was especially irritated. All of a sudden Especially Irritated Woman was standing right next to me. "I need my check right now or I'm just going to leave."
"Oh, the host just took it to your table, ma'am."
"Well, I'm here now. Go get it," she said.
"It's at your table and I am trying to divide up these other checks."
"Well, you better go get it because I'm leaving."
Resisting the urge to strangle her, I said, "Okay, let me stop what I am doing so I can go get your check which is at your table where I told you I would bring it to you." I went to get her goddamn fucking check and came back to the bar and put it next to her. "Here you are, I will be right back." I went downstairs and sat down for five minutes with my head in my hands. I needed to collect myself. If I didn't do it, I was going to say something I regretted and then she would go home and write a blog about me and get my ass fired. When I came back up stairs, she had left cash. Why didn't she just leave cash in the first place? In fact, six out of the ten people left cash and didn't want change. They could have done that when it was all on one bill.
The man who assured me one check was fine came up to pay. "I'm really sorry for all my friends. I've never seen them act that way, I'm so embarrassed. "
"Well, I don't like getting yelled at by people when I didn't do anything wrong. I asked if separate checks was better and you specifically told me that one check was fine. This was not my fault."
"I'm really sorry. Here, just take this. Take all of it." He pressed forty dollars into my hand and sheepishly walked out. I looked down at the two wrinkled twenty dollar bills and then looked at his check. It was for $40.29. Not only did he stiff me, he shorted me twenty-nine fucking cents.
Separate checks are fine, people. Just don't wait until the the bill comes and then tell me. Tell me at the beginning so I don't hyper-ventilate and possibly lose my cool in the process. I try to keep the bitchiness in tow while I'm at work and save it all for the blog. But don't push this Bilbo Baggins bitchy ass waiter. I don't want to lose it, but I just might.
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