Oh the frugal guest. Too many times are we fooled by their charm, calm demeanor, friendliness, or a combination of everything we look for in guests who are fortunate enough for us to not completely hate them. We have been fooled time and time again while taking care of them, only to be disappointed when it comes time to view how gratuitous they were... which we always learn is not very. "How can they do this?" we often ponder. I question I have learned the answer to. The answer is: very carefully.
You see, like all of us, frugal guests have a method to their madness. They generally travel in "packs" (or families), and while we cannot force them to be more generous with their money (legally, that is), we can at least prepare ourselves better for that moment of "they left me f*cking $9 on $90??" Luckily for you, I have observed and studied the frugal guests of our world, and now, am batting almost 1,000 when it comes to pointing them out before they leave me dick for a tip (I'm not gay, but sometimes getting dick would be a better tip then these assholes leave).
The water "joke".
This sign will only work in groups of four or more... And let me just point out - not all frugal guests give an immediate tell-tale sign, and just ordering water doesn't necessarily scream frugal. However, I have learned that people who order water because it is free, will find it funny by the 3rd or 4th water order (which I never got the joke). It will go something like this:
Hello, my name is DanORants and I will be giving you exceptional service today. Our special tonight is prime rib, which your frugal-ass can't afford. We serve that with fresh horse-radish and an Au Jus - which the confused look on your face tells me you have no idea what that even is. May I start you folks out with some fresh lemonade or a glass of Cabernet, or how does an Old Fashioned sound?OK, so not my usual greet, but you get the gist. However, here is where the joke comes. The response from he guests will be: "water", "water", "water", and then somewhere in between the 4th and 5th request for "water", the word "water" becomes friggin hilarious to these people! The whole table fills with laughter, and the only thing you can think about is how the check for this table is still at $0. Now, don't confuse the water order for something it might be. I, for one, prefer water over any other non-alcoholic beverage. You have to look for the water order going from "what I want to drink" to "it's hilarious we are all ordering water". People don't burst into laughter when they all order Coke.
The free-shit request and appetizer rejection.
I work in a restaurant that gives cheese-biscuits to everyone who sits down in our restaurant (I do not work at Red Lobster). I hate (and love) the concept. I love the idea that we "thank" our guests for sitting down and giving them something that barely costs $.07 per biscuit. I hate the fact that people take that shit for granted! All of the time, when I suggest an appetizer, people will say: "Do you have some of those, cheesy biscuit things?"... You know what asshole? We do! You know why we do? Because years ago, when the concept was first started, we gave our first table some f*cking cheese-biscuits... Since then, you entitled pricks have just come to f*cking expect them, and even worse, you know feel you are f*cking owed them!
I always want to tell people:
Do you remember the first time you came to this restaurant? You had no idea there was going to be cheese-biscuits coming your way, did you? However... they did come, didn't they? What the f*ck makes you think they are not going to come this time? Do you think today is my first day, and they wouldn't train me before I started waiting tables, and the fact that we have f*cking cheese-biscuits has gotten past me?How does this relate to the frugality of the guest? Simple. They ask for free shit they know they are getting when you ask them if they would like an appetizer. Don't be fooled though, not every restaurant immediately gives free shit, and these frugal guests have other "tells" of how they care very little for your livelyhood! Not everyone wants to eat an appetizer. Fine, I can't argue with that. However, a simple "No, we won't like an appetizer" will not suffice for a frugal guest. They need to leave the impression that they normally would get an appetizer, you just happened to catch them on the wrong day. This is when you hear excuses like: "No, I had a late lunch" and "We want to go right for the good stuff". Now to the second response, I have a pretty witty come-back (I think) which is: "But, you're skipping over all of the good stuff on this side (pointing to the appetizer section) of the menu!" Frugal assholes don't appreciate having their terrible jokes called out, either way, you have a frugal guest on your hands.
I'll have another drink please...
If an asshole guest doesn't trust your ability to monitor their drink-levels... they don't value you as a working human. I used to think people were just so used to bad service they felt the need to ask for a drink refill. Finally, I realized that the assholes asking me for a refill (when their glass was still half-full) were the same assholes tipping me an embarrassing 12%. Bad news, you have a frugal guest on your hands.
I do, however, have a method that will make you feel better and embarrass the guest at the same time! All under the guise of good service! Many years ago, I had a guest that had twice asked me for a refill with a half-full glass (or half empty, however you choose to look at it), after I had gotten his first refill before his request and before his glass was empty. I was pissed and offended. How did I respond? Every time I went back to that table, I brought with me another full glass of beverage for him. By the time he was ready to pay the check, his girlfriend (probably a slut) was embarrassed and he had six full glasses in front of him. He complained to my manager, and I just explained to him how thirsty he appeared, and wanted to make sure he was well accomodated!
This is where you start.
I can go on and blog about people who want to split a meal, and ask if there is a plate-sharing charge. I can go on about the uncomfortable silence that happens when asked: "Should I leave this all together?" (Yeah, that's another thing... When my wife and I go out with friends, we either say "Let us take you out", or they will say "Let us take you out"... either way, who is paying should be decided before entering the f*cking establishment!) There are many signs of the frugal guest. The one thing we can be certain of: no matter how they present themselves, they all have one thing in common: They do not give a shit about your tip!
Click here to follow The Bitchy Waiter on Twitter.
Click here to find The Bitchy Waiter on Facebook.