I have worked as a server for almost 4 years now at various restaurants in various parts of Florida. I’m generally not surprised or fazed when people demand things for free when there’s no merit for it. You have to have thick skin in this business, especially on the front lines as a server.
So it’s getting to be around 9 pm and the hostess is trying to get her side work done so she doesn’t have to hang around till close. That’s fine, I get it. I don’t want to be here either. Anyway, I happen to be standing near the door when a middle-aged Caribbean woman comes in and says she needs a table for 3. I’m next cut but I take her to my section anyway. I get her a Coke while she waits for the rest of her party. Two more women show up and I go take their order. I’m being as pleasant as possible despite being at the tail end of my third double of the week with one more to go. I like to think I’m a trooper.
So they all order wings. I ask if they would like celery, carrots, and blue cheese for $0.49. The original lady says yes, but she demands it for free. I smile and apologize, and joke that I can’t do that, they don’t let me make the rules. She’s dead serious. I ask again if she wants it and she says, yes, for free.
At this point I’m over her obnoxious demands (she hasn’t smiled once through the entire interaction) and I ring her up for the upcharge. I decide that instead of bothering a manager over $0.49, I’ll just take the hit and offer to reimburse her out-of-pocket. It’s two quarters, FFS. So I go to the table and very politely say “Ma’am, I’m very sorry. I can’t take off the upcharge but I can reimburse you for it.” And I offer her the change. She scowls at me and tells me how offensive that is. Several times. Her friends nod in agreement. OK now I’m embarrassed. I probably blushed. I’m a little surprised that she didn’t thank me or smile or anything, but OK… she’s dead serious about this too.
I’ve never dealt with someone with such a black hole for a sense of humor or gratitude. Whatever. So at this point I don’t want to piss them off anymore so I send my friendliest coworker over to check on them. He agrees they’re all complete sourpusses and everyone agreed that she just wanted to be mad about something.
That’s the last time I offer to eat an upcharge for a demanding patron. BTW she left me $1.50 on $20.