It was late night right before close when a couple came in to play some pool. I was about to do closing duties, but it was a busy night and I had a lot to do, so I thought it wouldn’t hurt to let the customers stay a little past close so they could get some beer and pool in.
I started closing up, and when it was time for last call I politely let them know, and asked if they would like to have a last round. They said no. I even let them go out for a smoke as I was locking up the doors, and left one door open for them so they could smoke, finish their drinks and then go. I dropped off their bill and sat at the bar for 20 minutes while I waited for them. Nothing was out of the ordinary, or so I thought. They were very nice to me and I was nice to them back. The guy comes back in and takes his bill up to me to pay, and then they left.
The next week I was told that these customers at the pool table had complained about me. They said I was the worst server ever, service was garbage, I was extremely rude all night, and I should be let go. The worst thing is, they completely changed events that had happened. They said I paced around the restaurant with the bill in hand, glaring at them. Not true; I printed out a copy when they went out for a smoke and kindly told them it was on the table when they were ready.
Then they said I didn’t let them know I was closing, after they said I was pushing them out saying that I was closing. It was very contradictory. I didn’t at any point say “we are closing” because I don’t like to make customers feel like they have to leave if they still have drinks. I specifically remember leaving them alone and sitting at the bar to start organizing my bills for the night.
Then they said I walked up to them and demanded they pay. Actually he was the one who came to the front to pay.
They also said they forgot some change on the table, in a pouch, and I stole it. I did see that pouch, but I left it in the drawer; it looked like a little baggy full of five cents. To accuse me of stealing pennies is totally absurd and kind of insulting. Basically, they said I stole their pennies on the table, and then stormed out immediately. I had put the baggy in the drawer with the rest of lost cards and keys, and then I cleaned their tables and finished locking up.
There was no storming out; I think I stayed an extra 20 minutes after they left. In total I stayed 40 minutes past closing. Even if I did “storm out” or leave the restaurant, whatever it was, I had to leave work at some point? The way I see it I was damned if I did and damned if I didn’t. I used to work in an establishment that ingrained in me that I was not to turn customers away even as I was closing, and I was not to tell them that we were closing. I had to subtly let them know by asking for last call, doing closing duties, etc. Perhaps I should have been more direct, yet the customers were contradicting themselves. They complained that I didn’t tell them we were closing, but then complained that I was rude and told them to pay because we were closing.
The customers embellished so much of the story that at first I asked if they were sure they were complaining about me that day. The customers even said I was rude the entire time, yet I don’t recall having any bad conversations with them. They were very kind and smiley to me, and I thought I was equally polite back. But to be totally honest, I was so busy finishing duties the entire time they were there the most I actually said to them was, “Are we still doing alright?” and, “Can I get you guys another drink?” I’m not quite sure how this became me being incredibly rude.