Sunday, November 4, 2007

I Am Not, By Nature, A Violent Man, But...

This Weekend made me want to punch people in the face. Hard, and Repeatedly.

The Pizza restaurant where I work is located on a college campus. This weekend was Homecoming Weekend at the University, as well as, concurrently, "Party Weekend", a two-and-a-half day communal Drunken Binge for no particular occasion whatsoever. The population of our little town pretty much quadruples for Homecoming, and we knew, going in, that our restaurant was going to be overrun.

Friday night was busy, as expected, and we handled it okay, and by 9:00, things slowed down enough that the other two servers took off for the night, leaving me to finish off the last few tables, and clean up before closing. We close at 10PM, by the way. Keep that in mind, it is important to the story.

Also important to the story is the fact that while waiting tables on Friday night, I was conscious of the fact that I had to be back in the morning to do a double shift as manager on Saturday. A certain amount of dread was maintaining a pleasant throb in the back of my mind as I contemplated just how much dark tunnel lay between me and the light at the end. So at 9:35 or so, when two young couples came in and sat, I inwardly groaned before composing myself and greeting them warmly. I got them started, and as I took the cook (who was also looking forward to closing) the first of these final orders, he asked me if that was the last one. I told him no, there was one more order after this one.

That did not turn out to be the case. Then came a party of 6, another party of 2, two parties of 3, a couple of to-go orders, and when a very nice man came in 5 minutes after closing,...

Well it is a long and bitter story, but let's just suffice to say that I finally had to politely ask our last table to please leave at 11:30. Despite the fact, that we had turned the lights out in half of the restaurant about 45 minutes earlier, they acted completely surprised to find that we were closed, and wanted them to please finish their beers and leave. They left a 10 dollar tip though, and that will buy a lot of forgiveness. They were not the ones I wanted to knock out though. the ones on that list were The guys who placed a to-go order, after we were closed, then came in and decided they were going to stay and eat it there, and the drunken Jerk who, because I was wearing my "Vote For Pedro" T-shirt, kept hollering at me from across the room, calling me "Pedro", whenever he wanted anything.

But the Guy Who really had me seeing visions of Chainsaw Murder, was the guy who came in the next night. This guy tried to make reservations, of a sort, while he was on the way, about 10 minutes up the road. At the height of the dinner rush, on what might very well be our busiest night of the year, I (who was acting as manager for the night, and had basically been at work for 16 out of the last 24 hours) got the following phone call.

Jerk: Hi, I'm bringing in the cross-country team; there's about 30 of us, and...

Me (interrupting): No, sir, not tonight you're not! This is the University's Homecoming; We are completely full right now, we cannot accommodate more than, maybe, about 8 people.

Jerk: Well, we don't mind waiting for a little while...

Me: No, you would be waiting a long while. This is our biggest night of the year and... listen I hate to tell you this, but we simply do not have any tables for you.

Jerk: Well could we order something to go, then and, we'll (mutter, mutter...)

Me: To-Go, we can do! What can I get you?

Jerk: Well, what kind of pizzas do you have?

Me (inside my head): Listen, you #%&$*%*&-ing @#$%, $@*&%^-er! I do not have time to read our entire @#%*#$% Menu to you over the phone! Our restaurant is completely full, My two cooks have about 20 tickets already waiting in line to go into our oven, and you are tying up the one phone line we have asking me to read you the $%*@#% Menu?!! You have GOT to be JOKING me! Get A Clue, Dummy! we - don't - want - your - business -tonight! Got it?!

Me (out loud, through gritted teeth): We have a lot of different kinds of pizzas, what kind do you

Jerk: Well ... (picking up on the barely-concealed hatred in my voice) ... Tell you what; let me just get 5 pizzas with pepperoni, and 3 with beef. That'll get us started.

Me: OK, 5 pepperoni 3 Beef. And I am putting this in as a To-Go order, under the name "Cross-Country"

Then I had to tell my servers that they needed to start telling incoming customers to expect a 45-60 minute wait on pizzas, because we are not a fast-food place, and even 8 large pizzas takes a little while to put together.

Next thing I know I have 30 or more red and white track-suited cross-country runners invading my restaurant, lurking by the door, and making the place suddenly VERY crowded. Our already-seated customers were appropriately uncomfortable with eating with a swarm of high school students pressed up against them, so they ask for checks and make themselves scarce. for the same reasons, other incoming customers all beat a path for one of the other two restaurants in town.

The Jerk had brought them all in anyway. And our Friendly staff did the only thing they knew to do, they seated them.

I unclenched my fists and my teeth 45 minutes or so later, after they had left. The Jerk's minions all drank water, spending nothing, and when thew bill came he left his server a slightly-less-than-ten-percent tip.

They had displaced 30 good tippers, who would have most likely had a few $4 beers along with their pizza, and made my servers' misery at least a profitable one. As it turns out, even with this slap in the face, everybody made plenty of money last night, but as a matter of principle, it is still upsetting that anybody could be that obnoxious. If I weren't concerned with "Making a Scene" in front of the other, non-athlete customers, I would have probably done something stupid and regrettable.

Other than that though, my weekend was great!

1 comment:

Liz said...

as a friend of mine once said, "It was Fall Party Weekend, and they had been drunk now for 3 days."

I tell you what, I love sewanee as a place, but it's people like that that sometimes make me think twice before I tell people where I went to school. Sorry you had to deal with all that - especially that track team.