In working the service industry, and anyone that has ever had a restaurant job can vouch for me, you meet a WIDE variety of people. Especially when your place of employment is on the edge of Powhatan. Most patrons are normal; there’s the occasional person that refuses to make eye contact, or that complains about the food even after eating the entire meal, or has too many Corona Lights and sends their little sister to ask for your number.
But for the most part you’ll go home with more one-dollar bills that you know what to do with and no stories of interest.
Last night, however.
It was towards the end of the night, and I got sat with a couple, mid-fifties and average looking.
She was wearing a little-back-dress-borderline-nightgown and he was wearing a Santa hat tie (which I sort of wished she would put on so that I could stop accidentally looking at her cleavage). They seemed a little quirky, but nice enough. I took their order, brought their drinks, and went on with my job.
They got their food, no complaints, and no real interest in small talk. After a little while, I went to go see if Santa and his mistress needed anything else, but their table was empty.
Whoa, whoa, whoa. This is not part of the dining process.
Did they go have a cigarette break?
Did they have to get something from the car? (Perhaps she needed a shirt?)
Were they having a quickie in the bathroom?
I flung my eyes over to the door, just as the couple was walking out. Based on their shuffled pace and coats being hurled on last minute, I knew what was going on. I bounded over the tables, knocked chairs into other patrons, elbowed the hostess at the front, and heaved open the double doors.
My array of quips that I wanted to shout at them:
“Left the credit card in the car, did we?”
“Where do you think YOU’RE going? To JAIL?”
“Excuse me, this isn’t a SOUP KITCHEN!”
“Could you at least leave a tip?”
The one I decided on:
“Ex-excuse me? Excuse me? Did you all need your bill? Or, not…?”
Man in Santa hat tie’s response:
“We’ve been waiting HALF AN HOUR for our tab!”
(No you haven’t)
“We asked you FIVE TIMES for it!!”
(No you didn’t)
“You were just so SLOW!”
(No I wasn’t)
Woman in pajamas’s response:
“Ma’am, I’m so sorry. I thought he had already paid.”
(No you didn’t)
“Here, take my credit card!”
(This better be real)
“I had no idea!”
(You’re a rookie)
I took her card, and between his aggressive insistence for me to hurry up and her flustered apologies, I handed them their unsolicited tab.
What they did wrong (ie how to Dine & Dash):
- They sat at the very end of the restaurant. Everyone knows you have to be next to the door to leave unnoticed.
- Their bill was only $22. If you’re not going to pay for it, at least make it worthwhile.
- They came when it wasn’t crowded. Of course I’m going to see when my ONE table leaves without paying.
- Don’t look back. What was I going to do, wrestle them to the ground?
- Their responses were completely opposite. Either you’re both sincerely apologetic or you’re both disgusted with the appalling service that I provided.
- They wore a Santa tie hat and a black nightie. This has nothing to do with dining and dashing…it just shouldn’t be done.
I’m assuming they’ll never show up at my restaurant of employment again, at least not while I’m there, which is fine; that was the hardest I’ve ever worked for a $1 tip.