Oh, my job. Just when I think people can no longer astound me with their bad manners and inappropriate behavior, a new customer teaches me a lesson. This week was a particularly educational one. The bad behavior started at the beginning of the week, when a middle aged couple got blitzed off of our Oktoberfest drafts at 4 in the afternoon and then began making out and going to second base at the table. But that was nothing—mildly inappropriate at the most, compared to what would happen Friday afternoon.
Let me preface this by saying: Don’t call your waitress ‘sweetheart’ after you demand six drinks for you and your five other friends who haven’t even arrived yet. In fact, don’t call your waitress sweetheart, ever! Especially if your waitress is me. I don’t like it. It makes me angry. I’m not your sweetheart. You call me sweetheart, and I’ll probably still smile at you, but you better believe I’m thinking about smacking you with your menu.
So, after I begrudgingly put in his order for double Stoli’s on the rocks—“Easy ice, splash of Rose’s Lime, sweetheart”—his friends arrive. They’re all military guys, accompanied by one tiny blonde woman who looks rather terrified. (After her fifth Captain and diet Coke, she was decidedly less nervous.)
They are loud and rude. And they all bark at me: “Plates. Wings. Heineken. Lemonade. Lemonade’s sour. Hennessy.”
You get the idea.
Because I’m already growling under my breath before I even take their food order, I decide maybe I should adjust my attitude a little bit. Only one of the guys was actually in uniform, but judging from all of the “Citizen Soldier” t-shirts at the table, I knew it was a safe bet that they were all in the Guard. I decided to make nice.
I go back to the table and tell them my brother is a master sergeant stationed in Afghanistan, which immediately catches their interest. They stop barking at me momentarily, and the uniformed man (who will become my ally at the table) tells me he’ll say a prayer for Tom.
Just as I’m feeling pretty pleased with myself for maintaining a good attitude and getting these guys to talk to me respectfully, they blow it.
“Excuse me, ma’am”—yeah, they even switched from sweetheart to ma’am—“we’d like your input on our conversation.”
Alarm bells immediately ring in my brain. I want nothing to do with this conversation, I can tell already.
“Well, what’s the conversation?” Big smile. (I am sooo charming.)
“We’re talking about homosexuals and lesbians.”
Oh, sweet baby Jesus.
“Uh huh…” I say.
“Now, wouldn’t you say that these days, they’re more boisterous than ever? You know, like they’re no longer content to just live their lives, they have to be all in your face about it?”
(This is the point where I blow it as a waitress. This is also the point where I succeed as a human being.)
“No, I wouldn’t say that at all. I think you’re making a pretty unfair generalization.”
This was not the response they wanted at all. Now this guy is backpedaling like mad, reminiscent of Sarah Jessica Parker in “The Family Stone”—“Well, I mean, it’s like it’s just getting to be a little more mainstream to be gay these days, I guess.”
At this point, I am awkwardly holding three dirty plates, my face is beet red, and I’m considering throwing the plates at his face. Instead, I went this route: “I certainly hope it’s getting to be more mainstream. I’m a lesbian.”
I start walking away at that point, only to hear the predictable responses: “I’m a lesbian, too!” “I love lesbians!”
Whatever. Luckily once they thought I was a lesbian, the sweetheart business was killed for good, but it still didn’t stop one of them from asking me how much I’d charge for a neck massage. A neck massage? Get the fuck outta here.
You might be wondering, based on the title of this post, at what point I became not only a lesbian, but a lesbian sprinter. Well, that was last night, after I saw a couple walking out on their bill, and my reaction was to sprint through the bar, out on the street, and around the corner after them. But I caught them. I had no effing idea I could actually move that fast.
Their response: “We left some cash on the table. We just knew how much our bill would be, so we didn’t wait for you to leave it.”
The good news is, they did leave some cash. The bad news is, they didn’t leave enough cash. The other bad news is, apparently management doesn’t want the waitresses sprinting after customers. The other good news: my table that witnessed my sprint called me a bad ass and gave me a huge tip.
So, I guess everyone wins. I got a workout, my new manager got a power trip, and my customers got entertainment. Cause I think we all know that Alison sprinting down the street wearing a wait apron and waving madly is pretty hilarious.