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I Got 99 Problems And You’re Sixty Of Them

, , , | Right | February 21, 2020

(I work in a fairly small bar and restaurant, only able to seat about 120 people, not including the bar area. This particular night, it’s just my manager and me working; I’m running the front of house and he’s cooking. We’re both expecting a fairly quiet night as it’s just after Christmas and we only have one booking of twenty people. No big deal; I’ve managed to take care of up to eighty people on my own with very little trouble. Eventually, their booking time comes and goes — again not unusual — and I continue to serve my other customers. I go into the kitchen momentarily to ask my manager a question and come back out to my entire bar area entirely full of people, waiting for me.)

Me: *cheerily* “Hi, guys. How are we all tonight?”

Customer #1: “Uh, hi, we have a booking with you guys for [time]?”

Me: *knowing they’re about forty-five minutes late at this point but shrugging it off* “Oh, yeah! I’ve made sure the top end of the restaurant is closed for you guys to use, twenty seats all ready to go!”

Customer #1: “Okay, thanks.”

(They all start shuffling off into their reserved section, and I’m just watching from behind the bar and wondering if I’m going a little loopy because it just seems too many people for twenty. I go to tend to my other customers — there are about forty in at this point as just walk-ins — and continue service as usual. Just as I’m carrying some dishes into the kitchen, I notice the big booking is back at the bar all holding menus and seeming to be even more than before. I quickly clean off the plates and rush back out; I lose count of how many orders I have to take, plus their drinks, entirely on my own, and I’m beginning to get severely overwhelmed. They all want complex separate orders, and they all want to pay separately, which backs up the kitchen and causes the queue to be even longer. After about half, I have to dive into the kitchen to take out some of their food as the ordering has been going on so long.)

Manager: “[My Name], are you trying to kill me with all these orders?”

Me: *a little snappily because I’m stressed out* “It’s way worse out there; trust me!”

Manager: “Oh… really?”

Me: “Yeah, we only have three tables left free and there’s still a huge queue. I’m doing what I can!”

(I rush back out of the kitchen to continue helping between food coming out, and thankfully, my manager calls “reinforcements” to carry the food out and make my job a little easier. Eventually, I am able to get through it all; I’m exhausted, stressed, and close to tears from it when the leader of the booking comes up to get more drinks.)

Me: *trying to still be cheerful* “Hey, [drink] again for you?”

Customer #2: “Yes, please! Hey, I just wanted to say that you did a fabulous job tonight serving the sixty of us; I hope we didn’t surprise you too much! We were worried you’d charge us for booking half the restaurant if we told you that!” *laughs*

Me: *trying to hold in all my frustration* “Uh… no, it was no problem at all. Here’s your drink, sir.”

(I had to go into the kitchen after that and sort of hide in the fridge for a frustration-cry for a minute. I ended up serving almost a hundred people alone because this group of sixty people didn’t want to pay extra for booking? My manager did apologise after our shift and said he would have scheduled other coworkers to come in if he had known, but I didn’t let him as he couldn’t have known. And no, we didn’t get any tip.)