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No One Here Is A Happy Camper

, , , , , | Right | June 17, 2022

The worst crime one can commit at a restaurant is camping out at your table, long after your meal is over.

I’m waitstaff at a fine dining restaurant. We even have a Michelin star. The point is that we’re in high demand and tables go fast.

A family of seven comes into the restaurant around 8:30 am, so it’s not hard to find them a table. It’s Mom, Dad, four kids, and Poppop. They tell me that they’re from Indiana, they’re very excited to be here, and they’re proud to be Hoosiers.

They order some food. A lot of food. It’s a seemingly unreasonable amount of food, but I don’t say anything about that other than politely confirming the portion sizes for them.

Between our prices and the amount they’ve ordered, I worry they will be upset about the amount of the bill; they’re ordering more than $250 of food per person between the multiple entrees, sides, appetizers, dessert, and drinks.

We get it all out to them with no hiccups. They eat some, can’t finish it all (no surprises there), and ask for to-go boxes. I drop them off, along with a receipt.

It’s around 11:00 am at this point — and they stay at that table for hours, talking on their cellphones and watching videos at the table. They do gradually make progress on filling the to-go boxes in this time. By 1:00 pm, they’ve got all their boxes stacked, I’ve removed their plates, and I’ve politely asked them if they’d like to order anything further or if they’re done with my services at least twice. They repeatedly ask me to keep their non-alcoholic drinks filled. I also drop off a second receipt as a not-so-subtle hint.

As the day passes, whenever I pass their table, I politely ask if they’re ready to go yet or if they would like to order anything further. I always present it as a choice between those two options. They always take a few minutes to discuss and consider it while I stand there, and they always reply that they’re not ready to leave yet, and they don’t want to re-order anything, but could I top off their drinks?

Every so often, I drop off another receipt “just in case you lost the last one”. The tab remains unpaid.

In the back, I repeatedly ask the manager if I could boot them out, but with the amount they are spending, I’m told repeatedly I can’t.

They are there through both the lunch and dinner rushes, and they do not order more despite repeated claims by my manager that they will, and despite my repeatedly asking if they’d like to order anything further.

Despite this, they demand that we keep their drinks filled, though they do not refill any of their alcohol, which would have produced additional revenue for us.

We close, but my manager is still too spineless to ask them to leave. Despite that, they remain, even as my manager heads home, leaving me and the remaining staff to deal with them.

Eventually, about forty-five minutes after close, they ask if I could have the kitchen reheat their leftovers which is, of course, a health code violation. Also, the kitchen is closed and being cleaned.

They’re very unhappy about this, but without the manager’s simpering requests to appease them, I am able to firmly but politely tell them no, and tell them to leave. I’m done asking at this point.

They get upset about it, and after eleven total hours camped out at our restaurant, they leave without tipping. Remember how I said it was a party of seven? Automatic gratuity doesn’t kick in at our restaurant until eight.  

F*** my life.

Still, about eight months later, the manager did eventually get fired for this and other poor decisions, and the owners interviewed me for his position, though they ended up hiring someone else.

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