Slacker Attacker

, , , , | Right | October 4, 2020

It’s an abnormally busy dinner rush, and I’m running around when I stop to greet two men that have just sat down in my section. I walk up to the table.

Me: “Hey, guys! How are we d—”

Customer: *interrupting* “What do a couple of guys gotta do to get some service around here?”

Having seen them enter, I know they’ve been in the building for less than two minutes.

Me: “Thank you for your patience. Can I get you something to drink?”

Customer: “I’ll have a [bottled beer].”

Customer’s Friend: “Oh, just a [draft beer]. Tall, please.”

I practically run back to the bar to grab their drinks. When I return, I ask for their order.

Customer: “We’re gonna have a large [specialty pizza]. And make it snappy!”

I plug their order into the computer and continue to run around checking on my other tables, answering the phone, and bussing. As I am cleaning up a nearby table, the man calls out. I don’t know why he is yelling even though I’m only about six feet away.

Customer: “Hey! We need another round!”

He points to his empty bottle and his friend’s half-full mug. I literally drop what I am doing to grab their drinks again. At this point, the two men have been friendly but very curt and demanding. As I walk up to the table, the man decides to include me in the conversation.

Customer: *Eyeing my shorts* “Hey, you ever been tanning?”

Customer’s Friend: “[Customer], she doesn’t need to tan. She’s fine the way she is.”

Me: “No, I’ve never been.”

Smiling politely, I start to step away from the table.

Customer: “You’d look great with a nice tan. Surely you can’t like being that pale! What about a spray tan? Huh?”

Me: *Nervous* “It just seems like more trouble than it’s worth. And it sounds expensive.”

At that, I turn back to the table I was bussing. But the man continues on, loud enough to continue the conversation. I do my best to tune him out. Then…

Customer: “Nah, c’mon! I can take ya for a spray tan. I’ll even go in the room with ya! I’ll make sure there are no lines!”

At the time of this story, I’ve just turned twenty-one. These men are in their mid- to late fifties. As I walk past with an armful of dishes:

Me: “I don’t tan; I burn. I have no interest in altering my skin tone, but thanks for your suggestion.”

Customer’s Friend: *Quietly* “C’mon, leave her alone. She doesn’t think you’re funny.”

Customer: *To friend* “Ah, she knows I’m just messing with her!” *To me* “Dontcha? You know I’m kidding around!”

I’ve already turned my back and started walking away. A while later, I glance up at their table, and to my dismay, I see that the man has about three sips left of his [bottled beer]. I start to walk over to see if he needs another. Before I can open my mouth:

Customer: “I was wonderin’ where you were! We’re about outta beers! You gotta be on top of this! You’re slacking! You’re a slacker! You know what, Imma start calling you Slacker! Hey, Slacker! How’s it going, Slacker! Need some service over here, Slacker!”

I’m pretty shy, and already being uncomfortable, I keep quiet and bring him another beer. His friend just gives me an embarrassed look. I do my best to avoid the table, busy with other customers.

Soon, I’m trying to balance answering the phone and taking care of a line at the register. As I’m cashing the last lady out, I hear the kitchen call, “Order up,” behind me, and see the mens’ food in the window. As the woman is pulling out her payment, I can’t immediately run their food, so I try to get her taken care of ASAP. As soon as she starts to step away from the register, the man from my table is leaning over the counter.

Customer: “What?! Did you guys have to go all the way to [City an hour away] to get our food? This is taking forever! We’re gonna need some more beers for putting up with this s***!”

It’s been twenty-five minutes since they first sat down. I simply nod and ask him to have a seat as I’ll be right over. I scoop up their pizza and take it to them.

Customer:Slacker! Our beers?”

I am trying to get away as quickly as possible.

Me: “I’ve got two hands; I didn’t want to drop your food. I’ll be right back.”

I fetch more beer, then, aside from giving them their check, I refuse to go back to the table. As the friend heads to the restroom, he wordlessly hands me a card. I take it to the register, swipe it, and loiter for a moment, preparing mentally to go back to the table.

My coworker sees me and asks if I’m okay. Near tears, I tell her that I hate these men and don’t want to interact with them anymore. My coworker — being the angel she is — takes their card and receipts from me and tells me to go compose myself in the bathroom. I do so and emerge feeling a bit better.

About ten minutes later, I see the men gather their things and begin walking out the door. I almost sob in relief. My manager comes out of his office and sees me.

Manager: “[My Name], you all right?”

I feel my face grow hot and a few tears escape; I speak through gritted teeth.

Me: “If I ever have to wait on that table again, I will rage quit and walk out.”

Manager: *Nods* “Understood.”

My coworker then swoops in from nowhere and hands me a cool, wet cloth.

Coworker: “Here, dab under your eyes. We may not be able to get rid of the puffiness, but at least we can blame the redness on the summer heat. You did well handling them; I wish you’d said something sooner.”

Later, after everything calmed down, I explained to my manager what happened. He told me to point them out if they ever came back and he’d handle it. He was surprised at my state because I don’t usually get rattled like that. The man’s friend left me a $10 tip. It wasn’t worth it. Even now, I still think back and get pissed.

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