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Someone’s Feeling Salty

, , , , , | Working | October 5, 2020

I’m at a sit-down, twenty-four-hour burger and shake joint with a friend late at night to get coffee and chat. He and I and some other friends frequent this place. We order from a server who’s about our age — early twenties — and we get our drinks quickly.

After about an hour, she comes to see if we need anything else since she’s going to be clocking out soon; we say we’re fine, pay for our coffee and tip early, and get back to our conversation. She’s very friendly and talks with us a bit as she does her side work, filling up the condiment caddies, etc. The odd thing is that as she fills up the salt and pepper shakers, she fills them WAY over the top and spills a ton of salt and pepper all over our table — literally at least as much of both to fill up another shaker each. We are just sitting, not eating, and the restaurant is mostly dead, so I think nothing of it, strangely enough. (I am easygoing to a fault at that age; it honestly does not faze me.)

That server leaves and we’re checked on periodically by a bitter, middle-aged woman who is just starting the third shift.

As my friend and I continue talking for another couple of hours, I scoop the salt and pepper mess up into a pile and shape it into smiley faces, band and superhero logos, words, etc., just to fidget as we talk. Eventually, it’s time to go and we get up and leave.

Fast forward a couple of weeks. This same friend and I are back at this restaurant with a couple of other friends. Our server — who was not there the previous visit — recognizes us.

Server: “You guys really made [Middle-Aged Server] mad. She’s actually recommended that our manager ban you from the restaurant.”

Me: “She what?! Why?!”

Server: “Something about you guys making huge messes all over the tables and floors and leaving them for her to clean up?”

It takes me a minute to figure out what she’s talking about. Thankfully, I’m able to not only remember what happened but also remember the younger server’s name.

Me: “Oh! I know now! [Younger Server] made that mess when she was talking with us and she was refilling the caddies!”

Server: “She quit two weeks ago.”

I later see the middle-aged server and grab her attention to let her know what actually happened.

Middle-Aged Server: “So, she took the time to shape the salt and pepper into little symbols? I saw you doing that! Quit trying to pass the blame!”

There was no reasoning with her. We were never banned, nor even talked to by management, but there was always a very heavy tension in the air any time she was around while we were there.

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