It’s Closing Time So Go Home

Is there anything more irritating than that customer who comes in minutes before closing? “Are you still open?” they ask, all hopeful and eager. “Yes, we are open for 15 more minutes,” we respond, all bitter and discouraging. “Oh, good, we just made it!” they say, all relived and happy. Such was the case last week.

I get it. If the restaurant is open, then you absolutely have the right to come in and eat. But since this is my fucking blog, I absolutely have the right to bitch about it to my heart’s content. This couple came in after 10:30 fully aware that we would be closing in less than half an hour. When some people find out the restaurant closes soon, they make an effort to decide on their meal a little quicker and pay their bill in a timely manner. Other people take it as an opportunity to have the whole restaurant to themselves and use it for their own personal living room, just sitting and chatting away completely oblivious to the busser sweeping around them and the candles that are slowing burning out on surrounding tables.

I put on my big fake ass smile and asked them what they wanted to drink. “Hmm, I think we’ll have a bottle of wine.” Really a bottle of wine? No one drinks a bottle of wine in 15 minutes so I know now that they are in for the long haul. I practically ran to the bar in order to get them drinking it as soon as possible. Then they ordered their two entrees. Thank God they didn’t want an appetizer. The kitchen banged that catfish special out so quick that the fish was practically flip-flopping around on the plate when I served it. The man ate it very quickly because he could probably sense that the bartender and I had nothing to do except blow out a few candles and clear their table before we were free to go. The woman on the other hand ate that catfish like it was an instant replay in super slo-mo. Was she savoring every delicate bite or was she just doing it to piss me off? I don’t know for sure, but I go with the latter. I timed her between bites and when she didn’t pick up her fork for 4 minutes and 47 seconds, I assumed she was done. “May I take that out of your way?” I asked? “Oh, I’m really slow. I’m still picking on it.” The only picking I wanted to see at that moment involved an ice pick and her eyeballs. By this point, we were very closed. After the food sat on her plate for a few more minutes, the man finally finished it for her and I whisked the plate away.

With their check in my apron and my eye on the clock, I went back to the table. “Do you guys need anything else tonight or can I just get your check for you?”

The woman put her right elbow on the table and rested her chin on her palm. “What do you have for dessert?” she wanted to know. It was 13 minutes past closing time and they still had a third of a bottle of wine.

What I thought: Oh my God, are you serious?? I didn’t have a customer for the last 80 minutes and now you’re gonna keep me here this late just so you can eat a fucking dessert? Go to the deli across the street and get a goddamn pint of Ben and Jerry’s or go home and eat some Rice fucking Crispies. I don’t wanna be here anymore and you alone are the reason I am still here now. Don’t you see the lights are turned off in the back and everyone is sitting around twiddling their thumbs? Did you not see the dishwasher walk by a few minutes ago with bags of trash? We are closed! Get out! Now!

What I said: We have apple cobbler with vanilla ice cream, vanilla bean creme brulee and profiteroles with chocolate sauce.

Oooh, we’ll have the creme brulee!” Of course you will. It’s the one that takes the longest to prepare.

When I served the dessert, the man told me, “You can go ahead and bring the check. We don’t wanna keep you here any longer than you need to be.” Too late, sir. I gave them the check and they let it sit on the table for 11 more minutes before he gave me his credit card. I ran the card and returned it to him in about two seconds and then he let it sit there for another five minutes before he signed it and then they sat there for another 7 minutes after they were done with the dessert. Perhaps some Crazy Glue had been applied to their pants before they sat down at booth 7 but more than likely, they had no sense of time and didn’t give a shit that I had already been at work for eight hours and just wanted to get he fuck out.

They left 40 minutes after closing. Not horrible but all the worse because of how slow it had been for the hour before they came in. Their bill was $89 and they left an $18 tip. That was $9 for me and $9 for the bartender. A good tip but as far as I was concerned, I would have rather left 5o minutes earlier with $9 less in my pocket. But I’m lazy like that.

People if the world: know what time the restaurant closes and when that time comes, do your best to get the fuck out of it. Thanks.

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38 thoughts on “It’s Closing Time So Go Home

  1. Practical Parsimony

    They did all that on purpose because it makes them feel special, able to flout the rules. And, it shows you that they are the ones in charge. I am not a server, but I just hate people that like to use time to show their power. Next time, start sneezing in your bare hand and wiping your nose on your cuff, declaring that you are coming down with what the rest of the wait staff has been passing around for the last few weeks. They will probably say they decided not to eat after all.

  2. Anonymous

    Motherfuck these people. Last Monday we had three catty old ladies sit outside on the patio (which I tend to break down at 930 on Monday's because fuck its a goddamn Monday and we close at ten, no one is sitting out there) at nine twenty. Ho hum, I go about the rest of my closing duties. At ten, the restaurant and bar are empty. The ladies close out. At ten thirty, they're still outside as me and the closing waiter and bartender are sitting around with our fucking dicks in our hand. They each use the bathroom about a billion goddamn times. At ten forty five, I break down the entire patio but the table they're sitting at. They don't notice. At eleven, the bartender brings them go cups. At this point we see a ten laying on the table(they'd already left a whopping four dollars on thirty eight) and I get to hoping maybe I can get something out of this ( I'm a busser FYI). At eleven thirty I pull their umbrella up. They say, oh, are they done cleaning inside? AFTER TWO FUCKING HOURS OF THEM USING OUR BATHROOM AND SEEING US SITTING DOING NOTHING. they then get up about fifteen twenty minutes later. And take the ten off the table. And then stood around outside while me, my manager, the bartender and server all left. They might still be there for all I know. In short, fuck off, you stupid, stupid fucks. We have better shit to do, and I don't like staying for two hours aft close for four goddamn shitty ass dollars. Much love for your hate waiter.

  3. LadyJ3000

    I hate those people. I work at a grocery store and constantly deal with latecomers. They show up two minutes before closing then take their dear sweet time shopping.

  4. readinrobin

    It's inconsiderate and egotistical, and like the first poster said, for some of these dumb fuck customers it is all about power. I'm no longer a server myself and when I was both of the restaurants I worked at were 24 hour diners, so it was never an issue for me. But my young adult daughter, who does not have her own car yet, works at a restaurant that closes at 9. And it really irritates me to pull in a few minutes after nine and then have to sit and wait for her because she can't leave until her last table leaves. And then to not leave a decent tip after you've kept people working past closing time…

  5. Jennery

    I hate people that do that,it's just plain rude and totally inconsiderate,period.There is this one guy who comes in 3-4 minutes before we close quite often,we all hate him,he comes waltzing in the door,"Oh,I made it",orders two fucking sandwiches,and sits there and reads the goddamned newspaper,while I have to wear a fake smile while in reality I am seething mad,what a fucking douchebag!!!!

  6. Anonymous

    Whatevs – the doors are open, they're allowed to come in and enjoy a non-rushed meal. Chill, yo, and accept happily the 20% tip. Who knows what their evening held…you paint them as relaxed and good for them. I'm sure they appreciated the service. If you don't want late tables then shut them damn doors, or tell them it's drinks only. Slow your roll, Bitchy.

    1. Kimberly Sims

      Oh bullshit, you don’t always get a 20% tip! People have done this to me before and left barely a 5% percent tip because they don’t give a crap about how rude they are. They know damn well coming in a closing time is a Dick move and they do it on purpose. Then act like they’re Queen of the Nile, asking for extra things they don’t even need, staying over an hour after closing time, all the while using the bitchest, condescending tone like I’m some fucking housemaid. After all that, leaving 3 or 4 ones on the table and sauntering out. NO, those people. I don’t give a SHIT “what their evening held.” They can Fuck off and die. YOU wait on them with YOUR roll…

    2. Anonymous

      Obviously you are not a server. I would love to go to where these ass wipes work and keep them their an hour after they close. They are not doing me any fing favors. I am a server at a breakfast-lunch restaurant. I am at work at 6:00am and close at 3:00pm. What these idiots don’t realize is not only do they keep the server there they keep the cooks, dishwashers, bussers, and bartenders there. All these people have to be paid. In actuality it cost the Resturaunt more to serve your ass than you are worth.

  7. pheezer

    We have a couple of ladies that come in once or twice a year. They come in at a normal hour, so the first time, no one saw it coming. But man, then they just sat there and nursed their wine. It was well after midnight (the kitchen closes at 11) when I went to their table and told them we were closing and they would have to go. I generally don't do that, but I'm the boss and I can if I want. One of them laid into me about customer service and how it was unbelieveable that i would put them out, etc, etc. I told her I had sent all my staff home, cleaned and re-cleaned everything in sight, sent emails, done my taxes and had to shave my legs while patiently waiting for her to finish up. Did she realize I had done two 8-hour shifts that day, and that I had to come back in 8 hours to do it again? I told her if she didn't want to come back because she thought she had been treated unfairly, she didn't have to, but I was locking the doors with her inside or out. My tirade out-did hers, 100 to 1. She couldn't believe it. I'm sure she was used to being the biggest bitch in the room, but not that night.And she still comes back, and she still sits there chatting, but now, when I make a move for the broom and dust-pan, she gets the fuck out.

  8. Jill

    I try to be considerate in all ways possible. My mother wants to meet up for lunch on Saturday. I know this is a minimum 2.5 hr visit. She recommended Bob Evans. I recommended a truck stop Wendy's so we don't hog up a waiter's table for half a century. I win!!

  9. Anonymous

    I feel your pain. Experienced this just yesterday. Our lovely customers (regulars) CALLED at twenty minutes before closing to ask what time we closed…..and then rushed to get to us. Forty-five mins after closing, they were finished, paid and and listening to one guy tell a fishing story (he doesn't own his boat any more so it wasn't even a current story 😛 ). Twice I went to the table to politely tell them it was time to go (back to work like most people do after lunch). They wouldn't even make eye contact!So….I decided it wouldn't be rude if I fired up the vacuum and let them decide if they wanted to talk over that racket or leave. They left. Nothing tops the douchebag who occasionally came in and ALWAYS close to closing time. One day he called at 5 mins before closing and ordered his food so we would have to wait for him. The next time he came in at 5 mins before closing and the LAST time he came in……he walked in right past the closed sign and looked incredulous that I was refusing service. He haughtily showed me his 'atomic watch' which clearly showed TWO more minutes until closing time. SORRY! **MY** watch said closing time (and I showed him), his watch wasn't there at closing time and we were CLOSED. He had the nerve to ask if it wasn't even possible to get soup? Uh, NO dude we're CLOSED. And he stubbornly stood there for a minute or so in the hopes, I'm sure, that I would back down and accommodate him. I turned my back and walked away. Hopefully he's gone for good.~The Damn Yankee

  10. Jenny

    Whenever I had to put in a last minute order, I could hear the cooks cursing all the way from the kitchen. I always hoped the customers heard it too, because it was my job to kiss ass and pretend that they weren't wasting my time for those extra few dollars, but maybe hearing the cursing would make them feel guilty at least.This is the kind of thing that makes me aware of closing times at restaurants. One time my family wanted to go somewhere that was closing in 20 minutes and I made them pick somewhere else.

  11. Anonymous

    It has always been the policy of every place I have worked- if you come in before we close, you were served. After your meal was delivered, you has 20-30 minutes before the vacuuming began. People always seemed to know it was time to leave by then. Clean up, closing up, and prep work was expected to be done that last 30 minutes to an hour after closing. If no one came in, we were out in 30 minutes. If someone did, it was an hour tops.One night, when I was a manager and the waitress a couple came in as I was on my way to lock the door. I told them we were just closing. The man began insisting we were not closed because his watch showed 2 minutes til. I pointed to the clock on the wall and showed it was actually now past closing time. I told him that I would be more than happy to serve them cold salads, sandwiches, microwaved soup or deserts, (to go or eat there) but the grill had been turned off and was being cleaned, so it could not be used. This "nice" man instantly became angry and raised his fist up to punch me (I'm female). At that very moment the boss (had drove up and came in the locked back door just moments before and heard the whole thing) appeared behind me in time to save the day. The man and his companion were ordered out and to NEVER come back. I left employment shortly after that realizing my life as a college student was more important than an easy job with great tips. I ALWAYS tip very well, because I know it is a very dangerous job.

  12. Anonymous

    I always try never to be that person. I felt bad about going into the White Spot near my house just to order take out 30 minutes before closing. I apologized profusely and left a %25 tip. In my defence, I had been working all day and was coming home from a meeting of progressives which lasted forever. Still, there needs to be a rule or something like only doing take out orders, or they have to clean not only their own dishes and cutlery but the pots, pans, cookware and all parts of the kitchen soiled by their meal.

  13. Haayls

    Aha, something similar happened when I was on holiday with my family. We had been driving all day and it was late at night as we drove through a small town. Not too many restaurants were open, but we found a pizza place that was still open but wouldn't be for long. I guess we were too hungry and exhausted to give a fuck, but I still felt bad that we had to keep them after closing. We were just too damn starving. Of course, there's a different between a restaurant in a small town and a restaurant in big ol' NYC.

  14. Dewsterling

    Here's the thing: People who go to restaurants at closing are assholes. Consequently, they act like assholes when they arrive and proceed to hang-out for what always seems like hours completely oblivious to everything that is going on around them. If a person is aware that a restaurant is closing and that it's shitty to hang-out interminably, they typically don't do it. They either leave or they hurry.

  15. Recon

    I HATE these people !! I used to work in a fine dining restaurant in a Ritz Carlton. Monday night OpenTable reservation for 10PM, closing time. Last customer was leaving about 10 minutes after closing and the 2 top reservation still hadn't arrived. I'm thinking great !!! No shows, I'll be out the door in 5 minutes. Candles out, mats rolled up, phone rings. "Oh, we have a 10PM reservation, we're a little late, but we're at the airport now. (I really wanted to ask WHICH airport) but had to assume it was the one in our city, which is still a 20 minute drive.It's the Ritz, so we HAVE to take care of our GUESTS. 45 minutes after closing Mr & Mrs Douchbag arrive and are seated. As I'm walking to the table Mrs DB gets up and walks to the lobby, I assume to the bathroom. The chef is on my ass about getting their order in REAL quickly. 10 minutes later, Mrs DB is still missing from the table, so I inform Mr. DB that the restaurant has been closed now for almost an hour, would he like to order for his wife in the bathroom? "Oh, she's gone to check into our room and take a shower first, we've been on the plane for two hours" Needless to say, we had one irate staff that didn't get out of there until almost 3AM !!!! Tipped okay, but seriously, 5 *%#@&% hours after closing. They couldn't have cared less.

  16. Christina

    This is extremely relevant at this moment. A lady just called and asked when we closed. I told her we would be closing in 15 minutes ad she responded by asking, “so does that mean if I show up sometime in the next 15 minutes I can sit down and eat?” I responded with my voice full of as much loathing as possible, “yes I suppose that is what that means.” She showed up ten minutes later and ordered a glass of wine and the thing on the menu with the longest cook time. She was our first customer in 3 hours. Now I sit and wait as she scrolls through Facebook and sips her wine. 🙁

  17. Angel

    I can’t stand when this happens. Luckily the place I work at has a decent policy. No more tables are sat 20 min prior to close, only take out. However, some customers think they can still sit and enjoy their meal. When this happens the manager tells them they can stay till closing, but the lights go off promptly. We had two assholes try and sit in the dark!!!

  18. Joyce

    I had 3 ladies come in 10 minutes before closing time on a busy weekend the one lady left to go get the 10% of coupon it took her 20 minutes to return then they ordered well done cheeseburgers. It took them almost an hour after we closed to leave. They told the manger that they would not tip me becuase I was rude.

  19. Carol Burge

    I could feel my blood pressure slowly rising as I read this. This was/is by far my biggest pet peeve working in the restaurant business. People Just. Don’t. care. I guess it’s like you say, It makes them feel special to come in fifteen minutes before closing time, keeping you there with them, even though you’ve already been there eight hours ( now nine hours, thanks to them), and have all your side work done, and you’re ready to go. I totally agree, the EXTRA $9 just isn’t worth it! People are so inconsiderate!

    Oh, I have a question for you. Do you ever have dreams about being in the weeds? My family and I work in the restaurant business, as well as a lot of friends and extended family. Anyway, I’ve asked, and it seems that everyone has had the “in the weeds” dream at least once.

    Even though I no longer work, every now and then I still have that dream. It’s always really, really busy and I’m always behind and unable to catch up. The restaurant is PACKED, my section is full, all my tables have sit down at once and I’m panicking. I can feel the stress and anxiety, and usually wake up, heart pounding and blood rushing.

    Ever have that dream?

    1. Laura

      OMG……. a couple weeks ago I actually did something I’ve only had “in the weeds” nightmares about. There was only 3 of us closing and we were slammed. I was working 2 1/2 stations and the last table sat in the back, in a back facing booth 3 minutes before we closed. Really nice single lady. I had to fix a couple tables food and change out a bar drink right after I took her order. Went in kitchen and started cleaning…… 40 minutes later my busser asked me about the lady in the back. I never punched her order in. The cooks were GONE…… I actually almost cried. I’ve never in almost 20 yrs ever done this. She was PISSED, so mad she didn’t even want to talk to the Manager who was going to send her to another restaurant in the casino that was open, fully comped.
      The next day she came back and I saw her talking to the Manager. He then said she wanted to talk to me. I walked over fully ready and expecting to get laid into, fully deserved. While I was profusely apologizing again, she stood up and gave me the biggest hug and said “Honey, we all mess up! I was just disappointed I didn’t get to eat here after all my friends insisted I HAD to eat here!” I have never had any customer who really had a valid reason to be nasty be so gracious….. so at least my NIGHTMARE for real, ended up being something I don’t cringe about.

  20. Ginger

    I try really hard to just avoid going to restaurants near closing at all. But, I have mistaken the closing times a couple of times. There’s several sit downs in one particular area of town and on weekends the closing times range from 10-midnight. So, I’ve forgotten which one has which closing time on some occasions. But, I always ask when I first get there, and if it’s less than 45-60 minutes before closing, I apologize, let them know I remembered the closing time wrong, and politely try to excuse ourselves to a restaurant that’s open later. Most of the time they’ll try one polite attempt to welcome us in, and our one polite rebuke is enough to end it. I’ve run into odd situations where it’s a back and forth over and over. Like,

    “How late are you open?”
    “Oh, we close at (time 30 minutes away)”
    “Oh! I’m sorry. I must’ve remembered incorrectly. Have a good night!”
    “Oh, you’re still welcome to come in. We’re still open!”
    “Thank you, but we have our kids with us and I don’t know how long we’d be. Don’t worry about it.”
    “No, really, we don’t want to turn you away. Please, come in!”
    “No really, I’m sure it’s been a long day of work. I know we all have those. *laugh* I’ll let you get home.”
    “Oh we’re always happy to serve you. Please, come in!” (hostess starts ushering the kids in)

    …why are you doing this?

    1. Alyssa

      We do this because we honestly can’t turn anyone away until a. the kitchen is closed or b. The doors are locked. Most of the servers (at least in my restaurant) aren’t going to be mad if you’re done 15 minutes or so after closing. It’s really only when you’re clearly not caring about closing times that we get annoyed (and believe me, since my boyfriend works as a server/bartender, I do understand the irritating parts of it). Closing servers don’t usually get out until at least half an hour to an hour after closing where we work, so if you come in and are conscientious about the closing time, we don’t mind too much. However, if we turn someone away thirty minutes before closing, we will absolutely get our asses chewed.

  21. Stacy

    I once had three ladies who sat down 15 minutes before closing. I very tactfully and politely informed them of our closing time when they asked. One hyena proceeds to say, oh, so it’s like a “soft” closing, like we have an hour or so before you ACTUALLY DO close? Um, NOOOOOO. Do you go to Target at 9:58 and stay for an extra hour meandering around? You do not, they inform you over a loud speaker that the store will nebelosing in 2 minutes. In other words, get the fuck out. Needless to say, they stayed an hour and a half after their welcome, split the check three ways and left me steaming out of my ears. The $20 they left was not worth my time. I’m not sure why people think it’s acceptable to stomp all over service industry, but I’ll tell you, it really grinds my fucking gears! 😤

  22. deb

    i manage a restaurant. we get people come in at the last minute. I tell them we close in 5 minutes, but that we would be happy to make their order to go. They usually accept it. I cannot justify paying employees to be at these dummy’s beck and call when they order french fries and a coke.

  23. Tari

    I was a server for more than 20 years-my choice. What bothers me most about these posts is that you have chosen to be a server. Get over the last minute customers or get out the industry!
    Most of the servers I see today don’t give a hoot about the restaurant they work at; the customers or the WORK ETHIC behind being a server. Servers today are lazy and arrogant; expecting great tips for little to no customer service And the piss poor attitudes that their time is more precious than the customers. My friend-who is old school bartender/server like I am- owns 2 sports bars and he says the same about all the servers he employs.
    Grow up people! If you choose to be a server, then accept that last minute customers happen and do your job to the best of your ability with a smile on your face!

    1. Anonymous

      I don’t know who you think your kidding. I have been a server for 25 years and it pisses me off when people come in just before I close. I do agree with you on the fact that it is hard to find a server with a good work ethic. I attribute that to their age and the fact that they more than likely have not been taught the value of a good job and the essence of respect.

  24. Craig

    I used to work as a waiter many moons ago, so I know what it’s like. I try never to go to a restaurant, unless I can make it there at least 1 hour before closing. There have been rare occasions, when I got tied up in a meeting, a show ended late, or I was mistaken about the hours, that I went to a restaurant a half hour before closing, and once was treated rather rudely by the server. This has always been my argument with servers and restaurant owners: If you close at 9:00 p.m., and your doors are open at 8:45 p.m., then you are allowing customers to come in and dine at that time. There should be no complaint or question. If you don’t want customers to come in 15 minutes before closing, then you should redo all of your signs to say “we close at 9:00 p.m, last seating at 8:00 p.m.” or “last seating 1 hour before closing time.” Some restaurants do have signs that indicate that, but ALL restaurants should have that policy, if they have employees that are going to whine about last minute diners.

  25. Lisa

    I never go to a place when I know they are that close to closing. I worked in a grocery store years ago – it was my first job and there aren’t words to describe how much I hated it. One day, as a result of being shorthanded, I worked from 7 a.m to 9 pm. I was so tired I was cross eyed , and my feet felt like they had been chewed by a gator. At 8:58 pm this woman we all knew to be self-involved and always talked down to the employees shows up, breezes in and says, ‘Oh, I know you’re near closing, but I need to grab few things’. She takes a cart and it turns out, a ‘few’ things was her cart filled to almost overflowing with her groceries. Now, to make it worse, because at this point, it’s 9:30 and we’ve locked the doors, because, hello, we closed at nine, she comes to my lane, as me, a manager on the edge of having a mental meltdown, and a bagboy are the only ones left and she says ‘We have to sort through this carefully, because it’s not all mine. Some of it’s my mother’s and I have to pay for it with her money, but I didn’t bother keeping it all divided when I was throwing it in the cart.’ So, we get another cart and with her telling us what belongs in each (but not picking up a thing to sort herself) the half asleep bag boy and I (thinking about how much time I would get in jail for beating a woman in the head with a can of creamed corn) get the orders separate. I ring up first one order and then the other. On the second, I have to spend five minutes explaining to her that no, the sugar isn’t a dollar off, that sale ended yesterday and no, I can’t extended it by a day and the manager isn’t around to ask, because he’s hiding in the break room. I envy him. Finally the bitch customer from hell, who is pissed at me over a freaking dollar, is checked out, bagged up, the poor bagboy, who now looks like one of the walking dead, as I’m sure I did as well, helps the still complaining cow to her car and unloads her bags. She tells him our service is horrible, because she feels she should have gotten the dollar off. Keep in mind, she comes from money. Her parents are loaded and her husband is twice as loaded. She tells the bagboy she’s calling tomorrow to speak to a manager that doesn’t ‘just disappear’ when he’s needed; bagboy relays her message. I wonder if there’s a witch living in town so I can get a spell that will make the cow’s hair fall out and her teeth turn green. Don’t judge me for that. At this point, it’s nearly 10:30, an hour and a half after we were supposed to close. She never thanked us or said a kind word. I was there from 7 am to 10:30 pm. I don’t remember driving home. And the bitch did call the next day and she got the owner (it was a small town store) and the manager from the nigh before had already explained what had happened, so the owner was in our corner – he told her we did her a favor, staying late and I was right, the sale was over and I couldn’t extend it. She said she would take her business to Winn-Dixie and we were horrible. I prayed for the people at Winn-Dixie and the bagboy and I actually did a happy dance in the break room.


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