If You’re Late, It’s Your Problem and Not Anyone Else’s

You're late, bitch.

You’re late, bitch.

Last week, I had the distinct pleasure of visiting Washington, D.C. for the first time ever and it happened to be in the middle of yet another polar freakin’ vortex. Since I had never been to D.C. there were a lot of things I had to do despite the weather. I trudged though the snow in a -5 º wind chill just to see monuments, art museums and Julia Childs’ kitchen at The Smithsonian. There also happened to be a pro-life rally happening while I was there so I quite enjoyed watching teen girls write “pro-life” and “Save the Babies” in the snow so that I could walk right behind them and brush it away with my foot.

On my last day, I am having breakfast in my hotel before leaving for the train. I sit down and see a four-top eating in the corner. They all have plates and are clearly in the middle of their meal. A few minutes later, another woman wanders into the dining room and sees her friends at the table.

“Hello,” she says. “I’m so sorry I’m late. Oops!”

“Oh, we didn’t think you were going to make it down for breakfast,” they say. “We’re already eating…ummm…”

Now, I can see that they are sitting at a four-top and that the table next to them already has people at it. I can also see that Miss Tardy For the Party wants to be invited to join them even though there is no place for her late ass to sit. There is awkward exchange of pleasantries as four people try to eat their eggs while they are still warm and one woman just stands there like bump on a log waiting to be asked to dance at the barn social. Finally, Miss Un-punctuality says, “I’m just gonna ask the waitress to find a place for us all to sit. C’mon, everybody. Let’s go.”

She has them all pick up their plates of food and cups of coffee and off they go through the restaurant searching for a place to accommodate all five of them. As the leader, she heads right to another four-top and like little ducklings they all trail behind. I imagine that this woman must be some kind of boss to them which is why no one had the courage to say, “Look, lady, we all got here on time and now you’re letting my poached eggs go cold. Fuck you.” But they didn’t. They dutifully followed along.

This is when the waitress notices that half of her station is wandering around the dining room carrying plates. “Would you like another table?” she asks.

“Yes, says the woman. We can’t all fit at that table so I thought we could just sit at this one instead.”  She points at the table in front of her which is the exact same size as the one they had left behind. One man, I notice, takes a bite of biscuit as he stands there and another woman looks longingly at her plate of pancakes, unable to hold her coffee and use her fork at the same time.

“Well,” the waitress says. “This is for four people too. Let me find you another table. Give me a second.”

“What about over there?” says the woman who I have grown to hate, pointing to the side of the restaurant that is quite obviously not being used.

The waitress goes to the other side of the restaurant where no one is sitting and the five people all follow her, four with food in their hands and one woman with no food and obviously no fucking watch because if she would have shown up on time in the first place, none of this bullshit would be happening. Another table is found and they begin to sit down but then Miss Late Lady spots another table that seems to be more to her liking.  Again, the original four pick up their plates and move. When they are finally seated, I see the original tardy bitch approach the waitress.

“It’s really cold over here. Can you adjust the thermostat?”

The waitress does so with a smile on her face but we all know there is a reason they were not seating that half of the restaurant, right? It’s two fucking degrees outside and the staff knows it’s cold on that side and that’s probably why no one was seated on that side to begin with. At last, they are all settled in and I notice one woman is sitting directly in the sun; like major 8:30 AM blinding you in the face kind of sun which is probably another reason they had not seated anyone at that table. The poor woman is now forced to eat her room-temperature omelet while holding one hand up over her eyes to shield them from the sun.

“Can I order?” asks the latecomer? “I just got here.”

No shit, bitch. Everyone in the dining room knows you just got here. We watched a restaurant version of the Keystone Cops happen as you made sure everyone accommodate your ass just because you failed to arrive on time. If you’re late, it’s your issue. You should have just made your apologies and settled for a table on your own so you can sit there by yourself and think about how your lack of time management affects not only you, but everyone you deal with.

The waitress was a real pro. She never did anything hut smile and be helpful, but my Bitchy Waiter x-ray vision revealed more than that which is why I told her at the end of my breakfast the following:

“I saw what was happening there and you were good. Real good. I write a blog and in a few days you are going to see this story on it. Here’s my card.”

So, I wonder if she will see this.

10 thoughts on “If You’re Late, It’s Your Problem and Not Anyone Else’s

  1. grubslinger

    Wow. Just… wow. I have to wonder where this sense of entitlement comes from. Last night at work I had some lady beckon me with her finger like one would with a child, and yell at me about a cab. It makes my blood boil. The audacity of people who are late makes me crazy. And in this situation, I really want to know why one of the other diners didn’t speak up. They had food. Whatever. This is why I like customers who can manage to have a direct conversation with each other and their server. I’m not a fucking psychic.

    Reply
  2. Nick in bmore

    A few years ago I waited tables at the airport outside of Baltimore. In a different interpretation of being late, there is the type of person who wants to be casual, then rush you because they realize they are late. Some days, the restaurant could be full for hours, with an average table turn of 25 minutes. Most would order a drink and a sandwich, then maybe another drink, and ask for the check with a reasonable amount of time before a flight. My absolute favorite would always be the person who lost track of time or decided to appear casual then drop the best line, “can I get my check? I have a flight to catch” as if I didn’t realize that I had driven to the airport every day for work and just wondered why I didn’t have many regulars and that those were planes out of the window. Usually I would smile and try to accommodate as fast as possible, always with a comment about realizing that they have a flight and a little advice on future airport dining experiences.

    Once though, during the middle of a lunch rush, I was hastily approached by a group whose check I had dropped about ten minutes before. It was an 8 top who had never mentioned that they wanted to split their checks. Of course, at last call for boarding, they let me know this, then decided to all pay in cash, and not leave anything but change for a tip. My whole section went down so that I could accommodate this group and they left me nothing for it. Be extra nice to your airport service staff and make sure to time out your dining experience appropriately.

    Reply
  3. Aussie Taz

    My absolute favorite is when a table comes in for a meal and they tell me very clearly and slowly, (in case I am too stupid to understand them) that they ‘are in a hurry’ and they want to know ‘what is quick?’
    Depends on your interpretation of ‘quick’. Drive-thru is quick. A meal prepared by a chef in a restaurant is generally not ‘quick.’

    As always, I smile and recommend the ‘quickest’ meal options on our menu, and as always, they order something else. I am never all that surprised when they order an entree and a main. ‘As you are in a hurry, would you like everything out together?’ ‘No, we will have our entree first’

    So clearly, you are not in a hurry. You are just worried that you might miss out, that our restaurant may run out of food, or you just get your kicks out of trying to get people running around for you. We get that your time is more precious than any of the other diners who were here before you, but if you are really in a hurry, might I suggest McDonalds? Their longest wait is like 10 minutes at most. Probably best if you are in such a hurry.

    Reply
  4. SkippyMom

    Great story. As always. I support your right to be a bitchy waiter and I love when you bitch. Here it is 100% justified and I am still wondering how you didn’t manage to ::cough:: trip the woman.

    Here’s my thing tho’ – I believe in everyone’s opinion and their right to choose. Partners, pregnancy, the use of their bodies as they see fit – but I also support everyone’s right to free speech and to march if they like and proclaim their views to the streets, the cameras, the world.

    If you want your views respected in regards to how you live your life, as I would like mine respected, how would you feel if someone came along and disrespectfully wiped out the message you were trying to share.

    Just because you feel someone is wrong because they disagree with you, why did you feel it was necessary to do that?

    Yes, I know – it’s your free speech [foot to clear the snow] too – but did you ever consider that maybe if we respected one another and people agreed to disagree, the world would be a more welcoming place?

    Just a thought. No harm, no foul. I just thought that was a weird segue into the entire blog post.

    Thanks.

    Reply
    1. The Bitchy Waiter Post author

      Hi, Skippy Mom. You are totally right. I guess after a weekend of constantly being handed fliers and dodging protestors, I was tired of having their opinion in my face. And when I told one that I didn’t agree with them, I was given the finger by a high schooler. It was annoying. Thanks for your comment. (See? I really DO read all of them!) I know you have commented many times in the past and I appreciate it. -BW

      Reply
  5. Tone

    Was the table so small that there was no way that the four there could not just ask for an extra chair then crowd together a little and give a corner to the latecomer? I’ve seen that happen any number of times. I cannot believe that this woman took it upon herself to lead her friends on a tour of the restaurant, plates in hand, to find a larger table. And she didn’t even ask for help from the staff… who know their restaurant better than she does? Good grief how rude!

    Reply
  6. christine

    Dang it BW, I wish I had known you were coming to DC, I would have loved to shown you around. I’m a flight attendant and I know all to well how crazy people can be. (do I sound like a crazy stalker much?) 🙂

    Reply

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