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.