I’m hoping to preempt the rude customers by sending this to you before they do. I will also preface this by saying I am currently on a break between classes, am very sleep deprived, and therefore very grouchy, so I apologize for my writing demeanor.
I am a server in a somewhat fancy restaurant. Last night I had quite possibly the rudest customers in the world. About 6:30 they came in and were seated in my section. I introduced myself, offered them wine and took their drink orders. The meal largely went without a hitch (one meal had to be remade because there were special instructions and it got messed up), and I served them, brought them their check, and proceeded to start bussing the remaining tables. Then I started bussing their plates. They were still at the table. I quietly removed everything except the glasses, salt and pepper. They were still at the table.
I finished my side work (for the uninitiated, restaurant workers have “side work” that they do to ensure the restaurant is ready for opening the next day). They were still at the table. I rolled the rest of the silverware. They were still at the table. I cleaned the rest of the tables in my section. They were still at the table. Five hours had passed. They were still at the table. The restaurant had closed. They were still at the freakin’ table!
If they’d “camped out” for only a couple of hours, it wouldn’t have been such a big deal. Camping happens. It’s a pain and you can’t make money off that table, but it happens. This was camping to an extreme. The rest of the waitstaff had gone home. The kitchen staff had gone home. It was just the manager and me left. The manager finally asked them to leave.
I have never seen such a temper tantrum from a group of adults before in my entire life. They ranted and raved about how rude we were for not serving them. About how awful we were for making them leave. They were apparently paying us for the table so we needed to allow them to stay as long as they wanted. It took a threat of a police phone call and potential prosecution for trespassing to get them to leave. They threatened to tell you here at ehell all about how terribly rude I was (I am hoping that in the cold light of sobriety and morning they are mortified for their actions and aren’t going to do it).
They didn’t leave a tip. I didn’t get home until after midnight, and still had to stay up for a couple of hours for homework. 1023-14
Nothing yet from the customers to the Ehell in-box.
Comments on this entry are closed.
‘It took a threat of a police phone call and potential prosecution for trespassing to get them to leave. They threatened to tell you here at ehell all about how terribly rude I was…’
And that shows who’s right and who’s wrong here. I’m glad your manager could see how wrong it was and took over. Had you been serving them drinks for the whole five hours, or were they sitting there with an empty table most of the time?
Good luck with your studies, and I hope those people stay away – or come back and apologise!
Wow how rude . I used to waitress in college too. to bad the restaurant did not add a gratuity tip onto the check. I do think we need to do that now to be fair to the waitresses. To many times for a lot of work waitresses underpaid. I would have added a tip onto their check. maybe restaurant now needs a sign saying 3 hr minimum allowed. Sorry you lost your tip.
I think you mean maximum.
Wow. I don’t think it is rude of customers to linger over their meal but once you have finished eating )(including any coffee etc.) it’s appropriate to leave.
And while an argument can be made for leaving a smaller tip if an order is messed up, I do think that it is very rude to leave no tip at all, particularly in circumstances where it’s obvious that you’ve spent longer than usual or where the restaurant is closing.
I also think that the manager could, and should, have stepped in sooner!
OP – I hope you had other customers that evening who tipped you more appropriately!
Having been a waitress, kitchen help, and hostess in the past, I must disagree on one point: 90% of the time, if an order (especially a special order) is incorrect, it is because of the kitchen staff, not the waitress. So taking it out of her tip is unfair.
It depends on the special order; I expect the waitress to do some level of basic checking that my food is what I asked for. If I request no green onions, and the waitress serves me a salad covered in them, then I’m probably going to drop the tip a bit (say, from 20% to 15%).
If it’s something where the waitress couldn’t tell (like a burrito with chicken instead of beef), or if the waitress didn’t bring the order to the table, then I’ll probably even bump the tip up a bit if she gets the replacement quickly. If I sit there for 10 minutes while everybody else has food in front of them because she didn’t come back to check on anything . . . tip goes down again.
Yes actually, those would be exceptions. And let me be clear I agree 100% with everything else Margo said!
I take the point about being unfair to reduce the tip for things outside the control of the wait staff, (which is why I said that I thought an argument could be made, rather than that it was appropriate, for them to tip a lower amount)
I think part of the issue is that for a lot of diners, the tip is a way of marking their over all satisfaction with the dining experience, and as a customer, you don;t know whether the order was messed up because the waiter didn’t remember/write it down accurately, or because the kitchen didn’t read it properly, or for some other reason, and equally you are not always able to accurately judge whether slow service is primarily due to the staff being overworked, or to staff not paying attention.
In this case, if the diners had left at a reasonable time and left a smaller than average tip, I would take the view that while it might not be fair to the server if it was not her error, it would not be rude or unreasonable on the part of the diner.
I loathe people who behave like this. It’s ignorant, arrogant, and pathetic. I’ve had experience of it myself, and I always wonder why they hang around like this.
Admittedly, I worked in a pub – a very upmarket one – which really does have closing time, but the landlord never enforced it on this one group of wealthy, snotty barflies. They’d all hang around until 2am as we cleaned around them (but could not hoover until they’d gone). Without fail, the women would start tittering, “Ooh, I think they want us to leave, ha ha!” or, “Do you want us to go, hee hee?” without moving, as we smiled politely and carried on.
The same women who the barmaids used to rescue in the loos when they passed out drunk with their knickers round their ankles. The same men the barmen used to have to put into taxis, staggering drunk. We had no respect for them whatsoever, and neither did anyone else who drank there.
I agree. In my younger years, I worked in a restaurant and retail and some people would not leave.
An example from my retail stint (it was a tourist attraction)- the place closed at 5pm. It was posted everywhere. If you came in after 4pm, the front line staff would tell you what time we closed and give you a ticket that was good for a year to come back at another time. There was also an announcement at 4:45 that the attraction was closing in 15 minutes, if you wanted to purchase from the gift shop, you should head to the front. At 4:55, security would check each area of the location and tell anyone left that is was closing time, they needed to head to the exit. People would pick that time to run to the gift shop and beg to shop, saying they wanted one little thing and know exactly where it was it. You guessed it- they would stay another 45 minutes to an hour.
Unlike the manager in the OP, our manager would not do a thing. He got to leave on time while the retail staff and security had to stay and shut down. Once we finally got everyone out, we had to pull our cash drawers and count down. We have been 6:30, even 7:00 pm leaving because people have no respect for retail and restaurant workers. Then, we would get lectured about “hours” and how we needed to get shut down and leave as quickly as possible!!
Retail and waiter/waitresses have lives, families and things to do, just like you. How would you feel if they came to your place of employment and you had to stay an extra hour or two?
terrible behavior on the part of the customers in this story.
I have a dear friend whom I only get to see every 2 or 3 months. We usually meet for a nice long breakfast- much longer than the normal length of time people would usually use a table at a restaurant. We always leave a extra big tip- several times the cost of our breakfast- because we realize our waitress is missing out on potential tips and also because we just like to bless people when we can. We would NEVER stay at any establishment past closing. Such rude, entitled behavior is incomprehensible.
The people who wait on us tend to remember us- and they smile when they see us coming! (:
BTW- breakfast is a cheap meal- we are not talking hundreds of dollars in tips here- but it makes a big difference to the people who work hard to serve us when we tip not just in proportion to the cost of the meal, but also the extra time we take from them. (assuming the service is good- and it always is at the restaurant we frequent)
My best friend and I do this, too. We get together for “cheese dip therapy” at the local Mexican restaurant, and we tend to talk too much. However, we are always polite to the wait staff, and we always tip graciously.
I’ve seen a few replies about people leaving a larger than normal tip for the wait staff when they stay extra long. And I think that it’s great that people do that. But do you also pay extra for your meal to the restaurant? Not only is the wait staff missing out on potential tips, the restaurant is also losing money. If you linger long enough to stay through 2 or more potential meal servings, then you have also just cost the restaurant money, and most restaurants operate on a really thin margin as it is. Just please keep that in mind the next time your friend is in town.
If the restaurant has empty tables, then they are not losing if you are there in the booth or table. If there is a standing line waiting, then you are costing them turnover….
o_gal: That is assuming that the restaurant would be full all the time and they are preventing someone to take that table. In a restaurant that has free tables that does not affect the outcome really. For the waitress it still might though.
Yes, Mer and NostalgicGal, this is what I was thinking. The rudeness of the customers in the story is undeniable, but the OP calls a two-hour meal “camping”. If the restaurant is not busy then I have no problem lingering after a meal, because that was the point of going out to a restaurant with my friend. And I’m not going to order drinks I don’t/can’t drink after eating a big meal – that’s crazy and such a waste. I worked as a waitress in my youth and I served my customers because that was my job, not because I was hoping for a tip. Lingerers were not robbing me of any money. Maybe the restaurant felt differently but then it was their job to establish rules from the outset. But I often do get the vibe, from the waitstaff, that they are serving me solely because they want a tip. It’s more than annoying, it’s rude. I don’t like to return to those places.
I think alcohol is often a factor in these extreme situations. It seems to me that limiting alcohol service could solve a lot of the problems. However, that would also lower the revenue and tips, and the servers would complain about that, too.
Stores and restaurants are free to set their closing times and enforce them. Stores are free to “cash out” at closing time, preventing lingerers from shopping further. And some stores do this, without penalty. Good for them.
The OP stated they were 5 hours.
In the US, servers are only serving you for the tip because minimum wage is $2.13 an hour in most states, and in most restaurants you are getting taxed on 10% of you sales. Most pay checks end up being less than $1 per hour worked. Many people who choose serving as a career do so because they enjoy providing people with a wonderful dining experience, but even those people wouldn’t be doing it if they were only earning $2.13 an hour.
@ Devin, some states allow the server wage to be that low. Some states do not. Some places pay more than that bottom amount, else they can’t keep servers. The law is a percentage of the sales the server handles unless they fill out and report using a reporting booklet what they actually took in (I worked many a place where the tip take was a lot closer to 3% of sales than 8-10%). So it depends on the place what the server makes in wages and in tips.
that is a really good point- my friend and I would definitely not hang around if other customers were waiting for a table. That would also be ridiculously rude.
I guess the bottom line is to have fun, enjoy your meal, but pay attention to the needs and comfort of the people around you.
What appalling manners. I wonder how they were raised? We were taught to have consideration for staff, including waitstaff in a restaurant. Similarly, you eat at a decent hour at home and then vacate the dining room at once in order that the staff can finish their work and leave. They also have lives to live and should be afforded the opportunity to do so. There is simply no excuse for treating anyone in this manner.
The character Dandy from the current season of American Horror Story comes to mind.
That guy is the scariest character to ever be featured on the show.
Oh my gosh Dandy drives me nuts, he deserves his own little corner of E-hell…
I would be too scared to approach Dandy and tell him that he had to leave. Not only because of him, but he might also have his friend Twisty with him!
Now, if Dandy and Twisty camp out at the table for a few hours …. just let it go.
I waitresses at a Friendly’ s when I was in my teens. We would always have a large group come in very early in the morning. We were located on a main street where a few blocks up was the local methadone clinic. The same six or so folks came in every morning, sometimes there as many as twelve. They would only order coffee and would stay for HOURS, every time. You were allowed to smoke back then in the restaurant also. I realize, from them just coming from getting their methadone, they weren’t in the best place in their lives personally. They were the rudest folks I’ve ever met. They would typically show up around 6:30, and often times stay until noon. They made a huge mess every time, overflowing ashtrays, sugar packets, you name it. We would draw straws to see who had to wait on them. We would top off someone’s coffee, and as soon as the coffee pot was put back, another one from the group would be yelling that now THEY need a refill. I was JUST there with a coffee pot! Of course they never tipped either. One time after they camped out for five hours, they paid up and left. I went about cleaning their table and found a ten dollar tip on the table. Hallelujah! I went and showed my coworkers that they actually tipped me today! Right on cue, the manager comes back and says, “hey, the guy from the back table is up front….He lost a ten dollar bill and wants it back!!!” There was quite an argument between the good Angel on my left shoulder and the evil Angel on my right…..I gave it back.
I don’t understand the reluctance of some businesses to “fire” customers. I can’t imagine that this was worth it for the stress it caused the staff, and the amount of lost business this caused the restaurant. What I’ve seen done is the place asks them to either pay to rent the space or stop coming in. Once you ask for a $100 meeting room rental fee you will never see them again.
IF they have some space that can be divided off to ‘rent’ this is perfect. Other option is to print on the menu that there will be automatic gratuities added to the bill according to how long they stay… (aka the longer they stay the more that will be added) but they’d probably just scream bloody murder and stiff anyways. Might get rid of them though.
You are both correct. They were such a nuisance, you couldn’t wait on any other tables while they were there. Our regional manager once came in for an all staff meeting and asked for any problems/questions we may have. I brought up the morning group, to the delight of my other workers and the “death glare” from my immediate manager. I asked if we could ban them? No. Ok…can we order them out after an hour or so? No. Sigh….can we set up a station on the counter by their table so they refill their OWN coffee? NO!!! Not long after that, I found a new job and gleefully gave my two weeks. I was made to wait on them the next two weeks, because I was leaving anyway. I may have not been the friendliest or most attentive to them during those two weeks. One of the group (with me only having three days left) had the gall to complain about my service when they came up to pay….after a record 6 and a 1/2 hour gab session. I happened to be cashing out and heard the conversation. I went up with my most insincere smile and said, “listen here!!! You people camp out for HOURS…every day…you leave a HUGE mess that takes 20 minutes to clean up…And you NEVER tip. Exactly what kind of “service” do you expect?!?” I walked away whistling….damn that sure felt good!
A-MEN! (cheering for your moment Just4Kicks!!!!!)
I hate this paranoia that businesses have that lead them to be unbelievably kind to people who deserve to be banned/fired/what have you. I worked in a grocery store forever and witnessed the upper level people allowing some outrageous things.
We had a woman who was obsessed with this one guy who worked at our sample station. She would hang out there for literal hours with him. He was deeply uncomfortable with it and finally one of the supervisors told her she couldn’t stay there, she was a distraction and he had work he needed to do. They played it off really well, honestly, making it more “oh darn this company and their rules” and not at all “back off crazy person”. Nonetheless, she went NUTS. Called the regional manager, ranting about how much money she spent and blah, blah, blah…the regional told us we couldn’t ask her to leave or say anything to her again. Even though this poor (happily married) man was super creeped out by her!
The list goes on, customers who cursed at us, used racial epithets, etc, one angry phone call to the company later and they are in the store with a $50 gift card. It’s a shame that “the customer is always right” comes at the cost of protecting your employees.
Glad you got that last word in just4kicks! I got to do that on my last day too and it was the sweetest moment ever!!
Miss E, I think a big problem now is internet shaming. I have seen many stories in the news and in social media about angry customers who have been mistreated. With a very small amount of imagination, I can put myself in the server’s place and see where the customer behaved badly or expected an undue amount of attention or consideration. It doesn’t matter though – once the customer posts and throws in a few emotionally wrenching details (single mother! worked an 18 hour shift!), no one is going to consider the other side.
And I’m a bit disappointed that the customers didn’t write in like they threatened – it would have been interesting to see their story – not that I don’t support OP. I do – she would have to be lying about the 5 hours and/or the push back upon being asked to leave for me to reverse my sympathy. But there’s a good chance that if they had gotten to Ehell first they would have concocted a sad story that would have had many blasting the person we know as OP.
One more thing Miss E – I wonder if your coworker would have had a sexual harassment case. I work an office job but if we had had a “client” hanging around hitting on me (obviously it depends on how direct the “hit”), and my supervisors told me to be nice and not offend him by asking him to leave, I could have them in the EEO office pretty quickly.
OTOH if all the client does is want to discuss the weather, they do have a right to say go ahead although they lose the right to blast me for lack of productivity when he’s there.
“Might get rid of them though.”
Only if you are lucky 😉
Thank you @NostalgicGal and @Miss E! 🙂
That was almost 30 years ago, and I can still picture the look on that man’s face….And my manager’s!
Of course I got the “if you didn’t have only three days left, I’d have fired you on the spot.”
@ Just4kicks, we were in the trenches about the same time then, the major stint of hashslinging I did. 2.5 years at a job I hated but we needed to eat and not sleep under a bridge.
@ Miss E – when was this man being stalked? The police should have been involved. It is shocking that the mangers did not back the shop store staff up. They should investigate and find out the facts not just hand out gift cards.
I’m aware of one restaurant that did just that – fired some customers.
There’s a nephew in our family who has been sober for years now, but went through some rough times during his teenage years. He regularly attended meetings at a twelve-step-like program specially for teenagers. Many of the boys and girls would go out for coffee at a coffee shop restaurant after the meetings. Usually they each ordered just coffee, sometimes with a few orders of fries or something else inexpensive. One of the waitstaff in particular would volunteer to serve them – turned out, we learned from her later one time when we ate there ourselves, she was an alumna of the same twelve-step-like program from when she herself was a teenager.
Nephew would leave a tip about a third of the time – especially when his parents or my wife and I would slip him some extra money specifically for a tip. (One time I was his ride home while his car was in repairs, and I quietly checked with the particular waitperson and was told he was one of the few who did tip sometimes. I made sure I was extra generous that day!)
I guess there are some “bad apples” or “gems in the rough” in every group, though. Turned out that a few other fellows skipped out without paying twice (not the nephew – I checked) – and the third time it happened the coffee shop manager manager contacted the counselors at the twelve step-like program and asked them to please not come back with those teenagers.
(For the record, I don’t blame the manager a bit. Banning the group was a reasonable consequence for the actions of some. I think.)
Or a very late night group of late teens that came in I think a little liquor-fied, nothing was done fast enough for their liking or well enough for them, most of them ordered a lot; and they all snuck out on one fellow while he was in the can. He was going to have to pay for six meals or be arrested, and he couldn’t pay the meals. I couldn’t afford it, it had been Sunday night, the slow night and I didn’t have near enough tips to pay it either; so the police had to be summoned and the one they abandoned got arrested and had to go through getting bail and court for his five friends leaving him holding the bag. He provided the others’ names but still got stuck with the charges, costs, and fines, plus the mark on his record. H*ll is too good for the ones that bailed on the poor guy.
I did this once by accident. I worked an off-hours job and went out after work (midnight on a Wednesday) with a friend to a diner that we thought was 24 hrs. They let us linger for two hours before they asked us to go. I felt so awful, apologized profusely and doubled our tip. These people were jerks.
And see, that is how POLITE people respond to being told that they have overstayed the restaurant’s operating time. I don’t think it’s unthinkable or hideous that, say, a group of people who haven’t seen each other in a while might get so involved in conversation that they lose track of time following a good meal…but in that case, when those people are told that restaurant workers had to stay late because of them, the proper response is to say, abashedly, “Oh no, I’m so sorry!” and promptly jack up the tip. (At least in the U.S. — not sure how this would be politely handled in non-tipping countries.) Etiquette doesn’t mandate e-hell for being imperfect — just for being deliberately, obnoxiously, angrily thoughtless.
Same here, when I was in college. A group of us would get together at a fabulous little place to study. Really cheap, but wonderful food and staff. One Sunday evening, we bring out noses up out of our books and notes, and realize we are the only ones there, and the staff is done closing up and waiting (very patiently, I must add) for us to go. I said “Oh my God, guys, they are closing!” We quickly grabbed our stuff, yelling over to them, “so sorry! We’re going!” Turns out business was slow on Sunday’s, and the owner decided to start closing a few hours early. We hadn’t noticed the sign stating this when we walked in. The staff had a good chuckle over the five of us throwing our coats on and shoving books into backpacks. We all ponied up a great tip, and made sure next Sunday we left at the proper time.
My mom and I did something similar once. I had a gift certificate to a restaurant, so we decided to have dinner there one night. We got there at 6:30 and found out halfway through dinner that they closed at 7. What kind of restaurant has dinner items yet closes at 7?! We felt bad for inconveniencing them, but it’s understandable that we assumed they’d be open during that time given their menu.
when the restaurant was closing the manager should have informed the patrons and dealt with them. Hubby and I have a friend who when he comes to town and we go out, we camp for a few hours. We also realize this costs the wait staff money and way over tip to compensate for it.
Once you’ve eaten your meal and finished your coffee and paid the bill, the temporary “lease” on that table is now expired. If you want to keep the table longer, order more coffee or dessert on a separate bill.
I am disgusted by their behavior – keeping you late and leaving no tip after not allowing you to have other customers at that table. I do hope they write in here, because there is no justification for what they did – even if the service was horrible, sitting at a table and not leaving is not okay, and I think that needs to be pointed out, something I’m sure that the people here can very nicely point out to them.
I hope they come here and see this and that the comments reflect just how wrong they were.
FIVE HOURS at a dinner table? Completely ridiculous. If they wanted to chat they should’ve gone to someone’s home and continued.
I would bet anything that in addition to refusing to tip, they threatened not to pay for the meal due to the “rudeness” of the manager.
They’d already paid. We weren’t going to refund them their money.
I used to work in the gift shop section of a certain tropical themed chain of restaurants. As the gift shop contained the front entrance, I had to stay open as long as there were guests in the restaurant. It was not terribly uncommon for people to stay WAY beyond closing time. I think the latest we ever had was 2 AM when we close at 10:00. No one was ever apologetic in any way. Our policy was that we could not ask them to leave; however some of the managers got creative. The restaurant had a series of thunderclaps and animal noises that would happen every hour as part of the fun atmosphere. If a party was staying late some of the managers would crank the volume and hit the show button over and over. Three or four times made it impossible to have a conversation so they’d usually leave with haste.
Oh, clever indeed!
I love this!
Wouldn’t it be so much either to just ask them to leave? I know that was the policy not to but seriously.
Mark, if the customers decided to complain to corporate then the people who worked late could lose their jobs.
We discovered at my store that turning off the music right before closing made it eerily quiet in the store and customers would just quickly buy their things and get out.
Ugh, I knew some people in college who did this regularly. Four guys who seemed to think it was some cool, “last man standing” Rat Pack thing to do, as if they were showing that they were somehow special, had more endurance, more class, etc., because they stayed later than everybody else.
We were sitting at a diner one night, before I was aware of this behavior, after a party, having some coffee and pie. These guys were the ride home for me and my roommate. People at the tables around us filtered out of the restaurant as the clock ticked toward closing time. I asked for our bills, which roommate and I paid. But these guys just stayed and stayed, ordering more coffee and talking.
My roommate and I suggested it was time to go, but the “leader” just smirked and said, “Not yet.” The poor waitress mopped the floor around us and the cook was washing dishes. They were both clearly ready to leave, but the leader kept saying, “Not yet.” And there was this weird peer pressure to stay, because otherwise we were being “lame” or “silly” or “spoil sports” because we wanted to go home.
The diner had been closed for half an hour and they still refused to get up. Finally, I got up and went to the pay phone (we had these things called pay phones back then) and called a girl who lived on our floor who had a car. She was a sweetheart and understood the panic of a girl whose ride home turns out to be a jerk. She arrived in the parking lot and honked the horn. My roommate and I got up and pressed what amounted to about a 200 percent tip and said, “We’re so sorry. We didn’t know they were going to do this.”
All the while, the guys are jeering at us for “wussing out” and “ruining their fun.” Telling us we “couldn’t hang” and this would be the last time they bothered driving anywhere.
The waitress shrugged and said, “That’s OK, my boss let’s people have a grace period while Ed is washing the pots,” she jerked a thumb toward the kitchen, where the huge beefy cook was working at the sink. “But after that, Ed tosses them out on their ears. Ed’s just about done.”
Ed turned around and grinned at us. We waved and high-tailed it out to our friend’s waiting car. Despite whatever Ed did to them, they made a habit of closing places down. It was seriously annoying, but kept me from spending time with a bunch of Rat Pack posers.
That’s beyond rude, that’s borderline vulgar.
I work retail. One of my pet peeves are people who walk in the store ten minutes to close and browse. One woman wanted a custom framing order, five minutes before we closed and she wanted it done tonight! (not possible since the framing drawer was counted and our regular framer wasn’t in)
Another woman, wanted an opinion on ribbon colors and asked me if I could call another store in the area. Even my manager was appalled.
Manners aside this is just bizarre. Who would want to hang out in a restaurant for five hours? The seating is uncomfortable especially for that length of time. You lack true privacy.
As for this group does it help to cut off booze earlier?
Hnnh. I never thought of that. I always thought “Last Call” was a matter of local law. Never thought it might be a “Get the Drunks Out” technique.
I bet every server or kitchen staff has stories about customers that can fill the annals of E-Hell. I have two from being a kitchen staffer (I could never paint a smile on my face long enough to serve people so it was better I stay in the kicthen). The first is in regards to a wedding. A woman and her mother came in for catering from our restaraunt. They wanted to have more of buffet style reception with several of our appetizers served out cocktail style. Our head chef gave a quote for 1.5 times their 75 person wedding (so, quoted a price a food amount for about 113 people). The mother thought this was too much and demanded specific quantities of food to fit into a required budget; and since we knew the restaraunt owner the kitchen had to make that happen. I bet you can see where this is going. Day of the wedding arrives, and ONE HOUR into the 5 hour reception they are out of all the appetizers we had made for their wedding. The desperate mother was informed that, yes, we would be bringing more food; but it was going to cost her 1.5 time the original price!
Same restaraunt, different day. Two military couples each brought another couple they were showing around our city. The army base in my town had a buddy program so people could get their bearings and have an instant contact to help ease any homesickness. Well, the host couples had been to our restaraunt and enjoyed it so they thought they would pass along their like of our restaraunt to their buddy couples. They all were supposed to go Dutch. Dinner went off without a hitch, it was when the bill came that things fell apart. All of the sudden the buddy couples were complaining about the food. It was awful, disgusting, and they demanded that their meals be comped. No complaints had been lodged with the server, and no food had been returned. In fact, they ate all their food and dessert! They threw a great bing snit when we informed them that because they had eaten all the food they would have to pay their bill; but luckily there was a military special today and they got an extra 10% off. (We were really just wanted them to leave.) The host couples paid their bills and the bills of the complainers, left their unit number, and left an extra big tip. The manager felt sorry for them, and set them up with free meals should they decide to return.
About that wedding situation… sounds like your restaurant is the place to avoid at all costs if wanting a catering.
a) Why would chef give estimate for 113 people when they planned to have 75? Obviously wanting to rip them off. Don’t say that they always give 1.5x more, because a normal business IMO would quote “amount we think is needed for 75 people for 5 hours”, not some weird “let’s always quote customers for 1.5x more people than they want”.
b) Also, I think that a normal business would let people order any amount of food they want to order (politely suggesting if their experience says it is not enough or way too much), not only if the kitchen staff knows the owner of their own restaurant (??).
c) Connected to the b, a good business would have said “yes, of course we can make you the x amount of appetizers, but we’d like to warn you that if you ask us to bring more food during the event, it will cost 1.5x more than the original price”. Obviously, it was not done, or surely you wouldn’t have said “the desperate mother was informed”, but rather “was reminded”.
Late read and trust me, people eat more than you think.
Catered top your own baked potato for a group I belong to, for fifteen. Woman quoted it, was paid, showed up, and the gals were’ have a little potato with your toppings.’ Literally ran out halfways through. Woman caterer had to foot it home and whip up a second batch. Not that the first round was skimpy. I was late and came walking in as 15, there was a potato and literally nothing left, and the woman gave the most exasperated (I don’t blame her)expression, and I said no, no, I’ll be fine…. and I eked out enough butter and sour cream to be happy. I seen the bowls that had smear marks to there, if she’d had to fill those TWICE…
I know what food service portions are like, the calibrated scoops and everything (I used them for years in various jobs and invested in some to help with my current diet issues for portion control.)
Buffets, some go crazy. I’ve read many in the annals here where the food per head, they catered for 300 for a buffet and running out of food about 100 in because the first ones loaded plates. Made me a fan of if you are having a catered, you have it plated and served or there will not be enough. IF I do order buffet I order 2.5 to 3 times the number of people coming. Even with no Tupperware, I am usually lucky to have a couple of servings/meals to take home.
I can totally understand the cook quoting 1.5 for number of servings. I also can totally understand them running out that fast. ‘free food’ seems to bring out a scarfing frenzy in a lot.
I admit I have been guilty of “camping” at a restaurant table in the past when out with friends. Sometimes we get caught up in conversation and lose track of time. Most of the time, though, we’ll continue to order drinks or coffee for the time we are at the table, and when we are finished our meal, we will get up and go somewhere more appropriate to sit and talk. However, never in my life have I gone 5 hours sitting at a restaurant table. That is ridiculous.
I waited tables for 8 years through college and grad school and while looking for my career. It was a neighborhood pizza joint and by the time I left I was an assistant manager. I’m not sure in our restaurant which was worse, the all night campers or the 5 minutes before closers. We had enough tables and quick enough turn over that one camper table didn’t effect your tips too much, but we never had a situation that escalated to the customers REFUSING to leave. At that point in the night, why not move on to a cocktail bar if you want to continue the night out?
I appreciate now restaurants who post ‘kitchen hours’, so that people who show up 5 minutes before the restaurant closes know they will not be able to order food. Where I live, the bar area of the restaurants stay open hours after the kitchen closes (kitchen closes at 10, bar closes at midnight), so that diners may continue to drink/chat, but the majority of the staff can close up and go home. I wish my restaurant would have done that!
That happened to me once, unintentionally. We went to a pizza place after a movie, famished, unaware that we hit it just as they closed the kitchen. They did allow us to order a few quick items that required little prep and we made sure that 1) we hustled and 2) we tipped well. I think it helped that my husband was a regular there with his coworkers for lunch.
If it was simply a matter of waiting them out, why didn’t your manager send you home and stay there with the customers? The manager can then decide to let them stay indefinitely or ask them to leave.
Most servers are required to stay until all their customers have left.
this is so frustrating. i used to work at the mall where i live and without fail almost every night someone would slip in the door five minutes before closing time and shop we weren’t supposed to ask them to leave . but one night our air conditioning went out and this mom and daughter came in and wouldnt leave , even with it being so hot , even with us reminding her it was out and we were closing. finally my manager broke the rules and told her to leave. she had a sour attitude like we had done something wrong. i agree with another post on here. i have no idea why people hang around like that .
There’s no reason for this sort of entitled behavior. If you went to a salon for a haircut, would you linger in your chair after you were done, chat for an hour with the woman next to you, then create a scene as justification for not leaving a tip? Restaurants are businesses, not train station waiting rooms. As far as a messed up order goes, I don’t give much weight to that. Kitchens get rushed, line staff are working on autopilot, someone grabs the wrong plate – accidents happen. What I pay attention to is how the mistake is handled. A swift explanation, a priority request for a replacement, and a little extra attention for the rest of the meal usually prompt me to leave a better tip rather than none at all.
How odd that people like that would even know about ehell. I wonder what they think when they read the stories.
I have lingered to talk with people. I usually do it at a diner at an unbusy hour. I’m a pretty decent tipper. I cannot understand staying past closing at a restaurant.
Many, if not most places in North America have legally mandated closing times for places which serve alcohol. There is both a legally mandated closing time, and a time for “last call” – beyond which time no more orders for alcohol can be placed. This is not negotiable. Under certain circumstances, restaurants can remain open after the “serving time” has finished, but all alcohol must be cleared. Your typical 24-hour fast food or diner is exempt, but a high-end restaurant which serves wine would be under the same laws, though this is not the case in the OP – aside from perhaps some places in Utah or the “Bible Belt” of the southern US, “closing time” is on the far side of midnight.
I worked in a couple of restaurants when I was younger. I believe that in a restaurant where people pay a lot of money for a meal, it is okay for them to linger after they’ve finished, but 5 hours is ridiculous. Staying past closing, just to talk is even more ridiculous.
Worst case of camping that I ever saw was at our favorite restaurant during Christmas season. It was a Friday night about 2 weeks before Christmas, so naturally lots of large parties celebrating (work groups, friend groups, family groups, etc.) This was a very nice restaurant for the area, and it also took reservations.
DH and I showed up for our reservation at 7:00 and the host had to sadly inform us that it would be at least 30 to 45 minutes before we could be seated. The problem was that many of these celebrating groups had taken up large numbers of tables and were continuing their celebrations long after dessert was cleared away and coffee was done. In some cases, this was seen as time for the commencement of a gift exchange, right there in the restaurant at the table. Some groups had been there for 2 or 3 hours and just were not leaving. Management was trying everything they could, but short of telling people they needed to leave, nothing was working.
We stuck it out for about 20 minutes because of a hope that maybe a group would leave while we were waiting, but we eventually had to leave due to schedules that night. While we were there, it was great amusement to watch someone come swanning in, dressed up for a nice night at the restaurant and whatever afterwards, taking one look at us poor people who were standing and waiting, and then have them stride confidently up to the host station and state they had a reservation for X time. And then be told to join the rest of us who also had reservations.
With various clubs in past, we would make reservations at restauarants, and specify we needed 2-3 hours as we were going to have a gift exchange and such…. so. The places usually had semi private dining areas and that is what we would ‘book’. We were all mostly good customers, tipped well, kept the mess down and would leave on time… that’s massively different than just showing up, taking over some tables and not leaving. With advance warning and reservations well ahead; the restaurant could plan for it and take reservations accordingly. And we usually tried to book on a weeknight or during afternoon weekend when there would be a lull.
Most restaurants around here reserve blocks of time on special occasions, such as New Year’s Eve or Valentine’s Day. They will take a reservation for 7PM-9PM, so it’s clear that there is an ending time. If only all restaurants did that.
It’s incredibly rude to take up hours at a table after your food has been eaten and cleared away, when there are other people waiting for your table.
Exactly, a standing line means someone else wants to enjoy what you just did…. pack it up already!
Ugh..Valentine’s day. A little off topic but last Valentine’s Day DH and I decided to go to a Thai restaurant we like. We made reservations, knowing that every place in town would be packed. We got there and every table was taken and the lobby was crammed with people.
Apparently the folks at the restaurant didn’t understand the concept of a reservation…evidently everyone who called for one had their name taken down, but they didn’t actually reserve tables for anyone. So all these people who got there ahead of us-reservation or not-got seated. They told us our wait would likely be 2 hours. We tried a few other places but of course no one had any openings.
DH ended up having a frozen pizza and I had cold cereal for dinner instead. 🙁
Samihami – and here I was thinking the Seinfeld episode where they ‘reserve’ a car for Jerry and don’t actually have one was pure fiction!
A group of friends and I reserved a private room for an evening at a restaurant. When we arrived we found out that the group who had reserved the room four hours before was still in there, hanging out. The staff couldn’t do anything about it. So each time a new member of our group showed up (and there were 13 of is total), we would have them stride confidentially into the room and then loudly express surprise that their group wasn’t in there as we had a reservation for that room. Or perhaps someone in their group knew of another private room that maybe our group was actually in? It only took a few of us doing that before the group left.
Most restaurants where I live will tell people on busy nights that they can only have the table until X o’clock. When it comes up to that time, they are reminded to leave.
I worked at a craft store and we often had last minute people slipping in and wanting to shop till well after closing. My friend who worked registers and customer service desk could tell far more stories than I can. One example being a lady that came in shortly before closing and wanted to do a return on 300$ worth of merchandise. It took over an hour if I remember correctly.
One I experienced was a lady who got to the fabric area (my area) about 15 minutes before closing. They announced the closing time at 30 min till, 20 min till, 15 till, 10 till, 5 till and “we are now closing”. This customer ignored them all and kept wondering through the fabric. At 5 minutes after closing I went over and said “I’m sorry but the store has closed now, you’ll need to take any purchases to the front now to be checked out.” I got a “yeah, just a minute”. We all did all of our closing work. She was still wondering around. My manager calls me and asks if they are still in my area and please tell them again that it’s time to go. At 15 after I go tell them again that they need to go check out. “yeah, almost done”. Through all of this, they’ve not picked any fabric, so though I’ve asked them if I can cut any fabric for them, the answer is no and they just keep wondering around. Finally at 20-25 minutes after closing my manager told me enough, that the registers were closed and to get the people out of the store. I finally had to tell them, “The store closed some time ago, the registers have all been closed so you can no longer buy anything, you have to leave now.” She got huffy but finally left.
I have a personal rule that if it is 15 minutes or less till closing, I will not go into a store unless I am going after one thing that I know exactly where it is and can get in, grab it and check out and leave before closing time.
What needs to be done in most businesses is for folks to think about closing times.
So our local grocery store closes at 9 pm. But if I go in at 7:30 or 8:00, the boy is already mopping the floors, and he gets very upset if we walk down the aisle to get groceries where he’s mopping. It’s dangerous as well. I asked him one night why he had to do it at that time, and not at close time., but he had no response, just a shrug.
Think about it. If you want everyone out of the door with the place clean by 9:00, then close at 8:00. After the store closes you can either finish those late bird shoppers, get the place cleaned up, and be on your way by 9:00.
Why is that difficult for businesses to do? BECAUSE THEY DON’T WANT TO BE CLOSED AND NOT MAKING MONEY. So then it becomes okay to harass customers who come at the last minute (some by accident, others because they couldn’t help it) and be harsh to them about closing time, even cleaning with extremely loud detergents right next to them—sometimes an hour or more before the store/restaurant even closes! (This happened to me recently a sub/baked potato deli/restaurant where the girls started cleaning with Lysol in the area next to us that was closed. But it was at least 1 hour before closing! I gagged on my food, it was hideous)
It is very irritating to customers to come into a place BEFORE it closes and not be able to finish what needs to be done. It’s not right for the employees to act snippy or worn out or harsh when the business isn’t closed yet. Every business owner should know that to say we are closed at 5 means you either need to turn off the lights, usher everyone out and lock the door at 5, or you need to be able to schedule employees to work for up to an hour after the closing time.
At my business, our employees are scheduled for an 8 hour shift, but our customer service hours are only 6 hours open. Gives us time to get things ready, do inventory, etc., THEN open for business, THEN close and get ready for tomorrow, order inventory, put up decorations, even sit around and socialize with each other for a bit with a drink etc. before we go home.
There is no retail store that is going to schedule employees to work an hour past closing time. Businesses intend to make money and they certainly aren’t doing so with 10 employees on the clock after store hours. Companies I’ve worked for (and it’s been a few) schedule employees a max of 15 min before opening and 15 min after closing. As a former retail employee, I understand a customer grabbing a few things 10 min before closing time, it’s the people who come it at 9:58pm and want to wander around for 20 min, unfold 3 tables worth of clothing, get mad when the lights go off (automatically because they’re on a timer) and leave without purchasing anything that make us want to strangle someone. I work in an office now and if someone shows up or wants to have a lengthy phone conversation 5 min before the office is closed, it’s still irritating. I will help you, but I won’t be happy. At 5:31, you’re officially on my personal time, not my work time, and I have my own business to take care of before other places close.
There are no retail companies that schedule and pay past closing? There are. Just from personal experience, Bath & Body Works will always schedule a manager (required) and at least one other staff member to close the store, for a full hour. Typical closing shift for our 10a-9p store was 7-10p. BUT that hour was full of stuff to do, even for a small to mid size store, so a lingering shopper was still a kink in the system if they stuck around much longer than 5-10min.
Ross always schedules an extra 30 mins at night for clean up after the store closes.
I totally understand your frustration but be kind to the poor kid mopping. I know how it goes: store closes at 9, everyone absolutely MUST be clocked out by 10 on the dot or there’s hell to pay BUT you will also get in trouble if you don’t complete all of your closing duties. There were times when we would clock out and keep working just so we wouldn’t have to deal with the fallout.
I don’t think most places begrudge you 5-10 minutes, but when they are closed, it’s time to get going.
I agree with you because I used to work in a place that closed at 6 PM, and I was paid till 6 PM. That added up to a lot of unpaid work on my part as customers were still lined up at the till and banging on the door to get in at 6 PM. And management refused to round up those people who were still browsing (often with full shopping carts) well after the announcement and the lights had dimmed. It was a nightmare. At a subsequent place I worked, we were paid to half an hour beyond closing, because yes, it takes time to get those last customers out, and then count up your till and so on.
I might go into a store 10 minutes before closing with the awareness that I only have 10 minutes, so I only go if I know I can be in and out by closing time, but I have to say I’m genuinely confused if the whole place appears shut and I still have 10 minutes according to the sign. If you want to close at 5:50, close at 5:50 and reflect that in your signage.
On the other hand, I recently wandered into some kind of tourist gift shop while on holiday; the doors had been wide open when I walked in. I spent some time browsing as they had some very nice stuff. I was the only one in there. I eventually paid for a few minor items, and then I noticed as soon as I’d gone the place went into “closed” mode. I was kind of embarrassed as I would have picked up the pace and paid up a lot sooner if I’d realized I was the only person preventing the employee from going home.
I still think people need to respect when they are asked to bring their purchases to the counter and pay up and leave, though, at closing time.
If I were paid until 6 pm, I would be leaving at 6 pm. If management wanted me to stay late to take care of stragglers/closing routines/etc, they will pay me, period. It’s illegal for an employer to allow a worker to work off the clock, much less demand it.
I had a similar experience at a restaurant. I flew in late and wanted to grab a bite before I got on the road home. Stopped at a chain restaurant that was open, but I knew they were either closing in 10 minutes or an hour and 10 minutes, and they had no hours posted on the door. The hostess greeted us and we asked if they were closing in 10 minutes. Her response was, “we are happy to seat you,” because at most corporate places they can’t discourage anyone from coming in even if it’s 10 minutes till close. To this day I still have no idea what time they close?
“Think about it. If you want everyone out of the door with the place clean by 9:00, then close at 8:00. After the store closes you can either finish those late bird shoppers, get the place cleaned up, and be on your way by 9:00.”
Except people will still wander in at 19:55 and refuse to leave, because they are “just looking” or “be ready in a minute”, which puts the cashing-up tills, last minute cleaning back even further. So you won’t be ready to leave your shift at 21:00 at all. It will still be delayed. And part of the problem of that *is* the customer who obstinately wants an entire business to be put on hold while they d their thing. And then there are the customers who simply won’t look at the closing times, and still except a business to stay open until they’re done.
Where I work, I’m quite fortunate in that respect because we can tell the customer (politely) that the tills are now closed, and direct them to the door. We also run five shops in one building, so we need to be the ball. We have half an hour to cash in several tills, and in the evening fifteen minutes after closing to cash out tills. Despite the extra time, there are still delays when someone drags their heels.
I can relate to this- I went to a chain sandwich shop this past weekend. When i walked in, the guy running it had all of the toppings pulled out and placed in the storage bins he would return to the fridge, all of the chairs on the tables, and everything was basically stacked on the counter to be put away. It was 8:10. The store closed at 9:00. The guy waas clearly annoyed I was there- but when I said I would just leave, he responded “oh, no, its ok, I am gonna help you this time”…uhhh, thanks?? I was only getting one sub to go, and was out in 5 minutes. But really?? I would have understood if it was 8:45 and he was in “go home mode”, but he had almost an hour left, and seemed mighty annoyed to have to spend it working.
I also had the “regular rude customers” when I waited tables 15 years ago at a local “applebee-style” chain- this same group, as few as 3 and as many as 8, came in EVERY DAY for lunch. They ALWAYS shared orders (1 plate for 2 people), needed extra ice, wanted coffee, and would linger for 2 hours plus. And they left 3.00 tip between 8 of them if you were lucky. If there were only 3, count on a crisp dollar bill. Good times. I hear they still do it now.
Oh, and they were rude- they would literally SHAKE their 3/4 full glass at you when you walked by to indicate it wasnt full and this was a problem.
I would’ve called the chain corp # and reported it. I can understand if it’s very dead most of the time but if he expected to drop the stuff at that hour, he also expected to turn the lights off right after that. Otherwise leaving all that food on the counter like that instead of under the refrigeration it’s supposed to get in the prep area, is asking for some food to go off and someone to get sick.
I’m like you. I don’t want to be there after they close. I’m very uncomfortable about that.
On holidays most large grocery stores send the big dude to police the door about 15-20 min before closing, if not 30; to empty out the store. I did desperately need something just before close one Thanksgiving and met the fellow at 15 to close, insisted I knew exactly where it was, and I did be not nice and darted under his arm so to speak.
I did show up in the line, he could see me from where he was standing in UNDER 2 minutes with said item plus two more things that were right there AT the cooler (I needed butter, I also grabbed some cream cheese and a thing of bagels there as a ‘point of tempting’ display) and was out of there. (I will sit on the tuffet inside the door at e-hell for this one)
Those that want to show 5 min to close then spend two hours filling a cart, mreep.
It’s stories like this that make me wish places could be more proactive in removing people who just lollygag at a place all day.
The only place I’ve ever worked that actually let us do it was the YMCA, and even then there were times we had to call the police because people wouldn’t leave the locker rooms, saying things like “My hair is still wet”. That’s great mam, but it’s been an hour since we closed, you ignored our politer requests to get you to leave, so now you can talk to these nice officers.
The dumbest incident of people lollygagging was when I worked at a restaurant for a while, and there was a family who liked to come in five minutes before closing, most Sunday nights, an order the most complicated subs you can imagine. Just making their subs would keep us there ten minutes after close because they wanted pretty much every thing we had in the place on their sub. Thankfully they always got them to go. One time I worked Sunday night, and they had come in. Then I worked Monday morning and got there and my manager called me over to the office where she and another employee were laughing hysterically. She proceeded to play a voicemail that had been left on the store’s answering machine. It was a woman from the family who came in the night before at 7:55. It said, and I quote “It’s 9:30 on Sunday night and you made one of our subs wrong and I’m not here and I knocked on the door and no one is answering. Someone needs to come to the door right now and make my sub right!” Yes, she had shown up an hour and a half after close, and expected one of us to be there to fix her sub. Now, we fixed subs if we made them wrong, obviously, and we were deeply apologetic if we had screwed up. But if you want us to fix it, you need to show up when someone is actually going to be there!!
People showing up at the drive thru of my friend’s yakitori chicken place at 10 min to close and INSISTING there was a big order waiting for them, they’d called ahead. (This was an independent geared to FAST food drive through, with a few sit down tables; not the big fancy chain yakitori place down and over that served alcohol too and had a real menu). Finally getting it across to them they better hoof fast to the other place as THAT is where they called and the place closed when we did (we shut dining room about an hour before drive thru for security reasons) so the reason they couldn’t get in our door was they had the wrong place. And the other place got lots of last second people that would want to sit down in THEIR place to spend two hours eating…. or those that INSISTED we were the liquor store in the strip mall behind our place; which never ever had a drive through.
Or it is yellow and red and black, is obviously done in faux oriental and glaringly NOT a donut place, but. The place that closed a year before WAS a donut place and served biscuits and gravy, and when the lights went back on people would be giving the morning prep cook a MAJOR hassle and hissyfits at the drive thru window (it got the glass punched a few times) because they couldn’t get biscuits and gravy. The owner caved and made the morning prep (5 am, I did this shift for a long time) open the drivethru at 6 for B&G. We didn’t open the dining room until 7:30 so less security issues… and the second person came on then, so.
I remember working in retail and people coming in literally a minute before closing and saying, “I just need one thing” and staying for a half hour or more. Also one time had someone run in the door after closing, lights are off and everything, when one of those last-minute shoppers left. They just had to get “one thing.” We weren’t allowed to tell them to leave, either, and obviously turning off the lights didn’t even deter them. There were plenty of times I was there more than an hour after close, waiting on them to leave so I could do closing duties.
One time I was one of those last minute shoppers and didn’t know it. Go into store, start shopping and it barely even registers to me that the music goes out. Going along and looking, when the lights go out and I hightailed it to the cashier and apologized profusely.
(college town with three uni’s close in and linked by bus system) I worked the 24 hour place night shift in the mall parking lot where the two interstates crossed. We were known for our dinner plate sized caramel and cinnamon rolls and bottomless coffee cup. We got a lot of students that decided that a roll, coffee and a dime tip (being fair, my regulars would dump me $20 when the financial aid came in, but) meant they could break out the books and study for 3-4 hours while I poured them coffee and got no tips. While we had a standing line. I would not throw them out though; I let management do that. Yes they complained but. Usually at 2 am the place was empty, all the drunks from the bar across the street had serviced their munchies attack and it was pretty dead until 6… but. Height of supper, no. If it was truly dead, they could stay, if we were to the rafters, the backpacks getting unzipped meant they were hoofed.
No way would they have let the table stay to closing; IF they were still buying and being served, they could have stayed to ten minutes of close (we did close a few times a year for a day or so to do deep clean and maintenance of stuff) then been sent. Protest? No problem with calling police, and because of the bar nearby they WOULD show up promptly. It would normally kill our business for an hour or so if we did have to call the police but we would. After about an hour and table being quietly picked up, if they were still there on a blather, the manager might take the coffee pot and start the suggest on pack it up…. (once in a great while manager would actually ‘miss’ with the coffee pot, apologize, comp their meal and call it ‘no loss’ to get rid of them-this was extreme but it happened about once a year)
Yup, this is more extreme than some of my own serving experiences (no, a business does NOT have to serve you after their posted closing time. Sorry, it doesn’t work that way.) but I don’t find it hard to believe at all.
On New Year’s Eve one night, my coworker got stuck waiting for a table until 1am. Of all the New Year’s activities going on around the city, they had to hog a table and prevent him from leaving (we closed at 11). Their total bill was $150, and he was an experienced, full-time, career-server, not just a kid who didn’t know how to give good service (not that some young people don’t make excellent servers) so there was no doubt that he took good care of them…and they left him a $10 tip. We weren’t an expensive restaurant and this was a group of four, so they must have kept him hopping to ring up that big of a bill. At least they did eventually leave willingly, unlike these nut jobs in the OP’s story.
Since my own serving experiences in college, I make an effort to move somewhere else if the meal is over and we want to continue socializing, or at least to tip extra for the time we took up the table. Thankfully, my schooling is finished, I hope I never have to serve another table again, and I am a teacher, so I can send the people I “serve” to the principal’s office if they are rude to me (just kidding- I love my job and my kids!!).
1. Yes, the people who stayed in the restaurant for five hours and didn’t tip were rude.
2. This thread reminded me of this clip:
Dick’s method of tipping reminds me of a story that my friend once told me.
When she was in high school, she worked for a local diner. There was one customer that was kind of a pain in the butt and they would all draw straws to see who would be his server. There was no pleasing this guy. EVER. Besides complaining about everything under the sun, he would also line up four quarters in front of him and would take away a quarter for every (alleged) infraction he felt that the server had committed, even if nothing has been done wrong. She said it was pretty clear that the guy was just a cheapskate.
So, right before leaving this job to go off to college, my friend tells this customer, “Look, I’m going to give you my best service whether you leave me a good tip or no tip at all. So you might as well just keep your quarters.” The customer got mad that his leverage was taken away from him, but her manager backed her up.
That’s so bizarre that you aren’t allowed to tell them to leave! I worked at a national chain sandwich shop in college, and we announced closing and simply shut down. I don’t remember ever having a customer left after closing time. Then again, 10 mins before closing time we started mopping with a pretty nasty solution (enough to make your eyes burn), so nobody in their right minds would want to stay.
I can see the customer service argument, but after running my own business for a while, I’ve decided not to encourage the types of customers I don’t want. It’s working well and business isn’t hurting… maybe because the existing customers know there won’t be nonsense happening.
To any managers here: It really wouldn’t hurt the business to kick out the lingerers (who rarely buy anything much anyway), especially if you consider it against the overtime pay you really should be paying the workers.
What she said. Good help won’t stay in a business that allows customers to treat them poorly, and good customers won’t patronize such a business.
If a regular “good” customer really needed something out of the ordinary (desperately needed one item just after closing, etc) I don’t think any business owner or good employee would have a problem with that, as long as there wasn’t a risk of breaking business policy. But, the stragglers are rarely the good customers- they’re the punks who shoplift, the people who completely mess up immaculate displays just to grab one thing, the teenage girls who run through the store screaming and scare other customers away. They (unfortunately) rarely mean it when they say they’re never coming back again, but it would probably be better for the entire business if they would stay away!
[LIKE] x’s a 1,000.
Not quite as bad as the overstayers in OP’s submission, but I’ve had to stop visiting my local popular UK chain coffee shop because, now the students have returned at the start of term, it’s impossible to get a table. They turn up at 9am with their laptops, order a small Americano and a muffin, connect to the free WiFi and hang around all morning. We do not have free refills in the UK!
It’s not unusual to see a single student taking up a table for 4. One morning I walked past on my way to work at about 8.45am, and when I walked by again on my way to buy lunch, at about 1.30pm, the same guy was sitting in the window seat. The shop must be losing business, but they seem reluctant to stop the table hoggers from moving on.
I’ve seen some places that have signs up that say we have the right to ask you to leave after X amount of time (about 1.5 hours) and you have to ask for the day’s password, and they note the time you collected your food and drink from the counter IF you ask for it, and seen them ask people to leave. [my addiction for quad expresso shot mocha/vanilla grande’s are almost always TO GO in my nice big steel insulated ‘glass’ with the bombproof lid and I remember the barista who made it in the tip jar]
Yeah, that’s called, “Excuse me, is anyone sitting here?” then plonking down the second their reaction shows that nobody is. They tend to leave after that. I cannot imagine why!
I used to do trivia at a local restaurant. The person who ran the trivia game is a friend of mine, and I would often get there early to chat with her.
The restaurant wanted her to set up on a certain table in the bar area. They had a policy of not seating people there an hour before game time. (9 PM) However, on several occasions, the table would be full with “lingerers.” On two such occasions, the people had been there since 5 PM. The server whispered to the trivia host and myself that they had already paid their bill more than two hours earlier – but they refused to leave.
So, my friend, wanting to get the game started, decided to go ahead and set up. She put the stuff on the smaller table beside them, and the first thing she took out were the speakers. The lingerers took one look at the speakers and decided they REALLY didn’t need to hang out after all. They quickly put their coats on and left – after over four hours.
The icing on the cake is the no tip. Wow.
I’ve been known to “camp” a table, but I pay attention to the surroundings to make sure we aren’t creating a back-up. And when I do, it’s an hour tops of “camping”. Basically, if the meal is done and you still want to continue your conversation, you need to relocate. Bar, coffee shop, park, someone’s house, anywhere.
When I worked retail, we’d sometimes get people coming in to shop 5 minutes before closing. At closing, I’d lock the door and then walk around to inform the customers that we’re closing up and encourage them to take their purchases to the register. We’d wait about 15 minutes before actually shutting down. I get tore a new one a few times for not having an open register when they’re ready to buy something. Hey, I warned you!
I work in a restaurant and I don’t mind whatsoever people lingering, even for hours – AS LONG AS they are not taking up tables that would otherwise be filled with other paying customers. I have unfortunately seen many people linger at their tables for far too long, even though they can plainly see other people are coming in and looking for seats. Thankfully we are a small operation and there is a lot of turnover, plus some of the tables can be split in two, so I rarely have to make an issue of it. I second the others complaining about how service workers get no respect as to the fact that they might want to go home at the end of their shift. It’s true I get paid more for staying longer, but sometimes nothing is worth the feeling of being able to head out the door after a long day. If people just don’t notice that we are about to close, that’s kind of understandable, if still irritating. But I have had people roll in and grin at me saying “only five minutes to closing! we just made it!” and proceed to order a bunch of food to eat in and of course linger over. Every time I have to be polite to people like that, I die a little inside. Thankfully, I have found that people as rude as those the OP describes are few and far between – at least, where I work.
My mind has been blown by some of the stories in this comment section. I’m from Northern Europe, and I see a huge difference in the dynamic in customer service between here, and the US. While profit is still the priority, on an individual scale employee needs still trump customer needs. I worked at McDonald’s for several years and we weren’t discouraged from telling customers firmly to leave if they were just hogging tables, and especially if we were closing. We regularly threw groups of teens out because half of them would buy small cokes and then a dozen of them would sit there for hours. We were free to turn customers away if they got out of line, and didn’t have to worry about losing our jobs.
I’ve popped down to stores 15 minutes before closing just to quickly see if they had item y, and often got politely told that they’d be closing soon (and I reassured them I was in and out in minutes). It’s considered customary here, anyone who complained about that would be given the hairy eyeball.
And if you try to stay beyond closing time, the staff will all but physically throw you out, or call a guard to actually escort you out.
While businesses strive for customer satisfaction here, no single customer is ever treated like royalty. If we’re closing, we’re closing, I don’t care who you are. If you’re generally being a nuisance, we have no obligation to bend over backwards to please you.
I remember working on DriveThru one night when a particularly drunk man in a cab came up and made a thorough hassle of ordering and paying and was generally very difficult and irritating and holding back the whole car line. I finally snapped that unless he starts behaving, I’m not serving him. He pulled the old “you’re gonna lose my money and I had a big order!” I just looked at him and said, “I get paid by the hour, not by how much I sell. Goodnight.” Closed the window and waited for him to drive off.
That really is how it should be. Why allow rude customers run your business (as is the case in some anecdotes)?
I am from Europe as well and I don’t get this policy of not being allowed to ask people to leave when the restaurant or store is closing, or even tell them the store is closing.
It’s unfair towards employees and it sends the message to rude customers that they can just do whatever they want and stay for as long as they want to.
I never experienced it here though, only read about it on Notalwaysright and similar places, and it always baffles me.
On the contrary, I have been told in a restaurant, when coming in late at night, half an hour before closing, that the kitchen was in the process of closing, and all they could fix me was a salad and something to drink.
And I have also been told in a grocery store that the registers would be closing down in five minutes, so would I please finish my shopping and head there to check out.
And that’s perfectly fine! Employees have lives outside the workplace and places of business have business hours.
As has been said before, a business should not put a few rude customers’ “needs” before the real needs of their employees.
I had a friend who used to bring cards and board games to restaurants and camp out for HOURS with her husband. There were a few places she ended up boycotting because they told her after several hours(and usually during a second or later visit) to move along. Now, she never stayed past closing, and would order drinks sporadically throughout the day, so at least there was that. However, she could sit at a place from noon until well past dinner hour if she really got into the gaming. I think her longest stretch was something like 12 hours, though most of her camp outs were in the 6-8 hour range.
The real kicker for me was that she had actually been a waitress at one point in her life.
There was one hobby store I used to frequent that would let us bring food in, or order pizza delivery… on Friday night and all day Sat and Sun an those nights. You had to PAY a monthly fee, then you could use available back room and basement space to meet with your chums and game. We also got the owner ‘hooked’ and gaming with us, so he’d stay later…. and with warning he’d go answer the pizza guy with the order-paying designated body at the front door. In this case we COULD loiter, linger, and game. (and the traditional Fri and Sat night 10 pm break to run across the street, that parking lot and go hit up the (convenience store/gas station) to buy massive amounts of munchies–they were expecting it and had the registers manned then … and the smokers would figure out which way the wind was blowing and go burn some down…)
This was just her and her better half? Why couldn’t they game at home? Sheesh! And she’d been in the trenches????? (shakes head)
I’m sorry Peep, but could you clarify; do you know why your friend chose to do this at restaurants, instead of at home? I am confused and curious.
I don’t know why she’d do it. It was just one of her things she liked to do. I wouldn’t be surprised if there was a weird story attached to why she started doing it(some crazy roommate in the past who didn’t let her have people over maybe). She’d also play at home, but she really enjoyed going out to play.
Most of the time it was cards, not board games if that makes it any better. They also were not totally without manners with it. Both her and her husband ate at the restaurant before starting to play, and would keep the order going with drinks sporadically throughout the day(though that usually included free refills). And she did tip, though it was usually a standard tip as she had incredibly high standards for service. They also only started this around lunchtime, so they never kept the staff from going home on time. And they were vaguely aware of the crowds. Most of the time if there was a line of people waiting for a table, they’d wrap up for the day. Most of the time it would work like that.
She still would be incredibly offended if the restaurant kicked them out though. She was adamant that “the rules” were that if you bought a meal, you could stay as long as you wanted to.
Thanks for clarifying; I couldn’t quite wrap my head around why… Actually I still can’t quite understand the ‘why’, but it sounds like your friend is considerate in most areas, and not a rude boor. And I suppose in rainy weather, sometimes you just need a change of scenery and to get out of the house? At least they’re not in a library disturbing the peace I suppose? Thanks for sharing!
I’ve seen this kind of behaviour so many times – working in shops, in pubs, and even now as a receptionist in a law firm, there are always ‘customers’ who feel entitled to turn up at the last minute and expect to be catered to. The most irritating example was a group of 4 men who drank in the pub where I worked every Friday and Saturday night. They would drink pints of beer fairly steadily through the evening, then when we rang for last orders (in the UK at this time, pubs had to stop serving at 11pm and customers were allowed 20 minutes’ ‘drinking-up time’. This was the law and applied to everyone). At the sound of the bell, each of these delightful chaps would order at least 3, and sometimes up to 5 pints of beer. They would then linger over their alcoholic stockpile for ages and ages. The landlord was never keen to kick them out as they spent so much money, so every weekend we would clean up around them, listen to their tuts and huffs about the noise from the glass washer or the smell of cleaning products. It was annoying as anything but I never ever understood why they wanted to linger where they so obviously were no longer welcome. There were other bars and clubs in town with late licences, they could easily have gone elsewhere. I can only guess it was the combination of a shocking lack of manners and the thrill of getting to stay late, nursing a couple of inches of warm beer. Some people…
A friend of mine once accused my family of “camping” because I commented how when we’re all out as a family (12-14 of us at least), we often take 2-3 hours to eat dinner. Now keep in mind that’s usually appetizer, main course, dessert, coffee, and several bottles of wine, but I figured at least an hour to eat dinner in a restaurant is fairly normal, even if it’s just a few people? (We always tip well, and we never stay past closing). Maybe it’s a culture thing, but unless you’re grabbing fast food, eating in a restaurant usually takes an hour or so. If you just inhale the food, there’s no time for conversation/catching up with family. If it’s a fancy dinner to celebrate something, isn’t 2-3 hours the norm?
That said, at least we have the grace to do it well before closing. I’ve worked retail, and fast food, and the people who come in right before closing, either to look around, or to make huge orders….it’s very frustrating. Or people who show up at 10-15 minutes past the end of breakfast and get upset that they can’t have their egg muffin or sausage roll. (as if it’s our fault you slept in too late?) -_-
If you are in a fancier restaurant with all those courses, then 2 hours is fine. I assume you tip. In a more casual restaurant, you probably are expected to move a little faster. If you are enjoying a nice meal, it’s ok to emjoy it.
We always tip at least 20% of total cost (drinks included), plus a bit extra if any kids are with us, since we know what dealing with kids are like (though my cousin’s kid charms every waitperson he sees like it’s a superpower). The only time I’ve ever stiffed a waitperson on a tip was the time I had literally the worst restaurant experience ever.
A large group having multiple courses? 2-3 hours sounds reasonable to me.
“Some groups had been there for 2 or 3 hours and just were not leaving. Management was trying everything they could, but short of telling people they needed to leave, nothing was working.”
I was part of this once. I made reservations at a chain restaurant for 3:00 Saturday afternoon for 18 people. We had a great meal, chatted a bit and were done in 2.5 hours. The place was starting to get busy and people were waiting for tables. I stood up as a signal that it was time to go. The manager came over and told us it was time to leave which I totally agreed with. One woman at our table got snotty with the manager and told him that if he would have waited 10 more minutes, we would be leaving anyway. How was the manager to know this, I don’t know.
I was so embarrassed! There were people waiting and we had been there long enough!
I hope those rude customers have the hangover of a lifetime.
Camping is certainly a problem in places. I live in San Francisco, home to a pervasive cafe culture. Lots of folks think it’s just fine to bring their laptops and use the cafe Wifi for 4+ hours without buying more than a cup of green tea (oh, and then wanting extra hot water for free). The few times I bring my work with me (it’s less hellish to grade a stack of papers accompanied by a latte and a slice of tart), I make sure to order stuff (not just a $1.50 tea) frequently and try to be sensitive to when the place starts to fill- such as sharing a table with another workaholic.
I really hate it when businesses have a policy of NOT asking guests to leave! I was once part of a group that accidentally stayed waaay too long and 10 years later, I still feel super embarrassed. We were in the bar area of a restaurant, having a few drinks and catching up after going back to University over the summer. The way the bar was set up we couldn’t see the rest of the restaurant where people were dining. The bartender was super friendly and kept asking us if we wanted more drinks. When we left there were a bunch of waitstaff out front waiting on us before they could leave. I felt HORRIBLE. There was no sign we were holding them up from inside the bar area: no one cleaned the bar area, no sound of a vacuum, no clock, no hint from the bartender. I really wish he would’ve just said something!
One time my friends and I were waiting for a table at a very popular, very crowded restaurant. We put our name in and waited. Finally the waitress said they were just waiting for a large group to leave and then we could have their table. Except the large group didn’t leave, even though they were done and their bill had been settled. They just kept camping out there and talking, totally oblivious to the fact that it was so busy and that others were waiting. Even when some of my party came over and stood by their table they still didn’t get a clue!
I would have gone up and asked if they’d mind leaving.
One small and very very popular restaurant in a college town just off campus, you stood and waited.. and they filled the table or booth. Period. My two friends were regulars there and still recognized but. We were seated on one side of a booth that just barely held us, and three others, one was a single, two were a couple, across. We all smiled and said hi’s, ordered, scarfed our excellent food and paid up and tipped… and that was the norm there. If you wanted to eat there, they did this and everyone that knew the place knew this is what happened. A table that sat four, might have four different singles at it… Only thing they did do was fill the seating unit at the same time, then cleared it when the people got up and refilled it at the same time. And you couldn’t loiter in there, elbow to elbow and the standing line against the wall there, you just couldn’t. Hissyfits and loiterers I was told would get hoofed…. wonder what stories they have to tell….
We didn’t say anything, but we were standing right at their table and staring intently at them so it was obvious.
We had the same thing happen to us (Frisch’s restaurant for brunch one Sunday) – in my case, it was me and 1 other person in our party who just finally went over and stood by their table, then had to ask that we were sorry, could they let us have the table now?
What is it about Frischs, especially on Sunday mornings, that attract the campers?! I had that happen to me twice!
I’m confused by restaurants discussed here that won’t ask patrons to leave a private room if someone else has reserved that room. I understand (though I don’t agree) why they won’t ask them to leave just for normal walk-in customers, but why risk alienating people who have made reservations, just so you can please people who have already eaten their meal and paid their bill?
I worked at a pub in London back when they stopped serving at 11 and had 20ish minutes to drink up. We also had a very lovely Rottweiler named Ria who lived upstairs with the manager and had a strong understanding of bedtime. At 11:20 if there were stragglers she was let out and would walk to the table and stare until the patrons found themselves no longer thirsty. I loved that dog.
I am a security officer (bouncer) and sometimes work at a bar at the local horse races, the races could have ended and hour earlier and the bar is closed but there are patrons who make their last drink last another hour or so. All the other guards around the jockey club have gone home but there is always one table of people, who sit there for an least and hour after everything has finished. They are usually the guys in expensive suites who are regulars and buy expensive drinks so the bar manager wont let me actually ask them to leave. My rostered shift is usually around 12 hours long, in that time I simply stand at the bar or maybe walk around the room every half hour or so, but that is it, I do not get a break I cannot sit down. Unless there is a brawl or an intox I need to remove I just stand in one spot. These people know that the only reason I am still standing in that one spot is because it is a licensed premesis and I cannot be let to go home until they have left so sometimes my shift goes for 13-14 hours and my back ends up so sore I can barely walk the next day. My boyfriend is also a bouncer and works for the same company, he is usually finished his shift and waiting in the car for an hour before I get there. This may not seem as bad as the restaurant situation but honestly there is NO reason for these people to still be at the table. Usually its dark, the bar is closed, the races have finished and even the jockeys have left, the cleaners are starting to clean the bar and the rest of the club/restaurant has packed up and gone home. These guys sit there with half a glass of warm beer for about and hour then drink it in a few gulps in the last seconds before they leave. They know I cant go home until they leave, its like a power trip for them.
Things like this mad me so mad! Do these people not understand that retail workers, restaurants workers, bouncers, etc, want to go HOME after work and we have lives, families and personal business to attend to??
Too bad you can’t just walk in a circle around that table since the management will not let you sit down while this group of jerks chit-chat.
It’s funny how, if a customer has to wait for a few minutes in a busy time for something, then they scream about it being hours. Yet when they are camped out for hours, they complain they only just got there. I want their magical watch!!
Chin up, there will always be the odd completely rude person who doesn’t understand common courtesy. Good luck with your studies