Camping Out Restaurant Style

by admin on October 27, 2014

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.

{ 6 comments… read them below or add one }

Lyndsay October 29, 2014 at 11:25 am

My boyfriend and another couple stopped into a local family pizza place we’d heard great things about. We were in jeans and sweatshirts and in our late 20’s. This was a Thu night, about 7pm. Their hours on the door said open until 10pm. We walked in and browsed the merchandise display at the front while people finished up their orders at the counter. There were people in the seating area itself and people at another counter picking-up to go orders. We got to the counter and said we’d like to place and order, to go, and would wait for it. The man, middle aged, snapped “No more orders tonight, pick-ups only!” and turned his back and ignored us. No other employee would make eye contact. We asked if we’d read the hours wrong. The same man just snapped “We’re closing now!” So we left and went home. Out of curiosity we called the place (they delivered) and asked if they were still open and if we could place a large order for delivery. A cheery female voice said sure, they were open until 10pm, what would we like? My boyfriend asked “Why, when we were just at your store 10-min ago were we told you were closing and couldn’t be served?” The female started stammering that that was the Owner’s decision (the man at the counter apparently) and that there was nothing she could do about it. We were pretty flabberghasted and not one of us or our friends have set foot for the past 6-years. The place is still open. We have no clue if we were mistaken for another group that had wronged the owner or what!

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MPW October 29, 2014 at 11:27 am

It’s incredibly naive to imagine that employees arrive and leave the moment that any place of business “opens” or “closes”. The hours during which a business – any business – is open to the public is different from the hours where people are working.

Years ago I left work mid-morning to go to the bank, hoping to be the first person in and get out quickly. I arrived at the bank, only to find a half-dozen seniors (the bank was across the street from a seniors apartment and assisted living facility) literally pounding on the doors. Inside the bank, the manager and tellers were preparing the bank for business – manager opening the vaults, tellers counting the float, bankers reviewing their appointments – and these people were so impatient that they would have broken down the doors if they could. Once I finally got in and did my business, I asked if this was common and they said that it happened usually every week, the day that government pension checks arrived.

This isn’t a rant about rude seniors who had all day to get their banking done, and got in the way of my urgent business. The point is that businesses need time to prepare before and after they are open to the public. Think of a bakery – that bread did not magically appear 5 minutes before the bakery opened at 6am. Think of the cleaning which is done after hours – I have never seen a vacuum or broom being used in a bank, much less in any “high-end” shop like a jewelry store – during “public open” hours.

Lingering aside, the public needs to learn that just because employees are at the store before/after “public open” hours, the work that they need to do has to be done privately. In the days when cash was king, it took quite a while to count the register till and make things balance – and this happened every day. It could only be done once the store was closed, and people were not allowed to just hang out because it created a security risk. Why would a restaurant or grocery store be any different?

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NostalgicGal October 29, 2014 at 9:45 pm

Friend’s yakitori place, doing open, meant arriving at 5, and spending a hard hour baking the biscuits (frozen but needed to be baked up) and making the gravy mix (by one gallon batches) and adding the sausage baked the night before and drained of grease… It took a good hour to get things ready; just to sell breakfast. I started having a few bother me at the drivethru about 5:30 and asking why I just couldn’t nuke them some of yesterday’s breakfast… and with a 2′ whisk in hand explain that I actually had to COOK the food, we made batches as needed and our policy was to not carry the B&G over. So you were getting fresh food and it took time to fix. I had biscuits in the oven, and was making gravy and needed to get back to my batch… oh. WHEN food was ready I’d turn the store’s outside sign lights on. It always ended up to be within 10 min of 6 (5 before to 5 after, usually before) and if they seen me walk through the place to get to the breaker panel to turn on the sign, by the time I’d get back to the drivethru window they’d be lined up. They did pass the word around too, that I was doing my darn best and though there was a light on in the kitchen I had to actually make the food first. (the place was voted best B&G in town for a few years running)

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Enna November 8, 2014 at 9:10 am

People should not behave like this. I go to a pub quiz and towards the end the bar staff will be cleaning away the empty glasses – they will say “you need to drink up guys” in a firm but fair tone and we take the hint that we need to drink up. Then they will come round saying “you nee do to leave now,” again, this said pofessionally. I think they have found by telling people to drink up it prepares them for getting ready. And it does. When we are told it’s time to go we know we need to go.

I am amazed that these people thought they could stay all day!

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nicole November 19, 2014 at 3:23 am

I don’t think people often realize the restrictions opening and closing hours have. I manage a high end clothing shop. As a poster before said, she never see’s a broom or vaccumn running during opening hours. Thats because I am there 30-45 minutes before open to vaccumn, dust, count the float, clean the glass, redress mannequins and any other jobs. The customer only see’s the end result of this work. Likewise at the end of the day, I am there 15-45 minutes after close to cash up, fill out our budget book, analyze our key performance indicators, fill out rosters and paperwork and do any urgent stock or visual merchandising. Often I am not paid for this time. I do it for love of my job and my store. We also operate in a mall and they have strict open/close hours. So when it’s 5:58 and we close at 6:00 and I politely ask if theres anything last minute you need or I can help you with because we close soon – it’s not to be rude or hurry you out. It’s because for health and safety reasons, plus security reasons and mall policy, you physically cannot be there past closing times. I think everyo one needs to work retail or hospitality at some point in their life.

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Sarah January 9, 2015 at 5:19 am

I worked 12 years in retail, could tell some stories, but the one that relates is a general seasonal complaint. those of you who know retail can probably see this coming.

I worked for the majority of my retail time at a Big Lots, in Michigan. Now, occasionally about 10-15 minutes we would get someone who comes in (usually after their shift.) and they want to do their shopping…many of them do try to hurry, some did not. Mildly frustrating because even though I and my coworkers had already been working for a few hours in prepping the store for the next day, to some extent it was hard getting anything done with having to constantly dodge around customers, address customer service requests, get price checks and carts from the lot, etc.

However, through most of the year the above is a piece of cake compared to…..THE CHRISTMAS SEASON. Though my hours increased during this time…(Yay, more money.) I dreaded this time of year.

The day after Thanksgiving, Christmas music. (Thankfully the year after our company found a station that mixed Christmas songs with regular, so that saved my sanity…sort of.

Customers who were generally pleasant before, became nasty because we didn’t have what they came in for…(Umm hello! You’ve been a customer of this store practically as long as I’ve lived in the area! (At that time about 15 years.) We’re widely known as a chain of closeout products, where there is not really much if any consistency! And no, I never ever have said anything remotely like that to a customer, and have always been polite and not shown my exasperation.
The 1-2 baskets of returns became 5-10. every single day. And since we were constantly putting out stock, this made it difficult to put the returns back.

The kids… Oh Dear Gods, the kids. I could have the toy section looking perfect, nothing on the floor. Go on my break and find the section completely torn up again. I remember crying several times. Had a manager who over heard me complain about it one day, she said she didn’t believe me because I always exaggerate. well the next shift I worked with her, I borrowed my friends Polaroid, snapped 2 pictures, went on my break and as that manager passed by, I handed her the pictures for proof. She didn’t say a word to me after that. I bought my friend a box of polaroid blanks as thanks, in addition to a verbal thank you.

The worst of it though is the ones who would deliberately wait till the last minute to come in the store to shop. No I don’t mean Christmas eve shoppers…I’ve been guilty of that one myself. I mean the ones who come in 10 minutes before the store closes, and proceeds to shop for their kids entire christmas!
We used to be able to tell customers (in addition to the announcements that we were closing.) to please make their way to a register so they can check out. But then, (Because our managers got complaints.) we were no longer allowed to say it. So…as a result, around Christmas we would not see the last customer out until 11:30. (Christmas season hours, we were open till 11.)

So…while I never want to work retail again…I know that I may need to for the sake of having employment. But it will not be a Big Lots.

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