TalesFromYourServer: To some customers, servers don't even exist until they perceive a problem.
I’m a server/bartender at a small, family-friendly, regional corporation. Weekday lunches we get pretty busy with white collar, blue collar, and military folks on their lunch break.
These people are looking to get in and out of the restaurant quickly, so at lunch I drop checks shortly after I drop off their food. I give them the same spiel every time, because I am an unoriginal roboserver:
I’m going to go ahead and drop this off with you so you have it, but if you want desert or anything else just let me know.
Yesterday, we were particularly busy, and my entire bar section filled up quickly. One table was two women who were leisurely sitting and chatting, but to keep uniform, I dropped their check off when I went back to “see how everything was tasting.” I gave them my usual spiel, and one of them physically picked up the check and set it on her other side.
I bring them a couple refills but they are super easy to take care of. When their finished, I clear their plates and ask about desert. They reply:
No, just the check please.
The women go back to talking to each other, but I do my best to interject:
Oh, I actually have that set up for you right there.
The women seem to nod in recognition so I leave to take care of the hoards of other guests.
They don’t set down payment, which is weird seeing how they’ve asked for their check. So I stop by to see if they need something. Before I can even speak, the HBIC starts in on me:
We asked for the check ages ago why do we not have it? This service is so terrible blah blah blah
I sit patiently and wait for her to finish before replying:
Mam, your check is right there.
Their faces suddenly brighten and they just start laughing. They don’t apologize, and they joke about how blind they are to each other.
They end up tipping me 8%.