They seemed entirely unremarkable. A young woman, a young man and a small baby in a carrier. The baby slept in the carrier in the booth all through their dinner. The young woman ordered a you-choose-two Mexican combo plate...and ordered a third item that was listed underneath the regularly included choices in a section that says, "These choices available for an extra $ .55 cents". Knowing this has caused confusion in the past, I told her, "I'm happy to get that for you, but I just want to make sure you understand, that will be considered a you-choose-three with an extra .55 cent charge." For just one second, she looked irritated. "Yes, I read about the extra .55 cents. That's what I'd like." And she smiled. I figured we were at an understanding. I placed their order, brought out their appetizer, checked on them and got them refills, brought out their dinners, checked on them, offered refills, checked and did my little dessert tempting thing. I was at their table often enough, if I'd sat down I could've been having dinner with them. Everytime I had checked on them, they'd said the food was "perfect".
Then I dropped off their check.
I'm near the register, about half way across the restaurant from Table 7, and the young woman starts waving the check in the air and shouting, "MISS, COME HERE" which woke her baby, who started to wail at the top of its lungs. After a minute of pretending to be busy at the register (I had to give her time to take in all the dirty looks the near-by tables were giving her) I went to Table 7 and asked if there was a problem. "There most definitely is. I ordered a you-choose-two and you charged me for a you-choose-three. PLUS .55 cents." I looked at her for just a second, trying to will her to remember the conversation we'd had 30 minutes ago concerning this very topic. "Yes, ma'am. As I'd explained when you ordered, by getting the mini steak fajita burrito as well as your other options, you were ordering a you-choose-three, since you did get three items, one of which has an additional .55 cent charge." "Well, it wasn't even good." She pointed to her nearly empty plate then to her husband, "He had to finish it for me...*pause*...and the calamari was like rubber...*pause*...and I'm sure the margarita was watered down." "I'm sorry, if you'd told me any of this while you were eating, I'd've been happy to fix it for you. Since there's nothing *I* can do for I'll be happy to get the manager to come over and we'll see if there's anything that he can do for you."
I started to walk away, and she said, "No, I don't want to talk to your manager. I'll just pay for your mistake and never eat here again." She smiled smugly, her husband shook his head and the baby who'd been quietly crying for about five minutes started to wail again.
I told my manager about the exchange and asked that he take their check and try to calm her down. (I really don't need someone leaving angry and e-mailing the owners of the restaurant with exaggerated complaints, which has been happening quite often lately...though not directed at me, yet)
He listened to her complain how her food had been terrible and asked her, "Did you tell your server that you weren't enjoying your food?" "No." "Well, I'm sorry, she could've brought you something else but now that you're done the most we can do is take off 10%." "If you really were sorry, you'd just take it off entirely, but I guess if there's *nothing* else you can do, I'll take it."
And he did give her 10% off.
After she paid she walked back to Table 7 and put two shiny quarters down.
Luckily for me, while she was trying to get free food, her husband slipped me $8 and a piece of paper that said, "Sorry. It's the baby." Which, while sad, is still no excuse for such rudeness.