ma vie sur le patio
A couple in their late 40's decided to have their lunch on the patio. I was their server. And This Is Their Story. We'll call them Jack and Diane since I didn't have a chance to catch their real names. They sat down and ordered their drinks and food without incident. While not overly friendly, they were pleasant enough.
Then Jack lit a cigarette. I informed him that we don't allow smoking on the patio and asked him if he'd please put it out. He asked, "Why can't I smoke out here? The smoke's not getting inside." I explained that our patio is too close to the front door and that makes it illegal to allow smoking on the patio. He took another drag of his cigarette and said, "Well, that's bullshit." I told him that, yes, it is kind of a bullshit law, but it IS THE LAW and if he continued to smoke on the patio I would have to talk to a manager and the manager would have to take action. I also told him he was welcome to hop the fence and smoke on the other side, where he'd still be able to talk to Diane. He glared at me and put his cigarette out, grinding it into the cement.
I brought their food and checked on them. They ate every last bite of everything. After I left their check on Table 74 I went to another table to take their order. Jack got up quickly leaving the check on the table. I was worried he was still angry and was going to dine-and-dash* but as I was taking an order I couldn't follow right away. When I got back into the restaurant, they were standing at the register talking with the manager. I walked up in time to hear Jack tell the manager that his food had been so horrible he couldn't eat it and his server (me) had never come back to check on him. I tried to talk to the manager at this point, but the manager decided to ignore me and instead just give Jack his meal for free and a discount on Diane's meal. And of course, like all people who get a free meal, they didn't tip.
After they'd left I told the manager that that had been the "smoking guy" and he'd eaten all of his food, as well as told me it was good when I had checked on them. The managers only response, "Oh well. Guess he pulled the wool over my eyes."
Let me preface this story by telling you EXACTLY what we tell every table that asks to be sat on the patio. "You're more than welcome to sit on the patio...BUT. There are sometimes bees out there. Would you still like to sit on the patio?" It's much easier than every other table having to come back inside because a bee flew by their table.
After I greet the two young women at Table 71, and before I even have a chance to get their drink order, one of them asks me, "So, are you guys just trying to make sure no one sits out here? Because the girl up front told us there were bees and I don't see any bees." (It's very hard to convey the amount of attitude in this question over the internet..if you'd like to call me, I can say it like she did for ya...and you can feel the snarkiness for yourself) We'd just changed the traps or I'd have pointed out the 5,000 dead bees hanging in green canisters all around. Instead, I explained that we do have a bee problem, it's not horrible, but some people have a phobia or are allergic and it's easier to tell them about it first. They had a few margaritas and everything was fine.
As I was walking back inside (from taking Jack and Diane's order :-P) the girl who hadn't asked the question about the bees stopped me. "Um, miss. I just wanted to let you know, she (points at her friend) just got stung by a bee." I asked if they needed anything and the stung girl said she'd be fine...and they were. Normally, we don't give people free stuff if they're stung by a bee (as we have no control over the bees, and people are nearly always warned first) but I gave them a free margarita each.
Now, these girls were actually very nice about it all. Great customers, aside from the opening bit of snarkiness...but I just had to share this because I found it so beautifully ironic that a girl that thought we were trying to scare people from sitting outside with imaginary bees was then stung by a bee.
*dine-and-dash (a.k.a. chew and screw) - ducking out of a restaurant before paying for your meal