“I love you,” the woman says dreamily.
“No, I love you more,” the man replies.
“How much more?” she giggles reaching across the table to take his hand.
“More than anything in the world,” he sighs.
It’s way past closing. The Bistro’s empty. The staff is waiting to break down the restaurant. Many of them have been here since 9 AM and want to go home. The only thing separating me from my post shift Guinness are these two saccharine love birds.
Taking a deep breath, I go over and drop the check.
“We’re not ready for the bill yet,” the man says sharply. The woman looks at me like I shot her cat.
I place the bill gently on the table saying “Whenever you’re ready sir.” (That’s waiterspeak for GET OUT.)
Of course they make no effort to pay. They continue to sit and prattle sweetly. I feel a diabetic attack coming on.
Now if you’re a waiter you’ve run into this situation countless times. What do you do when you have a late table that refuses to leave?
Well, since you asked…..
2. Drop check.
3. After appropriate interval and ask, “May I take that for you sir?”If they pay and leave – great. If they shoo you away? Well…
4. Take off your apron. A subtle hint.
5. Take off your tie. Less subtle.
6. Take oils and condiments off table for cleaning.
7. Return said condiments. (Aforementioned table leaves at this time)
Still not moving?
8. Slowly turn off house music.
9. Turn UP loud Spanish music in kitchen.
10. Count out your cash in plain sight of the table.
Still not leaving? Sigh….. time to ratchet up the pain.
11. Have the clean up crew carry garbage past offending table. I like to make sure a fish head is peeking out above the rim. A classy touch.
12. Put the chairs up.
13. Have the guys start mopping the floors. Ammonia has a lovely smell.
14. Turn up the lights.
Not budging? Bastards.
15. Put on your coat.
16. Jangle your keys impatiently.
17. If the busgirls have boyfriends or small children waiting outside – bring ‘em in!
18. If you have a pregnant server (and we do) have them clutch their stomach and say, “I feel sick. I want to go home.”
19. Mention you have to get home to your own children. Whether or not you have any is beside the point.
21. Loudly talk about what you did last night and to whom. Details are nice.
22. Let it slip you have a brother, “Doing time.”
23. Perform your waiter with Tourettes impersonation.
24. Talk to yourself. (I’m really good at this one.)
25. Sit and stare at offending table with homicidal gleam in your eye.
27. Finally, go to offending table and say, “You don’t have to go home but you can’t stay here.”If they still won’t depart, lock them inside the restaurant and leave. Since they like the place so much – they won’t mind.
In all my years as a waiter I’ve never gone past tip # 19.