I've got big attitude in a tiny package, and usually only those closest to me can tell when my chipper smile really means, "Go fuck yourself."
Last Tuesday, we got busy busy busy. It was starting to wind down, when I got sat with a party of five. As I had been saying to tables all night, I greeted them with a, "Hi! We're a little busier than expected this evening, so please bear with me. Can I get you some drinks to start?" They all ordered, and I returned promptly. They weren't ready. While at my other tables, I heard them arguing amongst themselves.
"You've had an attitude all night. It's not my fault you had to work all day!"
"I TOLD you I wasn't going to order anything!"
Their menus were closed, so I went over again. Still not ready. Nor the next time I went over, because of course the owner is there and it makes me look like I'm slacking. To make this a bigger issue, when they finally were ready, they CAME UP to the register looking for me! Now I look incompetent.
I go, everyone orders, not too difficult. The dad asks brain-cell-killingly dumb questions, many of which I don't remember now. The mom asks if I can replace the coleslaw that comes alongside the sandwiches with applesauce, and I tell her no.
"The coleslaw is a garnish, I can't replace it with a full vegetable. You can substitute the fries, though!"
No, they don't want that.
The food comes out, three of which have a few onion rings on top - again, as a garnish. They look at me like I just served live snakes on top of their fried chicken and said, "You can take those right back!
.... can we substitute applesauce?"
Again, "No, sorry, it's just a garnish and I can't replace it."
The dad - "What's a garnish?"
"The onion rings and the coleslaw are garnishes."
"No.. I mean what IS a garnish?"
Uhhhhmmm. I give him a quick explanation, hoping all will be well and I can scurry away to my tables with higher IQ's.
A summed up version of the conversation that followed:
Dad: "Boy, you guys don't substitute anything here!"
Me, starting to get annoyed because he is becoming very condescending: "That's not true, sir. We substitute vegetables, potatoes, french fries, most sides, really."
Dad: "Well, I don't know why they give coleslaw or onion rings anyway. Nooobody likes them."
Me, definitely annoyed: "Not true. Our coleslaw and onion rings are homemade, and most of the customers I've encountered really enjoy them."
Dad: "Well, I've never met anyone who likes either!"
Really, dude? Really?
Me: "Well, now you have. I happen to enjoy our coleslaw very much, and the onion rings are one of my favorite things on the menu. I know our hostess this evening and one of the other waitresses loves them too."
I was trying to outwardly sound friendly, but inside I was seething, and I think it was starting to show through. I walked away.
Rest of the meal was uneventful, until the son complained (at the end of dinner) that I hadn't given crackers with their soup. I lifted up the bread basket to show him a layer of crackers that was just under the rolls, all of which they had eaten, so I don't see how the crackers weren't obvious to them. He insisted I should have told him. Sorry, bro, didn't know you were blind and/or retarded.
They got desserts, after I had to repeat the ice cream choices three times and check what brand we carried (?!). As they left, they asked my name. Unfortunately, I couldn't lie as our place is so small with so many regulars, and a fairly small staff. However, when I saw the tip, I was surprised! Ten dollars on a 45-ish tab, which is way more than I expected. It didn't quite make up for the aggravation, but it helped.