I was waiting tables the other night and I went up to these two ladies finishing up their glasses of wine, I said, “So, is there anything else that I can offer you tonight?” and this one lady just looked up at me and said, “Will you just get lost? Can you please just get lost?” And I was like, “OK.”
And I walked away. And I’m still thinking about it, because I have no idea what prompted her to tell me to get lost. Everything about the service was as polite and as pleasant as any customers could have wanted their restaurant experience to be. I mean, sure, I had an inkling at the beginning of the interaction that perhaps these two particular ladies weren’t in the mood for many pleasantries. I could tell by the way they purposefully left their menus untouched to the side when they sat down, how, after I told them the specials, they didn’t even look at me when they said, “Thanks,” before returning to their conversation, still not making a move for those menus.
After they finally ordered, when they were in the middle of their chicken salads, I noticed the guest sitting at position one, how her glass of rosé was empty. “May I offer you another glass?” I asked her, to which she replied, “No.” OK, so I went in to take the empty glass off of the table, but she stopped me, she said, “I’m not done yet.”
OK. And then after everything was bused off of the table, after I had offered them dessert, after they declined dessert, I thought, well, I guess that’ll be it then, right? I guess maybe you two will leave and I’ll get to make another ten bucks or so from the next two-top to sit down and order chicken salads and glasses of wine.
But as I went in for that, “Anything else?” the lady at position one gave me a really crooked smile and sad, “You know what? I think I will take that second glass of wine.” “Of course,” I told her, and got her another glass of wine. I’m not sure if she drank the wine, or if the alcohol in the glass eventually evaporated, but about an hour or so later, it was pretty clear that the glass was empty again. And so I went over once more.
“Is there anything else I can offer you tonight?” and that’s when she told me to get lost. And I just said, “OK.” I’m still thinking about what went wrong, at what point this lady decided that I needed some sort of a verbal dressing-down. Every customer has this weapon at their disposal, the ability to be rude and mean for no reason at all, knowing full well that they’re never going to be held accountable, that we’ll just have to smile it off or, worse, argue back and risk getting into a whole confrontation probably involving at least one manager.
I dropped off the check and watched them sit there at their empty table for another half hour or so. I’m sure I could have kept going over, “Anything else?” all of the passive-aggressive tricks I have at my disposal, I could have wiped down the table, or refilled their water glasses every time I saw them take a sip, all the way to the brim, almost overflowing, maybe even overflowing just a few drops.
But whatever, I didn’t care, I don’t care, part of me hates this lady for telling me to get lost. I’m talking real hate here, like the kind of emotion that, left unchecked, eventually amplifies into something twisted. But I don’t want that, not for me. Let this lady keep all of it. I know for a fact that I was polite and pleasant and I smiled the whole time. No, much better to go home, get on the Internet, and write about what a fucking loser that lady was.
Well, maybe I can hang on to just a little bit. I don’t know what I want here, not revenge, I don’t want her life to be worse than it already is. But maybe she could get a taste of something great and lose it immediately. That would be OK, right? So I hope she buys a scratch-off ticket that wins a two-million dollar jackpot, and then I hope she loses it. I hope that her boss promotes her to head a new division of the company that she works at, but right as she shows up for her first day, she gets a call, they tell her corporate didn’t think the new division was such a great idea, that she’ll be returning to her old job immediately. I hope the next time she goes to McDonald’s, she tells them, “No pickles,” and after she goes home and takes her food out, I hope she finds extra pickles, like a whole cucumber’s worth piled up high under that bun. I hope she find the perfect dress on sale the next time she goes shopping at the department store, the one that she’d been eyeing for months, and just as she takes it out of the bag when she gets home, her cat comes over and pukes all over it, and she tries to get the puke-stain out, but it’s still there, she can see it, it smells terrible. And she’ll try to return it, but the clerk at the department store will clearly see the cat puke-stain that won’t come out, she’ll insist, they’ll both insist, finally the clerk will tell her to take her dress and get lost. “Just get lost, all right? Just get lost.”