It's not fair to call her the Least Popular Server (LPS from now on). The managers loved her. I don't know why. She was an awful person.
-A Description of the LPS-
The LPS stands 5'5'' and weighs nearly 300 lbs.
She always wears shorts to work despite the fact that her legs are pasty white. She also wears knee braces on both knees. The cloth kind. They're sweat-stained and smelly. Kind of a mixture of B.O. and week-old Chinese food.
She has long red hair. It's unruly and always tied back in a ponytail.
Her voice is raspy and whiny. She is both bossy and abrupt when she speaks. This is not a good combo. Hearing her speak is similar to listening to nails grate across a chalkboard. Yech!
-The Least Popular Server-
It's Tuesday night in September, our slow month. The Restaurant is slow, yet steady. The atmosphere is subdued.
I hate working nights like this. You have to scramble to make money. Getting sat a party is the only way to cover your gas money.
The only redeeming factor about this shift is that I'm working with my girlfriend. (We've only just started dating. Everything is still new, exciting, and mysterious.) She's trying to make the best of the shift. She tied a balloon to my apron as I was walking to my first table. I took their burger order with a helium-inflated balloon hovering about a foot behind my head.
The LPS is standing against the wall. I walk by, two thoughts flashing through my mind. Is she trying to hold the wall up? Followed by, Shouldn't she be doing something?
Reading my mind, she says, "I have no tables. This place sucks." She walks away. I don't know where she's going, and I don't care. I just hope she stays there for a while. Honestly, if you don't like your job, find work elsewhere! Serving jobs are a dime a dozen. It's not rocket science, and almost any restaurant will take on a new server if they have any experience.
My girlfriend walks over.
"Hey, you got sat. Go make some money so you can take me someplace nice." I look up in alarm. I'm not worried that I'm going to be late. I'm worried that I'm dating a gold digger. I see her face break into a huge smile and I realize that she's yanking my chain. Whew.
I walk to my table. Friendly folks. As I head back to the side station, I notice a two-top sitting in the LPS's section. Normally, I'd search high and low for a server to let them know they have a customer. With her, I don't really care. Hopefully they'll complain, get their meal comped, and the LPS will be sacked.
By the time I reach the soda fountain, I realize that I'm being a Bad Server. I turn around, about to search for the LPS. The girlfriend is trying to tie another balloon to my apron. Busted.
"Oh, hi," she gives me a big smile. She lowers the balloon.
"Hey, can you let the LPS know that she's been sat?"
"I'll look for her." She marches off, head on a swivel.
I deliver the drinks to my table and take their order. Lots of modifications. Oh well. I have plenty of time.
After taking their order, I notice the couple is still sitting, unattended. It's way past the shopper-acceptable 2-minute greet time. They're looking around, slightly miffed.
I spot my girlfriend. She's walking a lot faster than she was before. give her an inquisitive look. She shrugs. I nod at the table. She nods at me. I love server sign language.
As I disappear behind the side station wall, I hear my girlfriend greet the table.
"Hi folks. I'm so sorry that it took so long to greet you. This isn't the way things work here at The Restaurant. If it'd be alright, I'd love to buy you folks an appetizer." Damn, she's good.
I enter the food order for my lone table and look around. The LPS is nowhere to be found. Oh well. You snooze, you lose.
My girlfriend comes back into the side station.
"How are they?" I ask.
"Fine. I smoothed things over. If I do a good job, I may pull a sympathy tip, but I'm not betting on it. She jumps on the computer and enters their appetizer. She heads off towards the kitchen.
I start rearranging the cabinets, trying to keep busy.
"What are you doing?! They're mine!" Fingers on a chalkboard, yech!
I peek around the corner. It's worse than I thought. My girl looks as though she's in the middle of taking the couple's order. The LPS is standing uncomfortably close to her, looking murderous.
"I'm sorry. I couldn't find you, and these nice folks had been waiting a while. Would you like to take them?" All this in front of customers. Great.
"No! I don't want them. I'll just take your next table." She stomps away, feet thundering like an elephant. I'm reminded of a 2-year old throwing a fit.
I see my girlfriend trying to smooth things over with the customers. Actually, the LPS's outburst probably helped her tip percentage. At least they know that it wasn't her fault they were greeted late.
I follow my girl as she heads to the back. Even from behind, I can see the tension and anger consume her. She's practically shaking as she starts pounding away at the touch-screen computer.
"That effing bitch! I save her ass and she acts like this?!" She hisses.
I know better than to get in between to angry women. I'll let them work it out. I peek around the corner.
"You're getting sat with a party! Go make some money." This puts a smile on her face. She grabs a stack of bev naps and heads out the door.
She stops in the doorway. The bev naps fall to the floor. I run behind to see what's wrong, although I have a pretty good idea already.
Sure enough, the LPS is setting down bev naps as the party is sitting down.
Now, I'm going to break aside here for a moment to explain an Unwritten Rule of Serving.
If a server takes a table in another server's section (usually because the server is running late and The Restaurant is getting busy or the hostess mistakenly seats someone in a non-present server's section), it is common courtesy to allow them to have a table in your section.
However, this rule does not apply when a server takes a table in another's section in an attempt to do what's right by the customer. Also, this table swap does not include party tables. Taking another server's party table is like kicking them in the groin, opening their wallet, and stealing a wad of cash while they lie writhing on the floor. Not cool.
Back to the story...
My girlfriend is seething. The LPS looks directly at my girlfriend as she begins her spiel.
"Hi folks, my name is _______, and I'll be your server tonight." She's smiling evilly.
My girlfriend walks to the back. She's upset.
"I can't believe this. That was my only chance to make money!" She puts her head in her hands and sighs. Time for damage control.
"Hey, don't let her get you down. If she sees you like this, she'll know she got to you. Pick your head up," and win one for the Gipper! I should have been a motivational speaker.
"You're right." She shakes her head. Suddenly, her face transforms. The forlon look is gone, replaced by a combination of anger and mischief. Uh oh. I think I just tossed gasoline on smoldering ashes. Woops.
She runs to the back. A few minutes later, the manager on duty comes strolling up, stopping in front of the computer.
"What kind do you want?"
"Just chocolate, vanilla, and strawberry. I know the oreo shakes hurt your food cost." My girlfriend's voice is sugary. Too sugary. Toothache sugary.
The manager types in an order. I look over his shoulder. Ten shakes; vanilla, chocolate, and strawberry. Enough for the whole staff, including the cooks. Nice guy. Milkshakes are like crack for our servers. A free milkshake is the server's version of a bonus. It's too bad we can't have the oreo shakes. They're the consesus staff favorite.
I pull my girlfriend aside. "What are you up to?"
"You'll see. If something happens to her, it will be her own fault." I'm scared of my girlfriend right now.
She walks up to the bar and grabs the shakes. Instead of heading to the side station, she heads back to the expo line. I have to get back to my table, so I can't follow her.
When I get back, my girlfriend is back up at the bar. I'm confused, but I'll wait and see how it all pans out.
When she comes back, she has a tray full of milkshakes. I notice there is an extra shake. An Oreo! The bartender must have accidentally made an extra one!
The servers are swarming like a pack of starving wolves. I'm wondering how we're going to decide who gets it when the LPS waddles around the corner, stinking like old Mongolian beef.
"Milkshakes! Are these for us? I get the Oreo!" She snatches it from the tray with her sausage-like fingers. She licks some of the whipped cream off the top. "Haha! Mine!" She turns up her nose and walks away.
The other servers watch her leave. They're pissed. My girlfriend is laughing.
Everyone turns to look at her. What was so funny? She tries to compose herself to explain. She's still trying to catch her breath as she starts talking.
"Little (gasp) known fact. (gasp) Parmesan Peppercorn salad dressing (gasp) looks just like an oreo milkshake." The servers are all smiling. They all scatter, taking up strategic positions so they can watch the LPS, unnoticed, when she gets back.
So that's what she was doing! She got the shakes, went to the back and filled one with dressing, then went back to the bar and topped it with the whipped cream! Counting on the LPS's greed and selfishness was a brilliant stroke of poetic justice.
I'm waiting, pretending to refill the pickles on the expo line, when my girlfriend runs around the corner. She's smiling so big, I think her head's going to break open like that flip-top head in the Reach Toothbrush commercial.
"Did I miss it?" I thought I kept the 'shake' in view the entire time.
"No! Look!" She thrusts a credit card slip at me. It's the couple that she picked up from the LPS. Their bill was $20 after the comp. In the TIP line is written $50. At the bottom, written on the credit card slip, thanks for the great service. We're sorry that the other server stole your table. Hope this helps.
Just then, the LPS storms around the corner. She looks pissed. She looks at my girlfriend.
"Your stupid party only left me $20. On a $200 bill! Oh well, it's more than you'll make tonight." She reaches up and plucks her 'shake' from the shelf.
She licks her lips hungrily, and slowly wraps her lips around the straw....
What happened next is not fit to write, but rest assured that the night ended as it should. Poetic Justice is a beautiful thing!