One brisk Friday night in March, four co-waitresses (Patsy, Ashley, Pamela-Agnes, and Agatha) are sitting in a bar, having a few cocktails and trying to blow off some steam about their respective work days. The women work in the restaurant of an expensive, upscale Manhattan hotel, where the primarily male patrons are largely demanding, high-maintenance, and pretentious.
Patsy, the anxious and withdrawn one of the group has been saying very little and has trouble making eye contact with the others. When Ashley insists on buying the other three drinks to celebrate the end of the day, Patsy says to get her whatever Ashley thinks is easiest or cheapest. Agatha is berating a nearby pool player for allowing the pool cue to enter her “personal space,” while Pamela-Agnes is ignoring her boyfriend’s phone call as a way to “get back” at him for not calling her during his lunch break earlier in the day. Ashley proceeds to the bar where the bartender is flirting with customers at the opposite end of it rather than approaching her to take her order. After three minutes, she decides to go to him herself and asks politely for her four beverages. He immediately fulfills her request.
Upon returning to the table, the other three women are involved in a conversation lamenting the antics of their self-important, condescending customers that day.
AGATHA: So many suits, so much Cristal ordered, so much running back and forth…I hate them all!
PAMELA-AGNES: Oh trust me, I hear ya. They are all the same. Every last one of them.
AGATHA: Yeah, I had this one table today, the whole lot of them kept snapping their fingers and whistling at me to come do this, do that for them. It was like I was some sort of little poodle.
PATSY: They looked difficult.
PAMELA-AGNES: Well, I had a two-top with some a-holes who sent me back for a different salad dressing four times. No lie. These people SHOULDN’T have such stupid requests! So let’s just say the fourth batch had a little something from my purse in it that will not lead to optimal digestive satisfaction. I graciously returned it with a smile. Little do they know they will be suffering for days. These WORTHLESS PEOPLE deserve it!
AGATHA: Good tip at least for all of your efforts?
PAMELA-AGNES: Hell no. These people pretend to be so rich, yet when it boils down to it, they are tipping paupers.
ASHLEY: Table 31? Oh, Pamela-Agnes, I saw that two-top running you around. Unfortunately, I don’t think you had them fooled with what you snuck into their dressing. I overheard them talking about it, saying it smelled medicinal. I fear they might have told the manager.
PAMELA-AGNES: Are you serious?! Well, looks like I’m losing my job tomorrow!
PATSY: I had a table tell me my hair was disheveled.
PAMELA-AGNES: Um, it’s just curly.
PATSY: After I brought them their food and turned my back, I felt something land in it. It was that distinctive orange sauce from the entrees they ordered. They did it on purpose.
AGATHA: Did you strangle them? Or at least get them kicked out?
PATSY: No, I COULDN’T STAND IT if I confronted them and they said something nasty in return. So I just carried on about my business. I was TOO EMBARRASSED to say anything. They finished their meal and underpaid. I just let them leave anyways. I couldn’t confront them. I just covered the difference.
AGATHA: You are an insane person. And what about you, Ashley? I saw those CRUEL CRAZIES you were dealing with at 25.
ASHLEY: Well, one of the elderly gentlemen yelled in my face, insisting his tea water wasn’t hot enough when in actuality, the cup was burning my hand to carry it over to him. I said, “Well, I apologize for the water temperature, sir, but I don’t think our water heater exceeds the temperature of the water in that cup. I will be happy to get you something else, but it would be dangerous for both me to hold and you to drink water any hotter than what you have right there.” He instantly settled down.
AGATHA: How do you do it? How do you remain so calm?
ASHLEY: Well, it was PRETTY BAD that he was demanding and rude about the tea. But I’ve been TOLERATING folks like him the six years I’ve been working there, and usually they have SOME REDEEMING QUALITIES despite their largely rude restaurant behavior. They AREN’T BAD PEOPLE, just pushy in restaurants.
AGATHA: I say screw ‘em all after what happened to me tonight! Some ROTTEN IDIOT with a silk jacket from that snapping, whistling table was pushing me around all night. When I brought their food, I accidentally nudged his jacket with the edge of his plate and a tiny splash of steak sauce got on it. He starts whining, “Aaaaagh, do you know how much that jacket cost me?! Waaa, waaa, waaa!” Like a little baby! All I could think was, HOW DARE THIS GUY?! He HAS NO RIGHT to speak to me like that! So I had no choice but to scream back at him, “If you don’t stop crying like a little baby, I’ll treat you like one! I’ll rip that jacket right off your body, tie you to that chair with it, and use that steak to spank you as punishment!”
PAMELA-AGNES: You didn’t! I guess that makes two of us getting fired tomorrow!
ASHLEY: Wow, yeah, I take it you got no tip on that one, huh?
AGATHA: Of course not, not a dime!
Next up: Kim Kassay, M.S. on No More Excuses, Just Do It!