June 4, 2009

Just a cup of water please.

I have to mention, in my years of serving I have had encounters with the lowliest of humanity. I have been verbally assaulted, and mentally mind-fucked, but rarely do I ever have a situation that is just so damn ridiculous that I can't stop thinking about it for days.
Such was the first time someone asked me for a glass of water, with lots of lemons. I figured they liked lemons, as do I. Then I noticed them making homemade lemonade with all the splenda they could get their grubby little hands on. So I bookmarked this clever trick, and made a mental note to only give one extra lemon wedge per request for "extra lemon."
During an afternoon shift last week I learned what seemed to be a new customer trick. Several young couples came in together. The six adults asked if I could bring them each a glass of hot water, with lemons. It was bitter cold out, so I figured they just wanted to warm up. Personally the thought of hot water makes me gag a bit, but whatever.
Later in the meal, I returned to check on the table, when I was asked to provide more hot water and lemons. I reached forward to removed the empty cup when I noticed the tea bag at the bottom.

Honestly, who brings their own tea-bag into a restaurant, and then asks for hot water to make their own tasty beverage? Is that acceptable? What's to stop people then from bringing in a package of instant oatmeal, or a Cup of Noodle for dinner?!
The things people will do to save a dollar never ceases to amaze me. Clearly if you are needing to skimp on a beverage, your probably not making enough money to warrant going out to eat 5 times a week anyways.

14 comments:

redgirl said...

I agree...what you have here is similar to people bringing their own bottles of wine. With wine, at least all they are using is your glass and corkscrew--but here they are using your glass and water too....

K.H. said...

Sounds like you have some cheap bastards on your hands.

In defense of the tea, people, however, I know a couple of former customers who carry a stash of their favorite teas with them in their purse. One of these women is simply a bit particular about her tea; restaurants rarely have the brand and flavor that she likes, so she supplies it herself. The other has a health issue that requires that she limit her caffeine intake, so she carries decaf tea bags with her when she goes out, in case a restaurant does not have any.

Waiter Extraordinaire said...

Like the kids who brought in their juice box to the restaurant a couple of months ago.

147xxxx said...

people do that all the time to me too, and i work at starbucks!

G.H. said...

Redgirl- Actually its quite common to see guests come in with their own bottle of wine. However we do charge a $15 Dollar corking fee, so thats a redeeming factor.

KH- I never thought about it like that. I guess in unique situations like that I would be ok with it.

Waiter Extraordinaire- I hadn't heard this one yet. Got a link, I'd love to read it.

147xxxx- Are they bringing in their own cup and tea bag? Or are you supposed to supply a hot cup for them as well. You could charge them for the cup right?

purplegirl said...

I've yet to have any make ghetto-ade, but I get the tea thing all the time. If you can't afford $2 for your goddamn hot tea, you shouldn't be in a restaurant.

¸.•*´)ღ¸.•*´Chris said...

I was thinking the decaf tea thing too as I read your post. I know we don't offer decaf tea and we have never had a request for it either.

I have a group of ladies who will split a 20oz. bottle of soda three ways after their golf game. They are very demanding, asking for hot dogs, pop corn and then become persnickety about who is going to pay for what. Between the four of them, they cough up a dollar for a tip, if that. They are a constant reminder of how I don't want to be when I get older.

Anonymous said...

The other day I had the most ornery table, who asked for water with lemon. Lo and behold, as I bring their food out I see that they brought with them those little packages of drink mix, the kind that you add to a water bottle. Seriously? And if it weren't bad enough, they left the table littered with the torn-apart wrappers.

Anonymous said...

I've brought packets of my own drink mix to restaurants before. I'm not trying to be cheap; most restaurants only have two diet drink options (diet cola and water) and I dislike both. I'm a server myself, and my opinion is: if one cleans up after one's self and doesn't stiff the server on a tip because the total bill is lower due to lack of beverage purchase, then where is the problem?

Lone Waitress said...

My boss has told me to charge if they are using their own tea bag or drink mix. I feel bad doing this, and the customers read me the riot act for it, but it's the boss's call.
And I agree with the above comment; just don't leave me the mess of empty packets or a soggy tea bog directly on the table and I really don't care, personally.

Stephanie said...

I always found this to be a tricky situation when I was a server. I feel there are some valid reasons for bringing in a packet or teabag. For some, it's a health thing (e.g. decaf tea) and for others, they're picky and don't expect a restaurant to cater to the dislikes of a single customer. However, I found that most (by no means all) customers that did this were also terrible customers. This included a range of restaurant etiquette sins from being rude and demanding to eating basket after basket of free bread and then splitting the cheapest thing on the menu to leaving a huge mess (often including teabags or drink mix left on the table along with the wrappers in addition to their food mess). On top of whatever combination of this behavior, they tended to be bad tippers or non-tippers. So, for me, the single act of bringing in a drink packet or a teabag was fine and I had customers actually explain that they did have a reason or ask if it's ok. Those customers usually ordered normally and tipped and were generally wonderful. Sodas and tea don't normally add that much to a bill anyway. The problem is the majority of the people who do it because they can or they're cheap and then act like asshats.

brypie said...

this reminds of this old man who would come in with two old ladies (i presumed one was his sister) and he'd ALWAYS nick an extra tea bag and would say "tea for one" and then really have two in the pot. And share that between all 3 of 'em. I assumed it was because they might be poor but then i saw his gold credit card!

Once i snuck in my own bottle of beer into a pub *oh the shame* but i was young and poor! lol ;)

Anonymous said...

Haha, I understand bringing your own beer into a pub :P

I'm a university student (I live in Australia, drinking age is 18) and when we go to nightclubs we often leave a case of beers in the car, and when we switch nightclubs we have a beer or two in the car. Its incredibly cheap but I'd rather pay $2.50 for a pint than $7.50-$14.00, or $10.00 ($5 a pint) if we are buying jugs. It sounds really pathetic, but when you are on a low income and going out 3 nights a week it really adds up.

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