Dear Server/Waiter/Waitress (or whatever you prefer to be called these days),
This is my open letter to you, in attempts to try to understand each other better. First I’d like to say, I appreciate what you do, because I have done your job before, and I know it can suck. That being said, I also have a pretty good idea of what might be going through your head, when you seat a table of us sober folk.
You see us sit in your section and assume we will be a fun crowd, which of course means ‘drinks all around’! When we start to order sodas, waters, ice teas and milkshakes, one by one, the look of utter disappointment is evident on your face. I actually experience a bit of empathy for you, because we all know, drinks really drive up the bill. But believe me when I say, you should be rejoicing over the absence of alcohol at this table; trust me, we will still tip you well.
Typically by this point you, the server, have decided that we are not as valuable as the other table that is drinking, so our non-alcoholic drinks come, but only after a longish wait. (Sometimes though, we get lucky and our server is still on board with us.)
It’s time to order food! Rejoice! You are being kind to us–that is, until we tell you we want separate checks. We agree to split our large group in to 3 checks to make your life easier, (but most of us have served tables before, or still do, and know how easy it is to split a check. After all, everything is touch-screen computerized). Ordering our food goes well, and we seem to be on good terms again. And have no fear; we will still tip you well.
We spend the next 30 minutes being a bit loud, excessively taking #selfies and #groupies on our phones, while simultaneously checking in on Facebook, and posting to Instagram. We tend to have a lack of awareness that others are also dining in this restaurant. We swear, laugh loudly, ask for more bread and drink refills and frequently change seats so we don’t miss anything at the other end of the table. But rest assure; we will tip you well.
Food comes, sometimes in a timely manner; often times not. Someone sends their food back (trust me, there is always one, and we are equally as mortified as you are annoyed). But we also are supportive of our table foodie, encouraging her to speak her truth! (This goes way deeper than her poorly cooked burger). We eat, we are still loud, but trust me when I say; we will still tip you well.
By this time in the meal, you may have found a soft place for us in your heart, or you may just be ready to part ways. Either way, you bring us our check (all on one bill–what happened to our agreement!?) in a very timely manner. We labor arduously over the confusing bill, making sure everyone knows that there is already an 18% gratuity included. Our bill-master (there is always one poor sap that gets stuck with this job), organizes our cash and cards and sends the neatly organized package off with you.
At this point, someone busts out some homemade cupcakes, and we sing ‘happy birthday’, to a 30-something who is turning 3, (just go with it). We eat our treats, and take more #selfies and #groupies, and wait and wait and wait for you to bring our cards back. Half of our group (the smart ones who brought cash), have evacuated the table to go outside to smoke their e-cigs. The rest of us wait. The smokers return to the table. After what seems like an eternity, you bring our bill back to us. We sign on the dotted lines, offer you some cupcakes and tip you well (above the included 18%).
I recognize that we are a wild bunch of folks who may not have the best table manners, but we mean well. We want to get along with you! So when you see us coming in packs, iPhones and e-cigs in hand, try to cut us some slack.
Until we meet again,