One of the accomodations to my new life as a middle-aged college student was going to work full time as a waiter. It made sense-- the hours work out for childcare and school, and I generally like the job. It's a good job if you like people.
The downside of it is that you deal with whoever has the money to come into the restaurant. This is generally not a problem. I like most of our "regulars." In nearly thirty years of being a waiter on and off, the place I currently work at has by far the most nice (and generous) regulars.
There are a small handful of regulars that all of us dislike. And each of us has a few who really get on our nerves. Last night, one of the ones in that category came in. She comes in about once a month with her son, who is about 12 or 13. He's a nice kid-- polite and well-spoken. She's an attractive blonde who's probably in her late thirties. I'm pretty certain she's a single mother.
My beef? She's a shitty tipper. Her tips generally run between 8 to 12%. With her being a single mom, I might even be inclined to overlook that. Having done the single parent thing myself for a long stretch, I can certainly empathize. Here's the thing: she'll always have a couple of martinis made with "top shelf" vodka. She's got the dough for a couple of ten dollar martinis, but not to take care of the server.
Last night she won the Johnny Yen "Mother of the Year" award.
She was seated, as usual, on the patio, where I was working last night. She ordered her usual Grey Goose martini, "up" (chilled, but no ice in the drink) with blue cheese olives. Her son ordered hot tea.
I brought them their drinks and gave them a few minutes to peruse the menus.
When I went back to the table, her son ordered a grilled chicken sandwich. I asked him which side dish he wanted. He asked if he could get a salad with it rather than french fries. I was impressed that he was making such a good dietary choice. The salad was available, I told him. Just to make sure his mother knew, I mentioned that there was a $2.00 upcharge on it if you had a salad as a side dish.
"Oh, well then no, you can't have it," she informed her son.
Yeah, lady-- you've got two bucks to make your martini a "top shelf" one, but not two bucks so your kid can eat more healthily. Friggin' Mother of the Year, you are.
Oh, and her tip was about 12%.