I was 19 years old and out spending time with a male friend, during the period between Thanksgiving and Christmas. Thinking back, it appears that young friends share a special bond that erodes with age. For example, nowadays when I see two young men dining out--I assume they're just close friends. But if I see two men in their 40's (or older) dining together...well, I assume they're probably a couple. Right or wrong, that's just how my perception is programmed.
So, after throwing a frisbee around for an hour or two (back to when I was age 19), my friend and I worked up large appetites. The ubiquitous diner Denny's was of course an option, but we opted instead for the more brightly-lit, now-defunct, blatant rip-off of Chili's "Tex-Mex" cuisine restaurant, Spoons.
"Spoons" marketed themselves as being just a little younger, cooler, and more California-esque than the far more popular Chili's. There was a greater emphasis on Mexican fare and California style burgers. Mostly though, we chose to frequently dine at that particular Spoons because the waitresses there were cute.
After entering the restaurant, and being led by the hostess to our seats, my friend and I took immediate notice of the pretty blonde haired/brightly blue eyed (and adorned with a seemingly perpetual smile) waitress who dashed her way towards us:
"Hi! Welcome to Spoons! My name is Danielle! Which appetizers can I start you off with today?!"
Even at that young age, my friend and I knew that appetizers (and desserts, for that matter) were a waste of money. Not only do they greatly increase the cost of your bill; but they also ruin your appetite. So, we just ordered burgers, fries, and soft drinks.
Being a (some would say) "typical Virgo male," my food always needed (and needs) to be prepared in a certain manner. Nothing fancy, but on the contrary, rather plain. In this case, I requested a well-done beef patty, with only American cheese, lettuce, and bun. "Danielle" paid careful attention to my requests, and diligently wrote them down on a small, faded notebook.
My order took astonishingly long to arrive: nearly 30 minutes! My friend received/ate/and finished his meal before mine even arrived. Danielle rushed her way to our table on three different occasions (to apologize for the long wait), each time taking the time to explain that there was some "scheduling issues going on" among the cooks.
I remained calm, though. As a young and inexperienced man, I already knew what this waitress's "punishment" would be for not bringing my order out in a timely manner: NO TIP! A bit cruel, admittedly, but what did I know? I was only 19..
She never saw it coming. I was all smiles, and behaved as if absolutely nothing was the matter. When the time came to pay the bill (it was "my turn" to buy), my friend and I walked up to the cashier, paid the bill, and I then pocketed my change. There was to be no "pivot and turnaround" back to our table, in order to leave a tip.
My friend and I then walked out to the restaurant's parking lot, laughing about my "no tip" antics, as we made our way towards my vehicle. I never would have guessed what happened next..
Danielle stormed out of the restaurant's main entrance, gazed directly into my eyes and yelled, "HEY A**HOLE! WHY THE F*** DID YOU STIFF ME?!"
Taken aback, I sarcastically replied, "Ummm...because my food took like a half hour to come out!"
She sashayed her way towards my vehicle, and continued yelling, "I TOLD YOU THEY WERE HAVING ISSUES IN THE BACK! WHAT'S YOUR DAMN PROBLEM?!"
At that point, I was concerned that she might continue towards us and decide to "take a swing" at me:
"Well, I hope you know that I'll be reporting this incident to your manager and district manager."
She then backed down, turned around, and made her way back to the restaurant. Upon re-entering, she loudly proclaimed--with her hands on her hips--"You know what your problem is? You're nothing but a big, whiny FAG who likes to chit-chat!"
I was hurt, to say the least. Did I deserve such treatment? What caused her to blast me with that final, stinging diatribe?
Did she overreact? Of course she did. Did I learn an important lesson from all this? YES...I NEVER AGAIN "stiffed" another member of waitstaff. In fact, I've even (in the many years since) cultivated a "generous tipper" reputation.