Tales from the Olive Garden: Part Two – The Stingy and Surreal


Some memories from my days as a waitress at the Olive Garden:

The Dirty Old Men
There were these two older guys that used to come in for lunch once or twice a week. We would all groan when we saw them come in because they would invariably ask to sit in a girls’ section and then basically sexually harass you the entire time you were there. They would tip you great — at least $20 when usually you woudn’t even make $20 for the entire lunch period. So, you had to decide if you would allow yourself to be sexually harassed for $20 or not and take them. Sadly, I did for awhile as I was very, very broke — until one of them actually asked me to sit on his lap. I never took them again. Now I know what a prostitute feels like.

The Total Jag
I walk up to a single at lunch and he’s sitting there with five one dollar bills on the table. Before I even say anything, he says, “This is your tip. Every time you screw up I am going to take a dollar off the table and put it back in my pocket.” Without a word, I walk away and did not come back. Not sure if he left or someone else took him. Didn’t care. Not even worth the time it would take to fuck with his food. I don’t need $5 that bad.

The Cheap Old Ladies
I know it’s a stereotype that old people are cheap. There’s a reason for that stereotype – they are. They still think that a shiny new quarter can buy you a week’s worth of groceries or something. Couple that with the All You Can Eat advertising at the Olive Garden and you’ll understand the type of people the place attracts. The only people cheaper than senior citizens are two women at lunch together. So, get two old ladies at your table – you have no chance.

I once had two old ladies at lunch, where you never make any money anyway unless you turn over the tables a few times. They sat at my table through the entire three hours of lunch and then one of them asked me for hot tea and I bring it to her. Twenty minutes later the other lady asks me for a cup of hot water and tells me, “And don’t even think about charging me $1 for hot tea! I’m going to share the tea bag!” As you can imagine, I got a HUGE tip from them. At least 50 cents.

The Scamsters
We used to give away a small chocolate cake and sing the mind-numbing birthday song to a table if it was someone’s birthday. The problem was, we never asked if it really was their birthday, or asked for some ID or something – they would just say it was someone’s birthday and out came the free cake and stupid song. Well, of course, we had people take advantage of this since after all it was FREE!

There was this one family we used to call The Weebles. There was a fat mom, fat dad, and two fat little kids – a boy and a girl. We called them the Weebles because they looked like those toys that “weeble and wobble but they don’t fall down.” They were regulars and came in at least once every other week. The funny thing – it was always one of their birthdays! ALWAYS. Now, considering there were only four people in the family…. well, you do the math. We complained to the managers, but they didn’t care. We still had to go out there and give them the cake and sing that ego-crushing song. I can’t tell you what we started to do to that cake.

Click here for Part 3

Click here for Part 1

4 thoughts on “Tales from the Olive Garden: Part Two – The Stingy and Surreal

  1. I’m a crazy-big tipper…not because I’m a philanthropist or anything, but because of all the similar stories I heard from my daughters as they waited tables in college bars.

    I guess drunk college freshmen are right up there with little old ladies when it comes to cheapness. That and “BMOC” college jocks, who swagger in with an air of entitlement and just take shots right off the tray without paying. Yeah….they’re special.

    I even give cab drivers big tips, but that’s mostly due to rounding up so I don’t have to carry a bunch of change around. That, and the fact that you’d have to be pretty desperate to do that job, esp. in a place like NYC.

  2. I’ve heard that about college students. I remember ordering pizzas to the dorm and paying with change. Don’t remember the tipping part, so I’m sure that’s not good.

    I’m a crazy big tipper now and a very nice customer – because now I know how much the job sucks, and I don’t want to eat 10 lbs of boogers.

  3. some of my best tips come from highschool kids and college kids, they know what its like to put in work… where i get pouched its old folks, but they are on a fixed income so i dont even mind…problem is, when u just get trash, and we all know what it looks like…. be they white, black mexican, indian…u can read it, truth is i just say screw em and make my money of the tables i know are going to tip

    if your a lame ass, and i can see it,get ready for lame service, ill screw my comps to make some money off u anyway

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