Monday, May 23, 2011

Kids Eat FREE!

Every Wednesday, because the sports/gay/alt bar I work at suffers from an ongoing identity crisis, it makes a cheap (or, rather costly) attempt to attract families.


Each booth in my section is equipped with its own flat screen telvision, and in an effort to keep kids amused (i.e.: seated, quiet) the management broadcasts a Smurfs DVD on repeat throughout the evening. Although the single-screen ploy might have worked on children of yore, it's not the case with the attention deficit-plagued youth of today, and that being so, a demoralized soul suited up like Spiderman makes the rounds to pick up slack in the entertainment department. Even still, they demand more, and, unsupervised, the renegade rug-rats make their way to the game room where they fling metal darts that dangerously whiz by the heads of their neglected counterparts.


Somehow, the management at my bar has determined games and gimmicks aren't enough to bring in the family crowd, and the greatest drawing factor of these chaotic evenings seems to be the meal deal. Yes, my friends, kids eat "FREE!" on Wednesday nights. It is my theory that this primarily attracts those who lack basic resources and are therefore incapable of properly raising children: the poor.


Because the poor don't tip and comped kids meals and few alcohol purchases leave tabs low, I have resolved to in the future approach the evening with a "fuck it" attitude. Appeasing demanding children just isn't worth the 25 cents obliging each request renders.


However, last week I was not yet privy to this information and gave the whole "giving a fuck" thing a whirl.


Table 11
It was my first kids night working the booths (where families with small children prefer to sit when dining out), and I approached the task with enthusiasm: "Hi guys my name's Violet! Can I get you something to drink?"


"COLORING BOOK COLORING BOOK COLORING BOOK I WANT A COLORING BOOK!" the six-year-old at the table shouted in a run-on sentence.


Extremely taken aback, for this was the first time I'd ever been subjected to the demands of a human so abrasive (let alone so small), I stared at the child with fearful wide-eyes for a moment, before his grandmother, slouched sideways in her seat, rolled her eyes up toward me as she calmly chewed her cud: "He wants a colorin' book."


I swallowed and nodded eagerly, my expression unchanged, then hurried to the host stand to grab a placemat (or according to the child, a "coloring book") and packet of crayons.


Table 12
Still not totally disillusioned by my first taste of kids eat FREE!, I approached the next booth over in decent spirits to encounter an extremely over-grown twelve year old and his white-tee wearing mother.


"How many chicken fingers come in the kids chicken fingers?" he spat before I could even offer up an introduction.


"I think like five smaller ones."


He looked at his mother with sad, expectant eyes. She seemed to immediately understand what her fat ass kid wanted.


"It's enough," she firmly responded to his non-verbal query.


Without skipping a beat, the giant turd turned back to me with what I was now beginning to realize were slightly crossed eyes, and said eagerly, "Okay I want that but with THREE ranches." He proceeded to raise several sausage fingers to convey this, not making eye contact and gazing his crossed eyes (was one of them lazy too?) somewhere over my shoulder.


When their food came out, I returned to check on them.


"How is everything over here?" I said, looking down at their plates to double check things were in order.


"I need another ranch," the chubby checker said, still not quite looking at me.


In a seeming effort to be eco-friendly or, perhaps, save space (probably the latter), the kitchen staff had put on his plate a double-sized ranch alongside a regular. Mind you, the boy had already eaten a third of his meal without touching either dressing in front of him.


Still, without argument, I headed back to the kitchen and returned with an additional side of ranch (perhaps he was saving the milky substance to wash down his dinner).


Upon setting it down, the gluttonous boy looked back up and to the left of me again:


"My mom wants a BIG stack of napkins," he said, jutting his puffy arms in front of him and spreading them far apart to now illustrate that particular concept.


I dutifully returned to the kitchen to fetch them some napkins. As I dropped off the unnecessarily large stack (I aim to please), he started:


"I need a re-"


"STOP." His mother finally intervened.


Defeated, he slumped down and crossed his arms with an exaggerated pout.


Table 11 (cont.)
It was around this time that I went back to the neighboring table to drop off their bill.


"Thanks guys, it was-" I started.


"LOOK. I DREW YOU A PITCHER," shouted the six-year-old, waving his placemat overhead without quite handing it to me.


I took it and give it a once-over.


It was blank.

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