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Waitress Rant: Why Working at Tonic East Sucks

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In an email to the Eater tipline and a post on Yelp, a (just now) former waitress shames a table of three men who walked out on a $120 bill last night. But the men are just the tip of the iceberg. She has words for the manager, who made her pay out of pocket for the bill and yelled at her throughout the night, and a table of "thuggish men," who didn't tip her. All in, it's a pretty monster rant, and a kind of sad one at that, worth reading during the lunch break:

I've noticed many of these reviews mention long waits for drinks, overcrowding, the impossibility of waving down your server.

Here is my take from the other side and an open letter to the table who walked out on me without paying last night, as well as management--It is possible that your server is being treated inhumanely by management and patrons.

Dear table of three black guys I served last night at Tonic East,

I'm not sure you have any idea how long and hard you made me cry last evening, but I thought you should know.

I hope you enjoyed watching the basketball game at my now-ex place of employment. I also hope you enjoyed the 120 dollars worth of beer and food you had--no worries! IT WAS ON ME!

Yes, that's right. I paid for you guys to eat and drink with money out of my own pocket. And then I tipped the bussers, bartenders, and food runners for the work they did to help me give you service after that.

I realize I was slammed with an unreasonable amount of tables. Believe me, I would much rather make way less money than have so many tables that I almost lose my ridiculously over-educated mind. Though I had more than I could handle, I powered through and I left you wanting for absolutely nothing the entire night. Not even the cheese I sent the runners down 3 flights of stairs from the roof to get to add to your sliders.

As I was screamed at to cash out half a floor of tables by midnight, you thanked me by walking out and not paying your 120 dollar tab.The manager simply said, "they f*cked you." He would not comp your meal, so I had to pay for it myself in order to cash out. Disgraceful. Inhumane.

I must also point out that there was a table of three other thuggish men that ordered a bunch of food and complained about how it tasted to the same manager. They complained that our soda tasted funny. I ran to three separate soda fountains on different floors, pouring them sodas from each one to appease them. They still complained. For whatever reason, the manager had no problem comping THEM. They walked out and did not leave me a dime for the free food, ALL OF WHICH THEY ATE, or the service they received.

Not believing this same manager thought it was right to take 120 dollars from me after all this--me, who has walked away from 8 hour lunch shifts from their establishment with 20 dollars to show for it with no complaint--I swallowed my pride, walked over to the computer and began to silently cry as I hit "pay check" on the screen and paid for your fugi apple salad, calamari, burgers, fries, spicy chicken wrap, bucket of corona, 2 guinnesses, and 5 other beers on top of that with money from my own pocket.

All just for you.

Surrounded with almost 2K of credit card slips and cash, I wept, knowing that I had broken my back and busted my balls ALL NIGHT just to pay for YOUR fried shit and beer. I carefully made sure I was turning in everything I owed to the house so that the bar had all their *precious* money, took a little tip money for my time, and left the rest for my bussers and runners to divide amongst themselves since I was too hysterical to tip out properly at that point.

I walked out the door with the knowledge that it was the last time I'd ever set foot in that place. After all, you aren't the only a-holes on earth, and if this is the kind of place where noone will go to bat for me if ghetto douchebags like you show up, it's not a place I should be anyhow. In my 13 years of serving, no previous manager I have ever had would ever do that to me. Not even the ones who abused me in other ways.

Anyways, I just thought you should know that the fun time you had last night came at a hefty price for someone else.

And a note to restaurant and bar managers everywhere--the more you threaten your staff and treat them like idiots, the more mistakes they will make. I had not put a single drink order in incorrectly all night until you started threatening me, telling me that I would pay for anyone who walked out whose drink orders you helped me with. The more you threatened me and treated me like I was stupid, the more mistakes I made. For every table you insisted was angry at me, they did not seem even 10 percent as angry as you when I spoke with them. I realized I was put into a state of panic by you for nothing.

It's all really too bad. I am the kind of person that if you just give me an inch and any help or understanding at all, I will give you a mile without question.

I will say that something positive has come out of last night, along with any other time I have been treated with blatant disrespect. It's the gift of compassion and patience. Last night was just another reminder to me how important it is to treat everyone I encounter with all the kindness, compassion, and patience I can possibly muster. That is a great gift and something that I have tremendous gratitude for. Because you know what? There's an actual human being who has a spirit that can be broken inside of each and every one of us.

· Tonic East [Yelp]
· Firemen, Young Singles, and Three Floors of Tonic East [~ENY~]

Tonic East

411 3rd Ave., New York, NY