Allow me to bequeath a lesson on humanity to all of you gentle readers and extroverted stoners out there. Perhaps common sense would rule this out, but clearly common sense no longer exists in this day of reality TV, eroded morals, and waffle tacos. If you are ever overcome with the late night munchies that only a sit down restaurant can satisfy (I promise we’ve all been there and if you haven’t you will be), please take special note of the closing times listed outside the establishment in relation to the actual time. I say this on behalf of every server and hospitality worker in America: if you find it appropriate to stroll into a business anywhere within its final ten minutes of open business and demand service, then you are Chief Asshole of the Asshole Tribe of Assholia and deserve every amount of rage and contempt that is generated by your presence.
We are damn well aware that we are OFFICIALLY closed at [Insert Time Here]. This is America and, unfortunately, we have to regulate these kinds of things. However, there is a trait in the human personality called courtesy. It’s the same reason why we are all damn well aware that the speed limit on Siringo is 25 but NOBODY ACTUALLY GOES JUST TWENTY FIVE ON SIRINGO BECAUSE FUCK THAT WE ALL HAVE TO BE SOMEWHERE.
The last thirty minutes of a waiter’s closing shift is a one act dramatic play in itself every night. They must close out the rest of their tables to the best of their ability, do their side and closing work, actually take stock on their total tips, and accomplish all of this while engaged with a life or death psychic battle with the outside world, violently repelling any notion that someone might possibly walk in the door to be helped. I myself have fantasized about using everything from land mines to attack pigeons to that weird bouncing absorbing ball from Logan’s Run to prevent customers from coming in during closing time.
I am not a psychology major, but I can tell you exactly what goes on in a server’s head when you walk in just as they are shutting down the soda machine. Your arrival is the most heartbreaking moment of their recent memory. Worse than Bambi’s mom dying or actually taking a good look at their student loans. This is because your arrival is a reminder that they are living in a cold and unfeeling universe that doesn’t give a good god damn about their wants or needs. They have just lost thirty to forty five more minutes of their life because you were hungry and didn’t want to stop at Wendy’s or, godforbid, Burrito Spot. They will spend the entirety of your customer/server relationship shooting you the world’s most plastic smile and silently hating you more than Hitler and at least three other major dictators. Pol Pot may have gassed some people, but he never asked me to refill his iced tea an hour after the kitchen closed.
If, for whatever sociopathic reason, you decide to still patronize a business in its final sacred minutes, please take these steps so that you are not put on Karma’s Cosmic Shit List (which is a real thing, I assure you):
1. Walk in knowing exactly what you want. If you love this place enough that you absolutely must have it this late, then surely you have a favorite item.
2. If you can get it to-go, get it fucking to-go.
3. Pay cash. Immediately if possible.
4. If you absolutely have to sit down, DO NOT sit down on one that was just wiped down. Offer to sit in the kitchen, if possible.
5. DO NOT try to engage your server in conversation. This goes double if you are old.
6. Remember: For every person you bring in your party, that’s one more lash you receive in Hell.
7. Tip generously. It should be a federal law that any tip given over thirty minutes after closing should be 40% instead of 15%.
8. If you have a child with you, leave it in the car. It will encourage you to finish faster.
9. You don’t want any goddamn dessert.
10. Apologize. It won’t help, but it’s the thought that counts.