At the beginning of the dinner shift, the office manager called me into her office and told me, "At 7:00 tonight, you're going to get a party of six at table 84. Here's their credit card on file. Just charge their bill to this Amex." I took the paperwork and thought, "Great. A guaranteed six-top."
At about five minutes to 7:00, sure enough, a group of six people were seated at table 84 and I went to greet them. Unfortunately, they said the table was too dark and requested to be moved. Easy come, easy go, I thought. I handed the paperwork over to their new server and explained the situation to him about the credit card on file and moved on.
About fifteen minutes later, a group of eight was seated at table 84. I thought, "All right. Maybe this group will be even better than that other one." Sure enough, they cooperatively ordered bottles of wine and lots of food and even coffee and dessert. They ran up a huge bill and I felt happy that my other group had been replaced with this one. I was sure that the first group hadn't ordered nearly as much since they had eaten and left in little time.
As the restaurant closed, I dropped the check for my eight-top. The man who seemed to be in charge picked up the check and said, "I believe this is all taken care of right? You have our credit card on file?"
I'm a professional, no matter the industry, so I only stared at him for a second before I smiled and chirped, "Oh, sure. I'll be right back!" Ahhhh! Manager, please!
Yes, we charged the wrong party. And that first group never even said anything when they were told that their bill was taken care of! Can you believe it? Thank god they only rang up about $150, as opposed to my table which really ran up a bill. Of course, we quickly removed that first charge from the card and got everything straightened out. I just have a hard time believing the first six people breezily accepted a free meal and walked out.