Anyway, I arranged a going away dinner get together for a friend who was heading off to Africa for a school trip. We decided to try out a local Chili's restaurant for the meal. The lucky girl and I were the first to arrive, and we were seated after a short wait at a booth that would be big enough for the rest of the group. We made it clear to the server that we were waiting for others to trickle in and might be a while in ordering. She assured us it was no problem.
We get to talking and the server stops by every so often to see if we'd like anything. At first we hold off, expecting the rest of our party to show up soon, but eventually we find out that there's been a delay and they'll be late. So my friend and I order an appetizer, get refills, and life is good. Once we get the food, the server reappears once to make sure it's tasting okay and then disappears. We finish our food and decide we want to get some dessert - some cake that sounds amazing - once our friends show up, which they do. We also know we're taking up a booth for a long time (maybe two hours by this point), but we've got plenty of time before they close, the restaurant isn't full, and we intend to leave a good tip to make up for it. Or we would have...
Friends show up, no one comes to our table. No one comes to take away the appetizer plate, refill our drinks, get water for the 4 extra people that have suddenly shown up, nothing. We try several times to flag another server (since we haven't seen ours), but they ignore all hand waving, "excuse me"s and the like. My friend and I make everyone wait for another 20 minutes, hoping to get our cake but eventually give up. We can't even get our bill, so I pull out my trusty cell phone calculator and add up our appetizer, drinks, tax and after some discussion, standard tip. We leave our money and get up to go.
Just as we're leaving, our server finally reappears, shouting "EXCUSE ME, EXCUSE ME!" loud enough for everyone at the front to hear and turn to look. I stop and look at her expectantly, and she demands that we pay for our food. I calmly explain that there's money on the table, and leave.
It's really this last part that gets me, I think. Showing up just to be rude about us paying when you haven't even looked to see if we left money or not? I can understand her knowing we didn't have a check, but that's not really our fault when she hadn't been by our table in the last hour and a half.
Tl;dr - Service starts out great and eventually dwindles into nothing, ending with a loud demand that we pay when we've left money on the table. No cake is had )=