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Feb 10, 2014 07:10 PM

What Makes Customers Think its Okay to Stay Past Store Hours?


Are people that inconsiderate?

I have to clean a 2500 sq feet cafe every night...and cannot inconsiderate customers have a tendency of staying up to 45 minutes after closing hours. I wouldn't have a problem with it...however, my boss absolutely refuses to tell them to leave as he sees it as rude AND I'm also not allowed to clean anything until they leave. Doesn't matter if it's 40 minutes or an hour, I'm not supposed to mop or sweep until they're gone.

I'm also not paid if I'm not done cleaning everything by then. So, because of these customers, I'm sometimes stuck staying up to an hour cleaning because of people like this.

What is the right thing to do in these situations when your boss doesn't allow you to tell them to leave?

This may sound very ranty as this is the third time this has happened this week and I'm so tired of it.

  1. if your boss doesn't allow you to tell them to leave, you either suck it up and wait until they leave, or find somewhere else to work.

    Most of the rest of us out here in the real world put in a lot more than 40 hours, and an awful lot of us don't get paid for the overtime (welcome to salary).

    It *is* rude to ask them to leave and it *is* bad for business.

    Now...if it were 2-3 hours past close time, you'd have a point....but an hour or less is part of the job.

    55 Replies
    1. We have 1/2 hour after closing paid to clean. After that it's free.

      Some of us employees are uni students who have things outside of work to do.

      Why can't customers be a tad less like inconsiderate shitheads?

      I understand many of you put in more than 40 hours. Hell, I work full time and I'm in university full time so that excuse doesn't really work with me.

      1. re: RMCF1

        So why is your time more valuable than anyone else's? What makes you think that you're the only one with multiple demands on your time outside of work? Kids, mortgages, family, being the caregiver for aging parents....and bosses who are on your ass because you only worked 60 hours last week...even though your salary is based on 40 hours.

        Welcome to adulthood.

          1. re: sunshine842

            What on earth are you speaking about now? This has nothing to do with my question.

            If we close at 11. The 'proper' etiquette is to LEAVE at 11. It's not that my time is more important than anyone elses, its that we employees have lives outside of work, many of us are stuck working full time hours while going to school full time as well and staying long after hours (and yes an hour to everyone I work with is considered long after as it puts us behind another hour for cleaning...that's 2 hours).

            1. re: RMCF1

              there's plenty of threads on this forum about this. If the kitchen closes at 11, then customers aren't expected to leave at 11, and you sure don't get to leave at 11. It means that if they're through the door by 11, they have the right to expect a meal.

              1. re: sunshine842

                We're not a's a cafe. A lot of this may sound 'ranty' as it's happened multiple times this week and my manager has cut the night shift down from 4 people to myself alone working tables, counter and kitchen. I should be complaining to him not the forum. I'm sorry if this comes across as rude.

                Like I said, we close at 11 (not the kitchen, the store as a whole....) and we're scheduled until 11:30 as we have 1/2 hour to clean everything.

                1. re: RMCF1

                  doesn't matter -- cafe, bistro, restaurant, coffee shop, whatever you want to call it.

                  If the sign on the door says the establishment is open til 11, then that's what time someone can expect to enter and be served.

                  I'm really sorry that nobody has come on to pat you on the back and sympathize -- but the fact that we didn't doesn't mean that we're horrible people or even that we resent our lives, just that we've lived long enough and paid enough dues to understand that this is the way the world spins, especially when you're low man on the totem pole.

                  Finish your education as quickly as you can -- then you can rip off your apron on the way out the door, just the rest of us did.

                  1. re: sunshine842

                    "If the sign on the door says the establishment is open til 11, then that's what time someone can expect to enter and be served."

                    Restaurants vary in their policies. Some post 2 sets of hours - the time the kitchen closes and the time the restaurant closes. Other places post only a single time but in that case the right thing to do is to ask them, not just presume. There's no law that says a restaurant has to serve you. They each have their own policy when it comes to closing times.

                    Lets look at it another way. If a hardware store says it closes at 9:00PM you wouldn't walk in there at 8:55 to shop for the 30 items you need to renovate your kitchen.

                    Courtesy cuts both ways.

                    1. re: Bob Martinez

                      yes, and that's been discussed in several other threads. all depends on what's posted -- if it's posted that the kitchen closes at 10:30, then customers have to adjust. But if the only sign says that they close at 11, then the staff have to be prepare that someone may walk in at 10:45.

                      Not saying it's right to walk in at 10:45, but the posted hours are the posted hours, and people sometimes don't have the option of trying to get something to eat at "normal" hours. (see my post about traveling elsewhere)

                      1. re: sunshine842

                        You're *interpreting* the 11:00 posted time as a "last call" to order dinner. Restaurants have different policies so it's best to ask rather than presume.

                        Based on your post further down the thread -


                        you really *do* know how these things work.

                        A little discussion with the FOH staff before you sit down prevents misunderstandings. Like you said, ordering food to go is a way around potential problems. Sometimes ordering a more limited meal that can be eaten relatively quickly is another way to handle a timing situation.

                        1. re: Bob Martinez

                          the fact that I recognize that closing time is approaching doesn't mean that everyone else will. If there's no "kitchen close" time posted, then "kitchen close" and "door close" can be reasonably assumed to be the is the summary of all of these "closing time" threads.

                          But nobody gets to interview people when they walk in the door at 10:50, and they need to be prepared to provide full service, just like they would at 6:50.

                          You can't know what they've been dealing with that brings them to walk through the door ten minutes before close...e.g., the time I went out to eat with family after visiting hours at the hospital where we had the last chance to see a loved one who died the next day. We were exhausted, mentally and physically, and we really just needed fuel to get us through what we knew would be difficult next few days. (and to our credit, we didn't just walk in and expect to be served -- we asked if we could still get a meal, and the server commented at how hangdog we all looked as we were seated. Not everyone will be considerate.)

                          1. re: sunshine842

                            "But nobody gets to interview people when they walk in the door at 10:50, and they need to be prepared to provide full service, just like they would at 6:50."

                            It's their place. They get to decide. You can live with their policy or you can find another restaurant.

                            "and to our credit, we didn't just walk in and expect to be served -- we asked if we could still get a meal, and the server commented at how hangdog we all looked as we were seated. Not everyone will be considerate.)"

                            Once again you did the right thing, just like you did in your other post I quoted.

                            1. re: Bob Martinez

                              Obviously, the OP's boss has decided that in-the-door-by-close means they get served.

                              1. re: sunshine842

                                Agreed. Probably because he's desperate for business.

                                1. re: Bob Martinez

                                  which makes him just one of thousands -- economic hard times and new businesses tend to make people hungry to attract and keep customers.

                                  1. re: sunshine842

                                    If this guy was doing great business with walk ins at 10:45 then he'd staff for it and change his closing time. Instead he cut the night staff from 5 to 1.

                                    The marginal increase in revenue from the occasional late dining table isn't going the change things much. He's deluding himself.

                                      1. re: sunshine842

                                        I didn't say the owner was wrong. It's his place and he gets to make the rules.

                                        Another restaurant could be different. Their 11:00PM closing time might be the time they expect you to settle up and leave.

                                        What I've been saying all along is that an 11:00PM closing time can mean different things at different restaurants. Any customer that thinks that an 11:00PM closing time allows them to pop into any restaurant at 10:55 and order a full meal is going to be disappointed sometimes.

                                        It's best to ask the staff.

                      2. re: Bob Martinez

                        Lets look at it another way. If a hardware store says it closes at 9:00PM you wouldn't walk in there at 8:55 to shop for the 30 items you need to renovate your kitchen.

                        Yes I would.

                          1. re: PotatoHouse

                            If you tipped them all a hundred bucks each, maybe. But a hardware store is not in the hospitality business either.

                            1. re: coll

                              They are either open or they are not. If they don't want customers walking in the door at 8:55 then close at 8:30.

                              1. re: PotatoHouse

                                But then you'd walk in at 8:25 to get your 30 items, lol. Closing time means the time the store closes. It's up to the customer to get there in time to complete their purchases prior to that closing. Within reason, of course.

                                1. re: carolinadawg

                                  Granted I wouldn't walk in 5 minutes before closing expecting to browse the aisles and comparison shopping for those 30 items, but if I knew exactly what I wanted and needed and knew that i could gather said items in a reasonable (read"short") amount of time, then I would feel no compunction.

                                  1. re: PotatoHouse

                                    Yes, I agree, but that's not the situation you described previously.

                                    1. re: carolinadawg

                                      Actually I didn't describe a situation. Bob described a situation with no real parameters and I responded to it.

                                      1. re: PotatoHouse

                                        That changes everything. Revise my previous post to "that's not the situation you said you'd participate in previously."

                                        All better?

                                    2. re: PotatoHouse

                                      I work retail and they cruise in 5 minutes before closing and take their sweet time. Somebody does it every night, usually multiple people. Then there are the ones standing in front of the locked doors ten minutes before opening, peering inside and nervously looking at their watch.

                                      1. re: James Cristinian

                                        What's wrong with the ones there early? (full disclosure, I've been that one). They aren't bothering any body. Pretty much any time that's ever been me, the store opens at precisely .the "opening" time, so it's not like anyone seems to feel pressured to open early

                                        1. re: DGresh

                                          As someone who works in the field I can imagine scenarios in which the doors may be opened before everything is completely ready for business. This is certainly not the fault of customers, but can be stressful for an ill-prepared employee (more likely to happen with a very small business).

                                          1. re: Midlife

                                            I work at a big place and it happens. People call in sick, pos problem, registers not ready. I won't even walk in to a place until it's been open five minutes, and I'm not going to stand around with my hands on my hips pissed off because somebody didn't help you the second you walked in.

                                          2. re: DGresh

                                            Say it's 9:55 and I come in for my 10 am shift, I get the question what time do you open? I tell them 10 and they point to their 5 minute ahead set watch and get the it's 10 now. No it's not it's 9:55 with a few dirty looks from others. It happens all the time, and it's annoying.

                                            1. re: James Cristinian

                                              Ask to see their cell phone. The time shown there is accurate because it comes from the carrier's network.

                                              1. re: Bob Martinez

                                                Next time I'll just tell them to check their phones. I want as little interaction as possible until I clock in and get ready to work.

                                              2. re: James Cristinian

                                                Keep the door locked until opening time?

                                              3. re: DGresh

                                                I worked at a store in the mall where we had the room to stack up a lot of merchandise in the vestibule. We sold kitchen equipment so that was where we would stack up toasters ovens and such. I always opened alone and would wait until 10 on the dot to open the doors, hoping I would have time to push those little towers out the door. Half the time folks would push by me so there I am trying to watch the store and get things organized -- but they couldn't check out until I was behind the cash register. If you haven't worked retail, you don't have any idea how crazy we are as customers.

                                          3. re: carolinadawg

                                            Whenever "closing" time is, there is always going to be a transition from being fully open to being fully closed. How that transition is handled is up to the business owner. For example, some may have "last call" (or order) 15 minutes before closing. Some may choose to fully serve all patrons who arrive before the stated closing time. Some may choose to let their staff start cleaning, or politely hurry customers along; some, as in this case, do not. That's completely up to the owner, not the staff, nor is it the responsibility of the customer to ignore the business's policy in favor of some kind of rule of etiquette.

                                            The owner of this business has made it quite clear how he wants to handle "closing" -- that's his right, and if you work there you either accept it or work somewhere else.

                                            What you don't accept is not being paid for the time you are required to work! It sounds as if the poster merely asked the labor department for suggestions about what to do. Now it's time to make a formal complaint and then follow up on it. Document the time that's not being paid, and go back and reconstruct how much unpaid time has been worked. The employer should be liable for both back pay and penalties.

                                            1. re: Ruth Lafler

                                              I completely agree with you, Ruth. But there are those who would still bash as rude anyone who dared walk through the door 5 minutes before "last call".

                                              1. re: PotatoHouse

                                                It amazes me how many posters on this site bash people for being rude or wrong when they are simply following the business's policy, rather than some random person's personal rule of "etiquette." (I'm thinking, for example, of all the people who say it's terrible to take something back to Trader Joe's, even though that's Trader Joe's explicit policy and in fact, an important element of its business model!).

                                                Just because YOU would never do something doesn't mean it's necessarily wrong when someone else does.

                                  2. re: sunshine842

                                    "Finish your education as quickly as you can -- then you can rip off your apron on the way out the door, just the rest of us did."

                                    I don't know why the OP or any younger person would be eager to do so, given your own description on this thread of your apparently nightmarish work life. Yikes.

                                    Kids! These are tough times, but I don't hate my underpaid job! (just the underpaid part).

                                    1. re: ratgirlagogo

                                      I love my job 95% of the time -- and don't figure that's all that out of line with the general public.

                                      Happily, I end up at a restaurant 30 minutes before closing time incredibly rarely...but it does happen.

                                  3. re: RMCF1

                                    If your boss can't employ enough people to do the work required, things are not good. You're not doing yourself any favours by staying in this job if it's going under anyway. Start leaving at the end of your shift. Tell your boss you can no longer work unpaid hours. If you have pay stubs (ie he is paying you legally), you can report the whole thing. So you're actually in control here. Maybe you need the job, but is the job going to be there when he goes under?

                                    1. re: RMCF1

                                      RMCFI I used to work at a seven eleven type of chain in Gainesville FL and I was alone in a store that closed at eleven pm. We didn't get paid after eleven but the employee was supposed to mop and leave everything perfect including pulling the milk soda and beer forward in the refrigerators so that there were no gaps etc etc.
                                      I kept trying to leave shortly after eleven but found myself feeling frustrated by last minute customers. So I just didn't even start cleaning much til after eleven to reduce the stress. Darn if the area manager didn't drive past and see me there at eleven thirty and scold me. It is hard to be put in between a rock and a hard place.
                                      Once my friend John and I were at a McDonald's that decided to close their lobby an hour early because they were short staffed. They told us they were closing and when we didn't leave immediately and took like two minutes to finish our food they gave us some nasty glares. We never went back.
                                      This sounds like a bad situation. I'm sensitive to vibes so if I was being oblivious the puppy dog eyes would probably get me moving let alone stares of doom.

                                2. re: sunshine842

                                  But Sunshine, one could ask the same of you. Why do you think your circumstances make you more worthy of accommodation than the restaurant workers?

                                  Then, in your post from earlier today,

                                  "sunshine842 about 1 hour ago

                                  You have to take care of yourself physically, particularly when you're traveling (screwy hours, missed/late meals, heavy and rich when you do eat).

                                  I'm not going to make myself ill just to spare someone working until their posted hours end. I'm more than willing to try to not make that any longer than necessary, but we all live together on this planet, and if everybody gives JUST THAT MUCH (hold fingers a few millimetres apart) everybody ends up content, if not ecstatic."

                                  Remember, we're talking about expecting others to work *beyond* their posted hours. You seem to again place more importance on your needs. Your health while traveling is your responsibility. If solutions like a quick trip to the grocery store and a collapsible cooler don't appeal to you, then at least acknowledge that you've made that choice.
                                  Others, whose circumstances you know nothing about and may actually cause yours to pale in comparison, should not pick up your slack.
                                  Welcome to adulthood. Time to take responsibility for yourself. I've traveled, I've missed meals, and learned.
                                  Have not felt entitled to make others make it right for me.
                                  You can. Doesn't mean you should.

                                3. re: RMCF1

                                  If you are on the job and not being paid, that seems illegal to me. I'm assuming you are paid hourly and not salaried.

                                    1. re: rasputina

                                      Meaning what? What is "entitlement mentality"? And what does it mean here?

                                    2. re: RMCF1

                                      You're right. The customers are jerks. Some people have a sense of entitlement a mile wide. As a customer, once I look around and realize I'm one of the last ones in the dining room I finish up and leave. You should treat other people as you'd like to be treated yourself.

                                      That said, you really have no choice except to put up with this as long as you're in that job.

                                      1. re: RMCF1

                                        Where do you live that it's legal to only pay you for the half hour? In the states you must be paid for all of your time spent working.

                                        1. re: Missmoo

                                          The original poster hasn't been back to this thread in one day and it's only their 2nd time posting to this community.

                                          1. re: Missmoo

                                            I love in a ontario.

                                            I'll specify that I technically have two bosses--him and his wife. His wife, in contrast, allows is to mop, sweep etc after closing around customers as were closed. She doesn't allow annnyone in after closing whereas he does.

                                            Come 10:45, the kitchen is normally closed as we start cleaning it then. She has no problem with it. However, he's the opposite and even if we're cleaning, he'll serve people hot food even when the kitchen is closed.

                                            1. re: RMCF1

                                              I can see the opposing rules being confusing to the employees.

                                              1. re: coll

                                                true, but as above, all the OP can do is say "yay, I'll be out on time" when she's running the show, and brace his/her self for a late night when he's running it.

                                                Starting an argument between the managers, especially when they're married AND the owners, isn't ever going to go well.

                                              2. re: RMCF1

                                                (glad you came back)

                                                then it sounds like you are not in a situation that is going to change.

                                                Working without pay is illegal, including in Ontario. You have every right to discuss this with him.

                                                But if he chooses to open the kitchen for guests who walk in a closing time, it's his restaurant and his decision. You can choose to continue to work after hours (assuming, of course, that you can resolve the whole work-for-free issue) -- or you can find somewhere else to work.

                                                Pointing out to him that his wife allows it is putting you squarely in the middle of a domestic situation, and I would strongly suggest you avoid setting one against the other at all costs -- you will not ever win when you're in the middle.

                                                It's his ball and his field and his game, so it's his rules -- but you don't have to play.

                                        2. The original comment has been removed
                                          1. When you become the owner/boss, you'll understand.

                                            You get paid regardless of whether the restaurant is packed from opening to closing (whenever that may be), or if it's empty the entire day.

                                            Your boss does not.

                                            13 Replies
                                            1. re: ipsedixit

                                              I used to work with my boss in another cafe before he decided to open up his own.

                                              Come closing time, the lights were off whether people were still in or not, and he would mop under their feet no matter what.

                                              I don't see why one can't, after store hours mop further away from the client.

                                              More than half the time, they're not eating and instead are chatting away inconsiderately.

                                              1. re: RMCF1

                                                the key phrase here is that it's his own restaurant. It's different because now it's *his* money.

                                                1. re: RMCF1

                                                  I used to work with my boss in another cafe before he decided to open up his own.

                                                  You just answered your own post.

                                                  1. re: RMCF1

                                                    "I don't see why one can't, after store hours mop further away from the client. "

                                                    Because some people, especially Mrs. B can't stand the smell of mop. She'll get up and walk out.

                                                    BUT>>>>>>>>>If your boss is only paying you til 11:30 you don't have to stay another minute or clean after that time. He is NOT entitled to free labor. Log you actual hours, take time/date stamped selfies. You have a claim to make with your state labor department. You say you are a stident, so this is not a permanent job, at the end of the semester, or graduation, make your claim (after giving your boss the opportunity to pay up first).

                                                    1. re: bagelman01

                                                      Report him regardless. If he just pays this person off he will continue to exploit his other employees.

                                                  2. re: ipsedixit

                                                    The boss also gets to keep the profits. His salary isn't capped. There's no comparison.

                                                      1. re: ipsedixit

                                                        "Who's comparing?"

                                                        You are.
                                                        You get paid regardless of whether the restaurant is packed from opening to closing (whenever that may be), or if it's empty the entire day.

                                                        Your boss does not.

                                                          1. re: ipsedixit

                                                            "When I use a word," Humpty Dumpty said, in rather a scornful tone, "it means just what I choose it to mean—neither more nor less."

                                                            1. re: Bob Martinez

                                                              and we all know what happened to Humpty Dumpty.

                                                      2. re: Bob Martinez

                                                        And he gets to eat the losses, which let's face it is what happens with most restaurants, then they close.

                                                        1. re: JoannaNYC

                                                          In this case what the boss is doing is asking the OP to work for free in order to make his restaurant profitable.

                                                    1. < I'm also NOT Paid if not done cleaning everything by then >
                                                      Are you a salary position ?
                                                      Or paid hourly ?
                                                      Do you have a time clock ?
                                                      Or write your hours down ?
                                                      What does your labor law say ?
                                                      It's not about the customers. It's about you.

                                                      15 Replies
                                                      1. re: emglow101

                                                        no, it's about the customers....because with no customers, there's no cafe...and no paycheck.

                                                        1. re: sunshine842

                                                          I meant to say. It's not about the customer. Meaning, they have every right to stay after hours if thats policy. No big deal. The employee should be paid for his or her work. That's the problem.

                                                        2. re: emglow101

                                                          We're paid hourly and our hours are written down. However, if we're not done cleaning by the time the schedule says, we work for free. Doesn't matter if it's one hour, two or three.

                                                          1. re: RMCF1

                                                            Did you sign a agreement that makes you do this ?

                                                            1. re: emglow101

                                                              No, its just what he's told us numerous times. He said if we're not fast enough to clean and he's giving us a 1/2 hr paid, then we work for free 'cause its our problem.

                                                                1. re: RMCF1

                                                                  then I'll urge you again to find somewhere else to work. Being asked to stay after is the way of the world -- but asking you to work after you clock out **when you are hourly** is just plain wrong (and blatantly illegal, by the way)

                                                                  1. re: sunshine842

                                                                    Yep! Therein lies the rub. The OP is being taken... not by the patrons of the cafe, but by the owner.

                                                                    OP - direct your indignation toward your boss, not the customers.

                                                                    (OK... read further down and now realize I'm just parroting others...sorry!)

                                                                    1. re: chowyadoin99

                                                                      Especially since the OP revealed they are the last remaining employee. What exactly is going on?

                                                                      The entire thread sifted on point once the OP shared being unpaid for "after hour" work and many of us focused on who is actually at fault here (boss, not customer).

                                                                2. re: RMCF1

                                                                  If you're hourly, you should get paid for the hours you work. If you don't, your beef is with your boss, not the customers.

                                                                  It doesn't really matter what your boss says. He can fire you for being slow if he likes. But he can't make you work without pay, and he can't fire you for demanding to be paid for the hours you work - either is illegal. Boss owes you money.

                                                                  1. re: cowboyardee

                                                                    Exactly. It's not the fault of the customers that your boss is engaging in illegal labor practices.

                                                                    1. re: cowboyardee

                                                                      Are you in the US? The Department of Labor is pretty clear on payment of hourly workers. I agree that your beef is with your boss.

                                                                      1. re: tcamp

                                                                        Or Canada. This would be illegal here too. .

                                                                3. By café, do you mean they are not having dinner but merely coffee and light fare? If that's the case, anything more than half an hour after serving ends seems excessive to me, but the owner sets the policy as he pleases. No one else can tell a customer it's time to leave except someone delegated that authority.

                                                                  You need to be paid for all the time you are on the job. If you are not, that's a basis for complaint.

                                                                  1 Reply
                                                                  1. re: GH1618

                                                                    agreed, but that conversation needs to take place with the owner, not the customers.