If you’ve ever worked in the service industry, you’re probably familiar with the feeling of frustration that comes when customers just won’t leave. It could be an hour after closing, all the chairs could be stacked on the tables, yet there will always be a select few who simply can’t get the hint that the staff wants to go home.
This is a common complaint amongst internet users in the service industry. Many users went viral after sharing their stories of shoppers overstaying their welcome, from restaurants seating 60 people just before closing to customers staying 45 minutes to an hour after the restaurant’s doors are supposed to close.
For employees stuck in this situation, there’s little they can do to try to shoo away these lingering eaters. However, TikTok user Nicole (@colexxn) has a method sure to spook away customers—and it’s going viral, having accumulated over 2.1 million views at the time of writing.
@colexxn Iykyk . . . #server #serverlife #serverproblems #servertiktok #servertok #serverstories #serverpov #serversoftiktok #waitressproblems #waitresslife ♬ original sound – Nicole
In the video, Nicole frantically and loudly sweeps the floor. As she does this, she shakes and repeatedly hits the broom against the dustpan, increasing the amount of noise she’s generating.
“POV: hoping ur last table catches a hint,” she writes in the text overlaying the video.
In the comments section, many users shared their own stories of trying to get people to leave their restaurants or stores.
“I once turned off the lights in one of the sections at close and th last table said ‘oooo ambience’ and stayed,” recalled a user.
“I start vacuuming and hit their feet with it,” offered another.
“I talk loudly to my coworker about how I just wanna go home to see my kids,” stated a third. “I don’t have kids.”
“I asked someone to leave one time because it was almost an hour passed close and they asked for their tip back,” alleged an additional TikToker.
Other commenters simply questioned why some customers think that staying well past closing is acceptable behavior.
“And then they leave a review ‘Server was putting up chairs around us, not very welcoming,’” said a commenter.
“I couldnt imagine knowing a place is CLOSED and staying after-hours,” detailed a second.
“Customers b thinking its a sleepover and dine,” joked a further commenter.
Update 4:37pm CT, Aug. 10: In an Instagram DM exchange with the Daily Dot, Nicole noted that her video was a joke and that she does not actually do this while customers are around.
“I do start cleaning my tables though, so I’ll sweep and put up chairs and make it obvious we are closed,” she explained. “But I don’t sweep that aggressively, promise!”
She also said that, most of the time, guests just aren’t aware that they’re keeping the staff beyond working hours.
“I have never asked them to leave before, because I try to be patient and let them enjoy their night out,” she stated. “I think a lot of guests don’t realize they are keeping us from going home because they think we still have to close up when in reality we’ve been preparing to close for the past hour and are ready to go.”
Nicole continued by saying that she enjoys her work and that customers should simply “be kind and tip your servers.”
“I work 11 hour doubles some days, and it sucks when you don’t make enough money to get by, because people have different opinions about tipping servers for different reasons,” she wrote. “I hope they realize their tips are my income, because I get paid $2 hourly and it goes straight to taxes — I never see that check.”
“Don’t get me wrong — I love serving kind and courteous guests. It makes my heart warm, and so those who are not kind, and don’t value my service and tip nothing, break my heart,” she concluded. “I and many other servers have been brought to tears before, because it’s clear some people see us as less human.”