The Insane Waiter

Running wild on customers, chefs, owners and managers since 1997. I bring to you, The Insane Waiter. What do bring to your table? A crisp bottle of San Pellegrino ? Perhaps a lovely seared Sashimi Tuna? Start off with a wonderful bottle from Tuscany perhaps? Why I'll be more than happy to bring you your White Zinfandel and Chicken Caesar. No you can't order the mac and cheese off the kids menu and sorry no, we don't serve cheese sticks....

Tuesday, August 30, 2005

Why We Tip

Being the bored person that I am, I came across this question on the "bitterwaitress" message board.

"I just wonder how it came about that a restaurant owner can expect to pay his staff much less than what their work is worth, and expect the customers to subsidize the rest?"

Thus questioning the reasons behind tipping, not withstanding if the service is good or bad, but why the customer is expected to pay tipped employees out of their own pockets in general.

Because some owner somewhere figured out that by government laws people getting tips already, would be eligible for a lower wage under the law.

Now I make between $18-25/ hour including both tips and my 3.09/hour.

To keep me working at a place without tips they would basically need to pay me the mean of this, say an even $20/hour.

Of course the pay for any service job is paid by the consumer, it's just figured into your bill, which you don't realize it much of the time.

ie: Half the cost of fixing your brakes is used to pay the mechanic, or part of the cost of going to the dentist pays his assistant and receptionist.

I bet you don't contest your dental bill because you waited, or will only pay for the parts on your mechanic bill because the service was rude, do you?

The problem with this is the employer can take as much as he wants out of this for himself, and pay the help as little as he wants to or can get away with to increase his profit margin.

That doesn't always happen, many receive their just due...

However, in the restaurant business most owners and managers would just keep the money for themselves if this happened, thus guaranteeing us a much lower wage.

Basically because this business is based on greed, be it a servers tips, a managers bonus, or an owners profit.

Perhaps 9 bucks/hour is what they would pay us if tipping were was nonexistent.

You may think that that pay is worthy of a job like waiting tables, after all in your mind anyone can do it. (Ha, you try it)

But see what kind of service you get if that happens, slow and uncaring, forgetful, and rude.

That is because any incentive is taken out of that work.

That is why you have a longer wait at the dentist, but a hotel receptionist is motivated by money, and will get you in a bit faster with less hassle, for a little grease on the wheels of course.

If you think your server is friendly and efficient because he likes you or loves his job, well you probably are wrong.

We do what we do for cash, do you do your job because you love it?

No, you do it mostly for the money, even though there are periods when you may enjoy it.

So the reason tipping is in existence, well its because no owner really wants to pay us, they expect you to.

If you don't, its really no skin off their backs, it doesn't cost them money.

But the general custom is you do tip for service, so they don't pay us a fair wage to live on without tips.

If you're one of those people who don't tip, or don't tip well just on principal you probably believe this...

That its not your problem what we get paid, we are there you service you, because that is our job.

Well expect shitty service...

Because we'll remember you and treat you accordingly...

And remember what Jesus said...

"Treat others as you would have them treat you."

You wouldn't want to make Jesus mad...

Would you?

Sunday, August 28, 2005

Keep the Change

So its Sunday night, and very slow.

Not much going on other than a couple two tops, and a four top of cute girls, all going to the American Idol "All-Stars" Ha!

Speaking of, I can't believe Kelly Clarkson won a VMA tonight, not because I like her or anything, but I remember three years ago watching the finals, with my ex in my arms, tear...

Seems like just yesterday, sigh.

Well enough of the sentimentality, its time for a rant!

So its a slow and not stormy night.

One of my two tops is hanging out, and its a quality table.

Bottle of mid-level wine, a steak and a seafood entree.

$98 Tab at the moment.

I stop by for a dessert check and their all set to go, I drop the check and go about my business.

A few moments pass and I return, I see a couple of dead presidents peeking out of the checkbook.

Jackson and Benjamin.

(Yes nitpickers I know Benjamin isn't one)

I pop over and say, "Can I run that up for you sir?"

"Sure, keep the change, everything was wonderful," the gentleman says with a smile.

I thank him of course and start away, and am abruptly stopped by the lady.

"Waiter! What is that young lady drinking over there?"

"A chocolate martini Ma'am"

"Ooooooooh! May I have one of those? Honey?" She pleads with her husband.

Shit, he's gonna crack.

"Well why not," is the answer.

I hesitantly put the server book back down.

I get her drink and as I drop it off ask if there will be anything else. The gentleman say no, and I drop off their new billing statement.

They camp out for a little bit and after I roll some silverware I return to the table.

They are both gone.

I pick up the tab.

The same amount of money is in it.

The bill is SEVEN BUCKS more!


I just paid for HER drink out of my tip.

And it was a good tip, now turned to a shitty one, all because it would take too much effort to reach two feet for their freakin wallet!

It's Horseshit!!!

Cheap fucks.

Thursday, August 25, 2005

The Little Things...Pt. II, Hostess Havoc

What's going on gang!

Well it's late and I'm not buzzed enough to fall asleep, and besides my after dinner drink this is another way to get my mind clear so it can all begin tomorrow.

My thought today is about the host stand.

Yes, we all know those hanging out there have the symptoms of anorexia, stupidity and snootyness.

We know the prototype, all thanks to Abe Froman...

You know,

The Sausage King of Chicago.

Well as much as we and even the guests curse them for losing reservations, or triple seating us, there is one group that can help out immensely...


The guest can put chaos in a seemingly normal night.

A two top demanding to sit at a four top, either for romance or business, has no clue what they are doing.

And for several reasons this affects us server very negatively.

First off it looks like trouble the second we see you glancing nervously about for the "perfect" table...

That sense of entitlement creeps over us and makes us shudder.

The feeling of this "Me First" society is really starting to make me sick.

You were put where you were for a reason, it was that servers turn.

That table you want next to it, you know, the one with four seats.

Well its needed, if not for a reservation, then for a "real" table shortly down the road...

Each and every seat is needed by both me and the restaurant. You see, its my real estate and I expect a certain amount of money for every seat.

The restaurant also needs every seat to make sure the wait is shortened and for maximum profit, we are a business you know.

So we're already off to a bad start.

As I see a four top sauntering over to their table with thoughts of wine and steak in their minds, and the big money in their pockets.

They were supposed to go where you went.

That was my reservation...

It might be understandable for me to think evil thoughts about your two iced tea's and the appetizer you want for dinner.

Because you belonged where you were put.

A two top sits at a two top, four at a four, six at a six.

It's not personal.

It's a mathematical fact.

As for the hostess with the backbone of a jellyfish...

Just say no.

It worked for Nancy Reagan, it can work for you.

Because you just sat a table where a ten top is going in forty-five minutes, you didn't notice the big line acrossed the two tables?

Now would you want two people mad at you because you ruined their special day, or ten?

Murphy's Law again...

That two top will camp for at least thirty minutes past when the reso comes in.

Now I'm screwed out of the ten top.

Happened to me twice last week.

But hey, got eight bucks, much better than sixty.

Back to Murphy's Law.

Since our friendly guest just had to move to that table from another section, they entered mine.

Thirty seconds after another four top, and maybe forty five before my next one...

Triple sat, a server's nightmare.

Especially at a high end restaurant, like the one I work in.

Now I'm getting my ass kicked.

In the weeds up to my neck.

Also in most places the reservations come in seatings or shifts. Now because of all my tables going down at the same time, they will all get up at the same time.

Thus ensuring I get triple sat, or worse quadrupled, all night long.

It works like this.

One table should be getting ready to go.

The next should be eating.

The one after should be on apps.

First one getting drinks.

And so on depending on the size of the section.

Fairly evenly spaced, and plotted by managers so everyone gets great and timely service.

All ruined because of someone who doesn't care or even recognize the planning that goes into every night.

They just want what they think they're entitled to.

So next time you're close to the door, kitchen, vent, speaker, or God forbid other people.

Like Mommy always used to say...

Stay put and listen.

You weren't sat any particular place because we don't like you. You were just meant for that section and server at that time.

It's not personal folks.

It's mathematical.

Wednesday, August 24, 2005

Left Out...

One Saturday at the beginning of the rush I was up our bar hanging out chatting about the latest restaurant gossip and all, and I witnessed one of the great moments in bartending history.

A server order came back for a six top.

White Zin, of course.

Well as the barkeep scoffs at the order he notices the request for ice in one of the glasses.

He complies of course and the drink is in the server's hand and out the door.

About two minutes pass, and he has a little visitor.

A smoking little thing in a red number slinks up to the bar, two glasses of white zin in hand.

She's hot and she knows it.

The bartender is a veteran, he has the thousand yard stare.

He knows and advisary by sight.

"Sir, my friend ordered her glass of wine and it isn't as full as mine!" The little tart speaks.

"And she feels left out..."

The barkeep shakes his head,"well I put ice in your glass, that's why its full."

"Well I know that, but can't you fill hers up?"

"Does she want me to put ice in it?"

"No, she just wants it full."

"She has the proper pour, if you want me to fill it up I'll have her charged for another glass," replies the veteran with steel in his eyes.

The blond looks confused, this isn't going as planned...

She's hot, and her looks aren't getting her anywhere for the first time her little mind can remember.

The bartender doesn't care what she looks like.

He sees her for what she is.

Another freeloader.

She tries the pouting angle...

"But, my friend...She feels left out."

With resolve, the answer is, "I don't care."

The seduction in her eyes turns to cold anger.

It's amazing how a beautiful woman can become so ugly so fast.

With the hate burning in her eyes she said and I quote...

"You're not a very happy person, are you???"

One word was spoken as the bartender turned and walked away.


Tuesday, August 23, 2005

Don't, Under any circumstances do the Following...

Now, while the purpose of this blog is to entertain both you and myself, maybe there are some lessons to be learned.

First of I'm not your dog...

Don't whistle, or snap your fingers at me.

Plain and simple.

I'm a person and you will treat me as such.

It is rude and if you think that it isn't take a look at the faces of your neighbors.

There are no threats necessary, but you will be considerate, just as you want us to be considerate to you.

I actually know someone that did an about turn after such and incident and tell his "guest."

"I'm not your dog."

And the guy looked like an asshole in front of his friends, and deservingly so.

Second, don't touch us....EVER!

That means don't grab my arm if I'm at the neighboring table to get my attention.

Don't attempt to put your glass on my tray when I'm going past.

Don't ever try to take anything from me,be it a pen, straw, or a sugar caddy off my tray.

Most of the time I have everything balanced and it takes just one jolt or little bit of weight to knock the six half full glasses of water all over the ground.

Plus I am one of those people who don't like to be touched, and I will reprimand you sternly if you think otherwise.

Don't put your dirty dishes on the table next to you.

I know you don't have much room on your table, but this habit is disgusting.

It dirties a table that I probably took the time to set.

Either I or a busser will be by shortly to pick anything up.

I don't feel like cleaning up after you any more than I have to.

Be an adult and show some patience.

Plus it really is embarrassing when the host goes to seat that table and your side plate full of fat you pulled off your prime rib is where they are going, it is even worse when you put it on their seat.

And thirdly in this little rant never use the phrase.

"Well they did it for us last time."

Either you are lying, or someone didn't feel like hassling with you the last time.

Chances are you are lying.

I don't care if you want Monday's special and its Friday, we don't have it.

Come in Monday.

My favorite is when a buddy of mine had that request.

"Ya I want that special that you had last week with shrimp..."

Ok, there where two different specials for both lunch and dinner for all seven days last week, and out of fourteen possible specials their best guess was it has shrimp.

The cooks have to go out of there way to create something they can't even remember.

It is delivered.

And sent back.

"It's not what I had in mind."

No shit, order off the menu.

We're not BK kids...

Catch you all later!

Sunday, August 21, 2005

The Little Things... Pt. 1

Well friends I join you again after a hard working weekend.

I try to post a couple times a week, and usually that post is pretty long.

In between them when I have a few minutes I've decided to do a mini-column...

The little things.

After all it is the little things that count in life, they can make you smile, make your day...

Or just piss you off...

So here we go!

Saturday night, middle of the rush and getting tossed not only in the weeds but the bushes.

I get a family of four, not a good thing usually with smaller children in the group.

They were not the problem however, the adults were.

First off, "Yah, don't you have any sandwiches??"

Damn, I'm gonna have to say no, and I can tell he doesn't want to actually spend money here, well goodbye tip...

"I'm sorry sir but only at lunch.."

A look of mild anger appears on his face, "why not??"

"Because Sir we are a dinner establishment," I say firmly, no room to maneuver for him.

I love saying no to the customers at times, and this is one of them.

Well they order and I'm silly busy.

About five minutes pass and I stop by to see if they need any drinks.

Perfect timing, he has about two drinks left in his beer.

As I enquire about his order he rolls his eyes at me, I can't believe it.

"Ya are you supposed to be the on helping me?"

He can't even be bothered to remember who I am.

"Yes sir?"

"Well who was that who just here?"

I look over, its my server assistant, and I inform him so...

"Well I tried to order from him and he said no."

The kids 17, he can't deliver drinks.

"And where have you been, we've been waiting..."

Oh boy, like I've been out back getting stoned with the dishwashers...

"Sir I'm very busy, I was taking and order and you're not my only table."

I can't believe that just came out of my mouth.

There is a look of shock on his face, his server has balls, and he can't believe it.

Hell neither can, most of the time I apologize for not being there.

This time I don't.

I'm tired of rolling over...

He starts mumbling something about when his food is coming out.

"Sir its only been five minutes, we're busy, it will get here when it gets here."

"I'll be right back with your beer."

The rest of the dinner goes great, the wife is very nice and the children well behaved.

Food is great, the kids say please and thank you for refills and all is well in the world.

The gentleman begrudgingly admits his dinner is excellent, they pay and leave...

18%, better than I would have thought...

And all is right in the my world.

Thursday, August 18, 2005

The Four Horsemen of the Apocolypse?

And Behold a Pale Horse, and its Rider was...
Death by Mundane Cuisine,
and Indigestion followed with him...

Welcome to Corporate Hell

Welcome to a server's hell!

Cookie Cutter stores designed for mediocrity.

Just so you can walk into any TGI Fridays from Des Moines to Outer Mongolia and get the exact same server drone 12 steps of service spiel.

The exact same Jack Daniels Ribs...

The exact same Extreme Fajitas...

And the exact same Jalapeno Shooters...

My personal favorite is highlighting something that's been on the menu since 1869 as a special!
(Consumer Warning: The special is always something on the verge of spoiling, they are just trying to get rid of the overstock, in other words that Ribeye you ordered probably was turning green before it hit the grill)

Now corporate managers are something else all together.

You think servers are greedy, they put us to shame.

See their pay is based on a bonus system that gets chipped away at by falling short of goals.

Too many customer complaints?? Knock of $100

Overtime being paid out? Another Fifty...

Labor, food and liquor costs up??

Well by then they're making less than us server if you catch my drift.

They are so frightened by their bosses and willing to bow down to any customer just so the shit won't roll down on them from the office.

So I'm just amazed at the actions corporate managers take to protect their bonus system.

The greed that pumps throughout their veins is sickening.

I've worked at a few corporate places when I started out, ie: LoneStar, Famous Dave's & Heart of America. (Ya I'll name drop)

Never have I found a manager to back up, or at least in private agree with one of the lowly staff.

To them we all are liars and thieves, all working to undermine their corporate structure, hypocrisy!

We are as replaceable as forks and plates to them, and probably matter less because they actually cost money.

They offer nearly no benefits, minimum wage for paid vacation, and no sick days. Don't even think about calling in without ten people already vouching to work for you, no doctor's note, no job.

Want your federally mandated thirty minute break on twelve hour double?

Good luck!

The last hole I worked in took away all smoking "privileges" and no eating until you're clocked out for the nite.

Too bad I never got breaks under this policy.

When I complained they said all I had to do was ask for my break, most places insure you your right to a break.

Every time I asked for it the answer was sure, right after you polish the bar, or straighten your section (not for the current shift but the next one), stock beer or cover for someone.

By the time that was up five o'clock had rolled around and as I was ready to walk out the door I was told I had been sat my first table for the night shift.

No time for a break now, another six hours to go.

But I guess since they pay us a whopping 3.09/hour here making sure someone gets their break will surely kill their labor.

It would be so terrible if they have to pay us or lose productivity in the five minutes it takes to wolf down a burger or burn a square.

Watch out for your pay stubs also, they have been know to "trim" down your hours for both unemployment insurance purposes, or God forbid they actually have to pay someone overtime! (4.50/hour in server speak)

At Lonestar the bar drawer would always be mysteriously under 20-40 bucks (with honest bartenders that were friends) So they dock our tip out.

Wonder where that money went?

Assistant manager's beer fund, or to cover their theft from petty cash.

And I have personally seen two servers fired at two different establishments for refusing to pay a table's bill after a walk out on the tab.

The managers blamed them and didn't even call the police. Figuring the servers were the real thieves and trying to keep a cash ticket for themselves.

Customer's always watch your tabs!!!

Chains have also been know to charge you for the large sizes when you ordered a regular!

Have fun with that $10 Margarita and $5 Millet Lite!

That's fraud...

My personal favorite is when a General Manager had everyone ring in ORANGE JUICE instead of sodas on tickets, bumping his bar percentage down that pesky 3% so he'd get his extra $1000 dollars that month.

Pretty much 95% of corporate are scum who can't even handle waiting tables or are "kitchen managers" that couldn't cut it at culinary school to become a real chef.

My advise to servers/bartenders is find a nice bistro, pub or locally owned joint and see if you are treated like a human being, not a number.

My advice to customers??

Live a little, don't settle for mediocre food and service, support your local restaurants!

Wednesday, August 17, 2005

Late Nite Dining

Well hello friends!

Most often when you walk into a restaurant you are greeted with eager and smiling faces. Maybe a pretty hostess or a server jockeying for a table.

However there are a few of you that expect that same reaction while walking in right before the door is closed and locked.

True, you may be hungry, tired, or most likely stoned or drunk...

But then again so are we by that hour.

This happens on a weekly basis to me and always when I'm the "closer" or "head server," in other words the last one out of the building.

Someone always wants that last minute bite, and I'm always working with the manager that will let them. Some managers are great ie: "Tell them that the grill is off!" But most are willing to accommodate, after all business, no matter how minute is business.

This happened to me tonight.

Its Tuesday so not very busy, I look at the clock, two minutes to go, then I see them.

Teenagers, six of them.

I know they're gonna be mine. I'm like a great white shark that can smell a drop of blood ten
miles away.

Shit, I didn't sign on for this, I could be done in ten minutes and up at the bar for a Scotch and Water.

Isn't this what IHOP is for I think as I warily approach them.

"Hi folks would you like anything to drink to start off with?"

I want them to order a beer so I can shoot them down.

Six kids, six waters...

At least the girls aren't ordering Shirley Temples with an extra bowl of cherries.

As I bring out a pitcher of water I notice a visibly stoned young buck emptying the bread basket as another joiner hits the table with a handful of the essentials.

No not vicadines...

Those are my essential after tonight...

But dinner mints...

"Would you like any appetizer to start off with?"

"Ya I already have some," cocky Boy #1 says as he gestures to the empty bread basket,"and keep it coming."

So no apps, no drinks, no salads.

Once again split plates on a couple pastas, the cheapest thing on the menu...

cocky Boy #2 shakes his glass at me, "more water."

cocky boy#1 "more bread."

Three bread baskets later their pizza is out, I don't even bother to serve it up. Just drop and run.

Now I'm behind on my sidework (Yes, our job entails more than just dropping off food)

I'm just back from taking the garbage out when Jenny, the other closer, grabs me.

"You table is looking for you."

Of course, I come out and the Cocky twins want more bread.

And as I look over Cocky Boy #2 drains his 2/3 full glass, "more water."

Hmmm, are we seeing a pattern here.

There bill is sitting at a whopping $32 for the six of them, and they're running me like they have $300 tab and a bottle of Grange Shiraz on the table.

All for free food and water.

It's getting close to eleven.

They want the dessert tray.

All the cooks are gone.

The dessert station is looks like Afghanistan, bombed out and desolate...

I figure I can make maybe three items out of eight.

I go explain that its late and we can only make Tiramisu, Cannolis and...


"Ya, I don't know what those are!" Grips Cocky Boy #1, "why don't you bring them out!"

Because we don't have them Douchebag!

What comes out of my mouth however is "of course sir!"

I do so and explain again what we can't make...

"I want the cheesecake!"

"Sorry we're out.." Hell, I just told him.


"Because we don't have any."

"Well ok."

Then they name drop one of the owners. Great, their daddy probably plays golf with him.

"Isn't he a manager here?"

"No, he's not an on site owner," I retort.

I bet they thought that he personally would bake them a cheesecake at eleven fifteen in the p.m.

"We'll just take the check then, and boxes for our food." G

Great, its Cocky Boy #2 paying.

I drop their boxes and check.

As I walk around the corner minutes later I see a wad of singles on my check tray, surrounded by a pile of literally over a hundred mint wrappers.

Guess they got their dessert after all, for free of course.

Bill and tip...$35 left of a $32 bill.

They kept me, a busser, a dishwasher, and three cooks on another hour to fulfill their munchies.

And in the deal they got off on less than seven bucks a head for three baskets of free bread, pizza, enough mints to start a candy shop and a rude attitude.

In the deal we just lose time.

Some of us have families, a day job, or maybe just another double shift in the morning.

If you want late night munchies go somewhere that thrives off such business.

The staff at establishments with posted hours want nothing to do with it.

We close at the time posted.

So if you go out and hit the door at five after.

The answer is no.

The question is "are you still open??"

Monday, August 15, 2005

Murphy's Law

Whatever can go wrong will go wrong...

A horribly dead Saturday nite, I'm holding my own and good tips off the few tables I've had.

Well I have a ten top reservation coming in at 7:30

It's getting close to eight, I go up front to see what the story is.

"Well the party is only seven now, they're late." Is the excuse my doe-eyed hostess gives me.

Just then I see four early twenty-something girls dressed in pink, with pink boas and princess crowns.

Whatever can go wrong will go wrong.


It's a bachelorette party.

"Well they're cute and your gonna leave you a great tip," Goes the hostess as she sees the look of horror cross my face.

"No they won't"

Then she said,"Well they'll drink a lot won't they??"


I've been here to many times before to think differently.

The dream of a great ten top with 20% Auto-grat and a $400 bill dissolves into the darkness of my mind.

As I go up to the table with a great big fake smile the head cheerleader spurts out," She's getting married next week!!"

Fake smile still intact "That's wonderful"

Then their missing three friends show up.

Older cousins I think, once beautiful, now just old. I see they still think they have it, I'm telling you they're grasping at straws.

They act accordingly, ordering a bottle of our cheapest chardonnay, for seven of them. (at least its not the white zin)

After the wine presentation I go into my specials spiel, they ignore me and chatter amongst themselves.

Everyone then proceeds to order the cheapest dishes we offer, splitting each item with their friend, no upsells, no salads, just the most mundane and risk free entrees they can think of.

I know I'm screwed.

I hustle and bustle around my section, delivering food, taking orders and the like.

Their food comes out ok and as I do my check back I see that the half a glass of wine that each of them were drinking are all pretty much killed.

"Would you like another bottle?"

Nervous giggles...

Well how much is it again?

"20 bucks"

"Oh I don't know," is the reply.

"Alright then I'll check back in a bit."

A bit comes and goes, no dessert which is just as well, I just want them out.

They ask for split checks of course and I go back to pick them up...

"Keep the change"

Ya, more on that in a minute.

Next bill comes and it has two credit cards and a twenty in it.

If they wanted me to split them up individually that could have been amended earlier

Well with a "twenty on this ten on that," I head to the kitchen and run their cards.

I also open the "keep the change book"

$58 tab

There is sixty bucks in there, I almost shit myself.

As I drop their card off I give a sarcastic smile to the woman that paid...

"Why thank you!"

She just looks at me.

Thank God they're leaving...

I pick up the three way payment.

Four bucks and change on a fifty dollar tab

They take up and an hour and a half of my time, don't bother to change their reservation, hold two of my four tops an hour before they arrive, all for six bucks on a hundred dollar check.

and I have to give half of that to the busser and bartender as tipout...

That leaves me with 3 bucks.

There goes my $200 night.

Easily the worst tip I've had in the last month, maybe longer.

Murphy's law...

It happens to us all.

Thursday, August 11, 2005

Isn't White Zin Supposed to be...White?

I once was privy to a disturbingly funny exchange between guests in my restaurant.

One of the ladies ordered white zin, with a half order of a salad (imagine that), probably with ranch on the side, but memory fails me at this point.

Well I delivered her tasty beverage and when walking past a moment later heard the following...

A discussion on why her white wine wasn't white, it was red..

I went up to the table to inquire what the issue was.

"Sir my friends ine isn't white it's reddish pink, this is a red wine." Her friend said with the certainty of a sommelier.

Ahhh, the lass's is embarrassed to ask for herself I think.

"No ma'am, that's white zinfandel"

"Well why is it red then?? White Zin is a White wine."

I explain patient that the pink hue comes from a red grape that has its skin removed during the wine production...

I was greeted by a look of puzzlement, why she, the customer that is always right, was wrong.

"Well isn't it sometimes white??" She quipped, after all she is an educated woman, I'm a lowly server.



I see the fear in her eyes, she knows I am right.

"Perhaps a Pinot Grigio would be more what you would enjoy Ma'am," I offer diplomatically.

I see the certainty returning to her face...

"Yes I think that's what I really wanted to order."

Ya, I'm quite sure, way to fight your own battles lady.

They finish up their dinner and head to the door...

I pick up the check, I don't remember the amount, one split salad and 3 glasses Pinot?

(Three glasses, one split between the two later, God forbid they catch half a buzz and have some fun, anyways...)

My guess $22.00

All I remember was the percentage,


Damn, I wish I would have made her feel more inept in front of her friend, well that's how the game is played

Its called acting, covering up ones true personality and thoughts with a facade...

As I am thinking these thoughts I am almost tempted to drink the wine she sent back, its the afternoon and no ones in the place, I'm just gonna toss it...

I recoil in disgust, striking the thought from my mind.

This is how the devil tempted Eve, it won't work twice, I opt for a Stoli Arnold Palmer instead.

You kids can keep your White Zin!

Tuesday, August 09, 2005

Know Your Enemy

When Zinfandel Grapes awake in a cold and frightful sweat, this is the image which resonates in their poor little grape minds. Known in myth and legend as the great Grape Holocaust of the late 20th Century...

White zinfandel, the most wretched of wines?

If you haven't seen it yet here's a link to a glossary of terms only know to us servers.

Now on to white zin, It is indeed the worst possible wine, perhaps tied with its inbred cousin Lambrusco.

Now before all you ladies (and the occasional gentlemen) that love white zin and protest that you will order what you like, and we should accept it understand this.

You can order what you like...

But in this country I can think of you how I like, and have my own opinion of your tastes.

Its like going to a great restaurant and ordering Mac & Cheese off the kids menu, or perhaps a cheeseburger with pommes frittes!!

Now I certainly will get you what you want.

But my advise is to live a little, if you want to eat like a kindergartener or drink wine suitable for high school teenage girls at their first kegger, you with be treated accordingly.

Here is a great definition from the aforementioned glossary:

White Zinfandel - A horrifying abuse of the greatest of Californians indigenous grapes (at least they the experts tell us it's native this week.) Oenology aside, it is a blatant and unforgivable rape of red wine. White Zinfandel is the calling card of the completely uninitiated diner. The individual "enjoying" this beverage will most certainly have some sort of steamed fish with no starch and a myriad of vegetable substitutions, or even worse, a grilled-chicken-Caesar salad. By ordering "White Zin" you are FORCING your server to abandon all hope of a tip and therefore dooming yourself to mediocre (at best) service. Spare yourself the agony and order a Coke. At least that way we can assume you have been through rehab or something.

Sorry, we're out of that item...

You've been 86'D...

Now if you're in the industry you know what 86'd is.

For you newbees out there it is used when something is out of stock, of the menu, and just plain gone.

It is usually on a Bulliten board so the whole staff can see what we are out of and let the guest's be aware.

So several years ago I worked for a corporate establishment called LoneStar Steakhouse and Saloon.

Now corporate restaurants are the epitome of evil as far as any server worth their salt is concerned.

I might have a little rant about those on another day.

But needless to say they generally hold no value for their employees and feel only the customer makes them successful.

Nerer recognizing the efforts put forward by the servers, cooks, and staff that their business is held up by.

Now back to LoneStar, they decided to hold a wine meeting to explain to us the value of their White Zin, Sutter Home Merlot and other "fine" wines.

At this point I was working two part time jobs, also jockeying as a server/bartender at a local bar and grill.

Well the meeting was on a Saturday morning and I had to be at my other job that morning, the wine meeting was mandatory however so I went to one of my "managers," Tim.

"If you don't show up you're done," Tim quipped. "Your already on thin ice for being late..."

(3 minutes on a clock that they run 10 minutes fast)

"If you walk in thirty seconds late you know I'm authorized to to fire you, you know."

(So I've been told every shift for the past 3 weeks, when running directly on time)

"You had better find some way out of your shift."

So ya, like I'm going to put my better job out and miss a hundred dollar shift on a college football day.

I don't show.

No call from the manager firing me, nothing...

Until I get a call from Jarad, one of my serving brothers, he didn't make the meeting either due to his other job.

"Man, we've been 86'd!!!"

"What? I know they were threatening termination to no shows." I sputter

"No man, they actually put our names on the 86 board on Saturday nite's shift, they let me go when I showed up for work."

So I was put on the 86 list, along with chopped steak, Texas roses (bloomin onions), and chicken kababs.

No phone call, no call to the office to be fired, just intended public humiliation in front of the entire staff.

We where nothing but chopped steak to them, easily replaced and re-ordered.

The chickenshits intended for our friends to tell us we where fired, our jobs where nothing but a joke to them...

Their small lives are nothing but a joke to me.

So go down to you local Texas Saloon, Have a Texas Rose, a Texas Meltdown Margarita ($9, watch out they upcharge the size without asking)

And have a toast to the poor soul that delivered it to you...

Monday, August 08, 2005

A-1... On this masterpiece?? Why not?

Jihad on the "Ranch Heads" and others of their ilk...

Much like their close cousins the potheads, ranch heads are jonesing for substance with green leafy flakes in it...

At the establishment I work at there are many gourmet salads, at there 10 bucks a pop at lunch which is great for my check average at lunch.

With such delectable homemade dressing as Basalmic and Garlic vinaigrette, Basil Dijon or even the semi-weak creamy Parmesan.

All with perfectly paired salads and their ingredients, all prepared painstakingly by a world class chef all to be smothered in....

Hidden Fucking Valley...

With extra dressing on the side...

With no tomatoes, Cucumbers instead of Onions and on and on and on...

If I ever own a place there will be no substitutions, unless due to health reason.

Then there are the people who want ranch on their fries, sandwiches, veal, chops, gelato, and it never ends.

And they are always middle age women with no jobs, just time.

Which I don't have when I'm running eight tables at lunch and have a paragraph to type in on a very unwieldy computer for the kitchen to try to sort out...

All on a 4 ounce side salad.

A Doctor's Education

How much is a doctor's education worth??

Around 100 grand, maybe more, and this one hasn't learned etiquette a t 3rd grader has.

I was serving on the patio on a Friday nite.

Not crazy busy but steady, and hot.

My section was starting to filter out, good.

No major hitches and good tips (I'm not always bitter).

Earlier in the evening however when I was semi-weeded three self important ladies stopped me in my tracks.

"Sir that's Dr. Holdem out there!" (named changed mostly to protect me)

Like I care...

"Do you know what he's drinking?" Harps her friend.

"No, I'm not his waiter ma'am," I have two checks to print and food coming up... Sweat forming on my brow

"Well can you find out what he's having? We'd like to buy him a drink."

"I will when I have a second," of course I never did, I don't like interruptions from the self important, and definitely not from those who drop titles of their proctologists.

I don't care if he's King Tut of the fuckin Amazon tribe, my people take priority over three over the hill hags who have nothing better to do than chug White Zin.

Well enough with the kind flashback, later in the evening the gentleman Doctor was looking kind of cross.

It seems his server made an error on his bill.

"I'm not paying for this," quips the good doctor.

Anthony his server apologizes and brings him a new bill

The good doctor then proceeds to rip up the bill and throw it on the ground, all in front of his wife and daughter.

I personally was shocked, there where other patrons witnessing this act, and Anthony is one of the owners son's.

"He's non-fireable," I think with a grin.

One of my dreams is about to come true, I've always wanted to do what I think is going to happen.

"What are you think you are doing sir?" Says Jimmy

"This is ridiculous, you don't even deserve a tip after all of this."

"The only reason you're getting a tip is because my wife feels sorry for you, I don't," mutters our highly educated friend.

I find out its 10 bucks on a $120 bill, she's such a humanitarian.

Tony goes on with a glare, "It looks like you need the money more than me, I don't want your tip."

Yessssss!!! The line is crossed.

"Well I'm doctor such and such, you can't talk like this to me!"

"I don't care who you are!" as Jimmy walks away...

I hope he didn't get his free drink, and I hope Jimmy never had to have the indignation of picking up the scraps of his credit card slip.

That's a bussers job!!

Just kidding guys.

The bonus part is when I figured out how I knew Dr. Bones.

I stole his son's girlfriend, so some times we screw you literally guys, let that be a lesson to you!

My final point, If you spent 8 years of graduate and post-graduate education and a hundred thousand dollars, you should have better sense than to throw a five year old's tantrum.

Self restraint and patience are priceless, even if you have to fake it.

Do I hate waiting tables???

Well this will be the hopefully infamous first post.
Do I hate waiting tables??
Yes and No. It is truly a love/hate thing with me now.
It was a job of last resort when I started.
Right out of college (which I did not finish btw) it was the only thing I knew how to do that I
could make a decent living on.
There are legions of kids out there right now just like me.
Others are in school, have the mythical "real job" that pays less than their part time waiting gig. We have single mothers, thiefs, seminary students, drug addicts, alchoholics, lifers, part timers, and dreamers.
Some of us will screw with you and scam you, some of you will do that to us.
We are the employees of the Service Industry.
So did I answer my headlining question?? Maybe later on both you and I can make that judgement!