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....

Sunday, September 25, 2005

Is A Dollar Worth This?

Tonight I was clippin around, had a couple tables, but kinda slow, when I was sat a three top.

I was in a fairly good mood, got an A on my second Business Administration test, and it was showing at work tonight. So I approached my table with a smile on my face...

"Hi folks how are we doing tonight?" As generic greetings go, this one is an old faithful.

The lady looks up, her response to my question,"I WANT a Bombay Martini, Up with a twist, olives on the side."

So that's how its going to be, didn't know that was the answer to how are you...

Hell not even a please.

I look at her husband,"So how are YOU doing tonight?"

"Diet Coke with lime, no lemon,"is his answer.


Third guy, I don't even bother.

"What do you want sir?"

I get their order to them.

I start my feature spiel, "tonite we have Swordfish encrusted with...."

"What's your soup???"

Interruption, no excuse me.

"Ma'am its clam chowder, the Manhattan variety"

"Well what's that mean?" She retorts.

It means you're a nuisance, is the first answer that crosses my mind.

"Ma'am it means its not cream based, would you like to hear the rest of the specials?"

"Well of course!"

I go over the specials again, no takers of course

As I ask about appetizer the husband points at his neighboring table,"Do you know her?" "
What's she having?"

I look over, "No I don't know her, its a Margharita Pizza."

"Well do you think she'll let me have a piece, she isn't going to finish it, look at her."

She's a thin woman.

"Can you ask her?" He inquires.


"I don't broker deals between tables sir, if you want to know, ask her yourself."

He actually ponders it for a moment.

Shit, I think to myself, he's serious.

He looks at me,"don't worry about it."

They order, a bowl of chowder for the lady, and two entree salads for the gentlemen, before their dinner, they eat more than enough for a regular person.

Of course not one please, or I would like, or thank you...

I WANT this, and I WANT that, etc, etc, etc...

I drop off their entrees, two orders of calamari for the couple, (yes its an appetizer, but they can do what they want), and a 24oz. Prime Rib for their friend.

I check back in a couple minutes.

"How is everything tonite folks?"

Great of course, we're know for our food.

A they eat I check on my other tables, take orders, and of course flirt with the hostess.

Then I come back, they look finished, but there is about half an order of calamari left.

The lady raises her hand,"Sir, I have a comment about our food, I come here all the time and was very disappointed with our calamari, it was pasty and had no flavor."

"I'm sorry ma'am, sir was yours ok?"

"No it wasn't, have you ever tried this? It's terrible I bet you get complaints all the time!"

"Actually sir most of my guests rather enjoy it." I say to him,"But I'll pass on your comments to the chef."

I go up to my manager, its plain as day they don't want to pay for their food.

The thing is, I could have done something about it if they had spoken up when I checked back to make sure everything was ok.

But that's usually the case when people want a hand out, they never complain when there is time to do something about it.

So she takes off their calamari, their bill after this is sixty eight bucks.

I go back up to the table,"Sir, I talked to my manager about the calamari, and we went ahead and took it off for you."

He starts up again,"I bet you knew it would drastically improve your tip to do that didn't you?"

I'm taken aback,"Sir that wasn't my intention."

His repose,"Whatever."

He throw a Benjamin in the check presenter.

"You do a great job, keep it," as he thrusts the book at me...

"Put your kids through college or something."


He just took a shot at my job

His wife chuckles at that, poor me they must think...

Maybe my kids will have a better life than this poor server.

"Now get out of here."

There is a certain disdain in his eye as he says that last remark.

I feel the last straw narrowly miss my aching back.

I storm away, grab a smoke from a buddy and go outside.

I'm nearly shaking.

I made $32 off that table, not a single please or thank you.

All I got was a "Great Job"

But it was with such contempt.

"Put your kids through college!"

Who is he? Rodney Dangerfield?

He didn't look like a man who was born with a silver spoon, I know the type.

He had to have come from somewhere, too bad he forgot where that place was.

I would have rather had half the tip, and a little bit of politeness and respect.

I can't last much longer doing this, he was almost to much for me, my resolve for this job is weakening

So tomorrow I'll get up, go to class, put in another shift...

And the long and slow road of my life continues, hopefully a better place is around the next bend...


At 11:14 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

I can't stand people like these.

Fortunately, neihter can most people.

At 12:32 AM , Anonymous drkkgt said...

With all sincerity, thank you. It's posts like yours and Waiter Rant that have changed the way I look at servers nowadays. This weekend, I had a great server, one who came after 10 minutes and checked on us while she was on break and when I mentioned her temp hadn't dropped by at all she went and got him, then checked back after another 5 minutes while still on her break. That impressed the heck out of me. Besides the tip, I commented to the manager that he had some very dedicated people there. He was so shocked that I wanted to compliment his people he wouldn't stop shaking my hand.
So I will finish this with another "Thank you."

At 1:34 AM , Blogger Steven said...

Damn, I don't know how you do it. I would get fired and arrested the first time some smart ass mouthed off to me.

At 4:34 AM , Blogger Kirsten said...

Hang in there :)
I just feel sorry for people like that. Surely it takes energy to be that rude? I don't think it is difficult to be nice to other people, and I think people who make others happy tend to have the same effect on themselves. Same goes for these sort of people - go out of your way to make others unhappy, and it can't help rubbing off on you.
Try not to let it get to you. And I would like to second drkkgt's post - it's blogs like these that make us *really* appreciate our servers!

At 6:58 AM , Blogger First Year said...

Good for you for not saying something back! I have a hard time shutting my mouth. The only thing that saved my job at the bar I used to work at is managers who didn't care about crappy customers returning. I hope tomorrow is better for you!

At 10:00 AM , Anonymous Beverly said...

Wow... I really feel you on this. I am in a job I hate and am going to school to try to rectify the situation.

We can do it.

(I have read your whole blog but I don't think I have commented before)

At 10:41 AM , Blogger Denise said...

A couple of months ago I had a table of four with Civil War southern accents. Mext to them was a table of ten black women between the ages of 25-35. They were all beautiful, refined, and well-dressed. One of the men at my table signaled me.

"Those women ovah theyah," he said, "are they the wives of Titans playahs? They look very well off."

I was confused by the question. It didn't occur to me that the women might be the wives of rich athletes just because they were out having dinner in an expensive place. I would think, actually, that a table of "trophy wives" would have been way high maintenance; these girls were not.

"Well, don't go askin' them now," he went on, patting my arm. "Ah wouldn't want you to lose your job or anything."

Yeah, I'm gonna go over to ten classy girls and ask them if they're married to football players.

Then it occurred to me that the people at my table probably came from families who owned slaves.

They left me a great tip, saying I was getting tipped well even though I was "a little smart". Yeah, the jaws of my fellow servers dropped when I told them this.

"You made out like a queen," the guy wo paid the bill said as he handed me the money. "Enjoy it!"

I just walk away feeling glad I'm me.

At 3:05 PM , Blogger me said...

i used to work as a waitress in a pathetic little diner that i still part time at for money - and when i was 16 i bussed at a pretty fancy expensive restaurant. people take real advantage of their servers, forgetting that these are the people that are in charge of the food they are about to partake in... (hence the reason i am polite as i can be... not becauce i sympathise;)...
but as it is severe part of your job, you are professional and it is appreciated.
at said diner, the waitresses are fond of letting you know how it is.
greasy comes with the territory...

At 3:54 PM , Blogger alpharat said...

That is brutal.

I've often said that, like countries with mandatory military service, the US should require people to work in a bar or restaurant for a year.

I've also said that you can read a person's character (or lack thereof) by looking at how they treat people who are required, by their job, to be polite (waitstaff, sales help, etc.).

Regardless, the guy was a dick.

At 4:27 PM , Anonymous crdb said...

What a DICK! Well at least you can comfort yourself in knowing noone actually loves him. His life is like a long hypocritical acid bath.
I hate people like that so much...
Right well anyway your blog is awesome. In my bookmarks in fact. Keep going please!

At 11:49 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

As a fellow server in washington, dc...

I can only imagine how waiting tables in Des Moines, Iowa must suck even more...

I have a theory....that in the US, of course, there are those from the East coast, and those from the West coast...

and those in between...those who have never even SEEN an ocean.....that very fact definitely has an impact. SMALL MINDS....fucking assholes....

I've been to Ohio...scary COUNTRY....I can't even imagine how scary Iowa offense..

good luck..

you'd think DC would have more assholes, what with all the power hungriness and whatnot....and sure, it does have it's share of assholes, but nothing like the story you described...

or at least, I haven't dealt with that....from a CUSTOMER anyway...

managers and owners....that's another story

At 3:18 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Oh, nephew H. E. J.!

That guy had no class at all.

I'm LIVID that he treated you that way.

But I gotta say again, you can tell a story.

Do you mind a bit of unsolicited advice from an uncle who's been there? If possible, pull back some, detach some, so that you don't take such shit personally. That guy would have been an ass to anybody who waited on him. Remember what you're goal is with how you're spending the earnings away from work and make that focus the main part of your life. I wasn't a waiter forever. Neither will you be.

At 3:30 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

One more thing, H. E. J.

As a Latino of color, you can imagine what it was like when I used to have to introduce myself 'happy-talk style' and say, "Hi, I'm Alfredo [not my real name] and I'll be taking care of you tonight" and the customers would say "Alfredo! What a lovely name for a waiter." I used to grit my teeth and think, "Yes, but I have much higher aspirations."

God! I hated the racial insensitivity on top of being treated disrespectfully like a servant.


LOVE from your Uncle R.

At 9:32 PM , Anonymous elissa said...

I enjoyed your post very much. And as a life-long Ohio resident, I am irritated with anonymous' post regarding how scary Ohio is. Politics aside, this is a great place to live, work and raise a family.

Keep up the good work!

At 10:08 AM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

You ren\mind me of a friend named MARCUS he had a lot of problems like you do

At 10:46 AM , Anonymous Aly said...

I also am from is NOT scary country! I'd take Ohio people over L.A. people (where I live at the moment) any day of the week. That being said, I enjoy your blog and can relate!

At 2:10 AM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

sometimes this job is so ungratifying (did I spell that right? ;o) people can be such a-holes.


At 3:08 PM , Blogger Chris said...

Whatever happened to "thank you" and "please"? No one says it anymore!

It drives me crazy. I always say 'thank you'... ALWAYS. Hell, I've even thanked a cop for giving me a ticket!

You have infinitely more patience than I... I wouldn't be able to handle it--I'm too much of a smartass and I'd be making cracks back at assholes like these.

At 5:20 PM , Blogger K said...

I. Cannot. Believe. How rude and horrible and disdainful people are. What is WRONG with such people? I could never be a waiter. I'd tell a guy like that to fuck the hell off if he said, "Now get out of here."

At 7:47 PM , Anonymous Bobbi said...

Before I even begin, I agree with you totally. People like that are frustrating beyond belief, but remember your long term goals of school and a career. On another note, maybe I can help your frustrating day feel a little less...frustrating.

Since the end of August I've been sick...fatigue, swollen lymph nodes, the works. After running up massive doctor bills (can't wait to start paying those) for referrals, CT scans, PET scans a lymph node biopsy, soon to be a bone marrow biopsy, I've been told I have Hodgkin's diesease (cancer of the lymphmatic system incase you're not real familiar with it)

I'm only 24 and live here in central Iowa, I have a four year old son and a husband and soon to be chemotherapy and God knows what else to deal with. Hodgkin's is curable and my chemo shouldn't be terrible but I have to deal with losing my hair and being sick for the next six month. I'm staying positive because the end is worth the means.

What I'm saying, is life is tough and it sucks sometimes...but stick with it. Don't let someone demean you for your job, you're doing it to work your way up in the world.

And no matter how bad your day sucks...remember there are always worse things you could be dealing with.

At 3:59 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

I've discovered that, with practice, it's possible to tell someone "Thanks, loser!" in such a way that it sounds like you are saying "Thank you , sir." Give it a try, it's great therapy for dealing with peaople like these dickwads.

At 10:27 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

for people like that you have to have a quick comeback that is even more insulting than theirs. i would have said sadly as i looked down at my feet, "my children died." or "I'm only doing this job because my daughter/son needs heart surgery again. I'm holding down three jobs...." or something equally disturbing to them so they wouldn't walk away feeling superior, but rather like schmucks for making such a rude comment. and then i would have walked slowly and remorsefully away. if anything, it might make them think twice before making a similar comment to people they don't know.
(Once I really had it with a late group of drunks whom I actually had to stop from actually dancing on the tables. My tip (drunkeness is no excuse) was exactly one quarter. After they walked out, and I and the bus girl were just BLINDLY staring at the quarter i screamed, "THAT'S IT!!" and chased them outside. By the time I got to them getting into their car, I had calmed down a bit, and saying to the man who paid, "Excuse me sir. Excuse me!" They all stopped and stared, thinking maybe they had forgotten something in the restaurant. I walked up to him and opened his hand. "Here," I said as I place the quarter into his palm, "I think you need this more than me." And walked away.
His friends yelled at him for being such a cheapskate, and his wife came back in and left me 40% calling him a cheap shit. Apparently, he had taken his boss and his wife out to eat, and I imagine was further embarressed by his lack of concern. LOL
doreenT40 at bigredy

At 10:30 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Oh again, as it was explained to me by some Italians from Italy, the tip is automatically put into the check (thus their government's even tighter control on taxation on the server); and thus for their ignorance in not tipping at all. Guess it's kicking in as well all across the EU board.
doreenT40 at bigredy

At 11:40 AM , Blogger Kathleen said...

I love people from the coasts who think that everybody from the middle of the country grew up sleeping in haystacks and milking cows. I have lived in San Francisco, but moved back to the Midwest where we have actual cities with concrete and high rises, etc. just like NYC and DC and LA. We're not all rubes who have never seen an ocean or a mountain or left our little town.

I do not know where you find the patience to deal with ridiculously stupid people - which is of course why I've never waited tables. I would want to smack them silly.

At 2:02 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

I DESPISE when people bitch about their food/drinks AFTER you've offered every solution to make it better. I work at a BBQ place in Ohio and the other night I was serving out on our patio. There was an older couple sitting at the bar outside. They decided to move to one of my open tables (after odering fresh drinks and an appetizer...which I also hate). Anyways...long story short, after an hour of talking at my table and not ordering ANYTHING their equally well-dressed, snooty older friends arrived.
I asked them how their evening was and got the "we'll have..." instead of a "fine" or i dont care even a "horrible, etc etc" RUDE. So the guy orders a beer and she says she wants a vodka martini. I ask whether she would like grey goose, belvedere, etc etc. She says she wants kettel one but the last time she was here it tasted "off". I assure her that we have a new bottle and she asks for it with blue cheese olives and a "dash" of olive juice, up. I go ring it in with "easy olive juice" and I know the bartender so i chatted with her while she made the drink. It seriously had 3 drops of olive juice in it and the 3 bleu cheese olives she asked for that had to be hand-stuffed just for her. I took it out, checked back in a minute and she made it a point to flag me down while I was at my other table to say "I asked for light olive juice, this tastes like all olive juice" In the most polite voice I could muster I told her I'd be happy to have the drink re-made, or , if she liked, perhaps another drink. She said "no, its fine" WHY THE HELL COMPLAIN IF U DONT WANT IT FIXED?? I start getting busy, I swing by the table to offer the gentleman another beer, seeing that the prissy old hag has barely touched the drink i offered to have remade. He says no thanks and she takes the time AGAIN to say in a loud voice (the tables on the patio are quite close to each other) "Sir, I just want you to know that this martini tastes like it has half a shaker of salt poured in it" THATS IT I scream in my own head. "Ma'am, If you don't like the drink, I can always have it remade for you. I offered you that option and you refused. I personally watched the bartender make this drink and I can tell you that there is no more than a teaspoon of olive juice in here plus you wanted bleu-cheese stuffed olives which are also quite salty. Would you like another drink perhaps?" Her jaw dropped and the other tables around me just looked on. After they left and I got the dollar tip (in change) the tables around that table all left me huge tips and were very sympathetic. I guess this kinda stuff happenes everywhere, but its just insane.

At 1:50 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Just laugh all the way to the bank! That is just what you will get when you have a service job. People are mean and that will never change.


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