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....

Friday, December 09, 2005

A Humanitarian

"Sir, how are you doing tonight?"

He glances up from his book,"House Cabernet."

Off to a good start already, love one tops...

I retreat to the bar for his wine.

Upon returning I say,"Here you are sir, would you care for an appeti..."

"I want a salad with ranch and I want a filet medium with a baked potato, noooo bacon."

Hmmm,"Sir our salads come with out house dressing which is a wonderful basalmi...."

"I said ranch."

We don't even have ranch, except for ranch dip for kids chicken strips.

Fuck it, I run in back and mix a side of ranch with some half and half.
Upon delivering his salad he slides his cabernet toward me.

"This is terrible, I can't believe you served me this."

Shit, he ordered house, what did he expect, a fine mertage?

"I'm sorry sir, perhaps a glass of Liberty School?"

He snorts at me.

I guess that's a yes.

I return, he hasn't touched his salad, too involved in his book.

"Here you go sir."

I am greeted with one finger held up to ensure silence.

Fine then.

Another ten minutes pass, I'm waiting on a delightful family with a funny little girl, she says please and thank you for everything, with a smile on her face.

Its so hard to say please, isn't it?

Its not like you're begging, just a part of a simple request, something I never fail to add to a request, to anyone.

Then again, I was raised with manners.

But I digress, the gentleman's filet is done.

I wander up to his table and set it down.

If looks could kill I'd be having a Q&A session with Jesus about now.

"Here you go sir, is there anything else you..."

"What's your problem with me?" He asks.

"Um, come again?"

"Why are you treating me like this?"

I fidget uncomfortably,"I don't know what you mean sir."

"Do you not want my business, am I not good enough to eat here?

"Do you want me to leave? All you seem to do is try to rush me out the door, I've never been treated like this before."

I start to stammer a response when he continues.

"I'm not finished with my salad!!! What makes you think that you can bring me my dinner?"

This time I manage a respone,"Because it was done?"

"I'm trying to enjoy my book here, this is just ridiculous, I can't believe you would treat me like this!!!?

I turn around and walk away as he continues, I'm shaking, I want to flip his table over.

I calm down, have an Arnold Palmer (with a shot of Stoli) and return.

"Sir is everything ok?" I ask.

I'm greeted with the same dirty look.

"Of course not!!!"

He launches into the same tirade.

"I don't understand why you treat customers like this here, this is terrible!"

"What's you problem with me anyways?" he continues.

"Sir I assure you I have no problem." I say.

"You won't even let me eat my salad!

"I don't even understand why someone like you has a job here, you're the most incompetent waiter I've ever had! Probably why you're only a waiter in the first place!"

I ready to punch him, my knuckles are white as my hand clamp down on the table.

"You don't know the first thing about me." I say.

As he continues on I simply walk away.

I ring up his check.

As I walk to his table I notice the anxious looks on my other customer's faces. The cute little girl is silent.

They've heard the whole thing.

I slam his check presenter on the table with all my might.

He wants to sign it to his room at the hotel.

I print up the receipt and without a word drop it back down.

I'm at the bar when he leaves for his room.

He stops by, "Your manager will hear about this!"

Fuck 'em.

I've already told him, he doesn't care.

I pick up his receipt.

Written on it is, "Reflection of service, $.23"

On the way back I pick up the family's check.

The mom asks, "I don't know how you can do it."

I don't know either.

They leave extra, thank you.

At the end of the night I get an envelope and put twenty three cents in it.

I walk up to his room.

And slide it under the door.

On it is written, "Reflection of Your Worth."

I never hear about it again.


At 5:18 PM , Blogger First Year said...

Seems that some people are just out to start a fight right from the beggining.

Its what happens when someone has never worked in the industry. What he doesn't realize is that the kitchen times things for when most people will finish their salads.

He seemed to want to be left you did. How much more alone can you be left then to have all your food delivered for you to eat at your leisure?

You'll never please everyone all the time, at least you had the nice family as well. Customers like that are a pleasure to wait on, and they make up for all the shit-heads.

Great post by the way :)

At 5:40 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Sorry dude, but I have to side with Mr. Charming on this one. He asked for ranch, not balsamic. Your restaurant does have ranch, so give him the freakin ranch.

He obviously just wanted to be left alone, and enjoy his book and a nice leisurely dinner. He felt rushed when you brought the steak out before he was done with his salad. I'm guessing by his attitude that he does pretty much everything alone. A lot of restaurants will rush one-tops cause they're wasting space.

I used to wait on a guy like this -he'd get pissed off if I filled his coffee cup too full for him to add enough cream to get the precise color that he liked. He ordered the same things every time he came in, and he'd sit there reading a book, for about an hour and a half, drinking margaritas and coffee. When I finally figured out all his little quirks, he started tipping me $5-$10 on a $25-$30 check and sitting in my station every time he came in.

Would you have us believe that you've never waited on an asshole before? Don't take it so personally. Slamming that checkbook down is a great way to get fired. Then I'd only have one waiter blog to read.

At 8:13 PM , Anonymous Clifford said...

As a former server, now middle-class wage earner, I salut you on your $.23 "Reflection of your worth" tactic. Well done.

At 8:13 PM , Anonymous nia said...

oh la la, boy from what I read, you were very patient and kept it cool and calm, I really don t know how you can stay so smooth.

The more I read about people working as waiter, the more I feel it can be a real pain. I used to be a 'waitress' in a coffe shop and we also got people who were real A hole and I'm not the kind who's diplomatic or calm and i did say really bad things to people who had no respect whatsoever.

Anyways, good thing you didn't start to play his game and try to explain yourself too much, when ppl r unpleasant, I find the best way is to shut up, no words is often better than speaking to somebody who won't even understand you!

I wish you a lot of success in school:)

At 8:30 PM , Blogger Brad #1 said...

I like the finish. Well done. I don't think for a second that I would have thought of that, but I've never worked in a place attached to a hotel.

And to Anon, he stated that he allready told the manager about the a-hole and the experience with him, and the manager didn't care. Slamming the book wouldn't have gotten him fired for this one, although for someone else, you're probably right.

I always handle people like this the same way, and it was from a former fellow manager. She told me to, "Kill 'em with kindness." It's always worked, all they're looking for is to get under your skin, and when you show that you're not letting them, and that you're still being kind to them, after a while, they usually let up and give you a smile. I don't care what the tip is in these cases, because I made them smile. I then walk away with a mental middle finger pointed at them. 1-0, me!

At 7:42 AM , Blogger Sondra said...

Jeeze, Insane, what an asshole. I can't imagine being yelled at for simply doing my job. I dine alone once in a while and I always bring something to read, but I make eye contact with my servers and thank them for everything. I personally do not have a problem using the world "please" with servers. And I usually eat, read a little bit more while I smoke, and then leave a fat tip, usually over 30% to make up for being a one top. I think this guy sounds like one who is used to getting his ass kissed all the time. You did the right thing, and his karma will bite him in the ass.

At 4:49 PM , Blogger Brad #1 said...

Mr. Insane, do you happen to have lamb chops and prime rib at your restaurant? I love them both and was wondering whether we should start serving them in our little bistro.

At 10:45 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Yes!!!!!! Awesome.

At 11:24 PM , Blogger Denise said... work in a place attatched to a hotel...that explains a lot.

At 11:44 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Where in the hell does Des Moines have an UPSCALE resturant attached to a freaking hotel???

At 1:23 AM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

methinks I might know.

At 2:31 AM , Blogger Secret said...

Ah ha, that was a story about one of my worst customers, no longer work there, and yes I left on my own terms.

In addition I must disagree with these comments.

"Sorry dude, but I have to side with Mr. Charming on this one. He asked for ranch, not balsamic.

Your restaurant does have ranch, so give him the freakin ranch."

I made him ranch, I wish I hadn't.

"He obviously just wanted to be left alone, and enjoy his book and a nice leisurely dinner. He felt rushed when you brought the steak out before he was done with his salad."

He had at least 15 minutes between his order and the entree coming out, with salad and such the timing was perfect, I'm not a mind reader, if he's that particular, screw 'em.

"A lot of restaurants will rush one-tops cause they're wasting space."

I have had one tops that are great, he was a waste of space however. He could have asked for time politely, not giving me a dressing down in front of civilized guests and tried to humiliate me.

"Would you have us believe that you've never waited on an asshole before? Don't take it so personally. Slamming that checkbook down is a great way to get fired."

I think you know I've waited on the stupid and prickish, isn't that why you read waiter blogs in the first place? BTW, I won't get fired for shit like that, you know why? Because neither my managers nor myself place our dignity in front of our jobs.

At 4:18 PM , Blogger Brad #1 said...

good job leaving a story from the former place....I was beginning to track you....not that it matters...I'm in SC, and wouldn't care normally...just to fill my curiosity, was it Allie's Restaurant that you used to work in??

At 1:02 AM , Anonymous Eustacia Vye said...

Way to go, man.

For those who are criticizing Insane's actions: The guy has to have eaten in a restaurant before. He has to know the service steps. They're not gonna let a filet dry up in the window just because the guy is too busy reading to eat his salad.

Had the guest asked nicely if they could hold the food for him, it would have been different, rather than assuming that the server had a "problem with him."

I'm not sure if it was a good idea to slam the check presenter down, although if I had gotten chewed out like that, I'd probably want to do it too.

At 9:51 AM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Imagine the nerve of the man showing no interest in chit-chatting with you, his insolence at not listening to you about your terrific balsamic dressing when he already made it perfectly clear that he wanted ranch, and the selfishness of wanting to read his book when he was obviously travelling from out of town and had nothing else to do. I guess it would have been tooo much of an effort to just ignore him until he signaled you for your attention. Maybe you could have taken a seat and gone over entertainment possibilties for his lonely self. I'm sure there's a thriving theater scene in Des Moines.


At 9:21 PM , Blogger Sondra said...

Sadly, some people JUST don't get it, do they?

At 9:22 PM , Blogger Sondra said...

In case that was misread, I was referring to Mr. Anonymous. LOL

At 1:12 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

oh my god....


best retaliation for shitty guest. EVER.

At 2:04 PM , Anonymous Eustacia Vye said...

Anonymous-- You're kidding, right?

Insane was definately not trying to chit-chat with the guy. He kept his interaction with him to the bare mininum: Greeting, drink order, food order, salad delivery, meal delivery, check back.

There is no excuse for the guy's behaviour. I can't believe anyone would try to defend someone who acted like that-- actually, considering the sad state that American society is in these days, I can.

At 4:48 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Anonymous is right -the guy could have been finessed. Waiterrant would have made more than 23 cents off him.

At 3:10 PM , Anonymous Ms. Cherie said...

If the guy didn't want any human interaction & just wanted to read his book......his should have stayed in his hotel room & ordered room service.
nuf' said

At 8:12 AM , Anonymous Jarrod said...

I think I had that guy a few years ago. I just yelled at him. It was kind of funny. I told him to go the coffe shop across the street if he wanted to read.

At 2:50 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...


if he needed THAT much time between courses he should have told you that.. or order the salad, and when he was ready order the entree...

there's an average time people are finished from course to course.. he thought it was too soon, another table would have thought it was taking too long if the kitchen had waited..

i've had tables tell me they really wanted to take their time, and i respected that and timed it accordingly...but YOU HAVE TO LET ME KNOW!


At 1:41 AM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

That's freaking awesome!

At 3:28 PM , Blogger Ceetar said...

haha. great response.

At 6:02 PM , Anonymous Rin said...

That was awesome!! good for you :)

At 8:49 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

That guy completely deserved a bloody punch in the face. I bet he'd think twice next time he wants to lose his temper.

At 2:01 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

He's no different than any other camper, I can't believe you treated him so nicely


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