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, January 31, 2006


I was shooting the breeze at work with the General Manager, Clay. His authority in running the restaurant had piece by piece been taken away. He had been assigned a new boss by the corporate headquarters and he seemed to be undermined by him at every turn. Clay and I had become very close over the last two years as he had developed mutually respectful relationships with several members of the original staff. Day in and day out I had seen his weathered face filled with frustration and stress. He treated me like a peer rather than a subordinate and had put much trust in me and the few others, giving us unprecedented leeway in how we ran the restaurant together.

“So Clay,” I asked,” how long can you hold out?” He responded,” well I'll play the game, but I might not make it to the ninth inning." It didn’t come as a shock that he told me this, I knew our family at the restaurant had few days left. Clay was always the type to go out and bring business in. He was often at work hunched over his desk on the phone with clients and potential banquet parties. When things broke down or were need of repair Clay never called an electrician, plumber or handyman. Most times he would be hard at work reaching up on a ladder to hang a new painting. Maybe some days he would be pouring sweat through his shirt, sleeves rolled up as he installed new shelving or put tinkered away at a mixer with a wrench and a natural curiosity at how thi9ngs worked.

Clay led from the front. He wasn’t an armchair quarterback or backseat driver. He valued his employees like they were his own family. When a new policy was instituted he would tell you why, not just to do it. If employees were no longer allowed at the bar after work neither would he be there. If there was an issue with a guest he would immediately ask the waiter what happened, and believe them. If we were wrong and he told us so, we knew his point of view saw through the drama and emotions, he saw the truth. He wouldn’t yell or scream, he would pull us away from prying eyes and explain where we went wrong, as a father does his child. Maybe it was more an older brother to his kid brother, I’d like to think it was like that.

Maybe that’s why I knew he was leaving, he valued the people that valued him. That’s now how things are in the corporate world. That’s why I wasn’t surprised a month later when he asked me to sit down with him in his office. His face was beet red as he closed the door. “I just can’t do it anymore,” he confided in me. “I’ve put in my notice, I just wanted to let you and a few of the others know first, so you can be ready.” He said as he ran his hands through his short, graying hair. I noticed new bands of silver spreading on his temples. “Man, changes are coming and you have to be careful,” he continued, ”We can’t run things the way they were, there’s a list of people they’re watching and some of you probably are going to get let go after I’m gone, don’t be one of them.” I sat there for a minute or two, “Clay, I work for you, not the company, if you go I’ll be following you.”

Over the next month the changes did indeed come. I started looking around, as the first few weeks passed the new acting managers let many of the original staff go. People that had been there for years were fired by managers who maybe had as much as a month under their belt. The family was breaking up and it was time to grow up and head out to the world. As it were I was the last waiter from the original staff to leave, but as I said, I never worked for the owner or the upper management, I worked for Clay.

Thursday, January 26, 2006

Asshat of the Day

So as I was kinda standing around during a lull period I observed this asshat get up from his table.

The first thing he did was walk into the neighboring section and grab a table without asking and push it again his party's.

Apparently the table set up for him wasn't good enough so he felt he could just get up and do anything he wanted.

Too bad the section was mine and I was holding the table so my 1:00 eight top could be seated.

Then he turned around and walked up to Kelly.

She was at her table taking an order with a stack of menus under her arm.

Without saying a word to her he grabs one and the whole stack falls to the ground.

He just walked away as she stood there, not one word.

I almost wish it would have been me, then there would be a more amusing story about how I left a job rather than calling the up and telling them off.

So poor Kelly is standing with a mess around her feet and my eight top goes somewhere else.

I lost out of maybe $20, she lost dignity.

I don't know which is worse.

Wednesday, January 25, 2006

Murphy's Law Top 10

From Wikipedia:

Murphy's law (also known as Finagle's law or Sod's law) is a popular adage in Western culture, which broadly states that things will go wrong in any given situation. "If there's more than one way to do a job, and one of those ways will result in disaster, then somebody will do it that way." It is most commonly formulated as "Anything that can go wrong will go wrong." In American culture the law was named after Major Edward A. Murphy, Jr., a development engineer working for a brief time on rocket sled experiments done by the United States Air Force in 1949.

Very easily applicable to the wait service industry.

So here's your Top 10 of the day.

10. You will be sat a highly irritating table and be immediately cut from the floor afterwards.

9. Your 20 top that you've been bragging to your friends about will only order appetizers and drinks, when offered dinner they will say something like,"Oops, I filled up on that free bread," or "oh, we only wanted drinks," its a restaurant folks, not a sports bar.

8. The same 20 top will have only 12 guests arrive and they will spread out over the entire table ensuring that your dream section will never be fully sat, thus costing you at least two table turns of customers.

7. The host will either seat you four tables at once, or not seat you at all.

6. The first round of tables will only order salads and leave you 10% on their ridiculously small dinner bill.

5. All tables that include children will try to have their spawn order for themselves or say please and thank you, even at the age of three, you will then sit there for five minutes trying to decipher baby talk.

4. If you turn down any request for any reason the customer response will be,"well they did it for us last time."

3. If you forget to auto-grat a large group you will immediately receive a 10% total tip, even if the bill is $500+.

2. On a slow night, when you haven't had a new table in over an hour and a half, one will show up ten minutes after close, at which point you will be forced at gunpoint by the manager to wait on them.

1. Said table, despite their easy order, will hang out for at least an hour and a half, even though the restaurant is closed, when leaving they will take both copies of their credit card ensuring no tip.

Monday, January 23, 2006

Bad Management

This one goes out to all the “Bad Manager’s” out there.

It was towards the end of days at my last restaurant. Most of the staff had either quit in disgust or been “let go” by the new managers who’d been there for a not even a month.

Of course these employees had been there for two or three years, they all of a sudden just didn’t fit in anymore.

More like the managers felt threatened by us who had more experience and those that deserved promotions not pink slips.

But that is all another story.

I was on my way out, I had a second interview at my current job in a couple days, I didn’t care much anymore I knew it was a lock.

In an effort to get more out of the $2.85 an hour they were paying us they decided to do away with lunch and smoke breaks.

If you were scheduled for a double they just banked on you working through it.

I don’t know about you, but working twelve plus hours with no break isn’t appealing.

The opportunity arose to challenge their system, so I took it.

“So when do I get my break then, now that we’re a non smoking restaurant?” I asked the chief hack of the day.

“You can get it when Randy gets here,” he answered.

Randy didn’t get there till five, I was scheduled to switch from bar to wait-staff at five.

“This is bull,” I shot back,”I've been here since ten and its past two, according to state law I get my fifteen minute break.”

“Well you can’t smoke,” He answered.

“I’m an adult, if I’m not on the clock I’ll do what I want.” I said.

“You can’t smoke on premises then.”

“Fine, I’ll cross the street.”

Just then a customer saunters up to the bar.

“Aren’t you going to help him?” the hack asked.
“Can’t you cover the bar, I want my break?” I asked him.

“I’ve got things to do in the office, I’ll get your break later.”

More like he’s going to mess around on the computer and check baseball scores.

He’s one of the do nothing managers. No people skills, no organizational skills, can’t even do a schedule.

Almost every restaurant has one or two managers that do all the work, the rest like to rest on their quarter inch of authority.

Hell they’re afraid to even talk to customers, if there is a problem the first thing they do is ask what they should do.

Not a good sign, these managers can best be seen hitting on the hostess or walking to the john with the sports page in hand.

Most of the time they’re in the office either smoking while the staff can’t or pecking at the keyboard like a chicken while trying to figure out a basic spreadsheet.

Well an hour passed, then two.

No sign of the hack.

It’s almost four thirty.

I walk back into the office with the sound of the Cardinal’s broadcast in the background, the hack is putting out a cigarette, nice.

“I want my thirty minutes.” I demanded.

“Is your section “polished” up for the night?” He responded.

“Why would it be, you don’t have the floor chart done, I’m still in the bar.” I stated.

“Well I’m putting you here then.”

Three tables.

Shit, I might as well be back at LoneStar.

I express my concern for my section, not with much tact however.

“You know the policy, our guests get better service when you concentrate on them.”

Screw that, the only result is a quarter of my tips are not in my pocket, I’m a little more concerned for my well being than my customer’s.

Mind you at the upper scale place I’m at now we have five to seven tables per section.

Nonetheless I sigh and head out with a wash towel.

I go over the seats and booth backs, straighten the lanterns and silverware.

Returning to the office I state, “It’s four forty, I want to go.”

“Did you “polish” your section?” He asks.


“Well let’s see how you did.”

I follow him to my area.

He moved the silverware around, wiped away invisible crumbs and ran his fingers along the top of the booth.

It feels like the time a cop searched my car after finding an unopened beer in the front seat.

He takes a good five minutes going over my section

“You need to “polish” the tops of your booths.”

“I did,” I respond.

He frowns, “be back before Q time.”

The pre-shift meeting.

“That’s in fifteen minutes,” I complained.

“You better hurry then.”

Screw it, I’m out the door, I don’t know if I’m coming back.

For some reason I do.

I arrive precisely fifteen minutes later, Q time is in progress.

I get a dirty look as I enter the kitchen.

“Listen, I know you’ve been here a long time, but you need to be here to listen to what I have to say,” the hack says in front of the entire staff.

I roll my eyes at him.

“You have a problem with that?” He asks.

“I have a problem with working twelve hours without a break.”

“You got one,” he said.

I didn’t even have time to eat.

That Monday after my morning shift I went to the interview, the manager asked why I was leaving after three years.

“They don’t know how to take care of their staff, everyone is leaving including the old managers, its time to go.”

She nodded, she’d been there before.

The next day I called before my shift.

The Hack answered the phone.

“Yah, I don’t really like my job, I’m not going to come anymore.” I said.

He started to blubber something about covering the shift, I hung up.

Seems like we’re all disposable until we’re disposable.

Thursday, January 19, 2006

Eh, repost

So before everyone gets in a tizzy for me reposting a post from back in September understand this.

Just yesterday, Tom who I got a job at my new place was telling some of the staff about this story, as he was the asshole server standing right there when it happened.

Everyone got a good laugh out of it and all...

The this morning as the host was walking past me with my ten top I was stopped in my tracks, It was Jess, the girl in the story.

Shit, and at my table too!

We were both startled, its been months since I've seen her and I never had talked to her after the incident.

Right then Tom runs right up to me pointing at me, and totally loosing it, it was kind of awesome.

Course the stuttering prick went up and told my buddies who just heard the story.

Well here it is, a retro repost for you neewbies and something to bitch about for the ones who'll say I'm being lazy, not that they're wrong or anything.

BTW I do know what a mongoliod is, and I was making fun of a drooling, creepy kid, not anyone with Down's Syndrome.

I know all you big city folks think Iowans are a bunch of idiots, but look where you rank in education compared to us, hell look at quality of life, crime, levels and higher education.

Not so bad out here really, well enjoy!

"You're always in my fucking way, fucking move!!!"

I look up from the shrimp cocktail I'm putting together.

It's Jess, the resident bitch waitress, Tom, the resident asshole waiter is smirking behind her...

"Excuse me?" go I.

Her eyes narrow into slits,"You always think you're the only one fucking working here! Move!"

She shoves me aside, shrimp and sauce spilling everywhere...

My response?

"Uh, suck me beautiful??"

She explodes, a chorus of fuck you, asshole, son of a bitch yadayadayada.

I walk away, her tirade continues...

I stop in my tracks and turn around.

"Why don't you shut the fuck up you stupid bitch!!!"

I roar it acrossed the kitchen.

Tom, Dick, and Harry are starring in disbelief.

I storm out the kitchen doors, trying to figure out how I'm going to face my tables after this whole situation, I put it together and go back to work.

A few minutes pass, the assistant manger, Brett starts screaming at me the minute I enter the kitchen.

She's one of his pet servers, good thing I'm in good with the GM.

He goes off,"What the fuck did you say to her!!!

You can't talk to her like that!"

Shit, half the staff is watching.

"Lets go into the office, Mr. Professional." is what comes out of my mouth, the GM is in there, he'll at least listen to what I say.

"Ok," I say calmly,"what did she say happened?"

Brett started first,"She said you've been sexually harassing her, that you've been following her around asking her to blow you off."


"She says you do it all the time, you could get fired for that you know, that's harassment."

I've never said anything like that to her before. I've never hit on her, and the only thing I ever said to her like that happened five minutes before.

Hell I hated the girl, I'd say as little as possible to her.

And I conveyed that sentiment to the managers.

My GM was understanding, Brett wasn't.

"You're full of shit, that's not what happened."

GM said, "You can't talk like that, I know you weren't trying to harass her, but it gives women ammunition against you when you do."

He was right, in this sensitive society someone with a grudge can use something like this, and be taken seriously.

It all started off as a fight over a two foot space on a counter, it was ok for her to cuss me out and all that, but for me to hit back, she tried to get me fired.

Using the greatest weapon a woman has....


Hell hath no fury...

Monday, January 16, 2006

I Love Kids.

So I made the mistake of headed to a local "bar" and grill Sunday morning with girlfriend.

And yes I mean bar in the loosest of terms, Okoboji Grill for you locals.

Also I decided to bring my real GF, not the imaginary one I've carried in the back of my mind for a bit, come to think of it a few of you could stand to get laid once in a while from the sounds of it.

But I digress.

I spent a summer bartending for the same company several years back at a different location, a few times a week I picked up a wait shift for the extra cash.

Today I was here strictly for cheap booze to kill the remnants of the night before and for a lil grease for the tummy.

I was telling my lady friend horror stories of the few Sunday shifts I picked up, tales of obnoxious racing fans and drunk football assholes and such when I hit upon the goodie.

Kids Eat Free Sundays.

Then I realized what day it was, just then they got slammed.

Mobs and mobs of children with their trashy zookeeper like parents.

Made the best case I've seen yet for the Freedom of Choice crowd that I've ever heard.

It seems the sole reason for this day to exist was so the trailer park could empty for the day.

I bet the next destination for these demon spawn is 31 flavors and a sample of each one, with no purchases of course.

Maybe their prior stop was at the supermarket for sample day as an appetizer course.

There's "Progressive Dining" for you.

I figured a move to the bar itself would be a good choice about the time a creepy looking mongoloid child walked up to my table and stared at me while drooling.

Damn, the kids in Village of the Damned seemed cuddlier.

As each table arrived I felt more and more for the waitress, she was running her ass off as boys were racing to see how fast they could drink their Mountain Dews and girls were crying for "more cherries!"

I spied another kid crushing crackers up with his hands and throwing them all over the floor, all while his mom took another drag of her GPC cigarette while trying to maneuver a fried chicken gizzard into the vast abyss of her mouth.

Wow, holy flashback.

I remember being where that poor waitress was, dodging children as they ran under your legs, the occasional high pitched shriek of "SHUT UP" as a parenting tool.

I know I rarely acted like that as a kid, I knew what was coming to me when I got home.

And believe me, when I did act up I got what was coming to me and rest assured that kind of business didn't happen again for a long time.

What's sad is the parents, they're as bad as the kids.

Most of those who come in are either "church people" who deserve and will get their own rant or the pick of the litter on the state welfare roles.

Later that afternoon as I drive to work with its linen set tables and Riedel wine glasses, I remember that waitress.

Chances are I won't have any kids tonight, they're a rarity.

Her job is much harder than mine, I think those days at that transitional job are the ones that made me bitter, nothing like getting stiffed every other table and having to deal with that shit for free.

Saturday, January 14, 2006


Well I figured I'd take the time (I don't know why) to address all the waiterrant disciples that want to shit all over me for whatever reason.

You're called trolls on most message boards, I truly invite you not to read me.

You are pretty sad and pathetic if all you can do is come on here and say how much I suck without actually digesting the content or commenting on the issue that is addressed on the blog post.

Personally I think the commenters on Waiterrant are much better than the ones that I am addressing, as are those on Max Tucker and Blaggblogg.

If I am aweful don't read me, you are sad little people who think taking potshots on the internet make you a big person.

Piss off

I'll continue posting and those who wish to have their little internet fueds with me or the other posters can find theirselves on the end of a balls deep prison assault.

If I was so meaningless how come you bother to comment?

BTW go back to my very first post, the one and only comment on there is from Waiterrant.

"Welcome to the war"

He was here before all of you, get a grip and visit one of the other 6,000,000,000,000 blogs out there

Wednesday, January 11, 2006

The Bull Moose Party or How I Became a Follower of Shiva.

Or the formerly progressive party of the early 20th century led by Theodore Roosevelt...

Yes I paid attention in 9th grade history, though I did do a term paper on the subject a bit back.

However the word progressive is key here.

Apparently "progressive" dining is the new fad in town.

I bet you Oprah let it slip how much she loves to do it and perhaps that's why its spreading like the clap on a naval base.

Well to the uninformed progressive dining is where you go to a different restaurant for every single course of the meal.

First stop drinks, second stop appetizers, third stop salads...

And so on and so forth.

Friday night a reservation came in and did the appetizer course.

Luckily I didn't have it and I mocked the poor server that did (all in good humor of course)

Well I am now turning in my crucifix and worshiping Ganash or whatever.

Karma is a bitch.

I happened to be the head server that night and about an half hour to close a nine top walks in the door looking fairly well dressed, big tip I thought, perfect way to close out a rather solid night.

I was on it like a chicken on a junebug.

As I ran around throwing tables together I went up to the host station to pick up their menus.

A gentleman from the group came over to me and said, "Oh we don't need those, we're only here for dessert, we're doing the whole progressive dining thing."



We're not even know for our desserts.

Not that their terrible, most are good in fact, just they aren't our focus.

I sigh as I lay down the dessert menus and walk off to collect my thoughts.


I grab up the other closing waitress, "Hey, want a nine top to finish off the night?"

"Fuck that, I'm going clubbing," is the answer, of course.

Well maybe they'll order a few rounds of Ports or a few other after dinner drinks.

Nine decaf coffee's is their initial order.


Who ever thought of this progressive dining needs to be drawn and quartered.

Or at least the maximum allowed in the America, waterboarding or at the very least being called dirty names in Arabic.

I get their coffee's, too bad we were low on regular or I'd pull the decaf trick...

Just kidding Decaf Nazi's!

I return to the head gentleman,"Sir are we all ready to order?"

"Are you trying to rush us or something?" He asks.

"Certainly not sir!" I respond.

Of course I am.

Our dessert guy is leaving in a few minutes and I don't really relish the thought of firing a bunch of creme brulee's or nuking "homemade" chocolate cakes.

I give them two minutes and ask again, its getting close to close time.

The gentleman rolls his eyes but the ladies start hopping up and down for their brulee's and such.

I get the order in and the cook freaks out on me for giving him a ticket of nine at that hour.

Three rounds of coffee later they're ready to be served.

I've never understood how people can down hot coffee like that, but oh well!

I let them eat their desserts and ponder what has just happened.

I hate yuppie fads.

Pinot Noir after the whole "Sideways" thing.

The Oprah book club.

Like I need her approval to think "Catcher in the Rye" is a classic, did anyone take freaking HIGH SCHOOL literature???

Crocks irk me, after all us servers have worn them literally for years.

Of course they weren't hot pink and we didn't wear them in public...

I do think my favorite was seeing all the giant 70K SUV's with Howard Dean or John Kerry stickers attached to them like badges.


I hope this one dies an early death.

After all this is the first one to actually affect me with more than just minor annoyance.

The time I could have spent shutting down the kitchen or cleaning tables was spent with endless coffee refills and table maintenance.

I can't believe they turned me down on my Port offer, instead they're sucking down Sanka like the rapture is coming.

Eventually I drop off their check, 67 bucks.

"Can we have split checks?"

As I'm working at my computer station I think of all the other poor servers that had to deal with them.

At least I had them later rather than in the middle of the rush.

I bet their appetizer server about had a fit the second he walked through the kitchen door.

Of course I did make a slip up, I was running around doing close cleaning during the breaks I had with the table.

As I was quite busy playing catch up with my work, I didn't even think to put the grat on their tickets.

As they walk out the door I pick up the tickets.

Nine bucks, that won't even buy my the amount of booze it will take to forget them and this stupid new fad.

Friday, January 06, 2006

Asinine Question of the day

"Folks, would you carer for any soup or salad before your entrees tonight? I asked.

"What's a Supersalad? Is the reply.

Thursday, January 05, 2006

Do We Just Sit Anywhere?


That's what the sign read on the table.

What part of that long and pretentious word do some guests not understand?

The first part?

So the smoking section has four "boof's" and two tables, I have signs on all tables.

I'm busy throwing together an eight top when I notice a group slyly sneak into a booth.

Shit, I know its reserved for 7:00.

"Excuse me folks, that tables reserved for another party," I say.

"But we want to sit here."Not the answer I was looking for.

"Sir, we don't seat ourselves here, the hostess will be more than happy to help you out."

"But we want to sit here," he says.

"Sorry sir it's reserved."

"We sit here all the time," he says.

I've never seen him before and I've been here since the opening.

"I'll be right back sir."

I walk up to the host desk and explain the situation to the manager.

Like he knows how to make any kind of decision.

"Seat 'em." He says.


I hate rewarding assholes that throw a fit.

Screw it, I walk up to the group and tell them that we can squeeze them in.

Smiling smugly the alpha male eases back in to his seat.

I take their drink orders, a couple Keers Lights, sorry we don't carry Booosh Light, and a couple glasses of...

You guessed it...

White zinfandel

I return with four menus, as I start to set them down Alphalfa Male holds his hands up in refusal.

"We're only here for drinks."

Shit, as stated earlier, we have very limited seating for smoking thus necessitating our policy that it is dining only, we do have a very nice full service bar however.

I cringe internally as I relay the policy.

"This is ridiculous!" He states.

Yes it is.

Imagine going to a full service restaurant and being expected to order dinner.

That's just silly.

Of course there is a loophole.

He snags a menu and a few minutes later orders onion rings...

Which of course we don't have.

"Well can't you go back and cut up some onions?" He questions.

I suppose I could, but at this point I don't care.

The answer.


They order something else grudgingly and I'm off to service my real tables.

You know, the ones that go out to eat to actually dine.

Of course the table that was showing all signs of leaving orders a round of after dinner drinks and a desert to split.

7:00 rolls around.

Our anorexic "model" hostess comes up to me.

"I need a table open now, your reservation is here."

"I'll do my best to hurry someone out of here." I say.

I go up to my pal's table and start removing their finished appetizer plates,"Is there anything else I can get for you?"

Two Keer's Lights it is.


I slide my desert table's check onto their table.

Help me Obi Wan, you're my only hope.

"I'll be right back to pick that up folks."

One of the guests picks it up, looks over the tab, and puts it back on the table, then proceeds to rest his arm over the book.


The frantic hostess comes back up, it's 15 after the hour, and my smoking reso is getting impatient.

My section is stagnant.

I can plainly see no one is getting up in the next five minutes.

The reservation decides a table in the bar is better than nothing.

Later in the night I see them dining on steaks and enjoying a nice bottle of Syrah.

Nice $200 table right there.

My hick friends are on their fourth round of shitty beer and adult kool aid.

Total Bill.


And they sit there for nearly three hours chain smoking and wondering why we don't have a TV with racin' on it.

Bastards cost me a fat table and maybe another table turn.

But their $4 tip sure made up for it.