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....

Monday, March 20, 2006

Restaurant Species Guide

Part II

"The Stroller People"

You can see the herd from a far off distance...

You can almost heat the rattling of plastic bags of Cheerios.

The rumble of SUV sized strollers shakes the very foundation and soul of a waiter.

There is little discipline or order to the herd, the adolescents run amuck while their elders sit oblivious to the wanton destruction.

I have heard rumors from some of the "lifer" servers about days gone by where children were "well behaved" and "such darlings."

Mind you these rumors are of events taken place over a decade ago.

Often a pair of mothers come in and maneuver their Hummer-stroller into the most inconvenient place possible, often a main aisle or abutting a neighboring table so as no one can or will want to sit there.

There's really nothing like clipping through the restaurant with a full tray of drinks or food and nearly colliding with one of these behemoths, really there are better places where these belong, just ask.

After parking this monstrosity they will then ask for a high chair and place it in the 2nd most inconvenient spot, right on a tight aisle.

Sometimes they remove the "escape hatch" of a car seat and place it right in the middle of the table or "boof."

If you are lucky they will ask if you have anything for their spawn "to do."

How bout have a meaningful conversation with their parents and include them in your lives?


I guess you mean crackers or cornbread, anything messy.

Sorry, we don't have any, not where I work at least.

But worry not!

Many parents are prepared to occupy their children!

With activity books or education and spelling books you ask?

Nope, with the aforementioned Cheerios, which the child will hurl as far and wide as possible, maybe 1 in 10 will make it into the mouth.

While the young yuppie mothers sit there and chat about how shitty their husbands are or what $500 purse to buy with said husband's credit card, where are the children?

Often running about screaming, playing hide and seek or even walking into the kitchen...

Then an apologetic and exasperated parent will often apologize for their children's behavior.

How about apologizing for you lack of attention or discipline?

When I was younger such things were not tolerated, a warning trip to the bathroom was all that was usually needed to keep me in line.

Of course that's probably why I gave my parents so much frustration later in life, but that's a different story for another day.

It's not only the staff's frustrations that should be taken into account, how about the other diners?

Often there are complaints about the noise and distraction of screaming kids.

The few times I have seen tables with unruly children approached the waiter/manager has been subject to harsh reproach.

"How dare someone tell us how to raise our kids!"

Well you obviously can't, someone's got to do it.

A restaurant can also be a dangerous place.

I don't think any parent or waiter would want a child hurt in a restaurant.

How unsafe is it when parents put their children in the path of customers and staff?

Steaming hot food served on large trays with heavy plates can be quite the worry, I don't want to know what the result of that hitting a kid on the head would be.

Kids in the kitchen can get run over by quickly moving cooks and servers, not to mention the hot oil, flame, steam and knives they contain.

Is it hard to raise children?


Is it hard to discipline children?

It didn't used to be, but everyone is too worried about hurting their feelings or stifling their creativity.

Really, I think that is becoming a cop-out for a parent's lack of discipline.

Throw the kids a Game Boy instead of reading to them.

Wear them as accessories and pawn them off on the nanny or babysitter when you're bored.

Hire a tutor, why would a parent help their child with schoolwork, you're too busy!

Too many important things to do!

Or maybe just give them a bag of Cheerios while you gossip about who's sleeping with who or what purse you're going to buy that afternoon.


At 8:20 PM , Anonymous K. said...

You 100% NAILED it. My nite at the restaurant was just exactly the way you pontificated. Remember when baby's strollers FOLDED UP INTO UMBRELLA SIZED STOW AWAYS????? Not anymore....because kids are too fat now ;) and there's no room for the Prada diaper bag. Bastards.

At 11:00 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

i can't wait to have children...

At 6:51 AM , Blogger Jamie said...

Restaurants need to come up with some sort of contract for these parents to sign not only relieving the restaurant of any damages or injuries to the wayward kids, but holding the parents responsible for damages to property and any medical bills incurred by injured employees. As soon as those kids pop out of their seats, slap one of those on the table and give them the choice of signing it or leaving.

At 8:06 AM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Good points, but this discussion is sooooooo 2005.

At 8:54 AM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Maybe the restaurant industry needs to decide whether they want to mollify the minority of customers who bring obnoxious children to their establishments or if they want to provide a pleasant atmosphere to most of their customers.

At 8:57 AM , Anonymous Dave said...

Having worked in the industry, I feel your pain in regards to parents with the wild and unruly offspring who run amuck. Now that I'm the father of 2 boys ( 4yrs old and 6 months old), I've entered the stage of life where I have the bag of cheerios and the SUV stroller. The strained smiles we have gotten from waiters and waitresses when we arrive speak of their experience with those of us in this stage of our lives... but don't fear us all. Our stroller folds up nicely and can fit under the table. If that cramps our legs a bit, that's our problem, not the other diners or the servers. If our boys attempt to misbehave or disrupt other diners, our dinner is over, packed up, and we leave (making sure that any left over cheerios are removed from table and floor). We have found that often times this self-clean that we do bothers the restaurant staff, but we feel that it's not your job to clean-up messes that are not of your making.

Please keep up the great blogging!

At 10:28 AM , Blogger AWE said...

I like it when the parent acts like it is their right to let their kid run or yell. This pisses me off to no end. What about my right to have an enjoyable meal? They need to stay at Chuck E Cheese.

At 10:48 AM , Blogger Lobster Boy said...

SUV strollers would be a step in the right direction. Try ghetto children with children for parents. Nothing like a 20 year old unwed mother of 3 to spoil a night at work.

I don't mind cleaning up Cheerios. It's spaghatti noodles that are a nightmare (thankfully that's no longer on our menu).

And no, that spoon is not an instrument to be played on the table.

Lobster Boy
Red Lobster hates its employees blog

At 3:32 PM , Blogger dixiedarling said...

I took my children out to eat very little when they were young because I remember others who had children out and thought that child is unhappy - you can't enjoy your meal if they are acting that way. Only one time did I have to make good on a threat to the bathroom and afterwards we got our food to go - left a nice tip for the waiter that had to put up with us and apologized to those around us. I guess that kind of behavior is long since gone.

At 4:20 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Have you ever been shit ass in the weeds busy and one of these parents with a giant stroller yells at you because the baby is asleep? When I can barely set the drinks in front of them because my arm's don't reach far enough to place the drinks on the table (I'm six feet tall, usually I can reach most neccessary things), they then yell because I bumped the stroller with the sleeping baby...

Fuck their demon spawn, and fuck them. I have no patience for the Beverly Hills housewife who squeezes these little fuckers out of her womb in order to have the decorative, trendy effect of a child.

"Oh, isn't your little darling so cute!"

"Fuck you, she'll be cuter when she's giving head for coke in junior high"

Been doing it too long...

At 6:43 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

One thing missing these days is the threat of violence our parents had. Not that my parents beat me, but the --very occasional-- smack was enough to keep us in line. I am not saying it was right, I'm just saying it definitely influenced how we behaved.

At 6:54 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

OK...then I'LL say it: it was RIGHT to get your ass tanned when you misbehaved.

At 4:08 AM , Blogger sha said...

OMG Entitlement Whores (im a mom, i can do what i want now) piss me off to know end. You see them everywhere. Not just in restaurants. Don't take Brattina and Snotly in the SUV strollers to coffeehouses either. I go there to relax and chat, not listen to your crotchdroppings scream and yell. And don't block off areas of thumbnail size coffeehouses so the rest of us can't sit in those other areas.

At 5:41 AM , Anonymous K. said...

Honestly, what IS it with this breed of "people"? I was taught, as even a very young child, to actually think of other people's empirical comfort when I was in public....It's stuck with me ever since. I've been a server for 8 years. I can't believe the decline
in human behavior. The irrational self-imposed entitlement. A Scourge on society. I piss on them.

At 10:59 AM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

I don't know if it was because I wasn't raised thinking it was okay to misbehave in a restaurant (the one time I did, I spent the rest of dinner in the car) or because I'm a bad parent.
But I don't give two shits about "stifling my childs creativity" there is no misbehaving in restaurants period. Even if that means when she's 20 she has to whine to a counsellor that her mother destroyed her whole life by expecting good behavior in public.

At 7:04 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

my parents had a two part strategy. first they had the 'stick'- the threat of count one-two-three...we go outside the restaurant and get our butt smacked. The carrot was twofold. First, they always brought colored pencils (less destructive on upholstery than crayons) and paper and we extensively praised when we drew QUIETLY. Secondly, just as soon as the one-two-three thing behave OR ELSE penetrated our tiny brains, we got taken to grownup restaurants. When one grows up in new orleans is quite a treat!

we didn't go to a lot of 'family' restaurants when i was growing up because my parents didn't want us encouraged to behave badly because we saw other kids screaming and running around.

sadly even the so called 'fine' dining places have been invaded by brats. So often my husband and i find ourselves joined by kids from the next table who just want to be talked to and included in their family's life, rather than ignored while mom talks on a cell and while dad talks on a cell and so forth.

It's not hard to include kidlets when the grownups are talking. As a kid, i could count on getting my head rubbed if i nestled in quietly to my mom or dad and the extra snuggles were worth keeping my mouth shut. I think that some of the kids i see are acting out because their so called quality time with their parents is crap.


At 5:56 PM , Blogger Brad #1 said...

Soon enough, we're going to see the coat check turned into a stroller check, that is if we want these pain in the ass strollers out of our way.

At 8:02 AM , Blogger donttipthewaiter said...

So true, secret.

I just found your blog, and I truly enjoy your writing. You capture the relevant mindset in an entertaining manner.

I will check back often.

At 9:39 AM , Blogger The Server said...

Has anyone else ever sloshed boiling hot soup onto the head of a knee-high projectile who ran back into the kitchen? I have, and I got an earful from the poolboy-banging, gucci-wearing, mario tricoci-hairstyled wench that expelled the little bastard from her birth canal.

The shit of it is that my manager had to apologize because we are a restaurant with a "family atmosphere." I say bullshit. Keep your kids in line.

And to the parent above who mentioned that he cleans up his kids' cheerios... bless you. I can't tell you how many times I've gotten stuck in the weeds because I've been down on all fours scraping up soggy cheerios off the carpet. Damn hokies won't pick them up.

There were the baby-boomers, Generation X, Generation Y... Now there's Generation E(ntitlement).

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

Yeah... I hate these people that come in and are the source of my income. Damn them!

Just shut up, leave me a FAT TIP and get the hell out with your kids!

I really hate these 'gucci-wearing' etc etc whores who pay these high prices for lunch and even more for the wine list's inflated prices and (did I mention they leave tips?) then expect they can bring their children?? Why don't they just come in, give me $50 then leave. It would be so much easier for me and all other servers.

The nerve.

At 9:56 PM , Blogger server in da burgh said...

Had a 9 top (only 4 adults) that made my section look like a demolition sight.

oh and anonymous, ("The nerve.") Luckily people like you are not the source of my income.

At 12:08 AM , Blogger Fat Waitress said...

All I can say is i hate when parents will allow their kids to pull apart the sugar caddys for amusment. I swear, if you have a child and you get up and look at the floor around your kids seat and there is more food than floor showing, go take a parenting class.

The End.

At 8:09 AM , Anonymous Alex said...

Oh, and what's up with the women with strollers who plow through the restaurant not stopping or yielding to busy staff. Have you noticed parents who are pushing a stroller move through the restaurant like they have the right of way! I was taking an order and I saw this woman/stroller coming down the aisle and it didn't look like she was slowing down or stopping, so I stopped what I was doing and moved back to let her by and she rolled the stroller right over my feet!!! OUCH!!! She didn't even stop to apologize, she kept going. I couldn't believe! I forgot, the whole world, sun, moon and galazy revolves around her and her damn stroller. People with strollers, remember this, please be mindful of other pedestrians, you are not the only one on this planet. Thank you!

At 7:18 PM , Blogger Girl at the bar. said...

Thank god we dont have kids menus, kids cups, crayons... or anything kid friendly.... most people look at the menu and walk away...

although the other day after telling a family we had noting kid-friendly besides one high chair and one booster seat.... we were a bar... and sat them the mother asked me for drinks and i brought them back glasses...

she looked at me like i was crazy "My children need plastic cup... they will break these"

with a sigh i replied "no plastic cups, no kida menus, no crayons.. nothing kid friendly"

"but surely you have plastic cups... even if they don't have lids" i was tried. i hate kids. i brought her out a deli container and mde someone else deal with them.

At 11:03 PM , Anonymous Best Dining said...

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At 3:01 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

If only every restaurant had a kid's menu with rat poison and straight razors. Or better yet, had a policy of not serving irresponsible, entitled parents who deserve a bullet to the skull.


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