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, April 28, 2006

A Tale of Two Families Pt 1.

So a couple of nights ago a family of four with young children walks into my section, I'm cussing the host out mentally as I go up to greet my new guests.

As a restaurant we aren't very kid friendly in the first place, and I believe my feelings on certain ill behaved demon spawn and their careless parents has been made clear on several posts.

Upon asking if anyone would like a glass of wine (which most families reject) the couple start to converse in French.

Great, Europeans, that'll be a great tip.

Surpisingly they order a couple of glasses of Pinot Noir, actually since they are French it wasn't that big of a surprise.

Returning to the table with the drinks I notice the parents moving all breakables, condiments, plates and such away from their progeny.

It becomes clear that these good people are the exception to a couple rules, those about the French and those about children.

They were polite, ordered decent and not afraid of their children, or ignorant of their behavior.

I noticed them talking to their children and looking over educational activity books with them.

A bit later the daughter started to act up and they unfolded a small stroller and put her in it as discipline and a way to quiet her down.

I didn't even see the stroller, it was actually of a sensible size.

Later they ordered a small order of gelato for the children.

A minute later I heard a crash.

Bowl on the ground, daughter looking upset.

The couple apologized profusely as they started to pick up the mess.

Amazed that someone would clean up after themselves I joined in.

"I'd be more than happy to get her a new bowl sir." I offered.

He smiled at me, "No thank you, I think she's learned her lesson the hard way tonight about being restless."

Upon dropping off the check I declared, "It has been a pleasure folks."

And it was.

They dropped a $20 bill on me.

I was happy, they were happy.

I never thought I would say this, but Viva la France.


At 4:52 PM , Blogger Tai said...

Hooray for intelligent, well mannered people working on raising more intelligent well-mannered people.

At 7:25 PM , Blogger irishlucky said...

Dude, it's about time you got a break! After all the posts about horrible customers, hurrah! for the great ones!

--sparky's keeper

At 10:10 PM , Blogger Brad #1 said...

Wow, that's pretty cool. I certainly wouldn't expect that from such typically rude and condescending people. Looks like somebody was brought up right, and are making sure that their kids are as well.

People like this just seem to make your day go so much better.

Congrats on the nice table. Sometimes the rotation can be brutal, and sometimes it can be great. I don't know about the rest of your tables for the shift, but seems that you ended up on the lucky side of the rotation this time.

Cheers, Rasta Cow

At 12:39 AM , Anonymous cabykay said...

nice, i wish they'd come sit in my section.

At 2:50 AM , Blogger Big Tasty said...

Fuck yeah, I love the French. As an American 29 years old, I realize that 90 percent of what you hear about them is BULLSHIT! I've been there several times, always had a good time.

It's about time we Americans stopped bagging on other nationalities and accepted ourselves as part of an international community.

Fuck, Australians have tipped me great, they just ask, "what's the typical gratuity in the U.S...just curious?"

Maybe I'm just lucky, but I love foreigners.

Here's where the going get French and the French get going...

Here's where I get down...

Before you delete this, sir, I ask you to help a brother out. This is the only time I'm going to write this, I'm just all fired up about you having good french people.

It's all because I've had very few bad ones.

The most obnoxious foreigners aren't from Europe or Asia.


At 9:52 PM , Blogger Brad #1 said...

bigtasty, you're just lucky. We have Michelin and Fluor Daniel (or whomever they call themselves now), and so there is a growing French population around here. They don't appreciate good service and don't tip worth a shit.

We even had George Hincappe (the guy that rode along with Lance Armstrong) in to eat last night with his beautiful wife and kid. They had a great time. He's American, but somehow his French wife has rubbed off on him. A 11% tip on a good, no great meal in a white tablecloth restaurant.

I wouldn't hesitate twice to call the French cheap, as well as Europeans and Asians.

At 3:02 AM , Blogger History Guy said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

At 3:14 AM , Blogger mskp said...

hey, i hit "next blog" on one of my favourites and found you, which was delighful. i worked in hospitality for 7 years and blogging it is such a great idea. take out all your anger in cyberspace [i used to use the manager's office]!

i just wanted to chime in on the french thing, as i'm researching american politics and have been pretty shocked at the anti-french sentiment. as a kind of vox-pop, do you think most americans have a bad view of the french? if so, why?

oh, and feel free to ignore this intrusion, of course.

au revoir!

At 7:04 AM , Blogger Nickneem said...

We'll be over to visit familly in Lancaster PA this july, wonder if we can 'beat the Dutch' uh the French ;))
(I have 3 boys ages 5, 4 and 1 years old, one of the reasons we don't eat out that often...)

No kidding, we always go to france for holidays and I love the country and I do like the french people.
The only thing is you have to learn the language because they don't speak english but if you are making an effort they really do appreciate it!

All waiters worldwide, check out:

Mike Dole
The Netherlands

At 7:05 AM , Blogger Nickneem said...

We'll be over to visit familly in Lancaster PA this july, wonder if we can 'beat the Dutch' uh the French ;))
(I have 3 boys ages 5, 4 and 1 years old, one of the reasons we don't eat out that often...)

No kidding, we always go to france for holidays and I love the country and I do like the french people.
The only thing is you have to learn the language because they don't speak english but if you are making an effort they really do appreciate it!

All waiters around the world, check out:

Mike Dole
The Netherlands

At 12:07 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Maybe they were Canadians from Quebec.

At 12:25 PM , Anonymous nia said...

ah ah lol that s a good one, that s why I often hear ' don t judge people', you never know when you re gonna be surprised ( and wrong) about what u thought.

i have to add, ww say Vive la France:) there is no VIVA in french;)

a plus!

At 2:44 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Nephew Dude:

A month or so back in the comics pages of my local newspaper there was a nationally syndicated comic strip:

Diner asks waitress: "What's the soup of the day?"

Waitress responds: "Swiss onion soup."

Diner asks: "What's Swiss onion soup?"

Waitress responds: "French onion soup without the attitude!"

For Americans, the French have a reputation for being snobby because Americans can't read their menus. And, when Americans ask for an English-language menu, the French respond with their equivalent of "Huh-rumph!"

You know, your Uncle A.'s mother-in-law is British.* She told me how the Brits say the French don't know how to fight. How the Brits always have to go save the French from getting beat-up by the Germans. Elsewhere, I'd heard that, after World War II, the Brits wanted the French to plant trees along all the main routes into Paris. Trees that would grow tall. So that the next time the Brits would have to march into Paris to save the French from the Germans, the British soldiers could at least march into Paris in the shade!


Uncle R.

*Yours ain't the only branch of grandchildren in our family who (is?)/(are?) half-Latino.

P.S.: So, at the risk of inflaming the issue---as if I haven't already---I gotta ask "BT" above: From where are the most obnoxious foreigners?

At 3:02 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Nephew Dude:

So I took a look at your cluster map after posting to you today. (A posting which, at this point, may or may not make the 'cut' onto your blog.)

Anyway, about your cluster map.


As a published author of articles, chapters, and textbooks, I tip my hat to you.



Your blog readership vastly outstrips my published readership!





All my love,

Your Uncle R.

At 7:01 PM , Blogger Big Tasty said...


I'm sorry to hear about that man. Yeah, some of the people who shouldn't be cheap seem to be the cheapest.

Yesterday I paid for my comments, I served a British or Aussie family (couldn't tell, they were a tad quiet) and got a flat zero.

I've honestly had lots of success with the French.

Now, Anonymous, the nationality that'll give you the hardest time, but not always are a certain breed of folks from the Middle East. Persians they call themselves, while a great many are very nice, usually they treat service staff like servants in a most disrespectable way. Obviously it's a cultural difference that I just have to accept, as I work in an area of Southern California. It's just not common for them to respect service staff and they tend to like for their server to "make deals"--aggressively I might add. It's as if the bargaining mentality carries over to the restaurants they frequent. I only say it because it's true, but there's always exceptions to the rule.

And I always give the benefit of the doubt.

But, hell, there's problems everywhere and I like my job so I'm not complaining.


At 3:59 PM , Blogger Kirsten said...

Nice to see a post with a positive note to it :) You should do that more often!

At 5:32 AM , Anonymous restaurant gal said...

"...I am cussing the host out mentally."

As a maitre 'd extraordinaire, I ask you to remember several things about hosting--we have to give the not-so-great tables to someone, sometimes the great-seeming tables turn out to be nightmares, and, as you just wrote, first impressions may be fleeting--and lead to a good tip. In my place, I try to share the wealth--and the duds--among everyone. Besides, I hate being cussed out!

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

it's "vive la france", but good post. i have a degree in french and have always loved the french and their way of life. i'd like to also note that most french restaurants add the tip to the bill as a service charge, and that's why so many of them don't tip. they dont know they have to.
"allons enfants de la patrie..."

At 3:12 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

I am a server and a mom. I have NEVER allowed my kids to act like hoodlums or make messes in restaurants. We always get compliments from our servers and fellow patrons on our children's behavior. Usually the server will say something along the lines of "wow they're just sitting there, other kids usually run around and scream and throw things."

After we have eaten I make my older children pick up any large pieces of food they might have dropped, stack their plates and clean their area off. If there are crumbs I get up as much as possible and if we leave any visible evidence of toddlers eating crackers we always double the tip. Always.

What really pisses me off is when we go somewhere and get "the look" from the server before they even come over to the table, then we get the "they're going to leave a mess and not tip" attitude, then we're ignored. It happens a lot.
I tip well, my kids don't act like monkeys, please don't expect it. Please don't roll your eyes when you see us.

I will gladly double or even triple tip any server that doesn't treat us like we have the plauge.

And as a server I hate nothing worse than the parent who sits there all helpless like as their lovely little demon throws food and even from the highchair manages to grind noodles and potatoes into the carpet and ignore the kids that are demanding more coke and more ranch dressing and more ketchup and this and that from me. Heaven help any child of mine that dared to speak to any adult in that way.
Then the kid starts to scream so mommy puts her down to run across the aisles while I carry heavy ass trays full of hot food around and the lovely darling is screeching while she runs under my feet and mommy just sits there all exasperated and saying "I wish she would sit down" Really? You do? Then get off your ass and CONTROL YOUR CHILD. It's a simple concept you're the adult, she's the child.
I manage to do it everyday with 4 of them, 1 with sensory disorder that freaks at the slightest breeze, why can't you do it with your one little angel???
If you can't control your child, please don't bring them to my restaurant, I don't get paid enough to babysit too.

At 8:01 PM , Blogger Clifford said...

As a frequent traveller to France, I can say that it's always a pleasure to eat in their restaurants. There isn't kids, running around and screaming. No one is hiding from their baby sister under my table. The kids are invisible. And knowing some French is better than gold. A bientot!

At 3:04 PM , Blogger Big Tasty said...

Server and Mother, you sound amazing. I get a few really good parents with their kids and when I do I make a point to compliment the parents and children then I'll try and get a little something comped.

I'm a waiter and I reward GOOD behavior, damnit.

At 1:42 PM , Blogger Bass Player said...

I've been to France several times playing music, and from what I can tell Americans got treated like dirt there because not only could we not speak their language, not only did we not even try to learn a few phrases, but we would shout at them, as if Loud English is easier to understand. I also don't think they entire approve of our choice of President. And, how would we feel if France went out of their way to disparage America like we do them?

My French is pour merde, but at least I learned a few phrases. I was treated very well, on the whole; probably because I was a musician and not an Ugly American Tourist.

Methinks those who have such nasty things to say about France have never been there; their knowledge comes only from late night comics and right-wing pundits.

Spending a couple days in Paris and then saying they've been to France is like spending a few days in NYC and then saying you've been to America.

At 1:49 AM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Having been to France several times, I can tell you that they are, as a whole, lovely people. Very polite, in Paris as well as elsewhere. Their children are well-behaved. I've NEVER seen a French child act up the way American children do. The parents are typically no-nonsense with their children. I think if a child were to begin throwing food around in a French restaurant, the family would be asked to leave. Dinner time is important to the French. They don't want anyone ruining the experience. As it should be.

At 11:59 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

I whole heartedly agree with the previous two posters. People often claim the the French are arrogant, snotty etc, but these same people who complain have never tried to make an effort to learn a few words of the language, a bit of the culture etc. Despite many preconceived notions, French culture is extremely different from most "Western" cultures and people forget, or just ignore this.

At 7:03 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

I think the problem is that Europeans are not bad tippers but they dont realise Americans have such a low minimum wage. A tip is a reward for a good service not to make up someones basic wage because their emploer will not pay them a proper salary.

At 1:10 AM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Actually, I hate to burst your bubble but I am from Australia and the French are not the worst customers- the Americans are!

At 12:45 AM , Blogger briliantdonkey said...

I can't speak too much about the french people per se. However, I WAS stationed in Germany for a little over two years and can agree whole heartedly with one thing several people have said. If you TRY just TRY to learn the language.....even if you suck at it and accidentally say "your momma wears combat boots' when what you were trying to say was "I will have the veal parmigan',,,,if you just TRY that goes SOOOOOOOOOO far! Most of my fellow servicemen in Germany hated it(or at least anything that was not american about it). Hell i was guilty too for the first few months. I can't describe how much i hated it. Then someone pulled me aside and gave me the best advice i ever got over there which was to go spend 5.99 on a learn basic German book and make an attempt. I did that and the difference was mind blowing! I rarely if EVER bought my own drink from that day forward. I am not sure why this is so hard to figure out(it was for me as well so i was just as guilty as anyone)....but think about it. How many times have you heard a comic(andrew dice clay i think?) say "if you cant speak the language, get the hell out of the country!" Why should that be any different for you when you are in THEIR country? If a frenchman or German or mexican came here and made NO attempt to learn YOUR language and insisted you speak to them in French,German or Spanish in your OWN DAMN COUNTRY i dare say you would be fairly pissed off too. At least i know I would be. Just my 2 cents. (enter 'see how well i am taking care of you' nod that every server has gotten from some cheap ass at some point or another here) ahem,,,,,"no no you keep the change thats for you"....LOL



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