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....

Wednesday, May 10, 2006

Camaraderie

Along with working in the restaurant industry comes by far the most enjoyable byproduct of work...

Camaraderie

We are a band of brothers, as Shakespeare might say.

We may not have a great war (unless you count the battle against unruly and obnoxious customers)

No great depression either, as each shift ends with jubilation and revelry.

But enough with paraphrased quotes.

What I do love about my job is the shift beer, the trips to the after hours clubs, maybe even an after party at some poor soul's home.

In every restaurant I have worked at there is the core group, the servers that watch each other's backs.

It is almost comparable to the brotherhood one would find in the military.

You have your veterans, your loudmouths (guess who this pertains to), funny guy, drama queens and rookies.

It's hard for a rookie to get in, you have to prove yourself.

It's kind of like 'Nam, you don't want to get to know a newbie as they very well might not be there tomorrow.

As much as some people like to rattle of on how anyone can wait tables I'd say at least 30% that try wash out.

And I'm not talking about idiots, I'm talking about law students, pre-med, graduate students and even grads looking for an extra buck.

It takes moxie!

But I digress.

You can usually see us out at a local dive, or even a trendy spot.

We're easy to spot, we're the only sober people at 10:30 at your bar and its a pretty diverse group.

Of course the sober part we're looking to remedy.

Usual drink is high end, Scotch, Martini's, or Microbrews.

Followed by lots and lots of shots, preferably Jagermeister.

Somehow we have to erase the memory of the asshole at table 21 or the clown who showed up with fifteen people on a Saturday night with no reservation.

But like any battle, members come and go.

Veterans take off at the drop of a hat, fired, quit, whatever the reason.

If you see them out its never quite the same.

They aren't in your business anymore, or have joined another group.

There seem to be parallel groups as well.

Kind of like a bizarro dimension.

We see the same people out all the time, no matter where we go.

We whisper to ourselves that they're from this restaurant or that.

Sometimes we see old members, but at best you get a knowing nod.

Membership has its privileges.

Waiters who would scoff at helping others soon seem to be doing what they can to help you out.

And the favor is returned.

We back each other up even when wrong.

In a workplace culture when the customer is always right and we always say yes this is all we have.

We cover each other's shifts and shortcomings.

A waiter is always above management to another waiter, the lockeroom leaders are the ones who lead from the front, not make policy from the back.

Rounds of drinks are often bought, no squabbling over separate checks when we are out.

If we all go out the tipping we do is obscene.

We believe in Karma.

Some people aren't allowed membership.

Those who don't pull their weight or are unnecessarily obnoxious are left behind.

If someone in the group has a problem with someone it quickly spreads to the other members.

Whispers of "don't invite so and so to the party" and other exclusionary tactics are reserved for those at the opposite end of the hierarchy.

At times we have even been known to travel in packs when leaving another restaurant for the "hot new place."

For a time the staff at our place primarily consisted of the former staff's of three different restaurants.

But alas it is all temporary like so many relationships.

While good friends are met, the number of acquaintances far outnumber close friendships.

It was good to have them, but someday they'll be the ones acrossed the room giving a knowing nod.

13 Comments:

At 2:11 AM , Blogger Big Tasty said...

Dude,

I got first comment.

I'm in a position right now where I'm the veteran of my restaurant. Only two people have been there longer. I remember all the good times, the parties...ain't no one really doing that anymore.

They've all gone on to other things.

Now I just go to work and go home.

It's all sad and kinda weird.

BT!

 
At 3:45 AM , Blogger Jen said...

I'm a veteran too..There's only about 3 of us left and it's just not the same anymore. *sigh*

Now I want to be the one who's "gone on to other things"..

 
At 11:39 AM , Blogger samuel said...

I'm currently not working so that my wife can basically run a really cool sushi bar. Someone has to watch the kids.
The camraderie is the thing I miss most. though kitchen camraderie is different. I don't miss having my oil checked for instance. I miss calling someone new guy for three weeks until it seems worthwhile to remember his name.
I wonder sometimes if there is a pile of money in each city that never gets spent because it's always passing between servers from one place to the next.

 
At 12:57 PM , Blogger Big Tasty said...

Yeah, you drink four thousand beers with someone over the course of a couple of years and they just go away. Usually never to return again. People still go out I guess, but it's not the same.

Waaaahhhhhh!

Big Saddy

 
At 2:07 AM , Blogger SkiBumWaiter said...

So is life.. any aspect really. But such a good post, I really enjoyed the read!

 
At 2:58 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Funny you should write about these clicks. I have observed the SAME exact behavior among cockroaches.

The lame, obnoxious roaches get left out as well. hmmm paradox?? I think so.
Ohhh but wait, your sooo special cuz you carry food to tables.

 
At 10:43 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Nephew Dude:

I always preferred a joint at the end of my waiter shifts.

When your Uncle A. and I waited tables together one summer, he wouldn't toke often, but we did our share of drinking after our shifts.

At another place I worked, there were the after hours drinkers, after hours tokers, and after hours both.

Gimme a joint any day!

Pushing 50 and still loving it---

Love,

Uncle R.

 
At 4:23 PM , Blogger Nichole Sidhe said...

i found your blog through another waiter's and i thought i'd stop by. i love your writing, and while i don't so much miss the life of the waitress i do catch myself feeling a little sad at the loss of those friends. you put it perfectly. thanks so much.

 
At 9:32 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

It's so true, about the core group that truly runs the show.

 
At 12:21 PM , Anonymous Rob Crowther said...

I can't speak for the cockroaches, but the same phenomenom occurs working (yes, yuck, ew) the frontend of a grocery store. (Our drinks of choice: diet coke with vodka, red bull with anything, beer) After shift haunts tend to be the local pool halls.

 
At 1:22 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

after hours partying rocks! and don't forget sex in the walk-in...

 
At 1:46 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

wow---so true. I often equate the way I feel about the other servers I worked with as vets who survived trench war together.

 
At 12:01 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

WTF do you know about 'NAM' you fucking uninformed pretentious neonate? Go wait a table, don't blather on or draw an analogy about something you couldn’t possible understand.

 

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