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....

Saturday, July 15, 2006

Heat and Thunder

"Hey can you help me set up a fourteen top outside?" Ken, one of the waiters, asked me.

"Its fucking a hundred degrees out!" I exclaimed.

"I know, but they want to sit outside." He said.

"Do they have a reservation?" I asked.

Ken shook his head.

Go figure. Walk in groups like this mean nothing but trouble. Anyone with half an ounce of common sense would call any group over four in which means they are usually classless people from the sticks who want just drinks, appetizers and orders from the kids menu.

Now ordering as much as possible for as little as possible is just fine for a sports bar or something, but this is a nice restaurant we're talking about here. So naturally the group followed this par course that I laid out. But that's an entirely different issue.

The issue was the heat, and the dark thunder heads on the horizon.

"Ken, tell them no, its too damn hot and its going to storm in about fifteen minutes." I stated.

"Its cool dude, they want to sit out here." Ken retorted.

Well I might want to stand on the corner of Crensaw in South Central wearing nothing but a Klan hood and a jockstrap holding a sign that states "Down With The Darkies" but it doesn't mean its a good idea, now does it.

"I'll have nothing to do with it." I said walking off.

I took a look at the group as I went inside. Yup, at least one person wearing mu mu and another with a wife beater on were present.

I can just hear the first thing out of wife beater's mouth, "Ya'll got Boooooosh light?"

So they were seated outside in the sweltering heat and humidity, damn sadists. Of course it'll be Ken sweating the most, not them.

Ken wandered in after taking their drink order and I asked him, "What did they order?"

I kept my fingers crossed for the answer I was looking for...

Busch Light

Ken shot me a dirty look, "They wanted Keeeers Light."

Damn, pretty close though.

So about fifteen minutes passed and the gale hit like a God-Damn magic show.

The whole group came running inside as their Coors Lights and onion rings were pelted with rain and debris.

By this point in time the restaurant has started to fill up and there was almost nowhere to put such a group.

So the host and managers run around and throw a table together for them, right in the middle of two other servers' sections.

Well, naturally they weren't very happy as four of their collective tables were bastardized.


So the servers pretty much stood around for two hours doing nothing as the fourteen top camped out, they missed out on a couple of reservations and probably a couple more dollars.

So that's what happens when we as an industry refuse to say no, somewhere some restaurant manager gave an inch and we've been on a retreat matched only by Napoleon in Russia ever since.

Maybe I just have a morsel of sense, but who in the hell would want to sit outside on a day like that?

When the party was waiting for their inside table I did overhear a woman say this to one of the managers, "Well if we had known it was going to rain we would have sat inside."

What a prodigy, I realize you don't have Doppler radar attached to the hump on your back...

But had she ever considered this...

Looking at the sky!?


At 8:59 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

i am personally a fan of me asking, "would you prefer to sit inside or outside?" and them asking me what the weather is like outside. there must be a mystery portal into our restaurant, or something, because multiple times a day! this question. bah.

At 10:32 PM , Blogger briliantdonkey said...

I enjoy your blog and your writing even when i dont always totally agree with you. That said, with all due respect, that is one of the very few (if not the first) posts of yours that I didnt really care for.


At 11:03 PM , Blogger Brad #1 said...

BD, what was it that you didn't care for? It was the reality of what happens to us, and the frustration of what it becomes.

Insane, we have that all of the time. Imagine a wide downtown sidewalk on Main St. in a fairly big city. There are a few restaurants peppered along the streetside with mostly some sort of store. We are allowed sidewalk tables, as long as we follow the cities' rules, like a 6 foot walk way between the tables and such. When it rains, the people feel that they can sit underneath one of the oversized umbrellas that are inbetween some of the tables, and still get served. Ummm, no, we're not going to serve you while a downpour is happening.

Still they sit. Amazing, isn't it?

At 11:32 PM , Blogger briliantdonkey said...


agreed,it IS the reality of what we deal with. I have no qualms with that whatsoever.


At 11:56 PM , Blogger IMJAF said...

Love the blog and this entry. One question tho, as I'm not in the business. I've gather that "top" means table. As in 6 top, (table for 6) but why is it called a TOP to begin with. Acroymn for something?

Just wondering.

As for this group you describe today... there oughta be a law.

At 12:25 AM , Blogger briliantdonkey said...


Yes you are correct 6top is restaurant lingo for table of 6. As for why it is called a 'top' i cant really say i know. Maybe because they knew if they called it 6 bottom we servers and bartenders would quickly morph it into a 6 ass.....couldnt have us running around the the restaurant yelling "hey a 6 ass just walked int the door!". Seriously though, I dont know the official reason, but i am guessing it is because with 6 people there are 6 settings on top of the table. who knows whether that is right or wrong.


At 6:35 AM , Blogger donttipthewaiter said...

First time reader here. I love the raw nature of your writing, and some of the images you create.

This one is funny. It just happened to me in Ann Arbor...only I was the customer this time and, after waiting tables for a bagazillion years, I realize I should've known better.

And no, I did not wear a wife-beater to the restaurant. I have some character. I changed in the car.


At 9:53 AM , Anonymous Go Pies! said...

Dear Insane,
I hope that troubles clear up soon as I do enjoy reading your blog. I have been meaning to comment for awhile and tip you to this "recipe" magazine I often see in the supermarket. Whenever I do see it I think of you and your "Ranch Heads". Actually I think that it would be a great name for this publication!

At 2:24 PM , Blogger MadRocketScientist said...

This is the reason I don't own a restaurant, because I would've told those people no, they can not sit inside now as the tables are neeeded, boxed up what they ordered, and sent them away.

At 10:27 PM , Blogger Brad #1 said...

So, BD, what didn't you care for?

You agreed with me, and left it at that. Was it that you are one of those that drink Keeeers Liat?

At 8:05 AM , Blogger Beth said...

lol, this post cracked me up. I once had a table who demanded they stay outside through a rain shower (We had umbrellas over the tables). My manager relented and I spent the rest of my shift soaked to the bone from running outside every two seconds. I've never been so pissed off in my life.

At 1:45 PM , Blogger Brad #1 said...

Beth, that's when you tell your manager to wait on them. Screw that.

At 6:14 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Do ANY of the "managers" have a brain in their heads? Just curious, it sure doesn't sound like it....

At 9:31 AM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

You know, not everyone that happens to wear a wifebeater is an incompetent redneck. Not all rednecks are idiotic and uncouth, either. Before ranting about how people treat you so badly as a waiter (and, admittedly, they do), stop assuming IQ levels based on clothing.

At 5:56 PM , Anonymous PizzaBoy said...

"Do ANY of the "managers" have a brain in their heads? Just curious, it sure doesn't sound like it.... "

Well, most of the managers that I have dealt with at one time or another were waiters. The problem is they had stupid managers, and were taught that the happiness of the customer was more important than the comfort of the staff. Luckily I work at a place where the management and the owners are more waiter friendly than customer friendly.

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

How is that, Pizzaboy?

I hate excessive unneccessary comping.

I just found the best website online today! As a former cook-turned waiter turned bartender it's good times.


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