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, March 13, 2007


Place: The server line, random corporate steakhouse.

Time: 7:35 p.m.

Situation: Madhouse

“Ok guys, we need all of you to do a birthday roundup on table 65!” Shouted out the floor-dick GM.

Response: Groans of frustration and disgust.

“Come on guys, they’re here to celebrate with us!” GM quotes the handbook, which he erroneously believes in.

Really, celebrate with us? I'm in the mood for a celebration

Everybody starts to line up to go shout a bastardized version of “Happy Birthday” to some frightened six year-old who probably will start crying due to all the noise.

“Hey Server, get in line!” GM shouted to me.

“Fuck that, I just got triple sat!” I shouted back as I loaded up my drink tray.

“Maybe your section is too big for proper service then?” GM threatened.

Now this is corporate management threat # 27, immediately threaten the server’s section size and thus income with the excuse that we’re not providing good service.

If we argue against this threat we are a threat to the drone-like employee model that they point out that we don’t care about the service a customer receives.

“No its not too big, I’m just to fucking busy and don’t have time for this stupid birthday deal.” I grumbled.

“What’s with the attitude, do you want me to send you home?” GM threatened.

Corporate management threat #132, immediately threaten a server with either being sent home, termination or suspension if they show any sign of stubbornness or will.

Of course in my mind I do want to go home, a three table section is nothing that I can’t easily handle, and I remembered my old job when I was given five to six tables on a consistent basis.

Taking this job was obviously a mistake, one that I would correct in a few weeks.

So I put my drink tray down and followed the group of unenthused servers to the table. We had to clap the entire way and put on a big spectacle for the entire restaurant to see, pretty embarrassing for everyone involved.

So after the public humiliation I ran back to the kitchen for my drinks, of course someone had thrown them all out. I started over with new glasses and the assistant floor-dick came up to me.

“Haven’t you been to your tables, they don’t have drinks on them and we have a thirty second greet time around here if you haven’t figured it out.” He said.

“You know I’m pretty fucking busy right now, why don’t you just let me do my job.” I snarled back, after all it was management that hindered my ability to get to my tables in the first place.

“What, do you want to fucking go home?” Assistant floor-dick snarled back.

Yes, yes I do…

Fast foreword five years:

“Sir, do you do anything for birthdays?” A customer asked.

“Sure, any desert is on us tonight.” I replied.

“I mean can you get everyone to sing for us?” He asked.

I looked around, it was about 7:30 and we were getting creamed, a flashback of the night at random corporate steakhouse went through my mind.

“Sorry sir, we don’t sing here, and if I did it I’d probably lose my tip.” I said.

The customer chuckled.

“I’ll be right back with the desert menu.” I said.

So much simpler than, “Happy happy birthday, we’re so glad you came, happy happy birthday, on your special day!”

Damn, I still remember the lyrics


At 11:49 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

I believe it was "Howdy, happy birthday...". I always found it a good bet to stand at the back of the group and just smile and laugh. You know, pretend I was having so much damn fun I just couldn't sing the song! This worked when there was a large group of tortured singers. If you were out there with a sad showing of 4-5, it was so obvious who wasn't singing.

Yours truly,
The Blonde Girl Down The Street

At 8:14 AM , Blogger Ray said...

Love the post. I remember all too fondly being "in the weeds" and getting grabbed to sing a birthday song.

It didn't help that the whole staff knew I was a singer in a band, so I "had" to lead the charge...


At 5:32 PM , Blogger 6th Floor blog said...

Never understood why people want random strangers to sing them Happy Birthday

At 6:19 PM , Blogger V3 said...

I HATE, not dislike, HATE restruants that do the sing and dance thing. I hate having my meal and the accompining conversation with my table mates inturuped every 35 seconds by a bunch of clapping and ''singing''

I personally avoid chain restraunts whenever I have input into the decision of where we eat so that solves the problem for the most part but of course my family LOOOVES Red Robin... The food is mediocre at best and its constant ''happy birthday'' GRRR

At 8:37 AM , Anonymous cj said...

Pssst! Hey, you! Update your blog! Yeah, you heard me! :)

At 3:18 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Dead or alive which are you ?

At 7:04 AM , Blogger waitress said...

When I was at Bennigans, it was:

"Happy happy birthday
on this your special day (HAY!)
Happy happy birthday
That's why we're here to say (HAY!)
Happy happy birthday
*Uncoordinated slowing down of song here*
May alll your dreeeams come truuuue
Happy happy birthday
From Bennigans to you (HAY!)


At 3:07 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

I can't imagine wanting to eat at a Bennigan's. It must really suck to work at one.

I'm picturing taking school kids there as a sort of Scared Straight type of experience: "stay in school or you'll end up waiting tables in a theme restaurant like this".

At 9:56 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Happy happy birthday from the ihop crew, we wish it was our birthday so we could party too! HEY!

At 2:57 AM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

At Red Lobster we light a candle on which ever desert you'd like (no, not free) and we sing the generic happy birthday song. Quick and easy, but still a pain in our asses.


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