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, April 30, 2007

Insults and Answers...

“How are we doing tonight folks?” I asked.

The first thing out of the guest‘s mouth was him spitting out a contemptuous, “It’s our anniversary, do we get anything?”

The first thought in my head was, you’ll be lucky to get anything at all, looking at the displeasure on his wife’s face.

“Sir, we offer any dessert on the house to help you celebrate.” I said.

In my mind I was betting he’d order the generic chocolate lava cake, well he can have that freezer burned microwave treat, much better than a homemade Crème Brulee.

But I digress…

“Well I suppose we should start off with a nice bottle of wine,” the guest stated.

“Is there anything you had in mind?” I asked.

“Can you give me a recommendation?” He asked.

“Well sir, do you think you’ll be having seafood, beef or pasta tonight?” I asked in return.

“Does it look like we’ve looked at the menu?” He retorted.

Great, someone that doesn’t know even the basic principals on which to order wine.

“Sir, do you know if you prefer red or white wine, a sweet or dry wine?” I asked.

“Dry?” He asked with a confused look. A look that stated that he didn’t know that a drink, which is wet, could also be dry as a characteristic.

“I think I would like something sweet.” His wife said.

Well at least she was decisive, but I knew what was coming next.

“Do ya’ll have White Zin?” he asked.

I shuddered to the core of my soul. I thought I would do her a favor and expand her world slightly on her anniversary, call it my little gift.

“Yes, but as well we have a selection of Rieslings that may interest you, this particular line is known for being very light as well as sweet.” I said.

“Honey, can we try it?” She asked her husband.

He grunted an affirmative.

I returned with their bottle and proceeded to present the wine in the proper form.

“Sir, would you care to see if it is to your liking?” I asked after he stared at his sample for a moment, not knowing quite what to do with it.

“Just pour,” was his response.

I started my spiel, “Well would we care for any appetizers to start the evening, we have a wonderful bruscetta…”

“Prime rib,” said the gentleman, interrupting me.

“Excuse me?” I asked.

“We want prime rib, medium well for both of us.” The guest stated.

Ok, well we have eight, twelve and sixteen ounce portions, which would you like?” I asked.

“We both want the eight ounce, you charge an arm and a leg here.” He responded.

I gritted my teeth.

“No appetizer then sir?” I asked.

“As long as you keep this full we won’t need one,” he said as he pushed the bread basket toward me.

Ok, well I’ll get everything started for you.” I said as I prepared to flee.

Doesn’t this come with a salad?’ He said, stopping me in my tracks.

“Yes sir, we serve a family style salad with a balsamic vinaigrette…” I said, knowing what he was about to ask.

“Well I don’t want that, I want Western.” He said.

Of course, Western, the only thing worse than ranch.

“We don’t have Western sir,” I said.

“What kind of place is this? I guess we’ll can settle on ranch.” He said.

“Yes sir,” I responded.

It’s pretty bad when you have to settle for ranch, when we don’t have that high society dressing that is Western. Too bad we had ranch for dipping on kids meals and appetizers, I would have loved to say no to that one as well.

Time goes by, I wait on other guests and finally their prime rib is ready.

“There you go folks, anything I can get you for the moment?” I asked.

“This looks kind of small,” the gentleman said as he gestured toward his plate.

I looked over his dinner and in fact his prime rib looked a bit bigger than our usual eight ounce piece.

“No sir, that looks like a pretty good piece of steak to me,” I said.

“Well I raise beef for a living, I don’t need you to tell me what a good piece of meat looks like,” he said.

I just turned around and walked away, he’s lucky he received that large of a cut, you want a larger cut, pick a better piece of meat. Luckily the rest of the dinner goes on just fine, my section fills up and for the moment everything is running smoothly. The gentleman’s demeanor shifts from adversarial to almost human…

Almost.

“Say, that’s a pretty good wine there,” the gentleman said as I poured him a taste of his second bottle.

“Thank you sir,” I said, taking full credit for picking it out. It wasn’t fine wine by any means, but you have to read your customer and I knew it fit them exactly, and I knew the lady would love it.

“Can I buy a bottle off of you to take home?” The gentleman asked.

“I’m sorry sir, but we don’t have an off-sale license,” I responded.

Continuing I said, “ I bet you can pick up a bottle at the Wine Experience and I’m almost positive you can get it at the grocery store right up the street.”

Ok, we’ll check it out,” He said.

“Sure, besides you’d save a bit compared to what we charge for it.” I said.

That was where it all turned sour again and it was my mistake.

“How much would this cost in the store?” He asked.

“Oh about twelve dollars or so.” I responded.

“And how much are we paying for it here?” He asked.

“Around twenty eight sir,” I answered.

“That’s what I thought, and here I thought I was buying an elegant bottle of wine for my wife on our anniversary.” He said angrily.

“Sir, that’s just how the bar markup goes.” I countered.

“I don’t mind paying for a good dinner, I just don’t think I should be making the owner rich.” He spouted out.

Continuing he said, “I thought I was buying a nice bottle and now you tell me I can buy it at any grocery store in town?”

His face was starting to turn red and he went on some rant about how he felt cheated by paying that much for a cheap bottle of wine. I tried to diffuse the situation a bit, however my patience for asshole customers was nearly gone.

I put it this way, “Sir, the principle is kind of like this, when you go to the bar you pay what, three fifty for a beer, if you buy it at the store it costs about a buck fifty, I’m not trying to cheat you or insult you, its this way anywhere you go.”

“Whatever, I think I want to talk to a manager,” he said.

“Yeah, I think that’s what’s best.” I responded.

I sent Mike, the assistant manager over. Mike wasn’t too happy with me when he returned.

“What the hell did you say to that guy?” Mike asked.

“He’s just pissed about what he has to pay, its not my fault the asshole doesn’t know how to go out to eat.” I said.

“He wants to speak to the General Manager, I don’t know what you said, but he’s pissed off as shit.” Mike said.

So the GM went over to placate the insulted guest and we bought his chocolate lava cake.

I went up to pick up the payment decided to do what I do best, apologize without apologizing.

“Sir, I’m sorry if you felt I insulted you, I was just trying to help you out.” I said.

“Whatever, keep it,” he said as he pushed the check presenter toward me.

I picked it up and looked over at his wife, “Have a good night,” I said.

She gave me an apologetic smile and shrug as if to say hey, I’m the one that has to live with him.
I hope he slept on the couch given the pittance he left me.

21 Comments:

At 5:44 AM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

I feel for you. In my day working in the weeds it was "Cold Duck" instead of white zin. I knew without a shadow of a doubt that if somebody thought that appauling excuse for a wine was palatable then they would also think that leaving 4 quarters on the table to reward me for my service bought them sainthood.

~Maureen~

 
At 8:18 AM , Blogger Steve said...

What the hell is Western? I've never heard of it.

Also, has this guy ever been out to a restaurant before? Ever? I thought any idiot knew wine was marked up 200-300% at restaurants. Yeesh.

This fellow reminds me of a guy I sat next to at an Olive Garden one time. He got his fettucini alfredo and made the waiter take it back because it had a spoon in it! The spoon they give you to twirl your pasta. He made them take it back because he didn't know "where it's been." I think he was trying to impress his girlfriend by acting like a complete ass. Excellent strategy.

Steve
Liquor Store Stories

 
At 9:52 AM , Blogger Suz said...

Awesomely funny post--not because you got a crappy tip, but because that guy is such a knob! (The old, "It's funny because it's true" bit). We've all had that guy.

Steve-Western is like french dressing.

 
At 10:47 AM , Anonymous marco said...

I went to a little Mexican counter-service place the other day, they had a list of available wines on the wall: Cabernet, Chardonnay, Chablis, Burgundy.....and "Pink Wine". It cracked me up that even a hole-in-the-wall like that had no respect for the old White Zin.

 
At 11:43 AM , Anonymous Hubbard said...

Sorry you had to deal with moronic skinflints. The next time someone cheaps out at you, perhaps you should offer a children's menu and suggest, in lieu of wine, a Shirley Temple.

 
At 11:47 AM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

hubbard...

BWAHAHAHHAAAA!! Give him crayons, too. It's no less than he deserves.

I'm wettin' my jockeys, here.

 
At 11:52 AM , Anonymous Allie said...

I got tipped with a calendar once. Dude wasn't even drunk...

 
At 11:55 AM , Anonymous allie said...

Love your site, btw. :)

 
At 1:08 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

I couldn't tell a dry from a sweet wine to save my life but I guess just knowing there are such descriptions puts me ahead of Douchebag.

And, yeah, what the hell is Western?

 
At 7:00 PM , Blogger Manuel said...

Insane, I feel your pain. Hey that rhymes. It does in an Irish accent. I hate cheap customers. I dont mind people who dine with me who havent much money but the cheap SOB's who dont like spending it really get on my tits. Being married to that gut must be fun fun fun...

 
At 7:18 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

This may have been your best post ever. I was never an asshole customer but since I've been reading your blog I've become a model diner.

 
At 2:46 AM , Blogger Kirsten said...

I live in Australia and I have never heard of Western dressing (or even White Zin except on your website - if they have it here it is called something else). That guy sounds like a total idiot and the saddest part is the way magagement feel they have to suck up to him.

 
At 1:53 AM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

i work at an Olive Garden and i know just about shit about wine... i know i prefer lighter, sweeter wines than heavier reds, so a nice Riesling or Pinot Grigio does well for me... but whenever a customer asks about a red i really dont know what to say. usually they have some idea what the want, and so i offer to bring them a few samples and let them pick. This usually works out pretty well, because most people would gladly take a Clos Du Bois Merlot over a Turning Leaf, and that way they are the ones picking the more expensive wine and they cant get pissed at me for selling them the most expensive "merlot" on the list when they ask for one.

But yea, we sure do get plenty of idiots who want to drink wine to impress their date, and then order a Sutter Home White Zin (even the Beringer garners more respect) or even worse the aforementioned Turning Leaf Merlot, or the classiest of the classless, Lambrusco. I always know i'm in for a good tip when that happens.

I had a 3 top come in and ask for a "sweet" wine. When i brought them the St Michele Riesling the girl turned her nose up and said "this isn't sweet at all!" ... after a sample of all our sangrias, she declared all our wines simply too dry and that she would have a Sprite. She looked like an idiot, IMHO, and i would have been happy to suggest her a nice Shirley Temple if i'd had the balls to do it.

 
At 10:05 AM , Anonymous Neel said...

Great story, Waiter...I was just wondering if you noticed any diners thumbing up their noses at getting Merlot after the movie Sideways came out? A few of my local bartender friends mentioned this, and was wondering if this was a trend...

 
At 8:27 PM , Blogger Steve said...

Why drink Merlot when there's a perfectly good White Zin on the menu? Silly rabbit...

Steve
Liquor Store Stories

 
At 10:00 AM , Blogger Roadmeister said...

I had never heard of Western Dressing either - Googled a recipe for it - found that the author of the recipe also recommends putting straight ketchup on a salad as a dressing - CLASSY!:

Western Dressing
Recipe #128031
1 rating
This dressing can also be used as a marinade for meats. From "Cooking a la Heart"- Delicious heart healthy recipes from the Mankato Heart Health Program. When I was little, the only time I had salad was at my grandma's house, and it could only be with Western dressing. Ok, that still holds true. But still, I figure a home made version of the dressing would be pretty cool! Oh, and have you ever tried just putting some ketchup on a bowl of salad? It's great- (Just don't put too much on- less than a tablespoon is perfect for a bowl).

 
At 5:35 PM , Blogger Mz Bowailey said...

Waiter, that sounds like something that would have happened to me. See what happens when you try to be the nice guy?????

(Formerly Sondra..I changed my blog name)

 
At 5:00 PM , Blogger Tam said...

Enjoying your sute here.

 
At 5:01 PM , Blogger Tam said...

site, meant to say site.

I live in a dark dark room.

 
At 5:19 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

I was tipped with an expired coupon to some store in the mall. I don't even remember what it was, but I was so pissed. Never acted like anything was wrong either.

 
At 12:31 PM , Anonymous Strawberry Blond said...

It looks like you've gotten just about every hilarious, albeit unfortunate, situation written about in your blog. But tell me, what have you to say on poor Sunday tippers? You know, the ones that don't tip but instead leave you a candy bar with a wrapper that says "Jesus loves you!"

I'm curious. If you've written about it before, it just means I'll have to search harder.

 

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