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, July 16, 2007

86 Creme Brulee

So you go out to your favorite dining spot and find out that they won’t be serving risotto tonight, or that they only have prime rib available in certain temperatures, or that they don’t make blended drinks, what would your reaction be?

Mild disappointment?


Or anger? Anger that you take out on the person least responsible for ensuring that stock is ordered, food prepped or that the bar is set a certain way?

Most people choose one or two, and why shouldn’t they? I’ve always maintained that the vast majority of people are reasonable, sometimes they are even a pleasure to wait on!
But much like motorcyclists have their 1%ers, we have our 10%ers that can’t act like they belong in a society. Case and point are the following situations that I’ve been a part of or personally witnessed.

The other day we ran out of rye bread, no more Ruebans unless they wanted to substitute bread, which is no good in my books. I made it a point to explain this to tables as I greeted them so they wouldn’t get their hopes up for getting the sandwich.

Most people took it fine and didn’t care, not this guy.

“Unfortunately we’re not offering our Rueben sandwich today, which I want to point out to you before you look over the menus.” I said.

The gentleman at the table wasn’t so thrilled.

“Well that’s what I wanted for lunch!” He said, as he threw down his menu like a wounded child.

“Sir, if you’d like to substitute bread we could still make it.” I said.

“That wouldn’t be a Rueben would it?” He said with a sneer.

“No sir, it wouldn’t, now moving on we do offer several lunch features today…” I said, continuing with my spiel.

Upon returning to take their order he had this to say as well…

“Yeah, I’ll have the salmon, its really not what I want, but it’ll have to do.”

His friend started to order a sandwich on the menu when he interrupted with this…

“Wait, what was it that you wanted for lunch today? That’s right, you said you wanted a Rueben, I guess you can‘t have one today though.”

Really, I get your fucking point, you want a Rueben, well be a big boy and understand that sometimes things don’t go your way. At least the friend he interrupted seemed embarrassed by the outburst and left a nice tip to boot.

Next up was the middle of the week. We had a run on the feature and ran out, the item in question takes far more time to prep and cannot be made to order.

So a customer came in and was informed by another waiter. Instead of just accepting the fact that we were out the customer threw a fit, apparently we ran out of the feature the last time he was in. He threw down his menu and told his waiter that it was unacceptable that we ran out.

Well accept it or no, you’re not getting it for lunch. The customer vowed never to come back as he stormed out the door without ordering.

Here’s the third situation, a while back one of the other servers was in the weeds and asked me to take the desert tray out to a table for them.

It seemed like they were a nice couple when I approached them, I guess I was wrong. We had committed the sin of running out of Crème Brulee, another item which takes time to prep.

I went through the typical desert spiel and pointed out to them that we were out of the item, this time it was the lady that spoke up.

“We were looking forward to having the Crème Brulee tonight,” she said.


“There are several other great deserts we are offering, maybe some Tiramisu?” I counter offered.

“Well can’t we have that one?” She asked, pointing at the display desert.

“You really wouldn’t want that, its been sitting out all day.” I said.

“If I order the Tiramisu would I have to pay for it?” She asked.

“Uh, yes you would.” I responded.

“Well I don’t think its fair to have to pay for a desert if you don’t have the one I want.” She said.

I shot her a look and said, ”That’s unfortunate, I’ll give you a minute to decide.”

I went back to the kitchen and found their server.

“What’s the deal with table ten?” I asked.

“Why were they bitchy to you?” She replied.

“They want free desert, we’re out of the Crème Brulee,” I said.

“They’re not getting shit, they want something they gotta pay for it.” She said.

And that’s that, most people just shrug their shoulders and move on. Some people have an entitlement fit.

Tuesday, July 03, 2007

Lemons and Oranges

Apples and oranges, or lemons and oranges in this case.

I usually adhere to the man-law of not “fruiting” a beer and only do so when forced to drink Mexican sewer water (hey, love Modelo, no lime) and to serve it as well.

However, being both a waiter and a bar tender for the last several years I do know what fruit comes with what beer and I stick to local customs. That was when I was dismayed when a table had a near fascist attack on me for allegedly fruiting their beer incorrectly.

Well actually it was 100% correct and the knowledge that I have and keep of fruiting the beer is in the part of who I am that is correct 99% of the time, the other 1% being my negligence in the relationship department, which at times I begrudgingly admit that I may be wrong.

So I was delivering a Boulevard Wheat beer with a wedge of lemon as is customary when a gentleman at the table had an inquiry…

“Hey, where’s my orange at?” He asked, clearly perturbed. He then threw his lemon wedge on the ground (we were on the patio, but hey, only an asshole would do that, yes I mean guy who is reading this and would do something like that).

“Sir if you would like an orange all you have to do is ask.” I said, clearly annoyed at his manner, and the fact that I was only halfway though a double shift.

“This was supposed to come with an orange.” He said, nearly pouting, his sense of self importance clearly damaged.

“Traditionally we serve this wheat beer with a lemon, if you’d like an orange I’ll bring you one.”

I said.

“No, no, I suppose it will have to do, but this is supposed to be served with an orange,” He said, looking at me as if I was to acknowledge my grievous error.

“Sir, Belgian whites are often served with an orange, such as a Blue Moon.” I said. I would never drink one with an orange myself as they ruin the head and change the flavor too much for my liking.

Time passed, and I serve up their salads and dinners, modified beyond recognition so much that you could never match them to an item on the written menu.

“Sir, another beer?” I asked, keeping it short and sweet.

“Yes, and don’t forget the orange this time.” He said, still defending his fruiting righteousness.

“Of course, I’ll substitute an orange for you.” I responded.

His response was only a dour face, such as a child gets when denied a second glass of soda by their parents, guess most of you don’t practice that anymore either considering the hopped up caffeine freak children that run around my restaurant. Well at least Starbucks won’t be concerned about keeping their product viable for the next generation knowing our children will be wanting to continue getting their kicks from that speed freak of a coffee-bean mutant on their backs.

I digress, again…

“Maybe you should bring him two oranges, being as you didn’t bring him one earlier.” His wife said haughtily.

I responded with a blank stare back.

Of course the wife was fruiting her Pepsi and demanded another one with her next breath.

Here’s were I slipped up, most soda fruiters use lemon with diet, she had a regular.

I poured her a Diet when I was waiting at the service station for the beers.

I dropped off their drinks and turned around to greet a new table.

“Folks, would you care for a nice chardonnay or a martini to…” I started to say.

“Sir! Sir! SIR!!!” The woman with the soda started to shriek. You’d think the Rape of Nan8king was going on in her granny panties.

I turned around and stopped her conniption with one hand raised, stop-sign fashion.

I returned to my new customers and finished my greeting and took their drink order before taking my attention back to my other friends.

“This is a DIET!” The woman said as she thrust her glass to me.

“I’m sorry, I must have poured you the wrong one.” I said.

“I can’t drink diet, it makes me PHYSICALLY sick!” She shouted back.

“Ma’am, its easily fixed, really.” I said calmly.

“Whatever, just take it out of here,” She said.

I returned with her replaced drink.

"I told you it was a diet,” She said, satisfied that she knew I made a mistake.

“Like I said, easily fixed.” I said as I set it down.

“Oh he has a question.” She said as well, pointing at her mid-twenty something son.

“Yeah, when you brought me my beer you didn’t ask me if I wanted an orange too.” He said.

“Of course.”

Of course…