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.


At 4:07 PM , Anonymous Masie said...

"Entitlement fit"

That's my new favorite phrase.

At 5:33 PM , Anonymous jabes said...

Wow, I really don't get why so many people ask for and seem to think they deserve free stuff!

At 8:27 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

yeah no shit, if you dont like what you have available, stay home and cook.

At 12:22 AM , Blogger flower shop girl said...

off the waiter topic....
but at the market the
other day i bought old
eggs by accident, i didn't check
the date.
the market isn't near my house and
i have to drive back and give them the eggs back on my time off.
my off time is priceless.

should there be compensation.

At 4:27 AM , Blogger RastaManErn said...

Yet another reason why I can not work in the service industry. There would have been fucking murders.

And RE: old eggs... the only compensation is that you get fresh eggs or a refund. Not checking the date is your fault.

At 5:51 AM , Anonymous nonny said...

Sort of off topic but could someone help this expat...

1. What is the big deal with Creme Brulee? What exactly is it? These days I can't read a web page without coming across it; it's like the Paris Hilton of desserts.

2. Please explain this American thing that if anything goes other than as you planned, it's the end of the world and you deserve to be given money/free stuff for it. I seriously don't get it.


At 10:08 AM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

I think that bitch as alot of friends . It's almost a game they play. The players of that game have names as well . Whether you call them tight asses ,cheap fucks or my favorite NICKEL DICKS they all live under the same rock.

Thanks have a good day

Thom D and J.P.

At 3:29 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

it's all about entitlement

it's kind of like welfare

At 9:46 AM , Anonymous Wildrose said...

Heh, interestingly, this happened to my family very recently at a super expensive restaurant we had gone to for my birthday. And we had a feeling not listed here... mild relief. We had been trying to decide what to have, and finding out the hand made goat cheese and mushroom cannoneli was out made our decision very simple. :) And the things we ordered were glorious!

And Nonny, I don't think it's an American thing... I think it's a human thing. Maybe it's more prevalent in America, but don't worry, I'm sure it will reach you soon.

At 8:37 PM , Anonymous Ms. Cherie said...

To Nonny,

Classic Crème Brûlée

8 egg yolks
1/3 cup granulated white sugar
2 cups heavy cream
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1/4 cup granulated white sugar (for the caramelized tops)

At 11:00 PM , Anonymous nonny said...

Thanks ms. cherie. So basically it's custard.

Why the big upsurge in popularity? (And the customer actually got miffed because she would have to have Tiramisu instead? I'd prefer that in a heartbeat.)

At 9:35 PM , Blogger Silliyak said...

Are these the only stories you have? I remember better ones before. I think you should tell that them, otherwise I'm not coming here again. Hrumph!

At 4:20 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Too much porn = same old stories

At 3:16 PM , Blogger Brad said...

We had a 6 top last night stiff the server because we ran out of something. Did they substitute it for something else? Yes. Did they enjoy it? Yes. Was their night ruined? No.

So, why the stiff?

Sometimes, I really hate the fact that customers can choose the fate of the tip.

At 9:51 AM , Blogger Steve said...

So not only do we have to fund the welfare machine, we also have to serve the self-important assclowns who probably take advantage of it!

The whole American sense of entitlement is really starting to piss me off.

I've actually had people ask if they can use food stamps at the liquor store. That says it all.

Liquor Store Stories

At 12:05 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Related topic: I'd like to know -from your perspective - what I should have done in this story.

Location: upscale steakhouse near Hartford, CT.
Price: Apps, Drinks, Entree's, Desert & tip ~ $120 for 2 people

My wife got a babysitter and went out to celebrate something or other. Since we were dropping $25 on the babysitter and $100+ for dinner, we only do this every couple of months. Hey - living in New England is expensive! Anyway, we go to one of our favorite restaurants. It is a nice steakhouse near Hartford, CT. You do occasionally see kids there, but mostly it is couples or groups. Anyway, we are about 30 minutes into our meal (steaks had just arrived) when the FIRE ALARM starts going off. The assistant manager (I think) comes around and tells everyone that it's ok, it was just a malfunction but they have to wait for the fire department to arrive. He then opens some of the emergency exit doors. Now it is early April and about 45 degrees outside. The draft from the outside air is starting to feel cold (my wife puts her coat back on) and the FIRE ALARM IS STILL GOING OFF. They do no evacuate the building (it was just a malfunction, he said). After 20 minutes of trying eat and have a conversation with my wife (with the FIRE ALARM STILL GOING OFF!), I give up and we put on our coats and go outside to the patio to get away from the noise. After about 10 minutes on the patio, the fire trucks show up and 2 minutes later the alarm is off.

We go back inside and finish our (now cold) meal. The assistant manager comes by again and closes the doors and offers a personal apology, but nothing more.

How should I have handled it?

If I get an actual response, I'll let you know what I did.


At 4:01 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

That's one case where you are entitled to something in exchange for the side show that went on during your dinner. Althought they did'nt have controll over the fire alarm.They can handle damage controll by talking to the guest, and letting them know before you figure out that no one cares.

Thom D and J.P.

At 3:06 PM , Blogger The Middle Child said...

I hate that shit! I don't come to someone else's place of business and demand free services or products! Bah, people are morons. I dislike waiting on people that have never worked in the food service industry. They are totally clueless.

At 9:30 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Your stories have been very good lately! Hope there are more like it

At 12:43 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thank god you didn't let the maganer get involved; he would've gone inverterbrate and given away the desserts for free in a heartbeat.


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