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, August 26, 2008

Clocks ticking

Lunch rush, almost weeded but not quite yet.

Twelve-top’s food is in, two two-tops are eating and just sat a new one, four-top is all set to order they tell me.

Unfortunately the table of four are the ladies who lunch. These are typically menopausal types living on either their husbands handsome salary, or their ex-husbands handsome alimony package.

They seem to have nothing to do but harass waiters and baristas apparently.

“I just can’t decide?” Said the last lady at the table.

“Well if you would like a minute I certainly can stop back.” I offer, more out of necessity for my other tables than her convenience.

“No no, we’re ready to order, I just need a second,” she replied.

I figured she had all the time she needed, by the time her friends had modified everything on the menu beyond recognition, she had at least two minutes extra to decide.

I started an experiment, I counted down from thirty.

When I reached five seconds, she asked me to go over the lunch features, again.
For the third time.

I counted down from thirty again, by this time I really needed to be at my new table.

“I just don’t know, what would you recommend?” She asked.

I went over my prefab “ladies who lunch” favorites and she just shook her head.

I started counting down again. By this time my new table was looking for their waiter, the tables with food required refills.

Worst of all my pager was buzzing in my pocket, that meant my large parties food was up and getting cold.

5, 4, 3, 2, 1...

Another thirty seconds counted off with me standing in from of her silent like an idiot.

“Oh I’ll just have what she’s having!” The lady exclaimed.

The table between their indecisiveness and ridiculous special orders just cost me five minutes away from my other customers.

How difficult is it to read a menu and tell someone when you’re really ready?

I hightailed it to my new table.

“Oh, we’ve already had a server.” He said.

Great, management sent over another waiter because I couldn’t get there, that just cost me one of my tables and a tip.

I ran past my twelve, apparently another server had dropped their food.

As I was about to grab refills for my other tables the difficult lady stopped me.

“Is it too late to change my order? I want the special.” She asked.

“I’m sorry miss, your dinner is almost done.” I said.

“But I really don’t want that now.” She replied.

“Well I can order it for you, but that means we probably have to throw away the dinner you ordered.” I said.

A look of discomfort crossed her face.

“I really want the special.” She said.

“Fair enough, I’ll tell the kitchen.”

“Hey guys, cancel table ten’s order, she wants the special.” I shouted to the kitchen,

The chef at expo groaned, “We’re to busy for this shit, I can’t resell this, it’s a special order.”

“I’m just the messenger,” I protested.

“Just be sure to tell her a kid just starved to death in Africa,” said the chef as he dumped her plate into the garbage.

Something tells me she couldn’t care.


At 5:07 PM , Anonymous The Archivist said...

Your stories are always worth the wait... thanks for posting!! :-)

At 8:07 PM , Blogger I am so wise said...

When I worked fast food, people would request modifications to their orders and food after it was 1/2 eaten. One family ordered several meals, ate them, and then came to the register requesting a replacement order because they got food they had not wanted.

At 11:44 PM , Blogger Tom said...

are unlimited refills the norm where you work? I've worked in all sorts of restaurants in New york none offered free refills.

At 3:34 AM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

I can't stand women like that! The last time one of them asked me if it was "too late" to change their order, I damn near snapped.

"Is it too late to change my order?"


Makes it pretty simple. Doesn't help that I work in the dreaded corporate restaurant and every comp that I have sticks out like a black eye.

At 7:45 AM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Were they wearing purple hats and red dresses???
That group seems to swarm all over our little village at lunchtime like a rabid swarm of wasps.
None of us down in the village for lunch can stomach them--they should stay home and eat!

At 11:41 AM , Blogger Gwen said...

If people take that long to order I give them a few minutes to figure it out themselves whether they want the time or not. Maybe that doesn't work so well with New Yorkers, but most of my customers seem to end up appreciating it, even if they didn't think they would.

A small smile and a simple "I'll give you a few minutes" and walking away works pretty well.

At 1:32 PM , Anonymous Food Service Ninja said...

i tend to wait to place the lunchers order for at least as long as they took to get around to ordering

they cant really complain (yeah they do but STILL) as they took 15 min to actually order and I just blame it on the fact 99% of the restaurant ordered ahead of them

and if they actually keep me tableside during the lunch rush they will find me at my other tables rather than doing my impression of a volcano about to erupt-their shit tip isnt going to make up for my whole section shit tipping me for their indecisiveness.

At 7:22 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

okay. sir.

ive been reading through your blog for a few days now, and honestly im flat INSULTED by the way you talk about hostesses.

i am a hostess. at a chain restaurant. at the bitch of ALL chains at that: ihop

believe it or not, we're not all 17 year old bimbos just doing this cuz daddy said we needed to get a job. some of us are legitimately just trying to pay the bill until we find something better. something i would say you are trying to do, except you've been a waiter for YEARS, and honestly, i never see you doing anything else with yourself.

im a 24 year old college graduate. why am i hostessing, you ask? because what i really want to do (either music promotions or disaster relief, i havent decided yet) doesnt pay. and i have rent to make.

be fucky with the hostess and see how often you get a quality table on a slow day. we can definately fuck with the pay in your pocket if you piss us off enough. you have no idea how often ive sat a section with one and two tops for an entire shift because the server was fucking with me and treating me like shit. and there wasnt fuck all they could do about it. cuz i run the show up front.

and yes, the hostess does run the show. as much as you would like to think that you, the big bad server, runs the restaurant, its simply not true. you try running the front without one for just one night and you tell me how fast the entire place falls into ruins.

oh and also, we're fucking human. treat us accordingly. talking to me like im trash will seriously fuck with your tips.

oh and another thing: we're not fucking PSYCHIC either. i dont know whats going to come through the door any more than you do. sometimes double / triple seating cant be helped. the fact that ALL the tables are in yoru section and the last 4 ppl that walked in wanted tables? not my fault. dont yell at me for it.

so basically: respect the hand that feeds you. literally.

At 11:12 PM , Anonymous joey said...

No waiter involved here but....

I often go to Sweet Tomatoes buffet. They have six serve your own soups. If they are being blocked for other customers it's always by women, the queens of indecision. Such blissful self centeredness, unaware, uncaring as they block other people who want soup.

They stare cow like at the soup choices as if they just landed from another planet

At 8:53 AM , Anonymous banquet manager said...

Oh, the pleasures of being a waiter. I've been reading your blog for some time now and think my readers would be interested in your take on things.
I have added a link to you on my PR4 blog site. Would you do the same and link back to me?

Visit: So You Want To Be a Banquet Manager

At 2:53 PM , Blogger Maeve said...

I HATE, HATE, HATE women like that.
Only cow!
How hard is it to choose something?? Don't tie me up because you can't make up YOUR mind. There are other people in this place besides YOU.

At 7:42 PM , Anonymous marco said...

I never put up with that shit - I'd just say "I'll be back when you're ready" and walk away.

At 8:24 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

I always hate to see people waste food. I worked in restaurants a while, and so much perfectly good food go in the trash can. You name it, steaks, potatoes, whole meals because of a picky a-hole. You should be happy to get a good meal, especially considering food price today.

At 3:48 AM , Blogger Void said...

I always hated that. If I'm at a restaurant and somebody else in my party tells the waiter to "hold on" or any such nonsense I'll just tell them we need a few more minutes so they can do whatever else they need to do.

"are unlimited refills the norm where you work? I've worked in all sorts of restaurants in New york none offered free refills."

Every restaurant I've ever been to has free refills unless you have alcohol or some kind of frozen drink.

"Were they wearing purple hats and red dresses??? "

Who are those old women in the purple hats and red dresses? I've seen a gaggle of them myself.

"A small smile and a simple "I'll give you a few minutes" and walking away works pretty well."

I used to do that. These middle-aged hussies won't stand for that. They demand that you wait until they decide they're ready to order.

IHOP is like Waffle House's big brother. You're not special. From the way I've seen IHOP run, the servers have time to sit at tables and talk amongst themselves between orders. This means they could do well without a hostess. You're useless. All you've proven by screwing your waiters is that you're an immature bitch with a false sense of authority.

At 9:21 PM , Blogger Waitergripes said...

Women are always a pain in the a** !!

Last week I actually had a three top of these middle aged divorcee princesses, it all started with the water. Bottled or tap? One tap with ice, one tap, no ice at room temp, one tap chilled, but no ice. There is NO WAY they don't do this shit just to be annoying.


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