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, June 01, 2009

Worst Table, In the World

Sure, maybe not the entire world, but since I've been on break from school I returned to the lunch shift.

Big mistake.

I actually have really been enjoying going to work this past semester as I cut down on my work load as I transferred colleges and upped my credit hours.

However if anything, this summer will be motivation to return to my studies.

So off we go to the worst table in the world!

Walking into work the first thing I do is check and see what section I have, this day I happened to be closing and there was an eleven top scheduled for 11:30.

Usually this is great news as I can flip the table in an hour and get another seating in before the rush is over, not a bad start to the day.

The first few people arrived promptly on time, the first warning sign was they refused to order drinks until the rest of the group arrived.

I really don't see what the big deal with that is, its lunch, you're not ordering Bordeaux, its iced tea and Diet Coke.

All it means is the increased chance I will spill on you when I have my tiny tray with eleven drinks on it.

So fine, of course the rest of the group is thirty minutes late. So much for flipping the table.

Taking their dinner order was normal, the usual sandwiches and sides of soup and such. Where it took a turn was the guy at position six wanted his soup out first, not as a side.

No big deal right?


There was a line at the computer station so I grabbed his soup first before ringing in the order.

Upon dropping the soup off at the table two other people spoke up and asked for their soup first as well.

I took care of that round and then they asked, "aren't you going to bring us some bread?" In that accusatory tone that suggested that I forgot the bread.

We don't have bread service at lunch, but to provide the best service experience possible I brought them their bread.

However several people on the far side of the table were now complaining that I haven't brought them their soup.

The soup comes as a side, as in sandwich and soup.

It comes together, I didn't forget, just like I didn't forget the bread.

Then guy at seat six asks when their food will be up, since they're in a hurry.

I haven't even had a chance to ring it in yet because I was busy getting things that don't come with lunch and don't come with the meal.

In the meantime the entire group had managed to chug down every one of their beverages.

And I had three new tables.

I kicked it into high gear and rand in their orders as well as greeted the new tables.

I was once again bombarded with questions like, "what is taking so long? Well show up on time for your reservation and problems like this won't exist. Your responsibility, not mine.

Food goes out and guy at seat six, who is now self proclaimed leader, chimes in that they need their bill and are in a hurry.

Separate checks, of course.

I start dropping off their checks and "Fearless leader" asks if their discount is on the bill.

In order to stimulate business, we are offering 10 or 15% discounts to neighboring offices, the discounts are a huge hassle and vary business to business and pretty much I don't see them bringing in any business we weren't getting before.

Plus I don't get a discount on their services because I'm right next door, no 10% off insurance for me.

Well this meant that I have to pick up all their checks and reformulate them on the computer and move around the gratuity (like I'm going to take a chance on a tip with these clowns)

Five minutes later I have the separate checks back on the tables and seat six gives his right back to me with the demand that I run his first. Then a guy at seat three makes the same demand.

Here's a hint, if you have a large party and give the waiter split checks out of order and in several waves, it'll just take longer.

As I'm picking up these bills about nine people on the table make sure to let me know that they want their food boxed up to go.

To make things go even slower during this situation, the waiter is expected to box and bag each entree n the kitchen.

I'm picking up plates now too and I'm almost ready to snap on a customer.

I still have seats three and six in my pocket and haven't had the time to run their cards.

Fearless leader stops me with my hands full of four plates that need to be packaged to go.

"I believe I asked to have my card run, I have places to be." He said.

I felt my resolve cracking, a thousand things that would get me fired ran through my mind. I've been there four years and no reason to get canned and burn a bridge though.

I just shot him the thousand yard stare and made it my last priority to run his credit card.

Finally after about ten minutes of running separate cards and boxing food, the last of them were out the door.

Grand total on the gratuity, $19.46.

Hardest twenty bucks I've ever earned.

It didn't have to be hard though.

I was brought up to know that if you have to be somewhere show up on time or even early, not that I've always taken that to heart myself.

If you have special situations like discounts or separate checks let me know up front.

Don't demand extras like sides served before entrees or bread service, as if I had slighted you or forgot you.

We don't do bread service at lunch.

Where I come from sides are treated as sides and served as such, I didn't forget you, its just that we just don't normally do that here.

I guess the thing is don't be a hassle and you won't be treated like one, and I bet that you all would have been on time to your very important meeting or whatever.

Or, once again, you could just keep your commitment to the reservation time.

Simple enough.


At 8:26 PM , Anonymous Consultant Calamities said...

ugh. People just SUCK sometimes!

At 9:09 PM , Blogger SkippyMom said...

ewww, sorry.

I don't know if I could've kept it shut considering seat six - what a jerk.

I know you were going for perfect service but I would've definitely said "Sorry, we don't do bread service at lunch. There is not enough fresh prepared. kthxby."

Especially when they were having sandwiches with their soup. Gah, I hate freebie loving whores.

You did good tho' :D sorry for the lousy tip.

At 2:09 AM , Blogger G.H. said...

So sorry man. I feel your pain. This is like a combo of my last few nights.
So, you mentioned gratuity? Is that added to each bill, or a suggestion. I just recently had a post about this, and would love you feedback

At 9:35 AM , Blogger Will Hennessy said...

whoa! sounds hectic. i got annoyed just reading that, i can imagine actually dealing with it! they should brand people with the letter 'A' if they're bonafide a-holes...then charge them more for being one.

At 9:39 AM , Blogger CubeGuy said...

Damn, that's just a horrible table. Never ceases to amaze how little some people understand dining out, or acting like a civilized human in the first place. I eat lunch at a nice sports bar once or twice a week and often order their soup/sandwich lunch special. The bar staff there know me pretty well and are very good, so they always ask if I want the soup first. I don't see any need to run them on an extra trip to the kitchen...just bring soup/sandwich out at the same time. The menu even implies that they're "together" items.

Way to maintain your cool...I don't think I would have.

At 12:23 AM , Blogger Suz said...

I was squirming during that story! LOL-good job at keeping it together. :)

I had a guy tonight complain to my hostess that his food was cold and so was the girl who served it to him! ROTFLMAO. Yeah, asshole, I didn't sit down and ask you how your day was since I had that 19-top to serve, as well. He came in with a chip on his shoulder and left with no pity. Ha!

Gads, I love serving!!

At 4:10 AM , Blogger Ray Sherman said...

It's been a few years since I've waited on tables but you just brought back a wave of memories! Chin up, next week has to be better!

At 2:44 PM , Anonymous joey said...

Amazed you didn't blow up. Next time tell them that sandwich and soup come together no exceptions. Make up a reason why

Because I would do the same. I want the soup first. But if the policy is soup is served with sandwich then I cannot complain

At 5:49 PM , Anonymous marco said...

I would have skipped boxing stuff in the back; just give them the boxes. Tacky I know, but sometimes when you're totally slammed it's better to cut corners. Also, I would have just figured the discount for them right there at the table.

"Then guy at seat six asks when their food will be up, since they're in a hurry.

I haven't even had a chance to ring it in yet"

That part gave me chills, and an unwelcome flashback :(

At 1:20 AM , Blogger Joey Calkins said...

Oh, so many memories.

At 5:14 PM , Blogger Lone Waitress said...

I work lunch shift at a sports bar and can not tell you how many times this situation has happened to me (minus the bread service)! People are amazing. I am lucky in that I can ask people to cash out at the register if I'm busy (one server floor) and we don't box people's food for them.
It does sound like you handled it very very well. Sorry they didn't appreciate your service.

At 3:19 AM , Blogger DodgerFan said...

Its situations like these that make me hate dining in large groups. I feel sorry for the waiter/waitress because I know that there is one person in that large group that will have some type of half ass request.

At 1:28 PM , Blogger Apron Man said...

This stuff is hilarious. I found you on waiter rant's, I hope and pray to God I never behaved that way in a restaurant. I've done all kinds of customer service, but not as a waiter. Yikes, people can be awful.

At 1:07 AM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Very good story. One of the best! Tables like this make me glad I'm not a server anymore!

At 12:25 PM , Anonymous Golf Reviews said...

These kind of tables make me want to go and take a 2 hour smoke break. Make me crazy.. I want to ask them if they understand the thirty things they are asking me to do in the next five minutes. Irks the CRAP out of me. I feel ya. suckfest.

At 1:26 AM , Blogger Void said...

That's what almost every day of waiting tables was like for me, except that if I came in 15 minutes early to get prepared I would be triple-sat before I could even clock in.

At 3:32 PM , Blogger Zachary said...

i literally cringed when i read this, people dont realize how much of a pain in the ass they can be. i think at some point in everyones life they should have to work in the service industry, so they dont make our jobs hell.

At 11:56 AM , Blogger Destiny said...

Clearly this discount program isn't working, because it's about to drive out the employees while bringing in all the rudest customers!

That table just sounds awful and I think you rocked it out a lot better than I would have.

At 4:39 PM , Anonymous LILBITOHUNNEY951 said...

OK WOW! ALL and I do mean ALL of the comments and the writer of this blog...ARE YOU FUCKING KIDDING ME? You are a waiter its your job to serve people their food, and how they ask for it. And WTF does the them being late for their meal have to do with the time it took you to get their food out to them? regardless if they were there on time or not it still would have taken you the same amount of time to get the food? And I AM SOOOOO sick and tired of servers expecting a large tip. Hey asshole blog writer maybe you got a shitty tip cuz you did a shitty job! Any extra I give on a tip is because the server was friendly on top things not let my drink sit empty not begrudgingly get something I ask for, and so on..... WOW I can't believe howmuch of a hypocrite you are talking about chain resturant managers in previous posts and how they are full of themselves and here you are on a high horse expecting a great tip for a job not well done. What a douche

At 6:49 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Ugh...the table from hell! I'm sure we all have our own versions of this one. My standard line with this kind of table is "I'm so sorry, I left my second set of hands at home today..."

At 6:49 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Ugh...the table from hell! I'm sure we all have our own versions of this one. My standard line with this kind of table is "I'm so sorry, I left my second set of hands at home today..."

At 7:32 PM , Anonymous Brian said...

You useless, passive aggressive whiner--take responsibility for your own actions. If customers ask for bread, either tell them no, or serve it in a professional manner but don't do it resentfully. The restaurant offers discounts? It's not your job to worry about whether or not that is effective but it is your job to apply the discount and it is certainly your job to do so with a cheerful attitude. The customers will order each round of drinks at a time entirely of their choosing and you do not get to have an opinion about it. If they want their food boxed up then your job is to just fucking do it and not bitch about it.

Worst was your passive aggressive delaying of running the card of the man who was late. That kind of hostility undermines the success of the restaurant. You should quit waiting tables because you do not have the temperament for it. From what it sounds like, you should not be in direct contact with customers of any kind.

At 2:58 AM , Anonymous landshark said...

Brian and Lilbit'.
You are both absolutely right. Waiters should be cheerful subservient automatons, or geishas, or concubines. The should bashfully giggle and thank their patrons for even the harshest treatment, for that is their job. They should swiftly dance about the room filling drinks and bringing bread with the grace of a ninja and the speed and lightness of a prescient jungle cat. Before your empty water glass hits the tablecloth, they should be at your shoulder with a pitcher, lest you suffer a moment's thirst.
Waiters who fail at these duties should be boxed about the ears and whipped soundly with a cat-'o'-nine-tails, then subjected to the stocks or pillory, at least until it's time for dinner service.
The end.

At 5:27 PM , Blogger Isaac said...

This is when you say something along the lines of, "Do I make you feel slow, sir?"

If it helps, a girl backed into me today, and incidentally, I was forced to cover her in orange juice. I've been shaking ever since.

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