Tuesday, December 18, 2012

What nightmares are made of. (part 1)

You know what nightmares are made of? People coming into to eat 5 minutes before closing time. What...the....fuck.... is wrong with you people. Don't you know that you're the most despised people of the whole night? Who does that? Really, who does that?

The worst is when it becomes obvious that we have been closed for a long time and you remain camped out at your table chatting the night away. No, no.. it's cool.. I don't want to leave or have a life outside of my job. And yes... of course you're super special, just like the manners your mommy supposedly taught you.

Oh look! they're closing in 5 minutes, hurry let's get a quick bite. "Just want to let you know we close in 5 minutes" states the disgruntled server. "Oh we know, we won't keep you long. We'll be super fast" replies the annoying customer. That phrase basically means they will stay longer than most people and will not pick up on the blatantly obvious clues by the entire restaurant staff. (don't forget that we're the jerks here and not them)

I'm still trying to figure out this horrid self centered phenomena and behavior.

What's worse than this is the regulars who come in right at closing time or even after closing time. They assume that since they are regulars they have some sort of magical privilege or right. You are awful and NOT my friend! I get paid to be nice to you by the way. These people should be coined as "leeches" and not regulars. They will suck the happiness right out of a room and then marvel in the thought that they are awesome and "friends" with everyone. These people often figure out a way to get free stuff by coming in that late. "I don't want to be in the way or anything but can I be in your way and ask for things". BAD FORM!!!! Trust me, you will know if you're my friend and I want you to hang out.

I know I sounds harsh but come on. Where we're you the entire night? Why did you decide to meet up with 20 of your friends at 11pm to grab a "quick bite"? And are you so self involved that you don't care if you are the most loathed presence of the night. AND.. another fact is that you will get the worst service EVER. Sound fun??

Please, please, please consider getting your food "to go" next time. We will love you, treat you nice, and even smile as you leave with your "to go" food.


Thursday, November 8, 2012

Sure signs that things will not go well with a particular table I am serving:

1.    1.   Any questions directed toward the table are either completely ignored, or not acknowledged (looking at me but never speaking to me)—usually meaning the designated decision maker (the d.d.m.) for this table is engaged in conversation or otherwise occupied, until I leave the table.

2.   2.   The trickle effect; the table has decided to order together-but-separately a number of items, none of which are chosen by the group as a whole but every-so-often as their hunger and curiosity seizes them over a longer than expected period of time. They converse amongst themselves-oblivious that I, their server, have been standing at their table for the last 5 minutes, poised with pen and pad, then walking from one end of the table to the other, trying to get all of their orders at once with little or no effect.

3.     3. When after making multiple trips to the table, placing an adequate number of food and drink orders for the table, then asking if there is anything else they’d like to order, then getting no response, I move on to other patrons in my section and tasks at hand. Then the d.d.m. finds me to sternly let me know that there are other members of his party that are still in need of ordering since my abandonment of them. His words: “Other people at my table wanted to order, but then you vanished.” POOF!

4.  4.    Every single item for that table needs to be on a separate check; sodas, beer, entrĂ©es, appetizers, etc. Then all larger ticket items will be split two or more ways, on two or more credit cards, combined with their respective smaller ticket items. As I figure out how to do that the rest of the table (actually only the d.d.m.) will grow impatient with me, and utilize the other server(s) to run his credit cards for his separate ticket.

This is how I pay the rent. This is my livelihood.
…and in this corner…The table for two:
They just want a little something; a conversation drink, a bite to eat—nothing too big it’s getting pretty late (by their own admission). They have their drinks. They have decided to alter a house special beyond recognition (which has doubled the cost) and so they also have their “light” food fare. They wine and dine, converse joyfully with each other for about 45 minutes…and then an hour. Each of the servers has checked in with them and asked them if they’re alright. They have assured each server with slight nods that they are alright. It actually is quite late and the cooks are wrapping it up, accessing all orders and requests are complete, they get the okay to break down the kitchen. Fifteen minutes into that and the table for two has decided that they are in-fact hungrier than they first thought. Just for a little something, nothing too big. With a fallen face I inform them that the kitchen has closed.  Unbeknownst to them, all remaining food items have been distributed to the late night hangers-on outside. They both look at me in disbelief and ask me again, “There isn’t anything left?” No. “Nothing at all?” I shake my head with a solemn face, no. “Not a little something.” Uh, no. “You’re sure?”  Um. Yeah. I apologize. I can tell by their faces they don’t believe me for a second, and I don’t want to expand on the reality that we just gave all the food that they would've paid full price for to the homeless folks outside because we just would've thrown it away otherwise. They continue to look at me with completely serious looks of disbelief on their faces and I make sure to also stay completely serious, apologize, and look them both in the eye while doing so. It is, by the way, ten minutes after close, and they were satisfied for this whole time. The completely serious faces look back to each other, then they continue to drink their drinks, or rather not drink their drinks for the next 30 minutes as they talk to each other. All other patrons have left the cooks have disassembled, cleaned, and reassembled all items in the kitchen. All tables have been wiped down, the sidewalks swept, the bathrooms cleaned, all refuse removed, the dishes are done. And still they drink their drinks, or rather not drink their drinks, but sit there and talk to each other…when they did leave eventually (at someone’s polite suggestion) they paid separately, with credit cards, leaving $1.50 in tip each.

To the customers with the Heineken hidden under table 404,
Listen you two, this is not a cafeteria, or public picnic area! This is a private business here to make money and we don’t make money letting people bring their outside food and/or drink to consume on our premises. You are preventing other people who are willing to pay for the food and service provided here from sitting here, in this very spot where you are tipping your beer into your water glasses like a couple of tacky-ass teenagers at their parents’ dinner table! Beer through straws, really!?
While I am thankful that you have spent $3.75 on one food item split between the two of you, you have just worn out your welcome. There are other legalities entailed in consuming outside alcohol on these premises, but I won’t expand on them as I am sure you could give a shit about them. Are you aware that you are acting unlawfully in full view of all of the staff here? The table you have chosen in the window is much like a stage before a ready audience. In other words, you aren't fooling anyone! We are all just wondering how much shit we are going to get into when either confronting you or the boss should he walk in and know what you are doing and weighing those two factors into the next course of action.
Oh wait! Is that a crazy man that has approached your table to make you uneasy and uncomfortable in your time of need? Did you want me to intervene on your behalf and play the bad guy to your innocent dining patron? Too bad! Suffer the awkwardness of his maladies both mental and physical in the presence of your abundance!
Leaving so soon? Okay, bye! Have a great night! 

By "Smiley" (A guest blogger)

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

It's okay... I work in the industry. (SO WHAT?)

If you hear: "I work in the industry" from a customer... BE WARNED! This is typically not something you want to hear. Eight out of ten times this means you will be fucked out of a well deserved tip and treated like shit. I still haven't figured out this phenomena but over the many years of serving the masses I've taken notice of this reoccurring behavior.


It was a dark, stormy, and busy night in the restaurant. I pass by a two top of a young looking couple with hopeful kind eyes. "I'll be right with you" I say as I bustle by quickly. I finally get to the table and exclaim my apologies "thanks for being so patient, it's been super busy". The patient bubbly looking patron responds "I TOTALLY get it! I work in the industry". I nod at her with a smile and in my head am thinking FUCK!!!! Why am I thinking FUCK when she seems like such a nice girl? People that work in the industry and have tenure don't proclaim that they work in the industry. This is usually coming from someone who is new to industry or a barista. They think now that they've worked with the general public they can "relate" I walk away from the table with the false hope that this table might be different than all past "industry workers". After the awkward proclamation of their supposed industry status they start with subtle requests that eventually turn into pure annoyance (imagine trying to take a nap naked on sand paper on a hot day). "Um.. hey.. can I get a side of ranch? But just when you get a chance because I totally understand how it is". One minute later... "Um.. the ranch"??? Most competent and aware folks would realize that if you order it from the kitchen it takes more than a minute. It's at this point that the reality that some things never change and that working in the "industry" must be hard. I deliver the ranch and the girl starts small talk about the "industry". I try and make passive aggressive comments about annoying needy customers and she acknowledges it's annoying with another request and a promise to tip really, really well. When someone promises they will tip you well that translates directly into = I will tip you like SHIT... this is because I'm a demanding full of shit liar face. She has demand after demand and every time I walk past the table or check in, a new demand or request falls out of her mouth. When I finally drop the check and get an empty promise that I will be hooked up at whatever place she currently works, which she doesn't mention or I don't know of, or I simply don't care about. After the couple leaves I collect my 5 percent tip and silently curse the mirage of "the industry".

Enough said? Do you get the idea?

For all you kids that refer to yourself as working in the "industry"- please stop! Stop saying that, stop being a jerk, and learn how to fucking tip properly. Oh and another thing.. you sound like a fucking idiot when you say that. Do us all a favor and stay home.

Most people that actually do well as servers, know food, and how the "industry" really works. We typically know each other and don't have to preach it around town like we won some sorta badge of fucking honor. Guess what? we also tip well because we realize that is someones income.

No - you don't work in the industry!

Friday, August 3, 2012

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

MY BABY NEEDS... Parents just don't understand.

I commend those that go out to eat with their tykes in tow, yet being a server I have mixed feelings about it. First off.. I want to congratulate you on the new addition to the family, aww how sweet. And second.. I'd like to ask you to please control your child.

I've seen it all when it comes to kids, parents, and family dining. On one hand you have the best well behaved child that is a joy and on the other hand you have Satan's spawn destroying everything. It's not just on the kids here folks, the parents are the problem/blessing.

Let's start with the well behaved children, shall we?
Little Judy has come in with her parents and is attentive, quiet, and chalked full of manners. Anytime she addresses me she says "please" and "thank you", starting everything off politely with "may I please have...". This is awesome! Thank you parents for instilling amazing manners in your child. I do however wonder: A) is this child from another planet and do they want to destroy us? B) What the hell is going on with the parents? C) If I had a kid, this is what I want. (Yet, I do have to say that the manners are teetering on very strange)

Now let's move on to the other kids.
I'm actually not sure it's the kids we can talk about here, after all it's what the parents are willing to let their kids do or get away with, or possibly what they've been taught.

Please don't do these things:

Please don't release your kids for the restaurant staff to deal with. I'm thrilled you get to have a beer in a hip environment and feel cool even with your kids around,  but we're not babysitters. Guess what else? We aren't a jungle gym,  if that's what you're looking for than you need to go to a crappy fast food chain, they love that shit.

We are so proud that little Dylan can go to the bathroom alone, please at least be at a "stand by" post to help out in case something might go wrong. Toilet paper is not a toy, peeing on the wall is not art, the sink is not a fountain of water fun, and missing the toilet pooping sucks for everyone.

If I could attach some sort of electric generator to your kids to power the place I would, but I can't. Please do not let your kids run laps through the restaurant like they're trying out for the Olympics. Isn't our little Apple the cutest in her jumper running around and interacting with strangers..... whoops! Little Apple just got kicked by one of the busy servers... how dare those servers!!! And that's when the blood curdling screams of agony explode from the child and the wait staff is traumatized and the parents are looking for someone to blame. Yeah... don't do that.

Then we have the OCD overprotective over-prepared parent that brings the house with them. They sit down and pull out the disposable kiddie place mat,  cheerios, juice, wipes, band-aids, milk, diaper changing tools, toys, baby powder, etc, etc. The only thing they did forget is the dust buster to clean it all up when they leave. Good job!! your baby was pretty quiet the whole time.. and thanks for the fucking mess. These are also the type that refer to their baby as "my baby". On a busy Friday night a woman stopped me dead in my tracks and said: "my baby needs a napkin". I just want to point out that YOU need the napkin for your baby, your baby doesn't give a shit.

Secret parental language that involve talking as if the child isn't there or doesn't know what you're saying..I'm pretty sure your kids can figure out what you're doing since they are rearranging the contact list on your phone as you order. I take a drink order at a table, dad orders juice for the kids and refers to the beer he's ordering as "daddy's juice". Whoa!! that's just wrong and gross. I don't need to hear that and neither do your kids. Beer is beer, wine is wine - It is not "daddy's juice", "daddy's milk", "mommies medicine" etc. Use your big words and say it like an adult please.

Hey.. get the WD-40 and quite that squeak!!! Translation: the high pitched squeal and scream that your child is making is everyone's favorite thing to listen to. No, really it's my favorite. Please try and quite the kid - my baby needs peace.

No clothes, No service!! This means your kids too. Please put on your kids pants. No one wants to eat while watching your kid run around naked. This is not your living room.

Don't even get me started on breast feeding in public. It happens.. I know. You should invest in one of those cool wrap style thingies to cover the show. It's awkward telling the kitchen staff to return to their stations and stop trying to get a hint of nipple.

I know you all must think I'm the biggest jerk ever and you're probably right. Simply said...just be aware of the that going out to eat is a public event and not your house.

Oh and by the way - I charge more to babysit than I get paid to serve.

Thursday, June 14, 2012

I *NEED* attention!! Look at me, over here, me, me, me!!

When people go out to eat they need things. When people need things in a restaurant they result to any ridiculous and annoying means to get your attention. Here are a couple behaviors and actions that I've taken notice of. (Warning!!! I do and do not agree with the below actions)

- "The 747" (bringing the plane in for the landing) - This action requires two arms waving feverishly in the air above the customers head much like what you see out the airplane window before taking off or landing. It takes everything in my power not to do the exact same style of waving back at the customer. (No one said I was sweet)

- "The *Thank You God* Point" - This can be seen mainly on the Academy Awards, Grammy Awards, and other award shows when celebrities point up to God in thanks. Notable behavior required: one arm raised above the head at full stretch with finger pointed to God or ceiling. Arm goes up when server is approaching or passing. Warning!! If arm remains up with pointed finger this may just be "The Ultimate Fan" or "The Teacher's Pet" (see below). Customer may or may not make eye contact while doing this move.

- "The Come Here, You're In Trouble Finger" (best with mom stare) - This is what you used to get when you did something super bad when you were a kid. This is usually performed by parents yet does not discriminate from others using this tactic. As a server this is highly annoying and puts me in my six year old place. I want to know what's wrong but also want to run the other way to ensure my safety.

- "The Uncomfortable Shy Wave" - This is exhibited by people that don't want to trouble themselves or others yet need something. These types of people usually have a very low quite voice and avoid making any eye contact. This type of customers does not respond to any sort of aggressive or head strong energy. Look.. I'm not going to beat you, I just need to know what you need.

- "The Glass Tap" - The annoying person that taps on their empty glass with a finger or ring. DO NOT EVER DO THIS!!!! EVER!!!! If you aren't giving a speech or have a special announcement - DO NOT do this behavior. This is the worst fucking way to get your server/bartenders attention. In fact this is the perfect way to get someone to ignore you. (The sister move to "The Glass Tap" is shaking your empty glass - NOT OK)

- "The Drive-by Grab" - This behavior happens when people are talking and don't have time to use other methods to get your attention. Server walks past table to attend to other tables as customers arm reaches out in a grabbing motion. This is not a very effective technique to get your servers attention since most people don't like to be touched by strangers.

- "The Teacher's Pet" - Remember sitting by the know it all kid in elementary school... yeah the one with their hand constantly in the air waiting for the teacher to call on them. Yep, that's the one, the one that does the impatient hand jiggle forcing gravity out of their know it all way. This can be effective and tolerable yet it's still somewhat annoying embodying the frustration that Ms. Norris must've felt.

- "The Dog Whisperer" or "The Cesar Milan" - This is when customers get your attention by making strange "pssst.. pssst" noises with their mouth. Some actions that go with this behavior include pointing and snapping your fingers. I usually avoid giving these people my attention right away since I am not a dog and don't respond to "pssst.. pssst". Use your words people.

- "The Shout Out" - Customers have decided to bypass all other typical behavior and go straight for the shout out. "HEY", "YO", and if they know your name (better hope they don't) "DONNA"!! This tactic can be effective yet is startling for those waiting on you.

- "Doo-Wop Snap" - This is pretty self explanatory if you ask me but for the sake of explanation: This is when customers use finger snapping to get your attention. Varieties on the behavior include: "The Dog Whisperer" and "The Shout Out". In rare cases you can see this used in cahoots with "The Drive By Grab". This is often seen by hipsters that are used to using finger snapping rather than clapping at shows.

- "The Jedi Mind Trick" - This is a mind controlling method used by customers to literally will you over to them. You can see this clearly when you notice someone starring intently at you with a concentrated somewhat frustrated look. Variations on the behavior include two fingers pointed in the air much like that of famous Jedi's from Star Wars movies. The other notable variation is a finger or two on the temple of the onlooker. I personally don't mind this method and am amused by the somewhat effectiveness of it,  not too mention how ridiculous most people look doing it.

- "The Unicorn" - This is typical of bar patrons rather than people sitting at a table, yet I've seen it with both. This is when the customer uses their pointed finger near their eyes or forehead to point at their empty glass for a refill or whatever else needs attention.

- "The Ultimate Fan" - See "The Thank You God Point" for reference. This is simply when the #1 team finger stays in the air unwavering.

These are just a few actions that I have taken note of over the years. The styles and behaviors are subject to change and often do. The bottom line here is: treat people the way you'd like to be treated. Pssst, pssst.

Thursday, June 7, 2012

TIP TALK - (to ensure prompt service)

A lifetime ago I worked in a small kitschy diner in a small dull town. I worked during the day with ladies who were career waitresses, they were older and could serve tables in their sleep. Deb, Patti, and Cyndi, I called them the truck stop waitresses behind their backs. Most of them exhibited the truck stop look: leathery tanned skin, gobs of tacky gold jewelry, a deep smokers voice, big aqua net hair, and Virginia Slim cigarettes - which they called "mokes". Anyway, I worked with all of them on different days of the week. We were brilliant with the all you can eat blue plate breakfast specials. We had attitude, sass, and we were really fucking good at what we did.

We had one particular regular that we would fight over, anytime he came in it was a mad dash to get to his table first. He was obviously a well put together guy and seemed successful. He always liked what was on the menu yet tweaked every single item to the way he liked. Normally we would not put up with this behavior with snapping "no substitutions EVER"! This guy was different because he tipped very, very well... hence why we all practically killed each other to get to his table. I found out through talking to him that he was a stock broker and super successful. One day he came in and I was the lucky one to get his table. (It was a cheap move on my part while Deb was out for a "moke".. but hey fair game in the end) The topic of travel came up and my successful regular talked on and on about how work forces him to travel and this and that and how hard it was on him. He said that a great thing about all the travel was that he racked up a ton of frequent flyer miles yet he was so busy he couldn't use them and they were going to be obsolete by the years end. (personally, I've never had this problem, nor have my friends) By the end of his meal he offered me the best tip that I have ever received - Two free plane tickets anywhere in the U.S.. NO! I'm not bullshitting you. It was one of the most unbelievable things that has ever happened to me as a person and a server. I had a great trip with first class treatment, I just wish I would've been smart enough to realize that Hawaii was part of the US (nah...).

I bet you can imagine how pissed off Deb was.

This can never be topped - So don't even try. I have had other amazing tips but nothing like this.

Don't forget to tip your servers!!