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Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Don't Make Me Club You With a Pepper Mill

You may have read my response to customer suggestions about what they think should happen in restaurants to make their dining experience more pleasurable. Most of the suggestions were idiotic and proof positive that the customer is most certainly not always right. One of the ideas has really stuck in my craw and I need to discuss it further because quite frankly my craw is tired of having things stuck in it. The suggestion comes from Ellen who farted out this thought when she was sticking a Q-Tip too far into her ear canal:

Why is it that a pepper mill must be brought and administered? For a few hundred bucks, why can a restaurant not just set one out at each table?

Does she think that pepper mills grow on trees? Does she have any idea how expensive that would be? She honestly thinks that a few hundred bucks will cover the cost of supplying every table with its own private pepper mill? At the end of the day, half of those bitches would be gone because customers have notoriously sticky fingers and I'm not just talking about what they got on their hands from the sugar caddy that I never wiped clean from Sunday brunch when that baby covered it in syrup and played with it. Women like Ellen would be stuffing those pepper mills into their purses, bags and any other orifice just so they could get home and have a fancy new pepper mill that was complimentary. I can see it now. Every morning when it is time to reset the tables, half of the pepper mills would be missing. It's hard enough to maintain creamers in a restaurant without them disappearing so I can only imagine what pepper mills would be like. They would fly outta that place like hotcakes.

At my restaurant, we have four pepper mills. I never suggest freshly ground pepper because quite frankly I feel that the way the food comes from the kitchen is the way the chef intended it to be and it does not need any additional seasoning. No not really, I'm just too lazy to go get the pepper mill and walk all the way back to the table. If a customer wants fresh pepper, they will have to specifically ask me for it. One of our pepper mills is about two feet high. I assume it's that big so that women like Ellen can't discreetly drop it into her shopping bag and go home with it. It's gigantic. Last week as I was administering pepper onto a plate of tilapia to an annoying customer, I let my mind wander and I imagined clubbing him over the head with it. It's seriously big enough to do some damage over a skull. All of a sudden I was playing my own game of Clue, but instead of Colonel Mustard in the library with the candlestick, it was The Bitchy Waiter at table 7 with a the pepper mill.

So, no, Ellen. Restaurants are not going to start giving every table their own personal pepper mill just because you thought it was a good idea. Thanks for your suggestion, though. If you see Ellen anywhere, make sure you tell her that her idea was stupid. How will you know it's Ellen? You can't miss her. She'll be the one who asks for extra bread only to put it into the Ziplock baggie in her purse. She will be the one who never leaves a sugar caddy without pilfering every Sweet and Low and Splenda first. She's the one who eats three fourths of her burger and then tells you it was over cooked and she wants it off her bill. She's the one who asks for the early Bird Special even though you don't have an early Bird Special at your restaurant. She's the one who asks for a new bottle of ketchup that hasn't been opened. She's the one who asks for an extra miniature bottle of maple syrup even though she hasn't finished her first one. She's the one who will try to stuff a pepper mill up her pie hole if it means that she can sneak it out of the restaurant without having to pay for it. You know the type? That's our Ellen. If you see her, club her over the head with a pepper grinder.



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20 comments:

Ninja Kitty Extraordinaire said...

I am enjoying the visual of death by pepper mill entirely too much. My mind has also wandered off in curious delight over the notion of Ellen happening across your post and sobbing gently at the realization that she's just been called out for her shameful habits :)

Bonnie said...

Ha ha! Couldn't read this without thinking of the Pepper Boy skit on SNL. I'll post it on your fb.

Mary A. said...

Is that the same Ellen who takes ALL the mints off the hostess station and puts them in her purse? She acts like you can't just walk into any grocery store in the world and buy those things for like $0.99/1000.

That Ellen?

Sarah Sams said...

they have little glass pepper mills at red lobster. They're usually stuck and won't grind, so they're usually full.I hate them quite a bit.

Cyberquill said...

In Ellen's defense, I used to work in a place on Ninth Avenue (NYC), and each table had its own little pepper mill. The disappearance rate of these things was negligible, although I must confess that I have one of them in my home now. (Without my noticing it, it must have fallen into my bag one day as I left work. Before I had a chance to return it, I got fired for unrelated reasons.)

Sauce said...

I actually watched a friend steal a pepper mil right off of a table once, so you're clearly right. For the record she loves the shit right out of that mill - probably more so because it was free.

Sara said...

Oh i've served a couple of Ellens! They are a little too obvious and way too easy to spot!

Amber said...

We once had a customer steal the plain old regular salt and pepper shakers.

Gabriele Agustini said...

Too, too funny!! As always.
Love reading your blog more than any other!
Guess it's the 'bitch' in me. :)
xxxx

California Girl said...

"More pepper mills!"

"More creamers!"

"How 'bout a personal water jug?"

"Real silver ware..."

Noelle said...

Ever have a server nearly break your nose with her elbow cranking so enthusiastically. Scary!

Icechild13 said...

I can see it now, Ellen coming to the table and all the creamers and sugar are there. then when she leaves to pay, you hear the dishes from the dinner clattering in her bag and a trail of pepper coming from up her skirt.

I say invest in one of those shocker pens that you can get at those joke shops so when she pays with a credit card and she has to sign her ticket she gets zapped for clicking it.

Anonymous said...

some table stole the pepper mill off of the side station at a restaurant i worked at once.

Cordelia said...

My side hurts from laughing

justlikedads said...

Here's a fun waiter trick to perform with that giant pepper mill. Just tuck the mill under your apron string with the head secured near the small of your back. Serve the delicious salads, underseasoned pastas, or lame mains and cheerfully ask;
"Would you care for some fresh cracked pepper?"
When the answer is yes just bend over very slightly, reach behind yourself, and gritting your teeth pull the pepper mill from your apron string. It should produce a subtle but audible pop. Bring the mill forward and wait for the applause. They will never know where it came from but may imagine the worst!

Tours In Venice said...

This made me laugh a lot! Working in the food industry for five years, I feel your pain on not wanting to get the pepper mill. And, to Ellen's suggestion, don't you know we're in a recession? One pepper mill is a lot less expensive than thirty of them that probably won't be used!

Sara

Anonymous said...

I had the same reaction as you when I read that particular "helpful" suggestion. I work in a restaurant that has mini wooden pepper mills on all of the tables. They routinely "disappear," so the servers end up juggling pepper mills between the tables in their sections. God forbid that we open up the outdoor seating on a nice day; you cannot find a pepper mill for the tables to save your life, because we've had to use all available mills just to cover the tables inside. The GM always insists that there are more; he doesn't seem to want to acknowledge what thieves the "guests" really are.

You'd think, having just dropped a couple hundred at the swanky stores surrounding us, that they'd have the cash to buy a nice mill at Bed Bath & Beyond around the corner, wouldn't you? But I guess that illicit pepper must make everything taste a little better.

Simon Food Favourites said...

why are there pepper mills in the first place? when did they become so popular in restaurants? :-)

Kelsie said...

I just found your blog and LOVE it. All the mentions of bitches drinking white zin make me laugh rather uncontrollably. The only woman to ever make me lose my shit and full on cry at work drank white zin. So anyways, I worked in a fine dining restaurant that did in fact have individual pepper mills on each table, HOWEVER, when delivering salads, pasta, or any of our Sunday brunch items we were still required to bring the pepper mill. We would actually get in trouble if we didn't or the manager would chase after us and offer pepper to the tables saying "Silly so and so must have forgotten" while they were all already happily peppering their own shit. I found the whole thing very contradictory. This post hit the nail on the head. Can't wait to keep reading!

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