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Thursday, December 27, 2012

Do You Have a Restroom?

As servers, we are constantly being asked dumb questions. "What's in the spinach and mushroom tortellini?" "What's the difference between the fried chicken breast and the grilled one?" "What do you do for you real job?" Yes, all of these are actual questions that have been tossed at me but the one that seems to bother me the most lately is, "Do you have a restroom?" Of course we have a restroom. Who doesn't have a restroom? I would like it better if people simply asked where it is and operate under the assumption that we do in fact have one, even though, asking where it is can sometimes rub me wrong too. No new news that I have a very short fuse when it comes to customers asking questions. Actually, my fuse is rather short when it comes to customers period, but at my restaurant asking me where the restroom is is a quick way to make me hate you a little bit more. It shouldn't bother me, but it does.

At my restaurant, the front is all windows. One wall is lined with booths and the opposite wall is an open kitchen. Let's think for a minute where in the world the restroom could possibly be. If we are to assume that it is through a door on one of the four walls and one wall is windows, one is booths and one is an open kitchen, where oh where might the restroom be located? How about "in the back" like it is at practically every other restaurant in the world?

"Oh, you mean back there where I see two doors with the word 'toilet' on them?"

"Yes, back there."

If I ever open my own restaurant (God help us all, but you never know. I will be accepting applications right here on the blog if it ever happens.) I want to either build the toilet right in the center of the room, put an out house in the back yard or just not have one. That way, people will have a reason to be confused as to where it might be. Or how about I really make their question worthwhile and put the restroom far far away?

"Oh, you are looking for the restroom, my friend? Good question. The world has been searching for my restroom, but it is hidden and you must pass a series of tests to obtain the map to it. Once you have answered three questions from the Sports and Leisure category of Trivial Pursuit, you will be given a map but the map will be inside a bottle that you have to break open first. Once you read the map, it will lead you to a bridge where there lives a greedy little troll named Springs1 who will decide whether or not you are worthy to cross. She will base her decision on your manners, sense of style and physical attractiveness. (Clue: if you give her some Ranch dressing, she will let you cross right away.) If she deems you permission, you will cross the bridge, crawl into an underground tunnel that will take you to the finest toilet in all the land. It is made of gold and the toilet paper is made of the wings of butterflies. Instead of a bidet, there is a woman named Elke Kravat there who will clean your bum with Evian water that she first gargles with to warm it up and then shoot a steady stream of water from her mouth onto your nether regions. (For a two dollar tip, you can have Reichen Lehmkuhl do it instead but he'll probably want to web stream it, so I would just say no thanks.) The sink to wash your hands is made of diamonds and the water that flows from the faucet comes from a deep well of purified water from the fountain of youth. The soap is Dial. Your hands are blown dry by angels (Reichen will blow you for a dollar...) and when you are finished you are driven back to your table in a horse-drawn carriage and given a free iPad mini, just because."

Yeah, that's what I want in my restaurant. I'm so tired of saying 'it's in the back" that this would be way more fun. It makes me think that maybe I should open up my own restaurant just so I can do that. Although the out house is a good idea too; a wooden shanty built over a hole in the ground with a circle cut out of a piece of plywood and Marcal toilet paper. It probably makes no difference because no matter what kind of restroom the restaurant has, some idiot is going to come up to me and say, "Excuse me, but do y'all have a bathroom?"




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37 comments:

Anonymous said...

Yes, I agree with the stupid questions-"Do you serve coffee here"? Wha ? Who doesn't?

k73taz said...

During the Christmas season with all of the tourists milling around my restaurant I usually lose my mind when this question is asked. So I start to say things like "Oh I have no idea" or my favorite is "Anywhere's fine".

Mary A. said...

It depends -- do you have to go #1 or #2? Because if you're gonna stink it up, then no. We don't have one.

Anonymous said...

It gets me pissed off every time...the restaurant stupidiest question "do y'all have a restroom ?"
My answer ( in my head) " no, we don't..we're forced to hold it 8 hours or we go behind the dumpster ,dumbass "

Anonymous said...

"Are there eggs in your omelets?" Yes. Actual question.

Anonymous said...

I love this blog! I feel like you have packed and taken a long winding trip in my warped former restaurant employee mind. Thank you for so many smiles!

Cindi Smith said...

My favorite response to a customer who asks where the bathroom is that it's down the block at the corner gas station.

Anonymous said...

When I used to work at Bennigans we had a huge neon sign that said "restrooms" and people were standing in front of it and asked where the bathrooms were. 5 years with the company and little editing equipment left, I started answering those people by pointing over at the doorway, saying "right over there where the neon sign is that says restrooms, walk through there and turn to your right." It wasn't mean, but it was my passive way of saying your a dumbass. It gave me mild gratification.

Anonymous said...

"what is...salsa?" lol.

Rogue Wino said...

If I dump a bucket of cheap ranch dressing on Springs1's head, will she melt or morph into a super troll?

Lauren said...

This a small collection of the dumbest questions/ statements I've heard over the past few months (yes, just these past few MONTHS):

"What part of the pork does the pork belly come from?"
I actually answered this terribly. I thought it was a trick question. I answered "I believe, ma'am, that it comes from the belly of the pork." And I gestured downward, to my own belly. Whatever, I'm a vegetarian.

Escorting a lady out onto the patio. It was bright from the late-afternoon sun. Her exact words, as she shielded her eyes, were "Is it going to go down?" I assume she meant the sun. I wanted to say either "Yes, ma'am. Tonight and every night." or "That's what she said." but I instead replied "Yes, in a bit the whole patio will be shaded."

When presenting a quesadilla to an older woman. "What is this spicy stuff on top?" I went through every ingredient, asking what she was referring to, but could not determine what she was questioning. Finally, she points to the browned part of the tortilla (you know, the slightly dark part, seen on pretty much every cooked tortilla ever) and asks me what it is. That took a lot of facial control.

I hate people.

maxi said...

In my old job, the restroom was near the entrance so EVERYONE had to pass the door on their way to the table. Still, the amount of people who rubbernecked looking.... If the kitchen is here, the patio here, a solid wall here.... where do you think it is?! And the best bit is that they normally worked out roughly where it could be based on the above orientation, so they got as far as the bar then got completely lost. The barman had great fun pointing out the loo right behind them. Stupid people.

Fool Critic said...

Real questions:

"Does the fish curry have fish in it?" Does your brain have dead flies in it?

"What's an oyster?" An innocent beautiful ocean creature that had its baby torn away and died a heartbroken death so that you would get that lovely necklace. YOU MONSTER.

"Oh, you're closed during the Christmas period. Could you recommend a restaurant exactly like yours with a similar price range in the same area that WILL be open?" I hear that "Google" place is nice.

Anonymous said...

I laughed so hard at this! I don't mind the "where is the bathroom" question (especially because ours our in the lobby of a hotel connected to the restaurant, not in the actual restaurant), but DO you have a bathroom is so annoying! Why would a restaurant NOT have a bathroom? Do you think the employees piss in the alley out back? This post contains possibly the best answer to "do you have a bathroom" ever. I really want to say that to someone sometime :)

Hïro said...

The best question i have ever been asked was "What is the difference between chicken fried chicken and chicken fried steak?" I couldn't help but respond with "seriously?" I have never heard a better ? in 20+ years of serving

Kimberly Allen said...

My favorite answer to give to the age old question "where is your restroom" is "it's under that ginormous red neon sign in the corner that says RESTROOMS"..... Some people are sooooo stupid

Ashbosity said...

Oh Lord, I work in a hotel and ours is "through the front doors by the host stand, take a left, through the double doors, past the stairs and the elevators, keep to the left and they're on the right, across from the phones". People think I am lying to them. Also, I did work in a restaurant in a theme park where we weren't allowed to use the guest bathrooms and the employee one was seriously on the back dock next to the dumpster.

anne marie in philly said...

"do you have hot water for tea?" NO!

springs1 is an ugly bitchy troll!

Maegan Bledsoe said...

I'm in Europe. I've been in several places that have no public toilet. I am an American, so I assume most American restaurants have a public restroom of some variety. Here, it seems to normal to ask *if* there is a bathroom, rather than where it is located. I've also experienced places (usually near the beach...is that weird?) that do not have toilets available to the public ('The bathroom is for employees only.')...maybe it's to keep people from coming in off the beach & leaving a sandy mess behind. I've been instructed to go to another nearby store that has public bathrooms...a gas station or drug store usually. My favorite cafe (which does serve coffee, if you were wondering) does not have it's own bathroom, it has a shared restroom with an office building attached. If it was your first visit to the cafe, you wouldn't know that...and b/c the entrance to the toilet is near the entrance for the office building, you won't even know that it exists unless you have come in the "wrong" door. The men's toilet is upstairs. There's no sign...and it's not like anyone is on staff nearby to let you know.

Anonymous said...

My favorite is "How hot is your hot sauce?"

JoeinVegas said...

I know stand alone restaurants are different, but that is a common question in Vegas where most restaurants are in casinos. Because of that they do not usually have rest rooms, but send you out through the slot machines to the big one out 'on the floor' which might be quite a walk away.

Jennifer Anderson said...

I don't get upset over the bathroom question. Not the "do you have one", but "where is it". Familiarity breeds contempt as they say, and being very comfortable with our surroundings can make us forgetful that it is not familiar to everyone. Some people are nervous, some are on first dates, some are drunk, some are... I just really looooooove making people feel comfortable because I appreciate when someone does that for me.

Anonymous said...

Although I work in retail the questions are just as dumb. Do you work here? Oh I don't know. Let me see. Am I wearing a name badge? Check. Am I dressed completely in black from head to toe ala the store uniform? Check. Am I arranging stock? Climbing a ladder? Do I work here? What do you think? Robyn (Qld Australia)

madame s. said...

Um, no, "What's in the spinach and mushroom tortellini?" is not a "stupid question" as you say. As a food allergy sufferer, I can't tell you how many times a menus makes NO mention of cheese, and my dish comes full of cheese. Even worse, I'll ask my server, "What is on the [X]" and they'll list anything but cheese, and my dish comes with, guess what, cheese.

Menus leave a staggering amount of info off.

Anonymous said...

In my restaurant, I have to stop at least 20 people a nignt from walking into the kitchen to piss instead of looking right next to it and seeing the door that had three signs that say Restroom around the door. Idiots

Anonymous said...

I really wish that when I was still waiting tables I would have thought of that "oh I have no idea". It would have been worth it just to see the look on their faces. Brilliant! I don't know if its just residual irritation, but even now I'm a cashier at a gas station, and I still get frustrated when people ask if we have a bathroom. Just ask where for goodness sake.

Anonymous said...

My favorite question is "are you our server?" No, I'm taking your drink order for fun! I must get a hundred stupid questions a day!!

Caveman said...

I like your idea of putting the restroom really far away. When they ask where it is (Who can't figure out where the restroom is located within the tiny confines of a restaurant? Idiots.) you can simply hand them a small map!

Anonymous said...

Anyone with a food allergy that does not specifically ask about it is playing Russian roulette with thief life. A server does not know what you are allergic to and can't be responsible. Please act like a responsible person and let your server know before ordering.

Headset Hellion said...

The stupidest question I heard recently was at a Mexican takeout place. The man in line in front of me asked the guy behind the counter, "What is queso made from?"

"It's...queso..."

"Yeah, but what's it MADE FROM?"

"It's...cheese. We use american cheese and add some spices..."

"Ugh. I want SALSA."

I thought my eyes were going to pop right out of my head from holding back my laughter.

Anonymous said...

Ours are also located next to kitchen. I tell 'em if they come in, I'll put their ass to work..

Alyson said...

As a person who has asked where the restrooms are before...honestly it is sometimes hard to find them. Often you have to guess which back corner they might be located in (if there's no neon flashing sign) and sometimes it's just easier to ask than wander all over the restaurant. But to ask if they have restrooms at all is kinda silly, I agree, and I have probably asked the question that way before, without thinking. You know, you gotta pee and you happen to run into someone in your desperate search for the toilet...and the question comes out all wrong. LOL It happens.

animated attendant said...

My standard response to "Do you have a restroom?" is "The law requires us to have one." or "No, we have to hold it all day." To the whereabouts of such an elusive destination, I sometimes direct them outside to the corner gas station. People are idiots.

The Reluctant Mother said...

I work at a pizza place. "How big is the 16" pizza?" Derrrr...

Anonymous said...

I had the pleasure of managing a sandwich,coffee shop in downtown Denver for a couple years. We were located in the lobby of a highrise office building and although our restaurant was a decent size and had inside and patio seating, we did not have a restroom. When I got the job I was fascinated as to how could that even be legal. Turns out there is a loophole which allows this in that building. If there is a public restroom with in certain distance its ok for a food place not to provide a place to poop or wash your hands of course. I really miss those days of telling people, that didn't even purchase anything, that they were shit out of luck so to speak and the truth is the so called public restroom in the building was impossible to find. My point is, it is possible that "do you have a restroom" question is not always stupid.

Libby said...

I love when people ask how the weather is on the patio right after they walked in the front door. I typically respond that they themselves were outside more recently than I was, and that I'm pretty sure it's similar to the way it was in the parking lot.

Anonymous said...

I used to work in a restaurant at the base of a ski area that doesn't have a restroom in the building, but out in the parking garage nearby. Every day, at least 60 times a day, we would watch people come in from the slopes, all of their gear on and covered with snow, stomp off the snow, take off their helmets, gloves, boots, sometimes even their snow pants, and....
"Where's your restroom?"
(It was hilariously cruel)
"Oh, we don't have one in the building. You have to go back outside and take a right into the parking garage."
"What?? But I just took off all of my warm clothing! Now I have to go BACK outside??!! Can't I just use YOUR restroom??!"
"We don't have a restroom. I have to go outside too."
One of the funnest serving jobs ever. We also didn't have french fries. Cheers!