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Monday, December 31, 2012

Happy New Year or How To Open a Bottle of Champagne

I hope you have your champagne chilling because in just a few hours it will be time to obligatorily take a sip of it and then kiss who ever you are dating, married to or just happen to be standing next to at midnight. So many people love the taste of champagne but only have it on special occasions. I say fuck that. Have it whenever you want it. One time I made hamburgers for dinner and served it with a bottle of fine sparkling wine. It really complimented the Costco meat patties, Miracle Whip and American cheese, not to mention how wonderfully it paired with the tater tots.

Opening a bottle of champagne takes a bit of practice so I thought I would share with you my immense experience of opening them. And before you think I am a total alcoholic (I am), this experience comes from six years as a brunch server where I opened about twenty bottles a day. Most people think that successfully opening bottle of champagne means it spews out all over the place in a premature ejaculation kind of way. Not cool. Or you could do it the fancy way with a sword but why risk cutting off a finger?

Here is the right way to open a bottle of champagne:
  1. Take off that foil crap that is all around the cork. Use your teeth if you have to.
  2. Now you want to remove that wire cage thing. You have to put your thumb over the cork in case the pressure has built up and it's ready to pop. Unless you shook the bottle too much, it's probably fine. Just don't point the bottle at your nether regions or eyes. Twist the wire counter-clockwise six half rotations and then take it off. Or leave it on. Whatever.
  3. Now you can put a towel over it in prep to remove the cork. I don't do that though because I'm a pro. Grip the cork and now start twisting the bottle. Not the cork. The bottle. Kinda pull it at the same time and you should feel it start to loosen and rise from the bottle.
  4. Keep control of the cork even though it's totally tempting to shoot that bitch at somebody. Don't do it. It really brings down a party when someone actually loses an eye. You want to let it release with a soft "poofy" noise like the sound a fart makes when you think it's going to be silent, but it's not. You don't want that loud pop.
  5. It's open. Pour that baby into a beer bong and go to town.

The movies always show people popping the cork and then laughing as the champagne spills all over the place. What they don't show is what a pain in the ass it is to clean up all that champagne. They also don't show me sitting in the corner at the end of the night all pissed off because we are out of champagne because half of it is on the fucking floor.

Happy New Year!!



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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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Monday, December 24, 2012

'Twas the Night Before Christmas




'Twas the Night Before Christmas


‘Twas the night before Christmas, in the front of the house
The only creature still stirring was that sad dying mouse;

The glue trap was placed by the reach-in with care,
In hopes that the rodents would soon be aware;

This server was ready to be home in his bed.
While visions of auto-grat danced in his head.

My apron now off, cleaning my last ketchup cap,
When I hear from the window a soft gentle rap.

I try to ignore all the obnoxious clatter,
But I walk towards the noise to see what’s the matter.

Away to the window I flew like a flash,
Crack it open so slightly, do nothing rash.

The moon on the breasts of this tired looking ho
Gave me the feeling she wanted some mo’.

When, what to my wondering eye should appear,
This bitch had a coupon for one freebie beer.

With her Lee Press-on Nails and her mascara too thick,
I knew in a moment she must be some trick.

A hooker, a ho, or whatever the name,
“It’s Christmas Eve, bitch. We’re closed, it’s a shame.”

“Please, just a Bud, a Corona or Bass!
I have this free coupon I pulled from my ass!
In six more short days, the coupon’s not valid,
And if not a beer, maybe one small side salad?”

I looked at the lady, saw the need in her eyes,
And wondered how badly she wanted some fries.

“But we’re closed for the night and I’m ready to go”
So I turned off the light and shut the window.

And then, in a twinkling, I heard on the roof,
Scratching and gnawing giving me proof
That this crack whore was desperate and needed a beer
Or maybe she needed some holiday cheer.

She broke through the skylight and came down with a thud.
Her panties were twisted and and covered with mud.

Way too much makeup was covering her face
And her sad bloodshot eyes were scanning the place.

Her eyes- how they crossed! Her hair was so scary!
I pitied the loser who had popped her cherry.

Her droll little mouth was drawn up like a bow,
And her nose was all white from doing some blow.

The stump of a blunt she held tight in her teeth.
And the stench of her body encircled her head like a wreath;

She had a broad face and a round big fat belly,
And she reached to a table for a packet of jelly.

She slurped it up quickly and looked at the shelf
I picked up a steak knife to protect myself.

The bottles of liquor went straight to her head,
And I knew right away I had nothing to dread;

She spoke not a word, but went straight to the whiskey.
She downed the whole bottle and asked “did you miss me?”

And laying her finger aside of her nose,
She took one deep sniff and reached into her clothes.

In her hand was the coupon for the beer that was free
She said "thank you," then burped and gave it to me.

I opened the door and she went out of sight,

Saying “Happy Christmas to all, and to all a goodnight.”





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Friday, December 21, 2012

An Open Letter to Table 15

Dear Table 15,

Congratulations to you! You have the distinct honor of being my most annoying customer of the night! Although it was a tight race between you and table 16 who told me they were so hungry that I should put down my water pitcher and take their order right away, your overall consistency of annoyingness took the lead. Kudos to you, assholes!

When I say hello to a table, a nice response would be a salutation directed back at me and not "I want a cheeseburger." That is just plain rude, sir, but I will blame that on your very advanced age and your need to eat one final meal before departing this earth. Of course, me being eager to please, I was ready to take your order and get that burger cooking as quickly as possible seeing that you must be severely underfed. However, no one else at your table, your wife or grown son, was ready to order because you had only been sitting there for about thirty seconds. Slow the fuck down. Death may be knocking at your door, but I have a sequence of events I try to uphold. I went ahead and placed your well-done burger (with cheddar, I decided, since you were in too big of a hurry to read the menu and make your own choice.) I would come back momentarily to take the rest of the order. That's annoying.

Finally, the other two people were ready to order. "Can I get the roast chicken?" asked the man who was at least 35 years old. "But can you have the chef cut it up for me? I don't have the use of my left elbow." I did see that there was some fancy-looking-bionic-arm Steve Austin kind of contraption on it and let him know that the chicken comes out from the kitchen sliced. But that wasn't good enough. He needed it to be cut into bite-sized pieces. The kitchen was already going to be annoyed with me that I am placing this order in shifts, but now I get to ask the cook to cut the meat too. For God's sake man, you're sitting eighteen inches away from your mother, can't she do it? Perhaps you would like me to chew it for you as well and then partially digest it and then regurgitate it directly into your mouth like a baby bird. Would that be helpful? But I asked the cook to cut the chicken up and he hates me now a little bit more than before which I didn't think was possible.

The old lady wasn't hungry because she had already eaten a full dinner and a dessert before she came in. Too much information and I certainly didn't need to hear it three times. A brandy and ginger ale for the lady. And without ice. Of course, ma'am. And of course you don't want ice. It wouldn't be table 15 without me having to type some extra shit into the computer notating your special needs.

When I returned with the brandy/ginger ale, that is of course the perfect time to ask what the soup of the day is, old man. I would have told you earlier had you not ordered your cheeseburger before allowing me to announce the specials. And of course you want soup now. Another addition to your check is just what the kitchen wants from me.

Everything seemed fine after your food arrived (at three different times) so imagine my surprise when I saw you flagging me down fifteen minutes after the chicken made it to the table. I rushed over because I assumed you wanted a salad now or maybe some bread. But what's this I see? Your credit card? You're waving your credit card around as if I have made you wait forever to make payment. That is not the case. Customarily, I let my tables enjoy their meal for at least twenty minutes before attempting to clear plates but you were in such a hurry to pay that you wanted it done right that very minute. I understand that when the grim reaper is breathing down your saggy neck, time is of the essence, but it's not necessary to freak the fuck out.

I was happy when you left, table 15. I made far too many trips to your table for things that could have been condensed to one or two visit and your neediness took time away from other tables. Thank you for the 12% tip. It was exactly what I expected from you and you did not disappoint. . I am happy to say I was never rude to you and I was always respectful. Too bad you can't say the same. Learn what  "please" and "thank you" mean and congratulations on your most annoying attitude.

Love,
The Bitchy Waiter









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Thursday, December 20, 2012

It's the End of the World, Y'all

Well folks, today's the day before the last day of the world. Again. This, according to the ancient Mayan calendar. Am I bummed about it? Sure I am. but there's a bright side too. I am supposed to open for brunch on Saturday morning and rather than calling in sick, I will be able to call in 'end of the world."  I also know that tonight when I am closing I will not worry so much about getting all the silverware rolled because, who cares? No word on what time the end is coming tomorrow. I assume it will be in the middle of the day, so my plan is to roll enough silver to get us through lunch and if the world is till going on by dinner, the night crew can deal with it. I do wonder how the Mayans came up with December 21, 2012.

Technically, tomorrow is the end of an era on the calendar and it's just where their calendar stops, so maybe it's not actually the end of the world. Maybe there was a continuation of the calendar and it just got misplaced somewhere, like in a closet or under some crap in the cabinet. Or maybe the guy who was making the calendar was like, "Fuck this shit, I'm tired. I already made the calendar for way too far in advance. Enough already." Or maybe the wold is in fact going to come crashing down around us tomorrow and I did laundry last night for absolutely no reason at all. Assuming that today is your last full day on earth, there are some things you may want to do before you never have the chance to do them again:

  • When a customer asks you if you have a restroom, just say no.
  • Instead of cleaning all the ketchup lids, just throw the bottles away and replace them with new ones.
  • When the lady at table six tells you her coffee isn't hot enough, stick your finger in the cup and say, "You're right." And then walk away.
  • Make up some crazy extravagant specials of the day like lobster thermidor for $9.99 or all-you-can-eat prime rib for five bucks and let people order it. Go back to their table two minutes later to apologize and tell them it was 86'ed.
  • Call out that cook who always takes really stinky dumps.
  • Add zeros to every credit card tip because by the time they get their credit card bill, we'll all be dead.
  • Don't wash your hands after using the restroom and see if anything happens.
  • Taste every cocktail before you serve it as an act of quality control so that you can be sure that your customers are having the best cocktails possible. It might be their last one and you want it to be good.
  • When someone orders a bottle of wine, uncork it and just pour it without letting them taste it first. It's the end of the world; be crazy.
  • Tell your boss that you find his wife annoying and after working there for almost two years you think she should at least acknowledge your presence when she comes in. I mean, c'mon. I have worked there for 22 months and she can't say fucking hello to me when she walks past me??
  • Don't iron your uniform, use a dirty apron and wear whatever shoes you want to wear to work.
  • If you get to choose the music you listen to at the restaurant, say on Pandora or something, create a Rodgers and Hammerstein station and turn it up really loud when anything from The Sound of Music comes on. (Spoiler alert: done it. It's fun.)
  • If someone sends their food back say, "I don't think we're going to be able to make you happy here tonight so why don't you just let me comp this so you can go somewhere else?"
  • Serve only regular coffee. We need people to be alert tomorrow.
  • Refuse to serve any hot tea. If you end up with me in hell tomorrow, you know you we'll be making hot teas for eternity so why not give ourselves a break from it?
  • Ask for a raise. The answer may be "when pigs fly" or "when hell freezes over" so you might have a shot at it.
  • Smile. Your last day on earth is always a good time to try new things.
Good luck tomorrow. I hope that everything works. Again, I'm good either way. Worst case scenario, I have to go to work on Saturday morning just like I always do. Best case scenario, the world ends and no more side work. Please enjoy this video of REM singing about the end of the world, as we know it.




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Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Holiday Work Party

It's that time of year when our social calendar begins to fill up with holiday gatherings, coffee with friends and Christmas shopping. One of those engagements sometimes include the "office party" when coworkers let down their hair, loosen their ties, take off their bras and start dancing on table tops after three glasses of White Zinfandel. They say there are three rules at work parties:
  1. Don't ask for a raise.
  2. Don't sleep with anyone.
  3. Don't drink too much.
My "work party" happened on Sunday night. Okay, rule number one is a joke when you work in a restaurant, because we're already making $2.13 or $5.00 an hour, so what more could we ask? Rule number two is no big deal since I'm married and there is no one at my job I'd want to have sex with even if I was single. And rule number three can go fuck itself.

The party is happening, thankfully, at a restaurant we do not work in and most everyone is there. I mean, why wouldn't they be? It's an open bar with free food and most importantly, it's when we exchange our Secret Santa gifts. Seconds after arriving, I toss my gift onto the table and head to the bar to get my first glass of champagne before the lines gets too deep and the bartender realizes that he is serving the world's biggest lushes and starts to judge us all. I want to at least catch a buzz before the condescension begins. The tables are set with the typical sad apps that one regularly sees at these types of parties; cubes of cheese, crackers and bread sticks. They're free and delicious. I hear that after thirty minutes, we will begin seeing passed hors d'oeuvres. Bring it.

At precisely 7:00, the first server appears, looking like she is about to step into a minefield. Her face is wooden and her eyes are glazed over as if she has set herself on auto-pilot and is trying to forget where she is. With her gaze directed just over my head, she mumbles "chicken satay...chicken satay...chicken satay." In her right hand, she has a stack of bev naps fanned out in such a way to give the illusion of fancy. The food disappears within seconds and we hungrily look towards the kitchen for the next plate of food.

"There it is!" screams Nicole. "What is it? I want a pig in a blanket!"

Disappointingly, it's spinakopita.

Another zombie server lurches past us, arms ahead of her carrying a plate of crab cakes which are inhaled before she gets to the center of the room. Following her is a man with little pizzas and then another woman with steak-on-a-stick and then more chicken satay. When I see the second round of chicken satay, that is my cue to say hello to the bartender again.

I feel for these workers, I really do. I have been them, working a Christmas party and hating every minute of it. It's not easy serving people who are there to cut loose and have a good time when all you want to do is go home or at least have your shift drink. Hopefully, they made some bank and they didn't hate us too much by the end of the night.

Finally, it became time to exchange our Secret Santa gifts. We had a $30 limit and I went a little over because I really liked the name I drew and I also like to outdo everyone and rub it in their faces that I give good gift. For two weeks, I observed Kevin. I listened to his conversations and picked up on clues of things he might like. I noticed that he ate a very specific breakfast every morning at work; 365 brand crunchy almond butter from Whole Foods and Fiber Select Garden Vegetable Wheat Thins. A quick discussion of the film Lincoln one morning informed me that he likes movies. Done. I made a quick trip to Whole Foods and then got him five movie passes through my union that allowed me to get them for six bucks apiece. All told, I spent about $36. He loved his gifts and was very happy.

Now it is my turn. I look around the room waiting for someone to approach me with a present. At long last, Juan, who works in the back, comes up to me with a bag that tells me there is a bottle of something in it. "Good man," I think. "Although we don't talk a lot, he obviously knows me well."

"Merry Christmas. I hope you like this'" he tells me as I eagerly unwrap the packaging expecting to see some Grey Goose or Kettel One or maybe even some Effin. But what do I see before me? A bottle of Chardonnay. But not just any bottle of Chardonnay, a big one. A Yellow Tail. The kind that I use to cook with and that costs $10.99.

"Oh, Yellow Tail. Thank you."

"You like?"

"Of course I do. I love wine, thank you so much. You shouldn't have. You really shouldn't have."

I look beside me at a friend who is cradling her bottle of Absolut Citron and another friend who is making goo goo eyes at her bottle of Veuve Clicquot. I look down at my massive bottle of cooking wine and sigh.

"I'm so glad you like it. I didn't know what else to get you." says Juan.

I give him a hug and he makes his way back to his table.

I quickly ask for another glass of champagne from the bartender and toss down ten dollars for him, roughly the cost of my Secret Santa gift. Am I disappointed? A little, but then Kevin comes back over to tell me how excited he is to go see Life of Pi this week and that he'll still have four more free movies to go to. He gives me a hug and tells me thank you one more time. I am happy that he likes his presents. I feel good inside and although it may be from the six glasses of bubbly on an empty stomach, I realize that it could also be because the spirit of giving has come over me.

At the end of the night, I gather my things and my bottle of wine and make my way home. I set the Yellow Tail on my counter and know that it will not go to waste. It's better than a picture frame or candle holders, right? And I know that Juan probably feels as good about giving me the wine as I do about giving Kevin movie tickets, almond butter and Wheat Thins. I'm happy.

I did not ask for a raise, I did not have sex with anyone and I had just the right amount to drink. I would call this work party a success.



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Friday, December 14, 2012

The 12 Days of Bitchy Christmas

It's the time of year when restaurants are full of shoppers who have lots of money to spend but they're all saving it for the new X-Box and a pair of sparkly Uggs so they aren't tipping their servers. Oh sure, every now and then a customer comes in who surprises us with his generosity, but for the most part, this time of year, the money we make comes in via quantity rather than quality.

It's never easy being a server but when your station is full of people who are in mid-holiday stress mode, it can be downright deplorable. Weren't able to track down that (insert hot toy of the year here ie, Tickle Me Elmo, Cabbage Patch Doll, Atari, Hula Hoop) for little Johnny? Well, he's sure going to be disappointed. Maybe you should just take your frustration out on your server who brought you nachos with jalapenos on them because the menu clearly says that nachos come with jalapenos and you didn't ask to leave the jalapenos off. Yell at your server. Leave him a crappy tip. Go write a shitty review about him on Yelp. Then you'll feel better.

Then he will go home and make a YouTube video about waiting tables during the Christmas season.

Happy holidays, everyone! Look, do me a favor. Just "like" this or share it whatever you have to do to get a lot of people to see this video. It's all I want I want for Christmas.



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Wednesday, December 12, 2012

A Comment on Comments

It's that time again, when I take time out of my incredibly busy day of watching Project Runway and eating cheese flavored snack foods, to respond to a comment that someone made on one of my blog posts. It's always nice for me to reach out to people and personally speak to one of the readers who keeps this blog going. Without readers, this blog would be as inactive as a bottle of honey mustard dressing in Springs1's house, so I have the utmost respect for everyone who spends any time reading the drivel that falls from my fingertips as I hunt and peck for letters on the keyboard. In a blog post I wrote called Not a Couple of Gay Dudes, Anonymous had this to say:

I'm confused as to what the purpose of this article is about. Assumed gays sitting at a table? Maybe a bad tip? The way they ordered? WHAT DOES IT MEAN?! Rather, why'd you choose to post this, is what I'd really like to know.


Honestly, Anonymous, the post had the same significance as all of my others: very little. I blog, not because it has importance, but because I enjoy doing it. WHAT DOES IT MEAN? It means that those guys said something to me that made me take a mental note so I could write a story about it one day. You see, Anonymous, this thing you are reading on your computer screen right now is called a blog.

Merriam-Webster defines blog as: a Web site that contains an online personal journal with reflections, comments, and often hyperlinks provided by the writer. 

So you see? What I do is find things that happen in my restaurant world and try to create little stories out of them. The one you are reading now is number 902 and some of them are more successful than others. What I MEAN by that, is that of the 902 posts I have written, some will resonate for more people than others. Does that makes sense? You see, this isn't CNN or Christian Science Monitor or even Huffington Post. This is The Bitchy Waiter and the musings that appear here don't have to be backed up by facts and meaning or seriousness. It's a fucking blog. My blog. Sometimes, I can just take a simple sentence that a brother utters and then through my twisted brain I can imagine that they are a couple of deeply closeted, espadrille-wearing, ascot-lovin', booty buddies who don't want their waiter to think they're gay. It's quite possible, and more than likely true, that they were in fact a couple of brothers who made a simple remark about not being gay. However, that blog post would not have been fun for me to write or for anyone else to read. Case in point:


"Wow, it's kinda romantic out here. Too bad we're brothers and not a couple of gay dudes," said the man.

"Ha ha. Yes, I agree," said the waiter. "Are you ready to order?"


"Yes," said the man.


"What would you like?" said the waiter.

See? That's boring. Not all blog posts have meaning. They are here for people to read and if they like it they laugh and if they don't like it they leave and go spend their time on more important websites like a gossip blog or porn. And yes, maybe even gay porn. 


In the future, as I write blog posts, I will try to make certain that each one is filled with deep meaning. "What would Anonymous like?" shall become my new mantra. I will write it on a Post-It note and stick it to my computer screen so I will always have your needs before me.


Thank you, Anonymous. Thank you for letting me know that blog post #894 didn't fulfill you. I feel horrible about it. Rest assured that 2013 will be all about making sure some anonymous asshole sitting on the Internet finds meaning in a blog post written on a site called the Bitchy Waiter. Right. Uh huh.



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Saturday, December 8, 2012

Happy 4th Birthday, Bitchy Waiter

Today is a (not really all that) special day. Four years ago, the Internet was introduced to The Bitchy Waiter. On December 8th, 2008, I sat down at my computer and wrote my very first post. It was called You're a Horrible Parent. It's almost like things have not changed at all. Since that day, the bitching has continued. This post is #901.

Seeing that the blog is now four years old, I wanted to see what kind of developmental skills it should have based on a four year old child. According to a Google search a four year old kid should:
  1. Get along with people outside the family.
  2. Draw circles and squares.
  3. Ride a tricycle.
Okay, I clearly fail at the first expectation. Between Springs1and the occasional feud with another blogger, I obviously don't know how to get along well with others.

Yes, I can draw circles and squares but I'd rather draw a draft beer.

I can probably ride a tricycle if my knees would allow such behavior but they don't so we'll just say "fuck that" and I will ride a broom instead.

This post is short and sweet since nobody reads this shit on Saturdays anyway, but I could not let the day pass without acknowledging this (not at all) monumental achievement.

In all seriousness, I would like to say thank you to everyone who reads, comments, shares, likes tolerates and ignores The Bitchy Waiter. Thank you, all. If you feel like it, leave a comment below so I know that more than my Mom reads this.

xo,
BW



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    Friday, December 7, 2012

    One Big Meatball Family

    So many of us work in restaurants and very often we let the restaurant become the center of our social life too. It's easy to do since we spend so much time there. Coworkers quickly become friends because they are on the same crazy schedule as ourselves and it's simple to all go out afterwards to lift a glass and discuss how the day went. I think that the word "family" is thrown around a lot, but in the restaurant business, it still seems appropriate. Maybe it's because so many times at restaurants, we all start our day together with a shift meal sitting around a table and talking. After we are done, we all carry our plates to to the kitchen and put them in the dishwasher. It's not that different from being at home sometimes. I don't think that if you work in a bank everyone has a meal together before they begin their day.

    I went to dinner last night at The Meatball Shop and as I was waiting for my table, I spotted a note hanging in the side stand.

    Ballers! Peace out and much love! I will miss all of you. At the risk of sounding cheesy y'all have been like a family to me. Keep in touch, drinks soon (as long as I get home early). Good luck, babies. 

    Love xo, Meg

    What can we learn from this note? First, we can see that Meg has some really great handwriting and that she has little or no respect for a seating chart. Secondly, we know that she likes to drink but she likes to get in early which sounds just like me. (Hint: drink at home in bed. That's what I do and it makes life so much easier.) Lastly, we learn that Meg really cared about her coworkers. The hostess told me it was Meg's last day. When my server arrived at the table, I told her I saw the note and asked her if she was Meg.

    "Oh, no, she already left."

    "It's a sweet note," I said.

    "I know, we're gonna miss her so much but she is so excited to not have to wait tables anymore."

    I imagine that Meg got her big break on Broadway or finally finished law school or won the lottery. For whatever reason, Meg got out but it is clear that she is leaving a little bit of her heart at The Meatball Shop. If not her heart, then at the very least some good friends.

    Over the many years that I have been wearing an apron, I have made some very close friends. Who would have thought that Houlihan's in Times Square would have given me anything other than recurring nightmares, high blood pressure, angina and a raging case of lice? It turns out that it also gave me some good friends. I left that hell hole over 15 years ago and I am still in touch with people I met there. Just moments ago, I got a text from Jane who made her way into my life via nachos and chicken fingers on 49th and Seventh. We now live on the same street and still see each other on a regular basis. Every holiday season I get a phone call from Abbass who I worked with at the Marriott. I left that job over eight years ago but I can always count on his yearly message telling me to have a wonderful Christmas.

    The people you meet at your restaurant job sometimes are the best thing about your restaurant job. Many times, they are the only reason you stay at your restaurant job. My point is that we all have jobs and we all have co-workers, but something about slinging hash ties us closer together, and I'm not talking about the apron strings. I don't know what it is, but when you work so closely with a  group of people and your goal is all the same, something happens sometimes and you start to care about them. Maybe it's because we all lean on each other for support whether it's picking up a shift or doing the side work for someone who doesn't feel well. Maybe it's because so many of us in the restaurant industry share a passion for something else like acting or writing and we find ourselves amongst kindred spirits. Or maybe it's just that I've been extremely lucky and have so often been surrounded by really great people who I like. (Except, you Moe. I still really don't like you. It's been almost two years and you still get on my last fucking nerve.) Am I alone in this feeling? I doubt it.

    Good luck, Meg. I hope your life after waiting tables is a fulfilling one but more than that, I hope you maintain your friendships with the people at The Meatball Shop. Judging by your note, you really like them and judging by my server, they really like you.



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    Thursday, December 6, 2012

    When Life Gives You Lemons, Make a Lemon Drop Martini

    I am all for taking in fewer calories. It's not easy to maintain a slim figure when one is surrounded by fried foods and carbs at the job all day. For this reason, I always choose to have Baked Lays potato chips instead of the good ones and I always only eat half of the donut and then blend the other half into a protein shake. It's little things like that that keep me trim and fit. I suppose every bit counts but sometimes customers will try anything if they think it will save them from having to spend any time on the elliptical machine.

    Last night at work someone ordered a Lemon Drop Martini. I too am a sucker for a Lemon Drop Martini. Truth be told, I am a sucker for anything with the word "martini" in it. If someone created the Spinach and Kale martini, I might finally figure out a way to enjoy vegetable servings. A Lemon Drop is made with citrus vodka, triple sec, lemon juice and served with a sugar rim. It can be all kinds of deliciousness if it's done right.

    "Can you make a Lemon Drop Martini for me?" the lady asks.

    "Yes ma'am. Would you like a sugar rim?"

    It always comes with a sugar rim, but I get a kick out of asking people if they'd like it. It makes me think of Sheen Easton's song Sugar Walls. When I was a kid, I never understood what a sugar wall was but now I am pretty sure she was referring to the sweetness of her vaginal cavity. When you mix in the word "rim" it just paints a real pretty picture, doesn't it?

    The woman pauses a moment as she ponders the idea of rimming with sugar.  And then, "I'm trying to watch the calories. Can you do a Splenda rim instead?"

    "Of course, ma'am. The bartender would be pleased to rim you with Splenda."

    Is she for serious? If you're trying to cut down on the calories, maybe you shouldn't be ordering a Lemon Drop Martini in the first place. I looked up the calorie count for a Lemon Drop and it ain't the sugar rim that's the problem.

    Two ounces of Grey Goose Citron Vodka is 206 calories.
    One ounce of Triple Sec has about 125 calories
    Fresh lemon juice is calorie free.
    One teaspoon of sugar (if you actually used that much for the rim job) is 16 calories.
    The total calories for this cocktail is 347.

    If she switches to one teaspoon of Splenda (4 calories) for her grainy sweet sugar rim job, she will be saving 12 calories which she already used up when she sucked that bowl of hummus clean and then polished off the cracker crumbs by licking her finger and pressing it against the plate to get every last bit of food.

    "Oh, he can give me a Splenda rim?"

    "Oh, he can give you a Splenda rim, alright. He's a pro at rimming. He loves to rim. The sweeter the rim the better. Sugar, Splenda, Sweet'n Low. If he can rim it, he will."

    "That'll be great! I'd love a Splenda rim!"

    She looked relieved like she had just figured out a way to avoid the gym the next day. The bartender gave her the rim job she wanted and it was so delicious and so healthy that she ordered a second one, making for a total of 670 calories for her two drinks. No word on how many calories were in that Red Velvet Cake she split with her friend.

    People, don't pretend that you are on a diet and then drink cocktails. It makes no sense. And if you ask for something as ridiculous as a Splenda rim, chances are good that your waiter is going to make fun of you behind your back fat and maybe even possibly write a blog post about it.



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    Wednesday, December 5, 2012

    Me and the Old Lady Waitress

    I am certainly not the oldest waiter in the United States, but I am the oldest one at my restaurant. My appearance may fool some into thinking that I have only worn my apron for a few years, but a closer inspection of my pores and wrinkles reveals that honey mustard runs through my veins and waiting tables has been a part of me for far too long. Recently, I saw the look of shock on the face of a co-worker when I mentioned what year I graduated from high school. It was that realization that I was older than his dad and now he felt inclined to call me "sir" and he no longer wanted to talk to me. It hurt me real bad and had my feelings not been numbed by Chardonnay,  I may have produced an actual tear. Imagine my joy when I heard that we had hired a new server who the bartender had described as a "nice older lady." Finally, someone older than me!

    I envision a little old lady with grey hair in a bun coming in through the front door using her walker. She has her spectacles hanging on a chain around her neck and she has to ask me every three minutes how to ring in a burger using the fancy computer machine. Her Life Alert bracelet is her only jewelry other than a brooch that she uses to hold her shawl around her shoulders. She has ten cats and feeds them caramel squares that she unwraps during movies. She doesn't have a cell phone because they seem like a fad and she still remembers what it was like to wait tables during the Great Depression. She has had two hip replacements and one artificial knee surgery. She steals sugar packets from the caddy before filling them up and she always microwaves the coffee for her guests because she knows what it's like to have coffee in a restaurant that's not hot enough. Her hosiery goes only as high as her knees and they support her calves in order to keep her varicose veins in check. The hearing aid she wears must be turned up as high as it can go while at the restaurant so that she can hear the orders and she constantly tries to turn the lights brighter to make it easier to see past her cataracts. She has an AARP card.

    She is scheduled to come in at 7:00 to finish the shift with me. At 6:55 I look up to see a woman coming in to the restaurant. I immediately dismiss her as my new co-worker because she has neither a cane nor a hunch back from a lack of calcium. She is attractive with a pretty smile and her dark blond hair pulled back in a loose pony-tail.

    "Hello, table for one?" I ask.

    "Oh, no I work here. My name's Dawn and I'm supposed to start at 7:00 tonight. I'm a little early."

    She smiles revealing pretty straight teeth and not the dentures that I expect.

    "Oh, you're Dawn? I heard about you. Welcome." I force a smile.

    I have been misled. This woman is clearly a decade younger than me. Why was she described as a "nice older lady" if she is younger than me? How the hell does the bartender describe me to people?

    "Oh, him? Yeah, he's this old man who has been waiting tables since dinosaurs were on the menu. He seems young but only because he wears clothes from American Eagle Outfitter and has big hair. If you look closer, you can kinda see that the whites of his eyes are not that white and if you stand near enough you can smell the senior citizen on him. You can tell that he shaves the hair that grows out of his ears because there's stubble on them and he's always referring to TV shows that I have never even heard of like Good Times. He thinks he's young, but he's not. It's sad, really. Really sad."

    The rest of the night goes by with me making small talk to the new girl. Inside, I am crushed because I know I am still the oldest person at the restaurant. I am even older than the owner. I console myself with a glass of wine but consider switching over to a sherry because it seems like something old people would drink. I punch out and shuffle out the door, head low and mood lower. I am still the oldest.

    I get home and smother my face in wrinkle cream and dye my roots. I curl up on the sofa with a good Agatha Christie book and watch a rerun of Murder, She Wrote. The afghan I knitted in my sewing circle keeps my feet warm (for my circulation is poor) and I try to stay awake to watch the news at 11:00. I have a snack of buttermilk and cornbread and finally go to bed at 11:15 and dream about The Golden Girls.



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    Tuesday, December 4, 2012

    Tricks of the Restaurant Trade Debunked

    Don't you just love when you see an article on the Internet about restaurants and it's clear that it was written by someone who has no clue about what it's like to actually work in one? Such is the case with a story over at Money Talks News. It's called "Tricks of the Trade: Restaurants" and was written by a woman named Amanda Geronikos who probably worked as a hostess at Red Lobster for four weeks when she was 17 and now she thinks she is an expert on the food and beverage industry. This is not the first time she has been caught spouting useless tips. Several months ago she wrote an article called "7 Ways to Radically Reduce Your Restaurant Checks" which I responded to in a very mature blog post called "How To Pinch a Penny/I'm a Cheap Ho." Once again, I am forced to educate Ms. Geronikos and point out how fucking obvious her little "tricks of the trade" are to anyone who has half a brain in their head. It's called the restaurant "business" for a reason. They are there to make money just like any other business.

    1. Salty snacks at the bar

    Those complimentary pretzels and peanuts weren’t set in front of you as a kind gesture – they’re there so you’ll order more drinks. Salty snacks make you thirsty. End of story.

    No shit. I think everyone knows this and doesn't care. I'd be more concerned about how many fecal mattered fingers went into that bowl of pretzels than how thirsty they're making me.

    2. Menu design

    Our eyes have a natural tendency to look at the right side of the menu first, so restaurants usually list their most expensive dishes in that area. Some restaurants put their most expensive items at the top of the menu, so other items look more reasonably priced.

    This is called subliminal advertising and is not inherent to the restaurant industry. Why do you think that car at the dealership is listed at $24,999? Because it sounds better than $25,000, that's why. This is not a trick of the restaurant trade.

     3. Lack of dollar signs

    Have you noticed more restaurants listing prices without dollar signs? That’s no coincidence. In a Cornell study guests given a menu with only numbers and no dollar signs spent significantly more than those who received a menu with either prices showing a dollar sign or prices written out in words.

    Really? In another Cornell study, it was proven that some people are paid to write really stupid articles about restaurants while other people write way better ones for free.

    4. Flowery descriptions

    Which sounds better: Classic Burger or Tavern-Style Burger with Frizzled Onions and Smoky Barbecue Sauce? According to a six-week field experiment by Cornell, menus that had descriptive or creative food descriptions, rather than items with simple names, increased sales by 27 percent.

    I think this is common in plenty of places other than just restaurants. Which one sounds better: "This article was written by Amanda Geronikos" or "This article was written by a clueless tavern-style writer with frizzy hair and smokey barbecue breath?

    5. Extremely friendly servers

    I’ve personally fallen victim to this, and you probably have too. While dining at a restaurant in Chicago, I met the world’s friendliest server and gave him an exceptionally generous tip (he made it a point to thank me for my kindness). According to a study by Cornell, my behavior was common – customers leave higher tips when their servers personally introduce themselves, crouch beside the table, or ask about your day.

    Are you serious? How is this a trick? We are taught form from childhood that you catch more flies with honey than with vinegar. In other words, everyone is nicer to someone when they want something from that person. How is this any different from when the customer is sickeningly sweet to us and then they ask for a free dessert because it's their birthday? Of course servers are nice to you. We're not stupid. How much of a tip will we get if we turn off our filter and just say and act how we really feel? Once again. At least your server made a point to thank you for your kindness. Isn't that what he should do? I don't see how this is a trick of the restaurant trade when it happens all over the place.

    6. The upsell

    The servers who grip your wallet with their charisma also pull you in with the classic upsell, and they’re very good at it. That same Chicago server also convinced me that his restaurant had some of the best burgers in the city and persuaded me to buy a premium beer that would pair well with the burger.

    That's your fault, dummy. Upselling is how any business makes money.  Ever bought an appliance and they try to sell you that extra added warranty for an extra hundred bucks? Or how about the last time you bought a cell phone? I bet they tried to convince you that you needed to get a text message bundle, didn't they? It's called making money for the business. If you ask for vodka, I'm gonna ask if you'd rather have Kettel One or Grey Goose. It's up to you to say that you want McCormick. 

    7. Music

    Classical music makes you spend. Mentioned in a Daily Mail article, University of Leicester researchers found that classical music, associated with affluence, encouraged spending at restaurants, while a lack of music caused diners to spend drastically less.

    I can't speak about this because in my restaurant the music that plays is decided by the people who are working. Therefore, every Thursday night at my job, customers get to listen to The Smiths station that I created on Pandora. Classical music making people spend more money on food does make sense now that I think about it because the last time I was at the symphony, I saw people throwing money at the hot dog vendors and eating cotton candy like there was no tomorrow. 

    8. Package deals

    All-you-can-eat specials and buffets appeal to diners looking for a good value. While there may be a discount, restaurants pull out the tricks to get you to eat less. You’ve probably noticed that buffet lines often start with an assortment of low-cost breads and salads to fill you up before you even get to the meat. You might also find  uncomfortable chairs that discourage sitting for an extended period of time.

    Caveat emptor, lady, caveat emptor. Anyone who eats at a buffet knows that you skip the bread and go right to the prime rib. That is rule #1 for any seasoned all-you-can-eater. If you're too stupid to know that you're going to get filled up on rolls even though you're paying $24.99 (not $25.00), that's your own fault. And I seriously doubt that any restaurant purposely looks for uncomfortable chairs just so people are less likely to stay for a long time. But That maybe the best idea I have ever heard of.

     9. Questionable specials

    Specials aren’t always so “special.” In fact, they often include leftover ingredients or food that is set to expire soon. And while there are deals to be had, sometimes specials can cost just as much as a regular priced meal.

    No one expects the special to be cheaper. It's just something that isn't normally on the menu. How about you just ask how much it costs before ordering it so you don't feel like you were taken advantage of? And yes, maybe they are trying to get rid of something in the kitchen so they make it a special. Sorta like when you go to the grocery store and see the chicken breast is on sale but you notice that the expiration date is in two days. Again, not a restaurant trick of the trade, just reality.

    10. Forced waiting

    Restaurant staff members make you wait so they can divert your attention to the lounge, which is ironically never crowded. Some restaurants bill you for your lounge items separately from your meal, forcing you to tip twice.

    Can we say generalization? This does not happen in every restaurant, Amanda. And if they bill you separately, what is the big deal about tipping twice? If you tip 20% on each bill, what difference does it make? 

    11. Soups and salads trick

    Many people often order a soup and salad under the assumption these items are cheaper (and healthier). But they’re not always a good deal. Salad bar items are often marked up more than 350 percent.

    Of course restaurants mark up food costs. It's called "making money." You think the cost of food in a restaurant should be the same as it costs at the grocery store? Once again, this is not a restaurant thing. You can buy a head of lettuce at the store for pretty cheap or you can pay more for the bag of pre-washed salad or you can go to a restaurant and pay even more for that salad and have it washed, prepared, placed on the plate and brought to you. It all depends on what you want to spend your money on.


    I hope you have enjoyed this response to the original article. I would encourage you to go to the site and leave a comment to the writer and let her know that her ideas are unoriginal, over-generalized, baseless and lame. Also, please ask her to keep on writing because every time she publishes something, I know I will have fun ripping it apart.



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    Monday, December 3, 2012

    76 Big Hos

    Nothing is as special to me as the customers in my station which is why I made this very special music video just for them.  I have included the lyrics below for anyone who would like to join in and sing this wonderful anthem. It is indeed, truly something.

    I hope that the next time you are in the weeds up to your ass crack and you are hating your life, you can think of this song and know that you are not alone. I also hope you will share this, tweet it, like it or do whatever you can for more people to see it.




    76 Big Hos
    music by Meredith Wilson
    lyrics by The Bitchy Waiter

    My I have your attention please, attention please?
    I can deal with this trouble my friends with a wave of my tray, my heavy tray.
    Listen now, but hear me later, for I'm The Bitchy Waiter.
    And I'm about to knock some sense up in these here bitches heads.
    Oh think, my friends, how can this many people ever hope to get every single thing that they need?
    "I need more Ranch dressing for my salad."
    Remember, my friends, you're not the only person who's sitting in my station and I haven't even had my first cocktail yet.
    Old lady at booth four, you settle down.

    Oh a drink will do it, my friends, oh yes, I mean a cold drink, do you hear me?
    I say Bitchy Waiter's gotta have a big drink and I mean he needs it today.
    When The Bitchy Waiter has a drink in his hand, it's time that all the servers now take a stand and as sure as the Lord made little green apples, that stand's gonna be bitchy.

    Table two, booth three, ten-top and kids: can see the glimmer of sweat on my forehead?
    Did you hear me say, "I'll be right with you?"
    The whining of ladies, "I need more Ranch!"
    And you'll feel something akin to the electric thrill I once sustained when the church crowd, a group of teens, foreigners, a great big ol' douchebag, Elke Krivat and the Red Hat Ladies all sat in my station on the very same historic day!

    76 big hos sent their coffee back.
    While 110 all asked for separate checks.
    They were followed by rows and rows of people needing boxes to-go.
    I scream and want to wring their necks.

    76 dumb kids spilled their chocolate milk.
    With 110 dads asking for grilled cheese.
    And as that mom breastfeeds, I am getting in the weeds.
    I would love to hear a "thank you" or a "please."

    There was a flabby bottomed old biddy with a horse face.
    Wondering, wondering, "Where is my food?"
    A double wide perambulator needs more space.
    There's no more space.
    I'm in a real bad mood.

    There were fifty senior citizens with a Groupon.
    Wondering, wondering, "Do we have to tip?"
    Yes, you do it, it's not included.
    Eat fast food where you're better suited.
    Get out or I'll break your other hip.

    (music/cocktail break)

    76 minutes later we were finally closed
    With 110 campers falling far behind.
    And when they said good bye I was so happy I could cry.
    I picked up their vouchers and they all were signed!

    76 huge tips in my apron pouch.
    Plus 110 bigger tips on credit cards.
    With the sound of "ka-ching ka-ching ka-ching"
    My bank account begins to sing
    And I know that tomorrow I will do this all again!