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Thursday, February 28, 2013

The Case of the Missing Credit Card Voucher

Thursday, 9:58 PM

I'm closing the place down and waiting for my last two tables to pack it up and move on out. It's a dark and rainy night outside and the warmth of the restaurant is no doubt keeping the customers here longer than normal. I can't blame them for not wanting to go out into the elements, but as Sherril Holland, manager at Houlihan's, used to say: "You don't have to go home but you can't stay here."

Finally, one of the tables begins to put on their coats and it signals to the other table that it might be a good idea to ask for their check. I remind them that I placed it on the table twenty minutes earlier. The woman laughs at her own absent-mindedness and she digs into her purse to hand me her Visa card.

"Good night, folks," I say to the exiting customers as I walk to the credit card machine. "Stay dry. Thanks for coming in."

I swipe the card and am annoyed to learn that the magnetic strip is not working. I swipe it again in the hopes of avoiding having to punch in all the numbers manually. It still doesn't work so I dig my reading glasses out of my apron to read the card. The total is $72.63. The machine prints out two vouchers; one that says Merchant Copy and the other that says Customer Copy. As per the norm, I take the Customer Copy and fold it up along with the original receipt and then wrap it around the credit card. On the other copy, I circle the words Merchant Copy and place it in a folder.

"Here you are folks. Thanks for coming in and have a good night," I tell them.

I move over to the other table and begin to clear it, placing the empty water glasses and napkins onto a tray and head to the dish room. When I return to the dining room with a towel and cleaning solution I see my last customers walking away from their table ensuring that my night is nearing an end. I say good night again and they are gone.

I head to my last table to clear it and pick up the credit card folder. There is no voucher. I run to the door of the restaurant to see if I can catch them, but they have disappeared into the darkness and all I see are people walking their dogs in the rain.

They took the fucking voucher.

I know that I gave them two vouchers. I know one was very clearly marked Merchant Copy. I know I will not be getting a tip.

Where did that voucher go? Could it have been stuffed into her purse with the other one? Did she eat it? Did she shove it up her ass to avoid tipping me? I will never know. All I know for certain is that when people walk out of the restaurant with the signed copy of a credit card voucher, I will not be getting a tip. I know that I served them for absolutely no reason other than for the sheer joy of serving and we know how much that is worth.

Don't take the signed copy. I can't just assume that you left 20% and add it because the second I do that, a call will be made to Visa and my ass is in trouble for credit card fraud. Yet I can't make a call to Visa and charge your ass with stiffing me.

Maybe it was taken by accident, but maybe it wasn't. Is it that hard to believe that people would willingly walk out with the signed copy just to avoid that $14.00 tip? It is feasible and very very likely. 

I close the card with no tip. I don't risk getting fired by adding a tip that I didn't see. It's a shitty ending to night. What do you do when someone walks out with the signed copy?



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Wednesday, February 27, 2013

I Do Not Want to Charge Your Phone

Dear Customer,

I don't care about your technology issues. They do not affect me. Please do not ask me if we have an electrical outlet somewhere that you can charge your phone, because this is a restaurant and not an iPhone charging center. Why would you expect me to carry your phone to the side stand for you and charge it just so you can be sure to have enough battery left when you leave to play Angry Birds? No, we don't have any outlets "right here." They are away from you and if I take your phone and plug it in and it's somewhere you can't see it, who is responsible when water is spilled on it or it is stolen? Me. I get that you really want to have enough power to snap a flash photo of your calamari so you can send it to Instagram and Yelp, but it really isn't my problem. The same thing goes for your iPad. And no, I don't have "an extra charger" either. If you ask me to charge your phone, I will say no. I will make up some story about how our manager won't allow us to do it.  If I see some random phone that is being charged in the side stand and I find out that it belongs to a customer, I am going to take that phone and give it to the dishwasher and ask him to go take another picture of his junk. It will be a nice surprise for you when you look at your gallery later: Juan's big uncut burrito. Mucho grande, no?

Do not ask your server to charge your phone. 

Also, I don't know why you don't have a signal in my station. Maybe I would care a little bit more about a signal if I was allowed to have my phone with me while on the floor, but I am not so I don't give a flying T-Mobile fuck about how many bars you have or don't have. Put the goddamn phone in your pocket for thirty minutes and why don't you try to have a real connection with someone for a change, like maybe with the person you came to eat with. Facebook will not dry up and blow away if you don't check-in and no, we don't give any discounts because you are the mayor on Foursquare. I don't know what that means. Stop asking.

For those of you who do have enough battery to take pictures, enough already. At least let me put the goddamn plate down before you start doing a photo shoot of your penne pasta. None of your friends on Facebook are sitting at home waiting to see what you had for dinner. Trust me, they don't care.

In conclusion, let me reiterate that no server wants to take your phone and charge it for you. It is annoying to us and not our responsibility. No amount of "pretty please" is going to make me want to carry your $200 toy away from your table and babysit it for the next half-hour. Do not try to convince me. And remember: if you do find a server to do it, you might just end up with some questionable photos of a very large Latino penis. Actually, maybe for some of you it's worth a shot just to get your own private photos of a burrito dick.

Love, 
The Bitchy Waiter



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Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Gluten-Free for You and Me

Forgive me father, for I have sinned. I don't know if it's really a sin, but I may have done something to put someone in harm's way. Well, it wasn't really my fault, I guess, but I still feel bad about it, Lord. Okay, I don't really feel too bad about it because now that I think abut it, it really didn't have much to do with me at all. Am I responsible for something I knew nothing about? Never mind, God, I'm sure she's fine.

All servers deal with customers who have allergies. It's part of our job to accommodate requests so that our guests can enjoy their food without worry that their throats are going to swell up and they will asphyxiate because they ate a nut. Of course I don't want someone to die because I forgot to type in "nut allergy" on the ticket. I can only assume that if you kill one of your customers, the tip is going to be pretty low. It's never happened to me, but I'm just going to assume.

I don't think gluten is ever going to kill someone, but I don't want to be responsible for stomach cramps either. There are a couple of regulars at the restaurant who can never eat gluten. One lady in particular is adamant about it, which I totally get. What I don't understand is how she can ask me every single time if the sauce that goes onto the roasted chicken is gluten-free.

"No, ma'am. The sauce has flour in it. We have not changed the recipe since the last time you were here, I'm sorry."

"Oh, really?" She says. "That's a bummer, because I'm allergic to gluten. Like, if I even have a little bit of it, I don't feel well. It's horrible for me. Like I even have to have my own mayonnaise at home because if my husband gets crumbs in the mayo and I use it, I get sick. Blech! Toilet for hours, you know what I mean? So, can you make sure the kitchen knows to be very careful? Thank you!"

"Yes, ma'am, absolutely."

"Okay, so I will have the roasted chicken with no sauce, okay? No sauce. Like not even on the side. I will pay for it if I eat it. Thank you!"

"Yes, ma'am, very good."

Every time we go through this. Every. Single. Time. I got it, lady: you don't eat gluten. It gives you projectile diarrhea or whatever. Enough, already.

A few days ago, the phone rings at work, and being the dutiful employee I am, I answer it on the seventh ring since it seems clear that no one else is going to fucking do it.

"Thank you for calling This Restaurant, this is The Bitchy Waiter. How may I help you?"

A lady on the other end wants to hear the specials of the day. I rattle them off and she decides she wants to place an order to pick up.

"This is what I get for answering the phone," I think. "Now I have to ring this in under my number and I know she isn't going to leave a tip on a to-go order. Where do we keep the to-go boxes anyway? Fuck. I will never answer the phone I again!"

I place the order and rummage around around the bar to find all the to-go utensils for her curry cauliflower soup and roasted chicken breast, with no gravy. I think nothing about the order until 15 minutes later when the food is in the window. I put it all together and place it on top of the oven to keep it warm until the customer comes in to get it. The bartender will probably deal with it so I don't give it another thought.

A few minutes later, I see that the food is gone so I look over at the bar to see the bartender thanking the customer as she walks out the door with her soup and roasted chicken, with no gravy. As she passes in front of our window I see that it is the "no-gluten" lady and she is carrying a gluten-free roasted chicken and a cup of curry cauliflower soup that has gluten all up in it.

Forgive me father, for I have sinned. I don't know if it's really a sin, but I may have done something to put someone in harm's way. Well, it wasn't really my fault, I guess, but I still feel bad about it, Lord. Okay, I don't really feel too bad about it because now that I think abut it, it really didn't have much to do with me at all. Am I responsible for something I knew nothing about? Never mind, God, I'm sure she's fine. 



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Monday, February 25, 2013

Restaurant Managers Say the Darndest Things

Restaurant managers are a curious breed. Do you think any of them grew up wanting to be a restaurant manager or is it something that just happened? I was looking through an old journal last night and out of it fell a bev nap that was covered in writing. It was dated December 1, 1994 and written while working at Houlihan's in Times Square. It was mostly about my frustration with that particular job and the managers in particular:

"Is it the right thing to do when I get up every day and come to this dung heap of a restaurant? And looking at the various managers flit-floating around reminds me that the life of a restaurant manager is empty. As empty as my pockets are after a typical shift at this joke of a job."

I remember that we had a regional manger in the restaurant that day so everything had to be ship shape.
"And isn't it funny how they think that I care if his silverware is extra clean? Owners and area managers see their restaurants through a cloud of smoke. So sad for them to think that everyone's silver is as clean as theirs. Or that everyone's food comes out that fast. Idiots! All of them."*

I recall ringing in an order for the area manager and having to type in that it was a VIP so the kitchen would know to make it first and to make sure it was perfect. Meanwhile, the secretary at table 72 who comes in every other day has to wait for her salad longer than usual and no one will go through it to make sure that every piece of lettuce is pristine.

"But back to the ridiculousness of the restaurant business: it sucks. But the people you work with usually are very nice. However, the people you work for usually are very stupid. Power breeds stupidity."


The words on that bev nap were written almost twenty years ago and it tells me three things; Number one: things never change. Number two: I have been a bitchy waiter for a long fucking time. Number three: my handwriting is immaculate.

At a recent "mandatory meeting" at work. I listen to the owner saying things that I could have written down on that same bev nap back in 1994. The corporate-speak and general bullshit that spews from his mouth is making me sick to my stomach and I find it hard it believe that he really thinks that what he says is inspiring to us.

"We all have to be on the same team, because if we're not on the same team, it means we are fighting against each other. Our cart has to be going in the same direction. If my wheels are going one way and your wheels are going another, how will we ever get anywhere?"

Really? That is supposed to make me want to work harder for you? There must be a high school guidance counselor somewhere who is pissed off because he is missing the inspirational poster from his wall. It sounds like it came from the same people who gave us the image of the kitten hanging from a tree limb with the words "Hang in there!" Managers could do a lot better if they would just talk to us like we are people and not cogs in their food service machinery. We are not stupid. We want the same things they want: plenty of customers, an enjoyable place to work and money. Inspirational quotes are not going to inspire us.

"My number one priority is you guys. I want you to be happy and I want you to make a lot of money," he says. Don't lie to us. I would respect you so much more (no, I wouldn't) if you could be honest and say that your number one priority is that the restaurant makes a lot of money and you hope that trickles down to us. Don't blow smoke directly up my ass by saying you care about me when every time I make a suggestion you just dismiss it with "it sounds like you need more training" or "well, we have to keep doing it this way in order for us to grow." Just be honest and say, "It's my way or the highway." At least then, I will know that you're an asshole instead of you trying to conceal it with the touchy-freely crap you wrap up your ego with.

Bitter, me? Sure, I am, because I know that so many other servers have to deal with restaurant managers who are exactly the same as mine. Yes, my job knows I write a blog. Does the owner read it? I don't know, I doubt it. And if he does, I can't imagine that he made it all the way to the end of this post. Besides, the beauty part of me having three jobs is that I can always say it wasn't about them, it was about my other boss. But my friends who I work with who read this will know exactly who I am referring to.

My apologies to the good restaurant mangers out there. I know you exist. It's just that you are an endangered species.


*Even back in 1994, I was quoting musical theater. "Idiots! All of them," is from The Threepenny Opera.



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Thursday, February 21, 2013

Do Your Really Want That Water or Are You Wasting My Time?

As in the Rime of the Ancient Mariner, I see water, water every where, but not a drop to drink. Unlike our seafaring sailor who was surrounded by salt water and unable to satiate his thirst with his surroundings, I see glass after glass of tap water that people ask for but they never let pass their lips.

We don't live in a country where there is very often a water shortage so people feel free to waste water in the same way they waste their breath by telling me how they want their burger cooked or what they're allergic to.

I go to a six-top to see what they would like for their two-drink minimum while watching the show. We are not a restaurant, so we don't have pitchers of water at side stands that we fill glasses with every two minutes.

"Hello, folks, how are you tonight? Can I get you anything to drink yet or would you like a few minutes to look over the cocktail menu?"

Silence ensues.

"I can come back in a few minutes if you need some more time. I do realize our cocktail menu is quite extensive and it can take some time to decide which one of our delicious libations you would like to enjoy this evening."

More silence. And then those dreaded words from one woman:

"I don't know what I want, so can you just bring me a glass of water while I decide? Just bring everyone a glass of water."

What if everyone doesn't want a glass of water, lady? Did you ever think of that? Are the other five people going to drink that water or am I just using up valuable time to bring glasses of water that will never be touched? Her five friends don't even acknowledge that she has just asked for water on their behalf which tells me that I am going to be doing this for nothing. We have a total of 75 people seeing this show. If I bring a glass of water to every single person, that is three extra racks of glasses that have to be cleared, carried down the stairs and sent through the dishwasher. That is 75 glasses that we will go through and maybe make us run out of them for important things like vodka tonics and my wine.

I return to the bar to ask the bartender for six glasses of water. He is up to his ass-less chaps in chits trying to keep up with the demand for real drinks like martinis and Manhattans but now has to put the brakes on productivity to get water for six people, five of which didn't even ask for it.

"It's so fucking irritating when someone orders water for the whole table. Ain't nobody got time for that," I bitch.

"I'm sure you've blogged about it before, right?" asks Tom.

I realize I have not.

"But then again," he continues, "it's not like it would be a whole blog. Probably just a paragraph."

"Oh, I can make it a whole blog post," I counter. "Just wait."

I return to the table with the six glasses of water and, surprise, surprise, they still aren't ready to order. I place the six glasses on the table and notice that four of the customers don't even notice that it happened. Meanwhile, the lady at the table next to them sees the waters and decides that she too is parched.

"That looks good. Can I have a glass of water?"

"Me too," says another man.

It's as contagious as yawning. Everyone who sees a glass of water now thinks they need one too. It's maddening. I feel myself falling into the weeds as I fetch additional glasses of water for people who moments before did not even know they wanted one.

After the show, I go to clear the room and head back to the table that started The Great Water Demand of 2013. Of the original six glasses of water I had brought to the table, five of them still have the paper on the straw meaning they were never touched. As I suspected, it was all for naught.

Look, I don't mind getting water, I really don't. I understand that water is a basic need and can be quite delicious when mixed with a cup of sugar and a packet of Kool-Aid. What I ask is that people think about it first before requesting "water for everyone." Let people make theor own decisions about their water intake. Don't assume they want it and certainly don't assume that I will be happy to do it. Rest assured, if you ever find yourself saying 'just bring water for everyone," your server is muttering under his breath how irritated he is.

Let me end this post by quoting the last paragraph of The Rime of the Ancient Mariner and showing you how it relates to the above water situation:

He went like one who hath been stunn'd,
And is of sense forlorn:
A sadder and a wiser man
He rose the morrow morn.

What that means in present day speak is this:

The customer was like, "oh my God,"
I feel so bad for asking for water for everyone when I didn't even know if they wanted it:
I know now it can be annoying and wasteful
And starting tomorrow I won't do that anymore.

(See Tom? I told you I could write a whole blog post about it.)



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Tuesday, February 19, 2013

News Flash: Restaurant Owner is Cheap

The restaurant world is full of owners and managers who are always trying to figure out new ways to make more money for their businesses. They'll try anything. Add a dollar to every entree? Sure! Charge a cake slicing fee? You bet! Pay their employees less than the required minimum wage? Oh, hell no!

According to Eyewitness News KOB, a restaurant owner in Albuquerque, New Mexico is trying that approach and it is not going over well at all. Last November, Albuquerque voters changed the minimum hourly wage for servers from $2.13 to $3.83. However, Eric Szeman, owner of Route 66 Malt Shop had his employees sign a contract that said they agreed to keep their $2.13 an hour wage in order for them to keep their jobs. Of course they signed it because nobody wants to be looking for a new job in Albuquerque.

I guess that after a few days they realized they had signed some illegal bullshit and some of the servers decided to complain about it. The next thing you know, they're all over the Internet and The Bitchy Waiter is writing a post about them.

“We can't afford it,” Szeman says. “We don't have the money. We don't make the money." He also says his payroll went from about $3,600 every two weeks to about $6,000.

However, sir, the law is the law. If the law says that you have to pay your employees $3.83 an hour then you kinda gotta do that, right? That's what laws are for; they are to be followed. I get that you now have to pay an extra $1200 a week to cover payroll costs, but you can't just make up your own labor laws. I would suggest you raise the prices on your menu to cover the costs. Surely the fine voters of Albuquerque will understand that in order for you to pay the new minimum wage they approved then you will have to raise the prices. Where else did the voters think that money was going to come from?

I have looked at the website and see that the restaurant is open seven days a week for a total of 81 hours. If the owner needs to earn an additional $1200 a week to cover this new pay increase, that is only $171 extra dollars a day. If there are about 200 covers a day, then if each one of them paid an additional eight-five cents for their food, that would supply the needed money to pay employees the new wage. Perhaps 200 covers a day is unrealistic. If 100 covers a day is more likely, then add $2.00 to every item on the menu. It's what restaurants do.

I also studied the Route 66 menu. It's cheap. The Classic Burger is $4.99. Why not raise it to the whopping price of $5.99 and you will be well on your way to being a law-abiding restaurant owner again. Or change the price of the Frito-Pie to $6.49. That is still some affordable food. It does not seem that difficult. Perhaps it costs too much money to reprint the menus and update the website? (Truth be told, that website needs to be updated regardless of menu changes or not. It looks like an eighth-grader made it with a Geocities template 15 years ago. That music is annoying.) I really don't see a reason why the owner can't make this happen.

I have a feeling that after pressure form the news media, he will eventually pony up the money and pay his servers the right wage. In the meantime, feel free to head on over to the Route 66 Malt Shop Facebook Page and say hello to them. I'm sure they'd love to hear from you.

Please share this or like it so that more people can put the pressure on this restaurant owner to do the right thing and pay his servers the legal minimum wage. And people in Albuquerque, I hope you will continue to patronize this restaurant even after the price of nachos goes up to $7.25. You voted to raise the minimum wage, now you have to put your money where your mouth is.



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Monday, February 18, 2013

A Comment on Comments

It's Presidents' Day and what better way to celebrate the birthdays of Abraham Lincoln and George Washington than to have a Comment on Comments post? No, there is absolutely no connection to the two, but I care about making a connection about as much as I care about how your burger is cooked. Zip.

Back in the olden days of The Bitchy Waiter, I wrote a post called "What is That Smell??" It was all the way back in December of 2008 and it was only the ninth blog post I had ever written. I was still young and naive and working at VYNL with Bill, Lauren and Kate; the good ol' days when drinking on the job was the norm and we all hated our customers. (News flash: the good ol' days sound very much like the right now days...) The blog post was about farting at the table of an annoying customer. Real mature, I know.

Someone named Anonymous left this comment on that post recently:

"I would call the manager over and let them know, that I know what is up. I know that you are farting and I am not paying for a meal where you are farting at my table. At this point I would say, the food was nasty, I couldn't eat it. I would vomit at the table if I have to. I would call the health department. I would even yell hair in my food. I would yell roach, rat, or whatever I had to do. No money no tip, you fart, your screwed...."

What I want to know is how will Anonymous prove that I had been releasing trouser trumpets? Is there some new invention being sold at Wal-Mart that can detect where exactly an anal salute is coming from. If I were to cut the cheese at your table, how would you know it was me and not that adorable little old lady at the booth next to you who just let out a beef slider that turned into a shart? Look, we all have to deal with flatulence, but sometimes a floating air biscuit has to come out and if I choose to let it out at your table, there is nothing you can do about it. And far as I know, it is not illegal to leave an invisible present at the table of an asshole.

So you would call the manager over and tell him that you know I blew some mud in your direction and that you refuse to pay? No one will care. If the manager asked me if I had cut a stinker on purpose, I would simply say "no," give out a silent rectal honk and be on my way. And then you could call the health department because they would love to hear a complaint about a waiter who may or may not have had a case of the colonic calliope at a restaurant. I'm sure they would rush over to investigate the situation.

"Code red, code red!! Get over to VYNL right away. We think someone let a stink bomb!"

At this point, you would realize that complaining about a possibly gassy server is is not enough to get a free meal and you would try other tactics to get out of paying; hair in the food, a roach, self-induced vomiting, etc. By now though, it would be too late. The manager would already be on to you and know that you are just trying to scam a free meal. You'd have to pay and you'd be pissed about it. You wouldn't leave a tip, but that would be fine. In exchange for the stiff, I would gather my co-workers and we would simultaneously let one rip and create the world-famous Hippopotamus Fart. Hip hip, Poot-ray! Hip hip poot-ray! Hip hip poot-ray! You're welcome.

Thank you for your comment. By the way, it's "you're screwed" and not "your screwed." You're welcome.




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Friday, February 15, 2013

Welcome, February 15th. Servers Love You.

It is February 15th and we have survived another year serving on Valentine's Day. We all know it was horrible; two-top after two-top streaming into the restaurant trying to have their very own private special moment while crammed into a section that normally has three tables but on this day has five. Yes, we made money. Yes, we we worked hard. Yes, we welcome February 15th with open arms.

Here are some of the highlights of my  Valentine's Day:

  •  Getting to work and seeing that the whole menu had been reprinted and everything was one dollar more than it was on February 13th.
  • The mother and father who told their four year-old, "This is Mommy and Daddy's night, so we need you to be really quiet and play on the iPad." Cut to two hours later when the kid interrupts their lovemaking to ask for a glass of water and they just scream out for him to go play Angry Birds.
  •  Amanda and her two girlfriends who could not understand why it was going to take an hour to get them a three-top.  The restaurant was set up for couples and it takes forever for two two-tops that are next to each other to leave at the same time. Amanda and Company left after twenty minutes, presumably to go home to their dates for the evening: Ben and Jerry and big side of lonely
  • The man who called at 7:30 asking for a reservation. Hey, buddy, you're lucky we even had time to answer the phone. Any guy calling at 7:30 on Valentine's Day has poor time management skills and a really pissed off girlfriend. You're worse off than the men I saw at CVS yesterday afternoon scouring the picked over aisle of candy. Plan ahead, dude.
  • Brian who called at 9:15 to see if we were still on a waiting list. I told him that we only had two people on the list and I expected it to be slowing down in the next half hour or so. He showed up ten minutes later as part of a five-top and got pissed off that there was no table for them. "I just called, like two minutes ago and someone told me there were only two people on the list!" he tells me. "It was me you talked to, it was about ten minutes ago and people have continued to come in since then. And you did not tell me you were a party of five." They waited at the bar for thirty minutes until I was able to shove them into a booth that was way too small for five people.
  • The moment my manager finally cracked a smile. It didn't happen until almost 10:00. I expected him to have a managerial boner about the potential cover count but I guess the stress was too much to make him excited. He couldn't relax until he saw the light at the end of the "Closing at 11:00 Tunnel."
  • My co-workers who opened up a can of kick ass teamwork and made the night smooth and tolerable and almost enjoyable.
  • Telling people "no substitutions" all night.
  • Leaving work only forty-five minutes later than planned but still before closing.
  • Getting home to a surprise dinner of chicken and penne with homemade vodka sauce, salad and warm bread accompanied by pink tulips and a chilled bottle of champagne, followed by chocolate cupcakes with vanilla ice cream. Yes, I have a better husband than my husband does.
And how was your Valentine's Day??



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Thursday, February 14, 2013

A Valentine's Day Prayer for Servers



God, please be with me today as I am bombarded with lovebirds 
who will sit in my station all night and look at each other all googly-eyed.
Give me the strength to not hate them when they order the $29.99 Valentine's Day Special, which consists of an app, two entrees and a dessert 
and normally would cost around $40.00 and I would get tipped at least $8-10 but tonight will only net me about $6-7. 
God grant me the sanity to accept the things I cannot change, like the fact that some people will be out to dinner for the first time in 12 months;
Give me the courage to change the things I can, like a burger that is under-cooked but not one that is over-cooked;
I also ask to earn the wisdom to know the difference between a man who is there with his wife and a man who is there with his mistress. 

Please be with me when that lady comes in from the street who normally sells bootleg DVD's but tonight will be selling plastic long-stemmed roses that light up; be with me so I know not to swat that bitch out of the restaurant with a rolled-up newspaper the same way I would a fly or a dog who just peed on the rug. 
I will be trusting that the kitchen will make all things right
if I surrender to their will;
And that I may be reasonably happy with this shift
and supremely happy when I get to leave with a pocket full of blood money.
Forever in the next.
Amen.




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Wednesday, February 13, 2013

I Want a New Job

Having been a waiter for so many years and always answering the age-old question of, "when are you going to get a real job?" I think the time has come for me to consider my next profession. I hear there is a wonderful job opportunity opening up in Rome and since my passport is up to date and I really want a career change, I think I shall be submitting an application for Pope.

I never really thought about being Pope for a number of reasons; I'm not Catholic, I'm gay, I don't look good in hats, etc. However, I do think that the Catholic church needs some updating so maybe it's time they had a non-Catholic, gay (out of the closet) Pope. And I do look really good in crowns, so why not? I would think that the Pope has some really great health benefits and probably gets paid vacation. I doubt he has to clean ketchup lids or fill salt and pepper shakers. He lives rent-free in the Vatican and gets to ride around in that cool little Popemobile. He travels all over the world dispensing wisdom and spiritual guidance so it's pretty much what I already do now.

As I mentioned, I did not grow up Catholic. I was raised a Southern Baptist where the fear of God was whipped into me by a preacher at the pulpit. Seeing that I am rather unfamiliar with what all the Pope has to do, I decided that a little research would be in order. I went to HowStuffWorks.com and found out everything I need to know about Popedom so I feel like I have a pretty good shot of at least getting an interview.

Assuming I get elected (and why wouldn't I?) I learned that Cardinal Dean will ask me two questions. I don't know who Cardinal Dean is but he probably is just a figure-head who will accept any old answer. In any case, I am prepared:

Question: Do you accept your canonical election as Supreme Pontiff?

Answer: Uh, the answer is "yes'" Cardinal Dean. Why do you think I even applied in the first place? Duh. And how do you like your burger cooked?

Question: By what name do you wish to be called?

Answer: Patriarch of the West Papa Bitchy the Pope #sideofmustard

As for the duties that will befall upon me, I think I can handle them. I have often said that waiting tables prepares one for almost any job in the world and now is my chance to prove it.

Serves as bishop of the archdiocese of Rome, providing spiritual guidance to its members- I got this. If it has the word "serves" in it, I'm good. Next!

Appoints bishops and cardinal- I can do that. It would be just like choosing a shift leader. You want someone who knows a lot but maybe not the person who knows the most. Sometimes the person who knows the most isn't very nice to those who know less.

Presides at beatification and canonization ceremonies- I love to make things more beautiful and I wrote a paper once in junior high school about the Revolutionary War and I had a whole paragraph on cannons. No problem.

Spreads the word of the Roman Catholic Church through his travels- If we change "Roman Catholic Church" to "Ways Customers Annoys Me" I am good to go on this one. I even have business cards that have my website on them.

Writes documents that define the Catholic Church's official position on issues facing the world- Well, I like to write and as long as I have an Internet connection and Google, I can write about anything. Easy.

Confers with global leaders and politicians about these issues- This would be a little out of my comfort zone because so far, the closest I have come to a global leader or politician is when I met Dr. Phil and when Gayle King tweeted me and she is one degree of separation from Oprah who is pretty much a deity herself. I also served Hillary Clinton a crab cake at a fundraiser once.

I think the thing that would be the best about being the Pope would be the new uniform. Gone are the days of all black polyester slip-resistance shoes. I could wear pretty frocks any day of the year instead of waiting until October 31st and those red shoes he wears are absolutely fabulous.


Another thing I know that the Pope does is give out the Holy Communion which is bread and wine, right? I have totally done that like a thousand times. I can do this, y'all! "Real job" coming right up!

If (more like when) I become Pope, I may have to let the blog slow done a little bit. I don't know how much time I will have to write, what with all the the movie premiers and church openings I will be expected to attend. Maybe I can start a new blog called The Bitchy Pope. I dunno, we shall see. I have not found the job application yet but I am sure it just takes some digging. The Vatican's website is so complicated that "submit for this job" is buried somewhere. That may be my first order of business once I start: update the website.

Wish me luck, everyone. And happy Ash Wednesday. Again, being very unfamiliar with Catholicism, I am not sure what it this day means. To me, it looks like a lot of people got too close to a candle they were blowing out. Don't worry though. When I am Pope, I will Google Ash Wednesday and make sure I understand it. I want to take my new career as seriously as possible.

Pacis erit vobiscum! (That means "peace be with you" in Latin. Duh.)




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Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Fellow Server Needs Your Help!

I got an email from Katie yesterday asking for a favor. Luckily, it had nothing to do with splitting checks or wrapping something up to go that should have just been thrown away. She asked me to do something that I am happy to do.

Katie has a friend named Briana Gilligan (best last name ever). They worked together at a bar in New Jersey and have been best friends for 7 years. The picture is of them after a lunch shift. Briana (on the right) is now battling her third round of treatment to fight leukemia and she's currently in the ICU for a bleed in her lungs. Katie told me that Briana actually reads this blog and the Bitchy Waiter Facebook page. (If medicine isn't making Briana feel nauseous, then my writing skills certainly are and for that, I apologize, Briana.). Katie wants a shout out for Briana because they both believe in mind over matter and positive thinking. Katie tells me, "I believe in the power of prayer and over the past 3 years it has worked. She can't die I will just.. die."

I totally understand, Katie. This is something I can help with.

There are a lot of people who read this and if every single one of you took two seconds to send out some positive thoughts to Briana who is in a hospital room in Seattle, it can't hurt. And then if you took another second to click this "like" button, then even more people can know that someone is needing good vibes.



Imagine if you were sitting in a hospital room and you saw on Facebook that thousands of people were thinking about you. How could that not make you feel better? What if we are able to make her feel so much better that she kicks the ass of leukemia and she gets to go back home to her "awesome" boyfriend back in Belmar, NJ? We see stories like this "go viral" all the time, so why not Briana's story?

And if you want to do even more, you could consider going to the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society website and leaving a donation. Click here to do that. I just did. You can give any amount you want and every little bit will help. You'll feel good if you do it, I promise.

Briana, if you are reading this, please know that Katie is not the only one who wants you to get better. Besides your friends and family and co-workers, there is at least one bitchy waiter who lives in Queens who wants you to make a full recovery and every person who is reading this feels the same way. If the power of positive thinking and the prayers of a thousand strangers can help, then you are well on your way to getting better.

Now go kick some leukemia ass!



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Monday, February 11, 2013

Cappuccino, Latte, Whatever....

I am not a barista. In fact, I loath the day that management decided to install a cappuccino machine. I worked in a coffee shop as a barista for about nine months so I know how particular people can be when it comes to their coffee drinks.

"Hi, can I get a half regular-half decaf, soy latte with extra foam and cinnamon but only if the cinnamon is organic and instead of all soy milk, can you just put in about a tablespoon of 2% milk? I'm lactose intolerant but I still love the taste of regular milk. Wait, make it whole milk. Why not, right? Wait, do you have almond milk? You do? Okay, I want an almond milk latte with caramel and chocolate sauce, extra foam, but no cinnamon on this one because it will fight with the taste of the caramel. But still put a tablespoon of whole milk in it. Wait, do you have heavy cream? You do? Okay, use that instead of the whole milk and put about two or three tablespoons for me. I also need to have two of those little cardboard wrappy things around it because I like it super hot and my fingers are very sensitive to heat. And can I get a glass of water with no ice while I wait? Well, a little bit of ice just to make the water cooler than room temperature but not so much ice that it's really cold. I have sensitive teeth too. Oh, and I want a a scone, but can I get that now because I can feel my blood sugar level is dropping. And I need my latte like two minutes ago because I'm in a super big hurry. Thank you so much!"

"Sure, lady. Why don't you have a seat and I will have a unicorn bring that over to you because you are living in a fucking fantasy world."

On the other hand, plenty of people are completely non-specific with their coffee drink requests and it can be frustrating when they don't know what it is they like and are upset when we serve them what they perceive to be the wrong thing. It happens way too often. I don't drink coffee but since I did my time as a Taylor the Latte Boy, I at least know what's what. Don't misunderstand me. Just because I did it for nine months does not make me an expert on it. I made all those capps and lattes but I was never so good at it that I could make a fancy design in in the steamed milk.


One time, I noticed that the milk resembled a penis but it was sheer happenstance and never happened again.

Recently a woman ordered a cappuccino from me. Cappuccinos can easily throw a server in the weeds and when it happens at the club, I try not to let it bother me even though I would way rather someone order a $15 martini that the bartender will make than a $5.95 cappuccino that I will have to wait forever for and go all the way downstairs to get. I go to make it myself instead of waiting for the food prep/coffee guy to notice there is a ticket coming out of his printer. I make the espresso and pour it into the glass and then steam the milk, being very careful to make plenty of foam. After pouring the milk into the glass of espresso while using the back of a spoon to hold back the foam, I gently spoon the foam on top of the frothy beverage making it as high as possible. I carry it upstairs and place it before the woman expecting some positive reaction to the beauty of my foamy peaks.

"Wow, that's a lot of foam," she tells me.

"Thank you," I say.

"I don't like foam," she says as she proceeds to scrape it off onto a bev nap.

I eye the bev nap and wonder why she thinks it's better to put the unwanted foam onto a napkin rather than on her empty plate. I turn to give my attention to another table as she raises the glass to her lips. As I am answering a question someone else has about their check, I hear the woman behind me.

"This is way too strong, my God. Excuse me, waiter? Can you fix this cappuccino? It doesn't have enough milk in it and there was way too much foam in it to begin with."

With a smile, I remove the mug.

"I'll make you another one, but how about a latte this time? A latte has very little foam and it has a lot more steamed milk. Maybe you would like that better."

"Cappuccino, latte, whatever. Nobody ever makes them right anyway," she says.

No, lady, not "whatever." If you want a latte, then order a latte. Now I have to go through all of this again just because you don't know what it is you like to drink. Educate yourself. Maybe the reason every time your latte comes out wrong it's because you ordered a cappuccino. Ever think of that?

I return five minutes later and deeper in the weeds with her "whatever" that was actually a latte.

"Here you are, ma'am. One cappuccino, with extra steamed milk and very little foam. Is there anything else I can get for you?"

She continues talking to her husband. and does not bother answering me.

"Very good, ma'am. Enjoy your cappuccino."

She drinks it all which I take to mean that she is satisfied with it. She will continue on with her confusion always ordering cappuccinos at Starbucks and getting upset when it isn't a latte. Good luck lady. Until you learn how to order, you will continually be disappointed. But I'm okay with that. After all, your lack of manners disappointed me, but I got through it.




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Friday, February 8, 2013

Everyone's a Little Bit Racist

Since the last day or so has been a bit trying and certain people think I am incredibly rude, I want to repost something that shows someone else being an ass for a change.

BW

Although it is not certain, I think I was verbally assaulted by a racist last night. One of my regulars who we all know at work as pretty much crazy was in my station. She is a performer and quite well known but last night she was there as a patron of the arts instead of standing on the stage and screeching out notes that were in her range about a decade ago, but now not so much. She wanted me to know that she had just enjoyed dinner at a Mexican restaurant and she had already sucked down two margaritas. In my attempt to make small talk, I told her that I love Mexican food. She seemed surprised. Like Mexican food was her little secret in the culinary world and she couldn't believe that anyone else had ever heard of the exotic treat "taco." "Sure, I love Mexican food," I told her. "After all, I'm from Texas and I am half Mexican." This comment too seemed to take her by surprise. I wasn't sure which part of the statement was so interesting. I certainly don't appear to be your average Texan since I do not have a drawl nor do I have a gun rack on the back window of my pick-up truck. "You're half Mexican?" She said this after sucking in her breath at an alarming rate. "I had no idea." Now if you knew me, you wouldn't necessarily think I was half Mexican either because I have fair skin and light eyes, but my last name is definitely of Mexican descent. That, and my clinical addiction to tortillas and Tequila should quell any questions about my heritage. Crazy Lady continued. "I can't believe you're half Mexican. You don't seem Mexican at all. You seem all regular." Wait, did this bitch just use the word "regular" to describe my race? Regular in the same way that "nude" pantyhose are flesh colored for white people and the way that Crayons used to have a color called "flesh" that was the color of white people flesh? Awww, hell no. I was about to reach into my pocket, pull out a handful of pinto beans and rub them all up in her gringo face. Do not make me add another tear tattoo under my eye because I may have to kill a bitch. (I will do the tattoo myself with a Bic pen, a needle and lighter.) As I walked away, I heard her say to the table next to her, "Can you believe he is half Mexican?" So now my race is a topic of conversation amongst my whole station.

I personally don't see race. I really don't. I guess growing up as a child who never knew which circle to fill in on the race section of the SAT's and crap made it something of a non-issue for me. I never wanted to check Caucasian and dis my dad or classify myself as Mexican and ignore my Mom, so I always put "other" and moved on. The next time I see Crazy Lady though, I will put on my best Cheech and Chong accent and drive to her table in a low-rider while wearing a big fucking sombrero. I want to make sure she is real clear on the stereotypes of us rice and bean eaters just like she has made it clear for me that all 70 year old female jazz singers in New York City must be racists who have no problem insulting me right to my half-Mexican face.




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Thursday, February 7, 2013

A Comment on Cracker Barrel Comments

ATTN: This post was originally written on February 6, 2013. After it went up, I was contacted by the original writer of the article and she was none too pleased about my version of the story. I added a few things to make her feel better. Golly, I hope it worked because I really really don't want to upset anybody...

-BW

Sometimes heroes live in a city called Metropolis and they wear capes. Other times, the hero lives in Crawfordsville, Indiana and wears a brown apron while working at Cracker Barrel. Okay, maybe "hero" is too strong a word, but a Cracker Barrel waitress proved that she has honesty and integrity and is way better than I am.

Nicole McKinney was at work serving the usual hash brown casserole and thick sausage patties when two women came into her station. Jane Mitchell and her mother, Sara Froedge, popped in to get their daily recommended allowance of gravy and such. After they were done, Nicole went to clear the table and she discovered a large denomination bill that had been left on the table underneath a napkin. She knew right away that it was too much to be her tip, because most people at Cracker Barrel leave two or three dollars and some shiny dimes. Nicole immediately threw down her tray and rushed to find her customers to give them back the large denomination bill. (I like to imagine that it was a $100 bill or maybe even a $1000, but this is Cracker Barrel we are talking about, so "large denomination bill" could mean a five. Make those Lincolns, yo.) She found her customers in the little gift shop area where they were about to buy some Moon Pies, a rocking chair and a wind chime made out of metal wrenches.

“No way does anyone leave that kind of tip,” McKinney said. “I know I wouldn’t want to lose that kind of money. I knew it had to be a mistake.”

Mitchell thanked Nicole for being so honest and immediately knowing that she never would have left  a big tip like that. “She could have easily put the money in her apron, and we would have never known what happened to the cash,” Mitchell said. “But she didn’t. She did the right thing.” She gave her a hug (really, she only did that to get one more whiff of biscuit) and went on her way.

But wait, there's more!

When Jane Mitchell got home, she put a note on Facebook mentioning how honest her server was and one of her Facebook friends mentioned that they should start a collection to reward the waitress's honesty. Within one week, they had raised $320. The customer contacted the manager at Cracker Barrel to see if it would be alright to come up to surprise the waitress and the manager was probably like, "Well, as long as it doesn't take time away from her side work duties." Nicole McKinney was handed a card that said "I Thessalonians, chapter 5, verse 18, ‘Give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.’” There was also $320. Nicole wept with joy and Jane Mitchell got to show the world what a good up-standing Christian she is and just to make sure, she had a picture taken and then alerted the news media.

Way to go, Nicole McKinney! You give servers a good name.  I am not sure I would have done the same thing if I found a $100 bill on my table. I probably would have thought one of the following things:
  1. I guess they really liked my service.
  2. What $100 bill? I didn't see a $100 bill.
  3. Finders keepers, losers weepers, bitches.
Nicole proves that she is a better person than I am. The last time I went after a customer who had left the restaurant, it was to hand them a pair of sunglasses they had left at the table and even that was after I determined that the sunglasses did not look good on me.

I went to the Yelp page of this particular Cracker Barrel and see that they only have one star. I say we all go over there and give them a 5-star rating and throw a shout out to Nicole for being so cool.

What would you have done if you found a large denomination bill under the napkin when you cleared the table? Or a better question might be, what would you have spent it on?
 
everything below was added on February 7, 2013

After I wrote the above post, I was contacted by the writer of the original article because she felt that I had violated copyright laws. She also failed to see my sense of humor and wanted me to remove the post.  Let me start off by saying I did not copy and paste the original story. The only things that were verbatim from the article were the direct quotes of the people involved.

According to the Fair Use Doctrine (Section 110 (5) of the Copyright Act of 1976), it is allowable to use "limited portions" of a copyrighted item for works such as commentary, news reporting, academic reports, and the like. But you still have to give credit. You cannot claim the work as yours. You must cite where it came from.

Let me cite where the story came from, since the original link to the site wasn't good enough. It came from the esteemed publication called Journal Review in Crawfordsville, Indiana, population 16,042. In other words, about 4,000 people less than on the Bitchy Waiter Facebook page. The original article was written by someone who probably has a couple of Pulitzer Prizes sitting on her mantel right next to the homecoming mum that she saved from her sophomore year in high school.

I truly enjoyed your article and wanted more people to know about waitress Nicole McKinney. I am certain that had Huffington Post or CNN picked up your news story, you would have been quite excited about it. Perhaps you take issue with the fact that someone called The Bitchy Waiter found your story and not Wolf Blitzer. I also apologize that you may have found my twist on the story unflattering, but I always try to paint the picture in favor of the server. Yes, customer Jane Mitchell did a great thing by rewarding Ms. McKinney for her honesty but let's face it: it sounds a little bit attention-whorey, dontcha think? I can quote the bible too, Ms. Mitchell:

“Beware of practicing your righteousness before other people in order to be seen by them, for then you will have no reward from your Father who is in heaven. Thus, when you give to the needy, sound no trumpet before you, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the streets, that they may be praised by others. Truly, I say to you, they have received their reward. But when you give to the needy, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing, so that your giving may be in secret. And your Father who sees in secret will reward you." Matthew 6:1-4 (Thank you to Jenifer for that one.)

I am not going to take the post down because I didn't do anything wrong. News organizations constantly search the Internet for stories to regurgitate and all they have to do is give credit where credit is due. I have done that. And I am done.



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Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Cracker Barrel Has Cheesy Hash Browns and an Honest Waitress

ATTN: This post has been edited. Please read the original post below and then at the bottom read my response to the changes. Thank you.

-BW

Sometimes heroes live in a city called Metropolis and they wear capes. Other times, the hero lives in Crawfordsville, Indiana and wears a brown apron while working at Cracker Barrel. Okay, maybe "hero" is too strong a word, but a Cracker Barrel waitress proved that she has honesty and integrity and is way better than I am.

Nicole McKinney was at work serving the usual hash brown casserole and thick sausage patties when two women came into her station. Jane Mitchell and her mother, Sara Froedge, popped in to get their daily recommended allowance of gravy and such. After they were done, Nicole went to clear the table and she discovered a large denomination bill that had been left on the table underneath a napkin. She knew right away that it was too much to be her tip, because most people at Cracker Barrel leave two or three dollars and some shiny dimes. Nicole immediately threw down her tray and rushed to find her customers to give them back the large denomination bill. (I like to imagine that it was a $100 bill or maybe even a $1000, but this is Cracker Barrel we are talking about, so "large denomination bill" could mean a five. Make those Lincolns, yo.) She found her customers in the little gift shop area where they were about to buy some Moon Pies, a rocking chair and a wind chime made out of metal wrenches.

“No way does anyone leave that kind of tip,” McKinney said. “I know I wouldn’t want to lose that kind of money. I knew it had to be a mistake.”

Mitchell thanked Nicole for being so honest and immediately knowing that she never would have left  a big tip like that. “She could have easily put the money in her apron, and we would have never known what happened to the cash,” Mitchell said. “But she didn’t. She did the right thing.” She gave her a hug (really, she only did that to get one more whiff of biscuit) and went on her way.

But wait, there's more!

When Jane Mitchell got home, she put a note on Facebook mentioning how honest her server was and one of her Facebook friends mentioned that they should start a collection to reward the waitress's honesty. Within one week, they had raised $320. The customer contacted the manager at Cracker Barrel to see if it would be alright to come up to surprise the waitress and the manager was probably like, "Well, as long as it doesn't take time away from her side work duties." Nicole McKinney was handed a card that said "I Thessalonians, chapter 5, verse 18, ‘Give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.’” There was also $320. Nicole wept with joy and Jane Mitchell got to show the world what a good up-standing Christian she is and just to make sure, she had a picture taken and then alerted the news media.

Way to go, Nicole McKinney! You give servers a good name.  I am not sure I would have done the same thing if I found a $100 bill on my table. I probably would have thought one of the following things:
  1. I guess they really liked my service.
  2. What $100 bill? I didn't see a $100 bill.
  3. Finders keepers, losers weepers, bitches.
Nicole proves that she is a better person than I am. The last time I went after a customer who had left the restaurant, it was to hand them a pair of sunglasses they had left at the table and even that was after I determined that the sunglasses did not look good on me.

I went to the Yelp page of this particular Cracker Barrel and see that they only have one star. I say we all go over there and give them a 5-star rating and throw a shout out to Nicole for being so cool.

What would you have done if you found a large denomination bill under the napkin when you cleared the table? Or a better question might be, what would you have spent it on?
 
everything below was added on February 7, 2013

After I wrote the above post, I was contacted by the writer of the original article because she felt that I had violated copyright laws. She also failed to see my sense of humor and wanted me to remove the post.  Let me start off by saying I did not copy and paste the original story. The only things that were verbatim from the article were the direct quotes of the people involved.

According to the Fair Use Doctrine (Section 110 (5) of the Copyright Act of 1976), it is allowable to use "limited portions" of a copyrighted item for works such as commentary, news reporting, academic reports, and the like. But you still have to give credit. You cannot claim the work as yours. You must cite where it came from.

Let me cite where the story came from, since the original link to the site wasn't good enough. It came from the esteemed publication called Journal Review in Crawfordsville, Indiana, population 16,042. In other words, about 4,000 people less than on the Bitchy Waiter Facebook page. The original article was written by someone who probably has a couple of Pulitzer Prizes sitting on her mantel right next to the homecoming mum that she saved from her sophomore year in high school.

I truly enjoyed your article and wanted more people to know about waitress Nicole McKinney. I am feel certain that had Huffington Post or CNN picked up your news story, you would have been quite excited about it. Perhaps you take issue with the fact that someone called The Bitchy Waiter found your story and not Wolf Blitzer. I also apologize that you may have found my twist on the story unflattering, but I always try to paint the picture in favor of the server. Yes, customer Jane Mitchell did a great thing by rewarding Ms. McKinney for her honesty but let's face it: it sounds a little bit attention-whorey, dontcha think? I can quote the bible too, Ms. Mitchell:

“Beware of practicing your righteousness before other people in order to be seen by them, for then you will have no reward from your Father who is in heaven. Thus, when you give to the needy, sound no trumpet before you, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the streets, that they may be praised by others. Truly, I say to you, they have received their reward. But when you give to the needy, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing, so that your giving may be in secret. And your Father who sees in secret will reward you." Matthew 6:1-4 (Thank you to Jenifer for that one.)

I am not going to take the post down because I didn't do anything wrong. News organizations constantly search the Internet for stories to regurgitate and all they have to do is give credit where credit is due. I have done that. And I am done.




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Monday, February 4, 2013

I've Fallen and I Can't Get Up

Back in the 80's, I remember being fascinated by something called biorhythms. Biorhythm is an attempt to predict various aspects of a person's life through simple mathematical cycles. Most scientists believe that the idea has no more predictive power than raw chance. (Thanks, Wikipedia.) Since in the 80's there was no such thing as an "app for that," the only way to keep track of such important information was to buy a little paperback book that was about a dollar and was always at the grocery store checkout lane right next to the gum and tabloids. That is also where I bought my monthly horoscope and a book on lucid dreaming so I could learn how to make myself fly in my dreams. I never really got the hang of lucid dreaming which is probably for the best because if I did, I would just stay in bed all day and dream of bitch slapping customers. Anyhoo, some days, the book told me that my biorhythms were off which would account for the bad decisions or clumsy behavior. Curiously, the same thing could be said of tequila and/or vodka. If I were to still believe in the power of biorhythms, I would say that a few days ago, mine were most certainly off.

I have to work tonight so I am spending the day doing errands and updating Facebook and Twitter statuses. Stati? All was well and good until I go to my kitchen to clean it. In my attempt to move a brand new bottle of olive oil, it tips over and slams against the cold hard quartz counter top and shatters. Have you ever tried to clean up a whole bottle of spilled olive oil? It's not easy. It goes everywhere slowly expanding like a light green puddle of hatred. It gets into every crack and crevice and underneath the coffee pot, blender and salt and pepper shakers. It takes almost a whole roll of paper towels to clean. "Clumsy me," I think.

Later on at work, I am serving a round of drinks; a Kettel One on the rocks with a twist, a Chivas on the rocks in a wine glass, two Pinot Noirs and a glass of water. I remove each glass carefully sliding my hand underneath the tray to maintain the balance. There are two glasses of wine left on the tray and as I take one off, my tray begins to tip over. Because my reflexes are incredibly fast and I have not had my shift drink yet, I catch the last glass of wine before it falls onto the guest, losing only a couple of drops that land on the tray. One person at the table notices it.

"Good save," he commends me.

"Thanks," I say, rather embarrassed.

"Clumsy me, " I think.

As I walk away, I hear a lady say, "Did I almost wear a glass of red wine?"

An hour later, a customer asks for a cappuccino. I usually let the food prep guy make it but I am in a hurry so I run downstairs to do it myself. As I am coming back up, cappuccino in hand, I lose my footing on the steps. Slow motion goes into effect.

My right hand extends as I begin to fall onto my right knee. My left foot is farther behind me than it should be and my knee slams into the step as I try to catch myself with my left hand. I worry that I am about to suffer first degree burns on my hand and arms all because the lady at table 42 wants a cappuccino. It begins to spill at the same time that my knee reacts to the sensation of slamming against the stairs. I outreach my hand to keep the hot foamy milk as far away from the rest of my body as possible. I moan or grunt or make some other embarrassing sound so that my coworkers upstairs will know that there is a server down.

"Call 911! Get a doctor! I am injured! Clumsy me!" I think, but all that comes out of my mouth is, "umphgrggg!"

I am still, lying on the staircase, when I see Liz, the hostess, peer from around the door at the top of the stairs.

"Oh my God, are you alright?"

"I fell," I say as if my position is not evidence enough. "I think I'm fine."

"Hold on," she says and she disappears out of sight for a few seconds. I assume she is going to get a towel to wipe up the cappuccino or ask one of the other servers to lift my banged up body from the stairwell. She reappears with her cell phone.

"I don't think you need to call 911, Liz, I'll be alright."

"Stay right there'" she tells me. "Don't move!"

She squats down looking intently at her phone. My arm is reaching towards her, my legs splayed in a most unnatural position, and the sleeve of my shirt is dripping with a coffee beverage.

She extends her phone in front of her and I hear a click. She looks at the screen and says, "Too dark, hold on, lemme try again." Click. "Fuck, it's too dark. Bummer." She stands up and wanders out of sight.

I haul myself up the stairs and inspect the damage. My knee already is beginning to bruise and the possible burns are nothing to worry about because I made such a crappy cappuccino that it is barely lukewarm. I am okay. Embarrassed and sore, but okay.

I slowly go back downstairs to make another cappuccino and walk up the stairs like I just had two hip replacements. When I finally make it back to table 42, I apologize for the delay and explain what had happened. She is understandably concerned about my well-being and thanks me for the cappuccino. (She does not take a picture of me, Liz.)

The lady leaves me a big tip which I can attribute partly to my wonderful service but mostly to the pity that she felt for me.

So were my biorhythms off this day or am I just getting clumsy in my middle-age? If only I had my little paperback book from the grocery store to know if I should have been more careful that day. I blame it on my biorhythms or the fact that gravity was extra strong that day.



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Friday, February 1, 2013

Pastor Does Not Tip. Waitress Fired. God Yawns.

Make like Noah and build yourself an ark, because the Internet is flooded with a restaurant scandal that I can no longer remain silent about. One of our brothers and sisters has been fired! Chelsea Welch, a waitress doing her time at the world-renowned hell-hole known as Applebee's, was fired after she posted a photo of a receipt that was left to her co-worker. On that receipt, a lovely woman by the name of Alois Bell, scratched out the 18% gratuity that had been added to her large party and left a big fat zero instead. On the check, she wrote, " I give God 10%. Why do you get 18." She also added that she is a pastor, I guess so that the server would know that not only was her customer a cheap bitch, she was also filled with God's love. Anyhoo, Chelsea took the picture, posted it on online and Pastor Alois Bell got wind of it when  an angel whispered into her ear, "Alois, honey, the whole world is finding out that you don't tip because that busted down note you left on your receipt at Crapplebee's is going viral. God also told me to tell you that he is super proud of the 15-member congregation that you have amassed in your store-front church in the strip mall between the 99 Cent Store and Bob's Beauty Barn. Bless you, girl."

Well, Alois didn't like that word of God at all. She huffed and puffed and did a little bit of speaking in tongues and she called Applebee's to complain about it. She also wanted to to tell them that she left six dollars in cash on the table and of course everyone believes that, right? Sure you did, Alois. Everyone who bitches about added gratuity always leaves cash instead. Applebee's looked into the matter and consequently fired Chelsea for violating their social media policy.

What can we learn from this? We can learn one thing that so many of us already know: serving the after-church crowd is very seldom worth it. In the early 90's,when I worked at Bennigan's which is the second cousin, once removed of Applebee's, every Sunday night we got a crowd of Pentecostals who came in. They would fill the restaurant and everyone wanted to get half orders and separate checks. Every single person wanted a cherry in their water or extra something. They would swoop in like a swarm of locusts and leave us with crap tips and the restaurant totally rearranged. We didn't call them "The Pennies" for nothing.

We also can confirm that working at Applebee's sucks. Not only does it bring in clientele like Pastor Alois Bell, but they also make you sign a social media policy that makes it wrong to post a photo of the stupid shit you have to deal with. Our hearts go out to Chelsea who is now back on the streets looking for work. Meanwhile, Pastor Alois Bell is looking around to see who else she can get fired. Her dry cleaner gave her the stink eye a couple of days so she is probably about to call the corporate office and get that bitch fired too. Alois also did not like that when she went to the Piggly Wiggly last week, the butter that was supposed to be on sale was sold out and they didn't give her a rain check coupon or nothing. Alois has plans to get Piggly Wiggly fired and then fry his ass up and drop him into a pot of beans that she will serve at her next church social. (Spoiler alert #1: Piggly Wiggly already has another job lined up as the new spokespig for Porky Food Service Products. Spoiler alert #2: Nobody likes to go to Alois' church socials because it's too hard to find a parking spot at the strip mall since Sundays are the days that Supercuts has their "buy one haircut get a blow out for free" sale. Spoiler alert #3: beans at a church social are never a good idea.)

Thank you to everyone who sent this in to me. And Alois? If you're reading this (because you know she is getting a lady boner over all this free publicity), I promise to never go to your church if you promise to never come to my restaurant. Thanks, honey. And in the future, let's let God do the talking about tipping. I have a feeling He has bigger concerns.



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